What's New With Matrix
Update: After the July 2020 edition of RealtyLine Austin went to print, the launch for the ACTRIS MLS improvements detailed below was extended to Monday, August 31. For real-time updates, please visit ABoR.com/MatrixUpdate.
Last year, the ACTRIS MLS hosted a series of Matrix Update focus groups to get feedback from you on how we could improve your MLS user experience. After taking a closer look at system processes – such as inputs, searches, and displays – in Matrix, our technical team determined that the ACTRIS MLS did indeed require a makeover – a Matrix makeover, if you will.
Furthermore, our MLS team realized that the key to creating an optimal user experience for subscribers meant that we needed to do a deep dive into the data and align the back end of the ACTRIS MLS with that of the industry's advancing Data Dictionary standard. In short, our data is on route to becoming more malleable than ever, and therefore capable of adapting to future technological developments.
After all, to be the best in class service provider, the ACTRIS MLS must have the most complete and accurate data out there. To ensure that our data is pristine, however, it must also be easy for other systems to interpret. Below is a sneak peek of some of the changes you will see on Monday, August 31.
What does it all mean?
While we'd love to jump to the part where we provide an answer for that question, first, we must answer the, "How did we get here?" About 20 years ago, the real estate industry moved from books to listing property online and, in doing so, adopted RETS (Real Estate Transaction Standard) as a framework for transmitting data between MLSs and brokerages; a large endeavor that ultimately permitted our industry to provide more reliable property information to other real estate professionals and consumers. Of course, technology has made leaps and bounds since 1999, taking all of us along for the ride.
Flash forward to the present, and we see a shift toward open standardization and APIs – an Application Programming Interface – which essentially fortifies the protective systems in place and allows for a more secure transfer of data. By updating the ACTRIS MLS to the RESO Data Dictionary standard and adopting a Web-API, our MLS joins a growing number of MLSs that are standardizing their data so that our systems can communicate more effectively and help pave the way for more MLSs to share and obtain data.
Why open standardization?
For starters, the advantage of open standardization is that the data-mapping process is reduced by 80 percent and increases the value of ubiquitous MLS data that can be transferred between marketplaces. The benefit that open standardization doesn't stop there, though. Standardizing our data means:
- More successful agent transactions;
- A stronger MLS marketplace; and
- The ability to innovate alongside technology.
The height of achieving open standardization, by way of adopting the Data Dictionary, includes participating in a broader community of software developers, which will result in the advancement of data-driven tools that strengthen the real estate industry as a whole.
Like the Rosetta stone, open standards bring disparate parts together to form a common language that all MLSs can use to communicate data. The benefit of having this shared language is that the data and processes in place will become more intuitive over time, and ultimately allows more MLSs to work together to provide solutions for their MLS users.
What you can expect
Now, the best part is that re-mapping our data to the Data Dictionary standard does not impact the MLS's interface, which means that your current method of interacting with Matrix remains largely unchanged. Users will log in and list properties and pull reports as they always have.
Nevertheless, our commitment to updating our system, in response to the feedback received from our subscribers, involves cleaning up the data that users would normally see. In other words, to provide you with improved input options, simpler searches, and user-friendly displays requires us all to adapt to minute changes. For instance, in an attempt to refine and simplify the input process, a field (or input selection) might be in a new area.
While we understand that any changes to Matrix can be daunting, rest assured that these changes will be minimal and, at the end of the day, will make your job a lot easier. To get an idea of what to expect come Monday, August 31, take a peek at what we have in store for you below.
Enhanced Input Options
The flow of MLS data starts from listing input, so we knew this was the time to not only clean up the data on the back end but also enhance the user experience on the front end by making your Add/Edit experience easier. For example:
- Subscribers will now have a "Save as Incomplete" button, so you never have to worry about submitting your listing prematurely, again.
- Tired of hitting your 500-character limit? No sweat! Now, you'll be able to enter up to 2,000 characters in the Agent Remarks field.
- Need an additional field for "Showing Instructions?" You've got it!
- And, say goodbye to never-ending scroll boxes and hello to complete lists of input options. That means one less click for you!
Although search options will not change too much, there will still be some minor changes. The most noticeable of which will include an update to a few of our MLS statuses. For example:
- Active Contingent (AC) and Pending Taking Backups (PB) will now be merged into one status: Active Under Contract (AU).
- Subscribers will also notice that Sold (S) and Leased (L) will go away and Closed (C) will take its place, respectively.
- Similarly, Temporarily Off Market (T) will become Hold (H).
In the long run, we hope these updated statuses will make it easier for the ACTRIS MLS to stay consistent with the defined industry standard. Additionally, subscribers will have the ability to select from all cities and counties throughout the state of Texas; not just the 18 counties our MLS covers.
The display of the data you know will also have some slight stylistic changes but, overall, the experience should remain the same. Subscribers can anticipate the following changes:
- The Agent 1 Page (or default property view) will soon become "Agent Brief." This includes all the data needed for a one-page printout.
- And, finally, the Agent 2 Page will be renamed "Agent Full."
Thanks to MLS user feedback we collected last year, we are changing the way Matrix works so that it works for all MLS subscribers. While these updates might seem like a lot on the surface, rest assured that most changes are on the back end of Matrix and will only require a slight learning curve. To help with that transition, we will provide training materials, live webinars, and exciting previews as we near the August 31 launch date.
For more about the upcoming Matrix Update, stay tuned to ABoR.com/MatrixUpdate.