By

Nathan Perlmutter is a broker who really gets wireless technology.

Perlmutter, the president of Forest Hills Financial Group Inc., Forest Hills, N.Y., a large life brokerage, jumped into the world of wireless in 1982, when he bought a converted military phone for $7,500.

The calls cost $1.25 per minute on top of the normal credit card calling rate.

The manufacturer “used to come down with a limousine with five or six phones,” Perlmutter recalls.

The limousine would drive around the neighborhood while the customer tested the phones.

Since 1982, Perlmutter estimates he has changed mobile phones every two years.

He bought his first wireless data device, a Sony PictureBook mini laptop equipped with an AirCard wireless modem, three years ago. Then he added a Blackberry PDA.

Now he still takes the laptop along when he needs Web access, but he is depending more and more on the PDA to read his electronic mail and check his electronic address book.

“Theres no doubt its the way of the future,” Perlmutter says. “Its a shift in how you do business.”

Perlmutter contends that the PDA makes doing business easier by replacing the many pieces of paper that used to accumulate in his pockets.

Besides, when problems crop up and Perlmutter can immediately use electronic mail to begin fixing them, “its very impressive to the client, or the agent.”

If Perlmutter could wave a magic wand to improve his Blackberry, he says he would improve the PDAs listening comprehension skills: “Voice recognition would be unbelievable.”

But Perlmutter is not particularly interested in improving the PDAs security features. For now, he finds that less than 5% of what he wants to do requires secure transmissions.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, July 8, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.