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Enabling Innovation – MLS 5.0

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MLS Matters by Saul Klein

RISMEDIA, November 18, 2009—Theoretically, the future MLS, or MLS 5.0, is exemplary in its design and capabilities. The investment in time and resources the industry has made getting us to where we are today is magnificent. It has put the real estate industry amongst a select number of sectors known to embrace and pioneer new technologies, especially in the areas of communication and Web marketing.

Getting to MLS 5.0 will require no less commitment, focus and effort than we have engaged thus far. While cultural evolution in our industry’s leadership ranks will, as always, provide the vision, energy and fuel to take us to the next level, technology will be the primary enabler. Bear with me while I delve a bit into some technical aspects of MLS 5.0.

MLS 5.0 envisions technology solution providers and vendors developing valuable real estate applications without being required to source the data and develop complex aggregation and data interpretation algorithms. Through the use of Open APIs that provide access to listing data, support existing authentication, and facilitate authorization, applications that leverage existing data can be built very cost-effectively, leading to a richer ecosystem of features that will benefit real estate professionals.

All PC-based platforms will support any browser resolution and will be designed to be highly usable at any resolution above 1024 x 768. Point2 weblogs indicate that fewer than 10% of users/visitors have resolutions below 1024 x 768. See www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_display.asp for more detailed Web statistics and trends.

Specific add-on modules will only be used to enhance the product and will not be required. Add-on modules, such as Flash, ActiveX or Java, could be used to enhance the end-user experience for image uploading and searching, for example.

There are no specific client-side requirements beyond having a supported Web browser, an Internet connection and any CPU (central processing unit), memory or hard drive requirements recommended by the browser’s vendor.

Ultimately, to realize the MLS 5.0 vision, we will provide support for our Open APIs to enable other vendors to offer applications that leverage the listing information. Although the APIs are open, MLS 5.0 will remain in control of authorization and policy enforcement to protect access to sensitive features and data.

The APIs will be designed to fit the needs of MLS 5.0 and will likely consist of numerous REST-based and/or SOAP-based interfaces protected by SSL and other standards-based authentication and authorization mechanisms. In addition, client SDKs (software development kit) may be provided in multiple popular languages, such as PHP, Python, Java, .NET and Ruby.

It is envisioned that numerous MLS vendors will adapt their products to work directly with MLS 5.0 via these open APIs in order to provide Realtors with a full-featured and familiar front-end. Imagine being able to choose from a multitude of CMAs or create your own application specific to your business. All the data can be stored in one database and, based on permissions, accessed, so that solutions and applications can be developed.

What does all this mean? More distribution to more destinations.

In summary, the future will be a more open environment where brokers and agents can select their “software of choice” from numerous providers.

Tell us what you think or request the full article series to date at: thefutureofmls@point2.com.

Saul Klein is CEO of InternetCrusade and Point2 Technologies Inc.

For more information, visit www.point2agent.com.

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