RISMEDIA, June 3, 2009-As a part of its ongoing technology partnership with Microsoft, John L. Scott Real Estate has entered into the social networking space through the launch of JLSconnect.
JLSconnect augments the previous “Property Tracker” service found on www.JohnLScott.com which provides the ability for individuals to log in and save “favorite” properties. JLSconnect adds new social networking capabilities to the Property Tracker experience that makes it possible for people to easily share and exchange comments on interested properties with others.
“Live Services are building block cloud services from Microsoft that John L. Scott utilizes to enrich the consumer experience,” says Sam Chenaur, Microsoft Platform Strategy Advisor. “With those services, John L. Scott is now able to allow users to see when their friends and family are online, provide instant messaging services to share and view property information, see and map properties with Microsoft Virtual Earth, and offer a single sign-on experience to all of those capabilities.”
J. Lennox Scott, chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate, says that the impetus for creating JLSconnect was the desire to improve online collaboration for buyers and their sphere of influence. “Buying a home is not an individual activity; there are usually several people involved in the process from friends and family to real estate agents,” said Scott. “This experience illustrates the value of providing a collaborative online tool that allows buyers to leverage social networking as a part of their home search.”
Pat Giles, vice president of Marketing, Interactive Marketing, and IT Services points to the numbers for support, “Given that 44% of home buyers already use some form of social networking tool, and that online behavior is continuing to move that way, we knew we needed to be a part of this trend.”
According to Giles, John L. Scott set about to conceive and build a new solution that leverages a unique approach in which cloud services are richly integrated with home market data served from the JLS data center. Giles adds that JLSconnect combines these capabilities in a rich user experience with an emerging Microsoft technology called Silverlight, and the application is then hosted on www.JohnLScott.com. “As we started to educate ourselves on the possibilities, we realized that integrating with Windows Live Messenger would be fairly simple-and that it would give us a lot more return in terms of business value because there were already 320 million Live Messenger users,” says Giles.
Using JLSconnect, John L. Scott provides increased customer value during the process of shopping for a home. Users can log in to their Property Tracker account on JohnLScott.com, save homes they like as a favorites list, and then easily share those favorites with others. Users can also see others’ favorites that they have been invited to view, and can post and view comments on individual properties in both their own and others’ favorites lists. Users can see which of their contacts are online through integration with Windows Live Presence and can initiate a Windows Live Messenger session to collaborate with them at any time.
“We’re making it extremely easy for someone to find a property they like, share it with others, and get feedback-without having to cut and paste or share the same user name and password,” says Giles. “Not only does JLSconnect provide increased convenience, but it can help buyers to make faster decisions-potentially enabling them to find the right house and make an offer on it before someone else does. Although the solution is optimized for buyers, it’s useful to sellers as well, in that they can use it to keep an eye on other homes that are on the market.”
Microsoft’s Sam Chenaur concludes by saying that John L. Scott’s new JLSconnect solution further reinforces the company’s position and visibility as an industry leader, and a visionary in the use of technology to connect with customers in new and innovative ways. “What makes this so interesting is that John L. Scott is composing ‘cloud’ building block services-like Live ID, Live Presence, Live Messenger, Live Contacts, and Virtual Earth-into its on-premises Web site, all powered by a Silverlight interface to glue the experience together. John L. Scott is the first real estate company to embrace social networking in such a way. They’re targeting Generation X and Generation Y with this solution to begin the process of reinventing how consumers and agents can collaborate around the home buying experience. It represents the most advanced thinking to date in the real estate industry.”