Contact Sync

by Victor Lund on May 9, 2013

SyncOver the past few years, we have seen a shift in professional technology solutions for real estate that has been mostly characterized by “the move to mobile.” Generally speaking, applications that do not work on mobile devices, either using a mobile browser or using a mobile app, are being cast aside. But there are secondary realities about the shift that many software companies seem to have neglected, namely, contact record sync.

Everyone who has a mobile device understands that contact records that are created on any device need to be synchronized across all devices. Having some contacts in one location and not another is paralyzing to any professional who needs to communicate with anyone, anytime. Given the rapid changes in contact records, it is too difficult to manually keep records synchronized, so it is fully automated today.

In the old Palm Pilot days, contact record sync was a challenging and broken experience. Now it happens easily by leveraging the cloud. Understanding this, one would imagine that companies offering software as a service would tap into contact record sync in every application that requires or manages contact records. Looking to real estate, there are plenty.

Here is a list of solutions that should have contact record sync that are largely missing that basic functionality. Agent Ratings, Back Office, CMA, CRM, contracts/forms, digital signature, floor scheduling, IDX, listing presentation, mobile applications, Transaction management, etc. All of these applications are about sharing information between people, and sadly you must open up your contact data base and cut and paste contact information over and over and over, as a real estate agent.

Not having contact management sync with Exchange, Gmail and other standards is a huge gap in today’s brokerage and MLS systems. It is astonishing that we have not solved this problem in our industry.

While you are at it, sync the calendar too.

It is astonishing that so many technology developers in our industry have been so short sighted for so long. If you are in a position to influence change in our industry – add contact and calendar sync to your basic requirements. Be sure to protect the privacy of those contact records while you are at it.

 

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Robert Drummer May 9, 2013 at 10:52 am

Forget sync, why duplicate the data?

We need APIs that allow devs/users to connect, authenticate and use the chosen contact app. Google’s is here: https://developers.google.com/google-apps/contacts/v3/ Straight forward and well documented.

Leave the data in the contact application where it belongs and access/edit it in the appropriate application(s).

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Victor Lund May 9, 2013 at 10:56 am

I am a big fan of APIs, but also have a realistic expectation that most software applications are architected to leverage data accessed locally, or remotely, but not both. In the real world today – both is the requirement for the widest audience adoption. In parlance – I like the way you think about the future, but sync is the solution for today.

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Rajeev Sajja May 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Victor,

Sync exists of brokers use gmail for their email infrastructure. Many CRM providers (agent achieve etc) provide contacts and calendar sync via google sync so your mobile, browser email clients and CRM are all in sync. What may be lacking is the limited number of brokerages that are using gmail for corporate email. I agree API’s are the way to go for some 3rd party Apps

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Victor Lund May 9, 2013 at 5:39 pm

Agent achieve and rdesk are the only ones that have CRMs that sync

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Randy Schweitzer May 10, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Interesting article, but thought there would be conclusion or call to action. I only want to synch Gmail with Office 2010 on Win8 platform. Wish this article might have addressed that. Tks.

Reply

Victor Lund May 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Randy – outlook comes with Office 2010 and that program syncs with gmail. Here is a video that explains it. http://youtu.be/_0or-rWZVfQ

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Rajeev Sajja May 13, 2013 at 10:51 am

Add Infusionsoft and one other that skips my mind that integrate with Gmail

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