Is MLS destined for the cloud?
“Just as ‘we’ used to duplicate and under-utilize computational resources, so we do something very similar with our data. We expensively enter and re-enter the same facts, over and over again. We over-engineer data capture forms and schemas, making collection exorbitantly expensive, whilst often appearing to do all we can to limit opportunities for re-use. Under the all-too-easy banners of ‘security’ and ‘privacy’ we secure individual data stores and fail to exploit connections with other sources, whether inside or outside the enterprise.”
Sound familiar? Mr. Miller continues:
“In a small way, the efforts of the Linked Data Project‘s enthusiasts have demonstrated how different things should be. The cloud of contributing data sets grows from month to month, and the number of double-headed arrows denoting a two-way linkage is on the rise. Even the one-way relationships that currently dominate the diagram are a marked improvement on ‘business as usual’ elsewhere on the data web; even in these cases, data from a third party is being re-used (by means of a link across the web) rather than replicated or re-invented. Costs fall. Opportunities open up. Both resources, potentially, improve. The strands of the web grow stronger.”
It is here, in the use and reuse of data, that the potential of the cloud will be realized.
Two applications to MLS: (1) we should be creating a linking mechanism with universal property IDs (URIs); and (2) MLS is one potential home for identity management for real estate professionals. The last likely is controversial but has strong potential benefits for single sign-on and other authentication and identification needs on the web if open standards are followed.
How much value could be created by the Real Estate Standards Organization if it were able to implement and gain adoption on universal property IDs? Forget, for a moment, defining broad and deep data standards, and, instead, focus on one thing — establishing a method to link together all information relating to real property. This one change would bring about the benefits extolled by Mr. Miller, which bear repeating:
“Costs fall. Opportunities open up. Both resources, potentially, improve. The strands of the web grow stronger. . . . It is here, in the use and reuse of data, that the potential of the cloud will be realized.