CMLS 2012 Wrap Up – It’s All About the Data

Last week Smarter Agent was at CMLS in Boston, MA.  The conference was a great way to learn about the needs of MLSs and their membership.

There was a lot of conversation around data and an MLS’ need to protect their data, especially from third parties who illegally scrape their sites in order access listings for their own purposes.  Obviously this presents a great challenge to MLSs since, maybe, their single biggest asset is data.

Now, we can have a lot of discussion around the use of data and who should and should not have access to it including aggregators, but one thing MLSs continue to have to think about is owning their own data from intake to management to exposing them to consumers.  The latter is key because, as the organization that owns the content, MLSs ought to have their own mechanism for reaching consumers looking for homes.

Many MLSs are now thinking through ways of getting their listings to consumers from websites to mobile.  Providing a consumer facing experience is good for them as they will protect their main asset, while promote their brand and while driving leads to their Members.

I think mobile provides MLSs a fresh and new way to redefine the landscape.  With mobile, MLSs can provide consumers and their Members direct access to listings in an easy to use app.  We know much of the home searching experience, especially on weekends, happens on a mobile device.  So why not have a consumer facing MLS app to give out to a user?  But it doesn‘t end there.

Mobile also can also evolve into a dual-purpose tool.  Meaning something consumers can use, but also a tool that makes the agent truly virtual.  For example, Smarter Agent recently released the MRIS PRO App.  This app not only gives consumers in the Maryland and DC area for example the ability to search the entire MLS for homes, but also provides that only only MRIS Members can access for professional only information and features with the same login they would use to access them at their office.

So now, agents in the Mid Atlantic can provide their clients a way to search for homes and get back leads but, as they are out with those clients, they can also better serve their clients without having to head back into the office.

 ~ Philip Charles-Pierre, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Distribution