A Year in Review: The Journey into Mobile…and much more!
2013 was a great year for The Enterprise Network! We welcomed six new members that will certainly make a significant impact using our platform in the coming years. Our vision of an exclusive network comprised of the leading independent brokerages in every market is quickly becoming a reality. We are now over 30 members strong. We choose these members very carefully as we offer exclusivity and can only accept one member per market. Forward thinking, fast adopting, effective collaborating are but a few traits that make up the ideal member for us.
While we cannot name all our new members yet, we are ecstatic at the caliber of brokerages securing their membership in our fast growing, fast evolving and exclusive network.
Once the decision has been made and a brokerage joins our network, our talented team of boojers has the immense task of bringing their site to life on our platform. In 2013 NP Dodge Real Estate, Kahala Associates, Amelia Bullock Realtors, Clark Realty Corporation and Jack White Real Estate all launched their new sites on The Enterprise Network platform! These sites showed off our team’s technical wizardry and helped each brokerage better position themselves in their local market.
As we prepare for each year, we get out our crystal ball and attempt to predict what will impact the real estate industry the most in years to come. We merge that with the technology that will be available and plan our roadmap for creating the ultimate solutions.
We have predicted that March 2015 will be the tipping point when mobile traffic surpasses desktop traffic to our network sites. With that prediction in place, 2013 became “The Journey into Mobile” and focused on helping our members prepare for this evolution. This was not a small undertaking. As users become more mobile and accustomed to differing devices, the product and service offerings of our clients has to change significantly in order to carry on delivering best-in-class service. As such, our platform, production methods, even our hardware infrastructure had to be re-thought from the ground up.
I would need to write a book if I was to include each aspect of resultant change, but I will spare you that madness and leave you with a handful of the most impactful changes made.
Shifting to Responsive Design
Our biggest accomplishment of 2013 may just be our shift to offering end users a consistent experience no matter the device they are using. We’ve offered a mobile view for our websites for several years, but to prepare for the mobile tipping point we decided to go with a “Mobile First” approach.
Jack White Real Estate was our last website release of the year and was the first real estate site in the industry to go fully responsive down to smartphone screen resolutions. We encompassed all we had learned about responsive design and every aspect of this site looks and works great no matter what device you are using. This is a testament to the new booj production process which requires significantly more work in the planning, design and implementation phases, but results in a consistent experience that is manageable to maintain.
A Solid Mapping Foundation
Whereas each member can choose when to convert their site to responsive, our mapping technology had to be upgraded for all members at the same time. This involved upgrading the core of our search to handle geo-spatial searches at lightning speed and creating a foundation for a modular map that is responsive and easy to use on any device.
We successfully achieved our goal of launching 25 map applications at the same time and are very excited for enhancements to come in 2014.
Continued Updates to our Mobile Apps
While we made major steps in offering the best web solutions on mobile devices, we still cannot ignore the benefits of mobile apps. In 2012, we were the first to release augmented reality for real estate apps. In 2013, we were the first to “copy” Facebook's user friendly layout (before Zillow, Trulia, etc.) and released new updates to our Android, iPhone and iPad apps. Furthermore, over half of The Enterprise Network members have their own branded apps and we had almost 50,000 app downloads!
2014 will bring new technologies, such as iBeacon, Google Glass and much more for our mobile department to play with. When you ask the team about it, you will typically hear “we can’t wait to be the first to release…”. We look forward to all the developments that come from our mobile team as a result.
The Journey into Mobile Annual Conference
The 2013 Enterprise Network Annual Conference, #ENCON2013, was themed completely around mobile. It focused on providing solutions for the disruption of mobile from all business perspectives. One difference in this year’s conference was that the mobile theme was prevalent to attendees no matter where they looked. Attendees received mini iPads with a custom conference app pre-downloaded that helped them learn more about each other and further engage with the content presented (and yes… we were the first to release such an app – even before Google).
So what’s next for 2014?
We are excited to keep this momentum going as we move into the new year. We are working on improving processes and expanding our teams to better handle the workload during fast growth spurts. We have exciting plans from each of our production and services departments which will (hopefully) result in amazing releases throughout the year. We’ll also be launching our new training platform that will help brokerages better train their agents and admin support teams on our technology to produce greater adoption than ever.
The amount of data available to us in today’s world is tremendous and will no doubt change the way people search for real estate in the future. With that said, 2014’s theme is going to be “Big Data – The Power of T.E.N.”. So stay tuned as we dive deeper to create better relationships and help brokerages expand their competitive edge.
We hope you all had a great 2013 and we wish you an amazing 2014!