|By Kunal Mittal||
|October 3, 2003 12:00 AM EDT||
The fever for new XML specifications for almost anything imaginable has hit the real estate industry. Companies that are actively pursuing some niche in this industry have realized the need to create and adopt standards for communication. As in other industries, however, competing XML standards are emerging, keeping any one standard from reaching a critical mass of adoption and fruition.
This article explores the Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) for the real estate industry. I'll talk about how some of these standards can leverage Web services technologies such as SOAP and WSDL. I'll begin by taking a look at the landscape and various XML standards in the real estate industry.
Adoption of XML standards will provide a common vocabulary and increase the interoperability of the Multiple Listing System (MLS) data and the different users that access this data on a daily basis, such as realtors, title companies, home insurance companies, and end users looking to buy or sell a house. This will also foster an increase in competition among software vendors seeking to serve the real estate industry. The emerging XML standards are intended to be used over the Internet and can leverage various Web services standards such as SOAP and WSDL for increased interoperability. A critical aspect of these standards is safeguards to protect intellectual property (IP) and the privacy of all involved in a real estate process.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) is the largest professional association for people involved in all aspects of the real estate industry, with more than 730,000 current members. In 1999, together with several technology leaders, the NAR began an effort to make access to MLS information easier. The Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS) is an open standard for accessing and exchanging real estate information between all the players involved in the real estate process.
There are several other standards in this space. The RELML specification was first announced in the summer of 1998. This version of the draft is currently implemented in OpenMLS's Real Estate Listing Management system.
The Data Consortium is an open- membership group of more than 50 companies and associations whose goal is an open source standard namespace for the commercial real estate industry. They have posted a namespace with 13 key elements to support XML streams and Create, Read, Update, Delete (CRUD) operations to a relational database. This includes an explanatory guide and dictionary.
The Alliance for Advanced Real Estate Transaction Technology (AARTT) announced an initiative to create open standards for data exchange within the real estate industry in order to streamline the residential real estate industry; this initiative is called CRTML (Comprehensive Real Estate Transaction Markup Language).
The increasing number of standards leads to the lack of adoption of a single standard. XML is a great technology that provides the opportunity to develop several standards. However, if the industry does not adopt one standard, XML can't be used to its full potential.
Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS)
RETS is the standard gaining the most momentum and it appears to be the most comprehensive standard that can influence the real estate industry. RETS is a collection of several documents and tools.
Let's take a closer look at RETS. RETS defines two major components - a RETS server and a RETS client. A user accesses a RETS client to access MLS data. This client could be a Web site that is accessed through HTTP, a thick VB client, or another client or server system that uses Web services as the RETS client. The RETS client initiates the appropriate request to the RETS server, usually over the Internet. The RETS server responds with data formatted to the RETS specification. There are open source implementations of RETS clients and servers available. Figure 1 shows the architecture of a typical RETS request-response cycle.
I recommend downloading and installing the reference implementation of RETS from the RETS Web site (see references). The Java version is relatively easy to use and very well documented. It runs on top of Apache Tomcat and uses MySQL as the database. However, you could adapt this to your environment and run it on top of an application server such as JBoss, BEA WebLogic, or WebSphere. Once you get this implementation up and running and go through the steps in the install guide that comes with the download, you will see the Property search screen (see Figure 2).
Underneath these simple JSP screens the reference implementation is using the RETS standard to exchange data. Listing 1 (available at www.sys-con.com/xml/sourcec.cfm) shows an example of an XML listing that is returned through the search function.
RETS and Web Services
RETS can be used in the context of Web services. Wrapping a RETS request or response in a SOAP message is trivial. Exposing the services in WSDL that some niche company in the real estate space provides is also a straightforward task. What's more interesting is what the concept of Web services brings to the real estate industry in addition to the standardization of the data exchange format.
Web services provide the communication endpoints to a service. They enable a transaction to be run asynchronously and a service to automatically discover and interact with new services without prior negotiation. Okay, there you have the buzzwords and phrases for Web services.
