Announcing Spark™ Platform

Apr 30, 2012 Michael Wurzer

I’m very excited to announce the Spark Platform, which is a new way to create, buy, sell, and use real estate software:

  • At the center of the Platform is an app store for real estate software, providing revenue opportunities for MLSs and brokers who host the store.
  • Equally important is the Spark API, which uses standardized data and modern APIs to create new opportunities for software developers to innovate while complying with MLS rules.
  • The Spark Bar makes the software and store available to brokers and agents directly in the MLS system or broker intranet, providing more choice and innovation for their business and customers.

Together, the Spark Platform brings together MLSs, brokers, agents and software developers to create an ecosystem for innovation in real estate software.  Over the last few months, as we’ve introduced the Platform to MLSs, brokers and software developers across the country, we’ve been incredibly excited by the response we’ve received, with MLSs representing over 200,000 brokers and agents signing letters of intent to be charter members.  We’re in an alpha testing period now and looking to connect with even more developers, brokers and MLSs interested in joining the Platform.

How Does the Spark Platform™ Work?

FBS has been advocating for data standards and increased innovation, competition and choice among software developers for brokers and agents for many years, and, with Spark Platform, we’re happy to say that the days of one size fits all are gone and that more choice and opportunity are here for everyone.

Spark API. With the Spark Platform, we’ll be providing an API supporting the new RESO data dictionary for 120 MLS organizations representing over 200,000 brokers, agents and other MLS members when we fully launch (currently planned for this September). The Spark API will enable software developers to standardize development, licensing and deployment of applications using data from the Spark Platform MLS charter members. The API is role-based and so helps developers comply with MLS rules and requirements for data use and licensing.

Screen Shot 2012 03 12 at 1.54.20 PM

Spark Store.  In addition to the API, the Platform includes the Spark Store, which will be integrated within each MLS system to streamline the sale and licensing of software applications to MLS members. Purchasing is just a few clicks and users can learn about the best apps through ratings and comments from other users.  Similar to other app stores, developers will pay the store a 30% transaction fee, which will then be shared with the MLS, broker or other store host, creating incentives for all Platform partners.

Spark Bar.  The store will be delivered into the MLS system or broker intranet via the Spark Bar, which is a small widget that looks like this:

Screen Shot 2012 02 28 at 5.54.10 PM

The Spark Bar provides members with easy access to the applications they license through a live tile app launcher integrated into the bar.  In addition to providing easy access to the applications, the app tiles keep agents informed of updates and activities from the applications they purchased (e.g., new leads from an IDX app). Also, the Spark Bar includes a notifications panel that will show a live stream of important events from their applications.

Screen Shot 2012 03 12 at 1.57.06 PM1

With the Spark API, Store and Bar, the Platform provides a new way to create, purchase and use real estate software, while simultaneously benefiting everyone involved.

Get Involved

As mentioned at the beginning of the post, we’re in an alpha phase right now and are very excited by the interest expressed by so many MLSs to work with us on this project. We’re also working with a variety of developers to add products to the store, and we’re looking for more development partners now. If you’re interested in working with us or learning more, please inquire here and follow us here on the FBS Blog as we’ll soon be announcing some developer incentive programs.


Tomorrow, I’ll post about how the Spark Platform creates long-term value for MLSs, brokers, and agents, especially with innovation in areas like mobile and consumer engagement.