Staten Island MLS enlists Alexa, Google to feed data to Realtors
Listings portal debuted a voice-enabled search app with Google, Amazon six months ago
The Staten Island MLS has found its voice.
The MLS’ voice-enabled application, launched late last year, allows Realtors and the public to query Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant about Staten Island listings. In its latest update, debuting this month, Realtors will now be able to get data reports about properties just by asking.
“Hey, Siri. Find information about 76 Romer Road!” (That’s an 18,000-square-foot Todt Hill mansion that went for $4.5 million — reportedly the most ever paid for a Staten Island home.)
The reports will be emailed to Realtors when they ask their voice assistant about a property. The information is provided by the multiple listing service’s public data vendor, GeoData Plus. Access to the emailed reports through the app requires a unique PIN.
The app was developed by Voiceter Pro, an Albany-based technology company that specializes in creating voice-enabled real estate apps.
Sandy Krueger, CEO of Staten Island MLS, said Voiceter approached him a year ago with the proposal. So far the app has not driven much traffic to the MLS, but Krueger sees it as a long-term investment.
“Searching for listings is a little bit more complex than just saying, ‘Alexa, play me a song’ or whatever…[but] it’s there, it’s usable,” he said. “We’re still in the infancy of this thing.”
Voiceter has developed apps for multiple listing services around the country that are compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant or Samsung’s Bixby systems.
The firm’s CEO, Miguel Berger, was a real estate broker for 35 years and owned a Better Homes and Gardens franchise in Albany. He sold his business to Howard Hanna Real Estate Services in January to focus on developing voice apps.
Berger said Voiceter is a four-person team of which two are software engineers. The company initially created consumer-facing apps but when that didn’t gain traction it pivoted to MLS customers.
He said Voiceter can develop a voice app for an MLS within six weeks and charges clients $2,000 to $10,000 a month in subscription fees.
Krueger declined to say how much Staten Island MLS is paying the tech firm.
Berger said his next voice app will be for a California-based MLS. He has no plans to crack the market of New York City’s other four boroughs, which do not have an MLS of their own.
“New York is a little different, to say the least,” he said. “Eventually we might go there. But it’s just so different down there.”
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