A Vancouver-based wireless technology firm will be providing a new home for a real estate application developed by Ericsson Canada.
this week said it had purchased Wireless Realty, a software program that draws multiple listing system (MLS) data into Research In Motion’s BlackBerry device. Executive Wireless has been offering a similar application called Executive Real Estate since 2002 for other handhelds devices. MLS systems allow dues-paying realtors to input data and then make it available to participating real estate agents in the area.Wireless Realty will bring Executive Wireless more than 400 additional customers, according to Michael Grabham, the firm’s president and CEO.
Ericsson Canada has had a research and development operation in Montreal for years, but Wireless Realty was created at the Toronto office, said Tom Beaman, director of mobile and enterprise applications at Ericsson Canada. The software was initially created for Rogers AT&T Wireless, an Ericsson customer.
“”The interest was from some of the bigger real estate boards like Toronto and Hamilton,”” he said. “”What we do a lot of times is work on these applications and hand them off, because Ericsson isn’t in the business to run and operate these sort of niche applications.””
Jacqueline Wilkie, Executive Wireless’ Canadian chief operating officer, said the purchase would allow the firm to avoid being tied to a single handheld device and offer a more national presence, particularly in Eastern Canada.
“”If we don’t get access to the MLS databases, we don’t have a business,”” she said. “”Rogers, with Ericsson, had already developed the Ontario market . . . this was a great way for us to piggyback our services and get access so we have a full line to offer the realtors.””
As part of the purchase, Executive Real Estate will be renamed Wireless Realty to avoid any brand confusion, Wilkie said. Ben Chen, who originally developed the Ericsson product, will help convert and enhance the system, she added. Over time, the company is hoping to add new functionality that realtors have been asking for.
“”It’s the push and pull technology,”” she said. “”If you wanted to find out if it’s a two-bedroom at Yonge and Eglinton (in Toronto), you can put the information in and when it becomes listed, you get e-mailed immediately.””
Beaman described Executive Wireless as a natural fit, particularly given some former Rogers AT&T employees now work there.
“”They work day to day with the real estate boards; that’s their focus,”” he said. “”They wanted to develop a roadmap for the application and include some of their own technology, so it made a lot of sense.””
Grabham said the company is considering adapting its applications to other vertical markets. Possibilities include logistics and health care, he said.