The adoption of Web services allows realtors to automatically find and understand how to interact with several of the MLSs in their area. They can use Web services to upload their listings in a simple and consistent way to all the MLSs that have exposed their interfaces using WSDL, and support the SOAP and RETS standards.
Complete Web services implementation has been targeted for RETS 2.0.
I've discussed the current state of XML technologies and standards for the real estate industry, including a deeper look into the real estate transaction standard, and talked about the reference implementation provided with the RETS. I've discussed at a conceptual level the application of Web services with the RETS specification. There is tremendous potential and need for standardization of communications and data exchange formats to enable greater interoperability of different real estate systems.
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover how hardware commoditization, the ubiquitous nature of connectivity, and the emergence of Big Data a...
Dec. 21, 2014 02:00 PM EST Reads: 2,385
"BSQUARE is in the business of selling software solutions for smart connected devices. It's obvious that IoT has moved from being a technology to being a fundamental part of business, and in the last 18 months people have said let's figure out how to do it and let's put some focus on it, " explained Dave Wagstaff, VP & Chief Architect, at BSQUARE Corporation, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 21, 2014 01:00 PM EST Reads: 2,010
The major cloud platforms defy a simple, side-by-side analysis. Each of the major IaaS public-cloud platforms offers their own unique strengths and functionality. Options for on-site private cloud are diverse as well, and must be designed and deployed while taking existing legacy architecture and infrastructure into account. Then the reality is that most enterprises are embarking on a hybrid cloud strategy and programs. In this Power Panel at 15th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), moderated by Ashar Baig, Research Director, Cloud, at Gigaom Research, Nate Gordon, Director of T...
Dec. 21, 2014 11:30 AM EST Reads: 2,427
SYS-CON Events announced today that IDenticard will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. IDenticard™ is the security division of Brady Corp (NYSE: BRC), a $1.5 billion manufacturer of identification products. We have small-company values with the strength and stability of a major corporation. IDenticard offers local sales, support and service to our customers across the United States and Canada. Our partner network encompasses some 300 of the world's leading systems integrators and security s...
Dec. 21, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 2,162
SYS-CON Events announced today that Windstream, a leading provider of advanced network and cloud communications, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Windstream (Nasdaq: WIN), a FORTUNE 500 and S&P 500 company, is a leading provider of advanced network communications, including cloud computing and managed services, to businesses nationwide. The company also offers broadband, phone and digital TV services to consumers primarily in rural areas.
Dec. 21, 2014 08:30 AM EST Reads: 2,295
ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...
Dec. 21, 2014 06:15 AM EST Reads: 2,135
The BPM world is going through some evolution or changes where traditional business process management solutions really have nowhere to go in terms of development of the road map. In this demo at 15th Cloud Expo, Kyle Hansen, Director of Professional Services at AgilePoint, shows AgilePoint’s unique approach to dealing with this market circumstance by developing a rapid application composition or development framework.
Dec. 20, 2014 11:00 PM EST Reads: 1,390
“In the past year we've seen a lot of stabilization of WebRTC. You can now use it in production with a far greater degree of certainty. A lot of the real developments in the past year have been in things like the data channel, which will enable a whole new type of application," explained Peter Dunkley, Technical Director at Acision, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 20, 2014 08:00 AM EST Reads: 1,398
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:45 PM EST Reads: 1,260
"People are a lot more knowledgeable about APIs now. There are two types of people who work with APIs - IT people who want to use APIs for something internal and the product managers who want to do something outside APIs for people to connect to them," explained Roberto Medrano, Executive Vice President at SOA Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 18, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,387
Nigeria has the largest economy in Africa, at more than US$500 billion, and ranks 23rd in the world. A recent re-evaluation of Nigeria's true economic size doubled the previous estimate, and brought it well ahead of South Africa, which is a member (unlike Nigeria) of the G20 club for political as well as economic reasons. Nigeria's economy can be said to be quite diverse from one point of view, but heavily dependent on oil and gas at the same time. Oil and natural gas account for about 15% of Nigera's overall economy, but traditionally represent more than 90% of the country's exports and as...
