Fairfax Launches AirLink

Last month Fairfax launched some nifty technology that allows users to scan images in the Sydney Morning Herald and then view further images or videos in relation to the article. This means for a property advertised in the SMH readers could scan the property image and then perform a virtual open inspection through their mobile. I’m not yet aware that this is the case but I’m sure it’s something they will release shortly.

You see Peter Fray’s introduction video below.

Check out the insights from Greg Vincent and his new Electric Avenue Show.

AirLink, Domain, Sydney Morning Herald

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About The Insider

Ryan has been involved in the real estate industry for a number of years. During this time he has operated web based real estate businesses along with provided consulting to the real estate software development industry.

Ryan operates Agentpoint.com.au and is actively involved with the design and development of real estate systems, software and web sites in the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

17 Responses to Fairfax Launches AirLink

  1. Greg Vincent June 19, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Thanks for including my video from today’s Electric Avenue show into this post Ryan. 🙂

    From some of the discussions I’ve had with agents & seen via Facebook in the past 24 hours, there seems to be some knee-jerk panic re: Print Media marketing after yesterday’s announcement from Fairfax to axe 1900 jobs and close down significant Melb & Syd operations.

    I really see that integrating the AirLink app and 3rd party advertisers in between the transfer from the offline channel to the online channel may help to reduce Print Media costs for agents, but it’s also an interesting hurdle to cross.

    The 2 big questions I’d posed in today’s show & I’d also be interested to hear from B2 readers is:-

    1. How would you feel about having a print media property advertisement that directs people across to one of your listings appearing on the major portals?

    2. Would you be OK about having a 3-5 second ad (say a Home Loan advertisement from a Bank) appear ahead of one of your listings served up onto a mobile device (via an app like SMH’s AirLink) if it meant that the cost of your Print Media ad was cheaper?

  2. Bill June 19, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    This is an interesting shift that is one small step away from using search. I see the next step seeing smart devices with built in scanners or augmented reality tools. There will be no need to download an app from domain or REA or wherever to find properties. Just scan or augment “any property image” and if it’s been listed for sale as a free listing on .realestate or maybe .property it will be fetched and displayed in your device. There has been several applicants each for .realestate and .property with one company spending several million dollars just on gaining a seat to bid at auction for generic domains. I can’t wait to see how these new paradigms pan out.

  3. Greg Vincent June 19, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    Bill, the tech in this space is really taking off.

    Yesterday, I did an episode about an Agent who has started to use an Augmented Reality App called Layar http://www.gregvincent.com.au/2012/06/18/are-qr-codes-now-history/. Similar to the AirLink concept but directs people to their info rather than to the major portals.

  4. Bill June 20, 2012 at 8:02 am #

    Greg I used to think AR would be ground breaker for real estate, just point your device at a property you see for sale and bingo a virtual tour on your device, but I’m now I’m of the opinion portal operators are falling into a big trap if they spend up big developing AR apps.

    I think there are a few technology factors in play that will see the apps they develop worthless. First the consumer or end user will be blasted with different apps to choose from. Some portals or publishers will develop their own branded apps, the Fairfax app is a good example. So then the market will be flooded with such apps and the end user will be confused.

    But I’ll also suggest there are smart device scientists working on a operating systems and software that will be smart enough to detect that the user want’s to us the AR capabilities and even smart enough to know the user wants to see a virtual tour of a house they may be stood in front of. If that can be achieved then the branded apps are not required.

    If the device is smart enough to know that the user want’s to see a tour of a property they are stood in front of, where will the device fetch the property information from? I’ll predict the user will be able to select their portal of choice in the device setup or use the devices software default portal which might be the ‘ .property’ portal or maybe ‘ .realestate’ portal which will list every property for sale in the world.

    A worldwide portal that allows agents to list for free only needs the mapping coordinates to be submitted with the property and configured as the devices default portal to allow this to happen.

    Such a portal would have the same advantage as IE has when someone buys a windows PC or Safari has on a IOS system

    A couple of years ago I developed a web based app called Near Me, access the Near Me URL in your phone and it will fetch all the properties near your location from the GetRealty database http://www.getrealty.com.au/geo/ The phone detects a users location and then searches for properties by location coordinates. By the way it is focussed on ACT property and I don’t think the app as been enhanced since the portal was sold.

