The Future of MLS Features - 2008
Real estate is, by its nature, a social business - so another area where both standards and deeper integrations may come into play is in social networking. Various major social networking sites have explored development of a common programming interface (API) for social applications across multiple applications - for example the OpenSocial standard (http://code.google.com/apis/opensocial/). If MLS functionality expands its capabilities toward social networking, it certainly would be interesting to see how the MLS could interact with other applications through such interfaces, opening up whole new possibilities of how real estate professionals interact with their colleagues and clients.
The Original NAR "Future of MLS PAG" Vision
Originally, the NAR "Future of MLS PAG" vision was to have a central back end data repository, allowing for front-end interface of choice, provided at the local brokerage, MLS or association, vendor, and franchise levels, along with a baseline front end available through the NAR. Diagrammed below, this wasn't a bad idea, though the MLS PAG has since evolved its vision toward something that has seemingly little to do with MLS.
I still think the original vision made a lot of sense, especially at the natural market region level, then being linked together into larger areas. Of course, most MLS systems are not currently architected to use separate back-end databases, but I expect this will change in the future.
Lastly, to facilitate the regional data share process, or even to make it possible for brokerages/agents to have their own custom data shares beyond a single region, MLSs will need to make it easier to automate creation of data mash-ups from different MLSs as much as possible. I imagine a data mapping expert system that facilitates inclusion of multiple data sources, automatically mapping data to a common set and "wizarding" corrections and additional mappings. Of course, the system would still need to reflect the data mapping into reports, statistics, and other parts of the system.
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