DISTRIBUTIONAs you probably know by now, the rules governing IDX were revised at the NAR Meetings in November last year.  Click here to view the details of the approved changes.

One of the big changes requires that every MLS provide a Web API by June 30th, 2016 to make it much easier for brokers to allow third party companies to leverage MLS data for tools used by brokers.

For the non-techies among us, let me answer the first question….What the heck is an API and why should I care?

According to NAR…. API, short for Application Program Interface, describes a data transfer method that eliminates the need to copy listings between servers. The MLS becomes the original and only source of MLS property data. API technology creates efficiencies in the collection and use of MLS data by participants, vendors and MLSs.

Here’s what it means in laymen’s terms.  An API will make it much easier for a broker or an MLS to allow a third party technology company to access MLS information much more easily than can be done today. Today, if someone wants information they have to get ALL of the data pushed to them. Then they have to ingest it, make sure it displays properly and then match it to all of the data fields in their own system. The API, combined with the implementation of the RESO Data Dictionary will standardize the way MLS data is collected and displayed with ALL MLSs across the United States.  It will make it easier for technology companies to pull only the data they need making for a more efficient and more accurate information that can be used by brokers for a variety of purposes in their business.

It’s going to make it much easier for tech companies to provide innovative solutions to brokers and MLSs. It’s a really good thing for the industry. There was one big problem though. There were very few, if any companies that provided an API to accomplish the task required by the new IDX rules.   Until now…..

Today, Onboard Informatics has created a relationship with CoreLogic to provide a comprehensive RESO standards-compliant data management and distribution solution to multiple listing services (MLSs), real estate brokers and vendors.  Any MLS in the country will be able to use this solution to provide RESO Data Dictionary-compliant data via RETS and the new RESO Web API without any modification to their existing MLS software platform.

This functionality is being delivered from Onboard’s new product called Onboard SimplicityTM.  It is a new local data distribution platform that provides a single advanced API interface to access expansive search capabilities and a tremendous array of local data across the country to power websites, mobile apps, back office systems and productivity tools such as CRM that can be used by brokers everywhere.

From what I understand from the release sent out today, Onboard Simplicity will not only make it easy to leverage the power of MLS data, it will also help brokers be able to provide richer and more comprehensive information property records, taxes and assessments, deeds, sales trends, population demographics, points of interest, schools, geographic boundaries, and much more… all accessible and easy to integrate through the Onboard Simplicity API.

Can’t wait to see where this product goes and what other exciting entries in the API space that we may see.

To be clear this does not mean that Onboard or CoreLogic are getting in the syndication game. That area is muddy enough and full of too much controversy already. This solution is going to put data distribution squarely in the hands of brokers and the MLSs that support them.