Thursday, November 5, 2009

Real7: Globalizing Real Estate Information

Of late, I've been doing quite a bit of research and work on enterprise type applications specifically speaking, Enterprise Application Integration (EAI). An EAI system allows applications to "talk" to one another via a messaging model even though the two applications are completely different. An example would be a cobol legacy app needing to exchange financial information with a java web application.

My EAI research led me to two real world models: SWIFT and HL7. From the SWIFT about page:

SWIFT is the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, a member-owned cooperative through which the financial world conducts its business operations with speed, certainty and confidence. Over 8,300 banking organisations, securities institutions and corporate customers in more than 208 countries trust us every day to exchange millions of standardised financial messages.

From the HL7 about page:

Founded in 1987, Health Level Seven (HL7) is a not-for-profit, ANSI-accredited standards developing organization dedicated to providing a comprehensive framework and related standards for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information that supports clinical practice and the management, delivery and evaluation of health services. HL7's 2,300+ members include approximately 500 corporate members who represent more than 90% of the information systems vendors serving healthcare.

As I read more about these two models I wondered if a secure messaging model could be used within the real estate industry. The first use case I came up with was a global referral network for professionals needing to find other professionals for real estate referrals. Currently, there isn't a global network which allows this particular model (and facebook doesn't count). Obviously, Metcalfe's Law factors in:

the value of a telecommunications network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users of the system (n2).

So for Real7 to be of value to its users, a number of users would need to have access and use the model, but this is always the rub for any online service. But I believe this type of service would not only solve the referral challenge, but also create a greater efficiency regarding time savings in searching for other real estate professionals to refer a buyer or seller client. I'm certain more use cases will be applied to a messaging model as others join in on the discussion, but for now I'm just concentrating on one use case to begin.

I created a google group called Real7 to begin discussions on security, grid computing, and other related technologies needed for a global real estate messaging infrastructure. If this topic is of any interest, please join the google group for posting and receiving discussions on real7.