As the number of computer devices and choices in Web browsers continues to grow, HAR has received requests from members that would like to use Tempo on a Mac, iPad or browser other than Internet Explorer. In this regard, HAR members are in a similar situation to more than 600,000 agents across the country using various MLS systems that require Internet Explorer to function fully. It seems reasonable to believe that in today’s technology driven world, real estate professionals would have access to MLS software that functions seamlessly across multiple Web browsers, tablets and mobile devices. So why are so many agents across the country still using MLS systems that require Internet Explorer while consumers enjoy slick looking real estate search sites that work on any browser?
The answer is not simple and the solution requires more than changing a few lines of computer code inside Tempo. In fairness to the MLS software vendors, it is important to understand the difference between a consumer website that simply searches for property listings and a mission critical business application like the MLS that requires a wider range of system integration and functionality. An MLS application goes beyond simply searching for listings; it facilitates the adding and modifying of listing content, the delivery of listing records to clients, the creation of CMA reports, the ability to run customized Hotsheets and many other features that are not found on consumer websites.
When Internet based MLS systems like Tempo were originally developed, there was no iPad. Internet Explorer enjoyed more than 95% of the Web browser market and Internet Explorer was supported on Mac computers. Life was simple and agents were just happy to be able to access the MLS system from any PC or Mac connected to the Internet, without installing MLS software. Tempo and other MLS systems were designed to take advantage of elements unique to Internet Explorer in order to achieve maximum functionality which made sense at the time considering the business requirements of the Tempo application and the fact that Internet Explorer dominated the Internet browser market on both PCs and Macs.
Since that time, Web technology has advanced and the number of viable browsers and computing devices has exploded. Consumer websites are being developed from the beginning to take advantage of new web technologies while major MLS software vendors supplying MLS systems to agents across the country face the difficulty of transitioning their existing technology infrastructure and customers from older, browser-specific systems to more modern systems that work across multiple platforms. This is no easy task, especially when we consider how critical these MLS systems are to the businesses and livelihood of hundreds of thousands of real estate professionals and the headaches associated with learning to use a new system.
Unfortunately, MLS systems like Tempo are not easily reconfigured to fully function with browsers other than Internet Explorer so HAR’s vendor, Marketlinx, has been developing a new MLS system, Fusion MLS, that takes advantage of newer technology and works with multiple browsers on both Macs and PCs. The system is highly configurable down to the agent level and allows users to customize and set their search defaults and search results grid. HAR is scheduled to make the new Fusion MLS system available to members in December 2011. Tempo MLS will continue to function as the primary MLS system for the foreseeable future handling all new and modified listings while the Fusion MLS system runs alongside Tempo serving members that wish to take advantage of the new technology offering.