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BoxMLS Announces New Open Source Initiative

May 17 2019

Box MLSBoxMLS, a real estate technology company providing search and collaboration tools, on Tuesday officially announced OpenBoxMLS, an open source software initiative to modernize the software available to MLSs, brokerages and technology companies in real estate.

"If we look at other industries, the future of software is open source," said CEO Kevin Hughes. "Open source allows for collaboration and cooperation even among competitors for mutual benefit, and that's how the real estate industry works as well. We are excited to take this step forward for an industry we are so passionate about."

To support the initiative, BoxMLS will be publishing its back-end poller source code on Github and inviting developers from across the industry and outside of real estate to participate in the community. The repository and community can be found at https://boxmls.github.io/

"There is quite a lot of confusion and misconception within the MLS industry about what open source is and is not," said Hughes. He explained that under the OpenBoxMLS initiative, current industry business structure will remain intact. MLSs, brokers, and third-party service providers will continue to own their respective proprietary data: licensing oversight, compliance, MLS rules, policies, and governance are not affected.

The open source initiative will allow the industry to "supercharge" RESO data standards, provide faster deliverable times and better tech support, enable systematic integrations, and lower overhead costs, licensing fees, and reduce the barrier of entry for innovative new companies. "We saw no downside for the industry, and only upside, if we can come together and collaborate as other industries do," said Hughes. "Frankly, Realtors and their clients, and all those who serve them, deserve modern solutions for modern times. We think open source is a big part of that evolution."

"Open source allows an MLS to own its database, with its own data, so it can do whatever it wants, whenever it wants. It supports an efficient and cost-saving modular architecture where the back-end technology is separated from the front-end and business logic. When it is paired with open APIs and well-documented software developer kits, open source becomes a non-proprietary solution," explained BoxMLS CTO Brad Davis.

"We envision a day in the not-so-distant future when technology providers will spend more time on unique value-add features, rather than on the same old back-end piping," said Hughes. "That allows MLS and brokerage customers to more easily and cost-effectively get custom solutions tailored for their local markets, and the total freedom to innovate, whether with us or one of our competitors. We'd much rather compete on value-add and on customer service; that kind of competition is healthy for all of us. That's why we're embracing open source, and we look forward to collaborating with other first adopters who want to be free from gridlock and spend their time working on things that add real value."

While BoxMLS will continue to promote its front end search, client collaboration tool and listing input layers in MLS markets, the company will strongly support the open source initiative to give the marketplace new options to own and operate its technology. BoxMLS invites developers and companies throughout the industry and outside of real estate to join the open source software movement to modernize real estate technology.

To learn more about BoxMLS's open source initiative, visit boxmls.com/openboxmls.com/open.