Wednesday, September 7th, 2016
Reaching consumers and even performing real time day to day tasks via mobile devices is becoming increasingly important in estate agency. But there are multiple operating systems and devices to design for, including Android, iOS, Windows Phone, or even next-generation non-mobile devices such as Smart TVs. With the number of data channels increasing, information flows can be slow and development and maintenance costs rocket. APIs address this by securing data in a uniform way so developers can layer application builds on top to provide specifics for each audience.
The estate agency of the future may well partner with organisations that offer valuable complementary services to help meet individual customers’ needs. But to do so they will have to integrate their software systems with other businesses and provide exact integration points for customers, suppliers, distributors and integrators. One of the most important uses of APIs is to create or enhance existing platforms. And, it is why our sales and lettings software has an open architecture to support APIs and has the ability to customise workflows between applications.
A third common use of APIs is as an accelerator for content distribution and enabling transactions from a wide variety of sources. For agencies focused on differentiating themselves through market expertise and knowledge this is interesting. Providing API access for partners, social media sites and even news readers and aggregators, will give you a much wider audience to target with marketing. Then, if part of your service includes online payments, APIs enable transactions across a much wider set of interfaces than a standard website would.
APIs will be crucial to the future of estate agency. It is a vertical market potentially full of rich revenue streams of interconnecting sectors including conveyancing, mortgage referrals, removals, property management, lettings, auctions and more. And in those sectors are a huge range of different suppliers; from cleaning services, printing companies, conveyancing, photographers, to videographers. Because APIs can act as the glue between your own systems and those of your suppliers, future agents will have the opportunity to deliver a one stop shop of home related needs.
Many estate agencies have a growth through acquisition plan, and the largest companies continuously need to innovate to stay at the top of their game. This often means creating new internal and customer-facing systems that benefit from the agility of APIs. They are crucial for providing packaged, accessible interfaces to systems across an organisation and reducing the friction in creating new, cross-organisational systems. Remember, Amazon famously enforced all software to interact only via APIs – a move credited as integral to its ability to enter disparate new businesses.
So now you know… if you’re interested in learning more or talking to one of the team to see how our technology can help meet your business needs, click here or give us a call on 0845 465 2222