I missed Jim Harrison’s post a couple weeks ago, but lots of good stuff here so I thought it was worth commenting on.
“The MLS sector is currently having such an experience. In order to succeed the contemporary MLS must provide brokers, agents, and consumers with an MLS experience that is relevant, dependable, and completely compatible with their emerging technical, data, and informational needs. This, in turn, means that those legacy-based features and functionalities that do not meet the test must be either updated and enhanced or terminated.”
Today’s agents and brokers are demanding more, they want better solutions. Part of the sector was control the data but a vast majority just want software that is easy to use and helps them succeed.
“The solution would be found when we changed the underlying assumptions, legacies, and culture under which we had been operating. It was time for a different approach to the MLSListings experience. The opportunity lies in joining the “app” movement and creating an MLSListings experience that would allow every brokerage and/or subscriber to customize their own “MLS” experience.
“Front end of choice”, “Alternative Front End”, and an “App” based system, the whole industry is buzzing. They all mean basically the same thing, providing developers/brokers an easy way (ideally standards based) to access the MLS database so they can build things with the data. Anyone who attended the Clareity Executive Workshop can attest is was all about “front end of choice”. It’s starting to happen. I believe Jim is using the phrase “App” meaning not just mobile applications but any software application (desktop or otherwise). But some of the same old challenges still exist as we move forward.
1. Support. These new apps need a support system, especially if being supported by the MLS. With W+R Studios’ front end of choice solution, Cloud MLX, a specific design requirement was we wanted agents to start using it without any training.
2. Adoption. Complaining about current MLS software systems is a favorite pastime of agents (and some bloggers). But the fact is they know how to use it. Doing a search on the MLS is, at this point, engrained in to their muscle memory.
3. Integration. I think another weak spot of traditional MLS vendors is integration with other applications. This is a huge opportunity. These new front end of choice solutions need to work with as many other popular apps as possible.
As I’ve written before, we are entering a new cycle in technology with the MLS industry in regard to data. Here’s how I see it…
-Word of mouth
Closed Network Systems
-Terminal based systems
-Text based menu driven system
-PCs running terminal emulator software access MLS via modem/frame relay
-Need to install software and sync
Open Network Systems (The Internet)- WHERE WE ARE TODAY (BEEN?)
-Web based MLS systems
-Browser based, nothing to install
Front End of Choice/”App movement” – WHERE WE ARE HEADED (NOW?)
-MLS data available via APIs or RETS
-Roll your own software
Data is becoming front and center. That’s why you see so many vendors rushing to provide solutions.