Amazon Web Services (AWS) is perhaps the most significant example of the “cloud” phenomenon. If you are not familiar with Amazon’s effort, they have leveraged their massive investment in IT to offer online storage, database and content management services. In short, rather than buying a ton of your own servers and paying rent in a facility for housing them, you can simply run your site or application on Amazon’s infrastructure. It’s cheaper and more flexible than the old way and is already powering many innovations in the online real estate space.
Which made the company’s move to accumulate public data in the cloud very interesting. The service, called Amazon Hosted Public Data Sets will give users access to data including, among other things, U.S. Census Data and labor statistics. More datasets will follow. The connection to real estate is clear.
The significance here? While online real estate companies, brokers and MLSs face serious challenges right now, the barriers to online innovation keep getting lower. This is a case in point: Not only can you end IT as you have known it, you can get your hands on information that was previously beyond your grasp.
Times are rough. But for those that can carve a path forward, there’s plenty of opportunity.
— Brian Boero