Dec. 18, 2014 06:00 AM EST Reads: 940
The Internet of Things is a misnomer. That implies that everything is on the Internet, and that simply should not be - especially for things that are blurring the line between medical devices that stimulate like a pacemaker and quantified self-sensors like a pedometer or pulse tracker. The mesh of things that we manage must be segmented into zones of trust for sensing data, transmitting data, receiving command and control administrative changes, and peer-to-peer mesh messaging. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Bagnulo, Solution Architect / Software Engineer at SOA Software, focused on desi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:15 PM EST Reads: 1,431
"At our booth we are showing how to provide trust in the Internet of Things. Trust is where everything starts to become secure and trustworthy. Now with the scaling of the Internet of Things it becomes an interesting question – I've heard numbers from 200 billion devices next year up to a trillion in the next 10 to 15 years," explained Johannes Lintzen, Vice President of Sales at Utimaco, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 11:00 PM EST Reads: 1,471
"For over 25 years we have been working with a lot of enterprise customers and we have seen how companies create applications. And now that we have moved to cloud computing, mobile, social and the Internet of Things, we see that the market needs a new way of creating applications," stated Jesse Shiah, CEO, President and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Dec. 17, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,459
SYS-CON Events announced today that Gridstore™, the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built to optimize Microsoft workloads, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. Gridstore™ is the leader in hyper-converged infrastructure purpose-built for Microsoft workloads and designed to accelerate applications in virtualized environments. Gridstore’s hyper-converged infrastructure is the industry’s first all flash version of HyperConverged Appliances that include both compute and storag...
Dec. 17, 2014 06:30 PM EST Reads: 1,407
Today’s enterprise is being driven by disruptive competitive and human capital requirements to provide enterprise application access through not only desktops, but also mobile devices. To retrofit existing programs across all these devices using traditional programming methods is very costly and time consuming – often prohibitively so. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jesse Shiah, CEO, President, and Co-Founder of AgilePoint Inc., discussed how you can create applications that run on all mobile devices as well as laptops and desktops using a visual drag-and-drop application – and eForms-buildi...
Dec. 17, 2014 11:45 AM EST Reads: 1,571
We certainly live in interesting technological times. And no more interesting than the current competing IoT standards for connectivity. Various standards bodies, approaches, and ecosystems are vying for mindshare and positioning for a competitive edge. It is clear that when the dust settles, we will have new protocols, evolved protocols, that will change the way we interact with devices and infrastructure. We will also have evolved web protocols, like HTTP/2, that will be changing the very core of our infrastructures. At the same time, we have old approaches made new again like micro-services...
Dec. 16, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,419
Code Halos - aka "digital fingerprints" - are the key organizing principle to understand a) how dumb things become smart and b) how to monetize this dynamic. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Robert Brown, AVP, Center for the Future of Work at Cognizant Technology Solutions, outlined research, analysis and recommendations from his recently published book on this phenomena on the way leading edge organizations like GE and Disney are unlocking the Internet of Things opportunity and what steps your organization should be taking to position itself for the next platform of digital competition.
Dec. 15, 2014 11:45 PM EST Reads: 1,756
The 3rd International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that its Call for Papers is now open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
Dec. 15, 2014 10:30 AM EST Reads: 6,929
As the Internet of Things unfolds, mobile and wearable devices are blurring the line between physical and digital, integrating ever more closely with our interests, our routines, our daily lives. Contextual computing and smart, sensor-equipped spaces bring the potential to walk through a world that recognizes us and responds accordingly. We become continuous transmitters and receivers of data. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Andrew Bolwell, Director of Innovation for HP's Printing and Personal Systems Group, discussed how key attributes of mobile technology – touch input, sensors, social, and ...
Dec. 15, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 1,994