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SAN FRANCISCO-With the red-hot real estate market in San Francisco, and dotcom companies seemingly springing up anywhere there is space, is it any surprise that the two industries are beginning to merge? E-commerce has been the buzzword in the industry for quite some time, and it seems like the oft-predicted synergies between the bricks-and-mortar world of real estate and the ethereal glow of the Internet are beginning to take shape.

Today, the latest contender in the race to bring office space into cyberspace announced the launch of their product. Vectiv Corp., headquartered in San Francisco, rolled out their Strategic Real Estate Solution, an internet-based solution that promises to help the industry “identify, evaluate, acquire and develop new sites…faster, more efficiently and at lower cost.” According to David Sonnen, senior consultant with International Data Corporation, “Vectiv’s technology has the ability to integrate spatial data with broker site and supply data.”

So, the question is: will the industry buy in? Since the Internet was in its infancy, the lure of doing things better, faster and cheaper has fueled the growth of the tech industry. Already, other sites like RealPrompt are taking aim at the same market niche, meanwhile, companies like RentPayment are shooting for property owners and managers hoping to streamline the day-to-day chores of building management. In addition, new ventures like Hanover Capital Mortgage Holdings Inc.’s HanoverTrade.com site are bringing Internet automation to the mortgage industry.

For an industry so firmly grounded in physical space, will the Internet prove to be a boon or a bust? Undoubtedly, there is some fat that can be trimmed from every transaction, and there are now several players in the game who claim to be the best butcher. The real question is whether or not there is enough faith industry-wide in these exciting, and as of yet, unproven technologies.

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