    Pretty simple stuff but it would be a lot easier for the end user if they could just say to their device ‘realestate’ and what they want to see is displayed on the device. I reckon those days are close and by jings if I’m correct browser makers and portal operators will face some serious problems but agencies will have a birthday knowing the major portals no longer have them by the throat.

    • Greg Vincent June 20, 2012 at 9:51 am #

      Bill, I believe that Layar comes standard with the Galaxy 3 and they’ve had over 20 million downloads. It may become the standard, especially if it gets integrated into more devices.

      Big players like Fairfax & News will probably get away with having AR within their App and will probably include it in their Domain & REA apps, if they haven’t done so already to maintain control of the eyeballs from Print.

      Totally agree that consumers won’t want to have to select/download different AR apps to view/access content. It will be interesting to see what Apple and Google come up with?

      I read this great article the other day by Charlie Gunningham around the shift in apps v’s websites http://charliegunningham.com/2012/06/08/the-death-of-the-web-site/

      • Bill June 20, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

        Greg thanks for pointing to the article and the title of Charlie’s article “The death of the web site” is prophetic but maybe would have been more apt to entitle it “The death of the web site and portals”

  5. Nick June 20, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    Fun thought: There is nothing stopping this from being used for things other than slideshows of additional photos.

    Why not use them exactly the same way as QR codes?
    Instead of ugly black squares, just point your phone at a interesting real estate listing in the paper and up pops the Domain listing for it?

    • Greg Vincent June 20, 2012 at 9:34 am #

      That’s where I see it heading Nick. I see a lot of agents who are starting to jump onto the QR Code bandwagon right now yet they only link to a single webpage or video, whereas I scanned an agents business card on Monday via the Layar app and it served up links to a YouTube profile video, a call mobile link, a call office link, email, website, twitter and facebook options. All from the one business card.

      Many people have complained about how ugly QR Codes are and the print reproduction quality for picking up when scanning can make them very clunky for what is seen as new tech for agents in 2012.

  6. Manish June 20, 2012 at 9:31 am #

    Hi Greg

    Sound very interesting ?

    what could be next if i am in front of a house and they a sign for sale, take a picture and find them on line with full details of how much and inside pictures etc.

    Awesome tool in hands of the buyer, but scary in hands of thugs …

    • Greg Vincent June 20, 2012 at 9:37 am #

      Manish, download the Commonwealth Bank iPhone App and point it a house. It’s been around for a year or more now & uses AR + serves up info via RP Data.

  7. Jayne Harwood June 20, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    We use QR Codes on our Signboards for over two years now and this is the type of information you can get if you scan it.

    http://reim.mobi/property/449

    As you can see you have the option to view the video on an iPhone or Smart Phone you have a photo gallery, Internet copy, location map, agent contact details and the ability to share on social media.

    We haven’t used the QR Codes in print media because of the ugliness of them so I definitely agree that a concept like Layar may be the way to go.

    • Greg Vincent June 20, 2012 at 11:09 am #

      As with QR Codes (and you would know this extremely well Jane) the education process of consumers & uptake can take some time and yes they will still have a role to play (at least for a little while) but I think that now with mainstream media promoting the AR concept via AirLink in both the Sydney Morning Herald & The Age, the education process for this sort of technology is going to be a lot faster. Not sure if they’re using it in Tassie as yet though?

  8. PaulD June 21, 2012 at 1:46 pm #

    Probably a little early to be killing off QR codes. So many people say they are ugly black squares – check it out — http://www.qrlicious.com/?ap_id=qrstuff Also, a QR code can take you to wherever someone wants to take you, not just a single web page. It can take you to a webpage with a whole lot of interactive links from which you can choose what you want to look at. They are in use far more in Asia than they are here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxoh4AKGE5M

  9. Jayne Harwood June 21, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    Yes Greg I agree. Educating the consumers is the key! When we launched QR Codes on our signboards, we produced a television commercial, promoted it in the print media as well as on our website and two years later I still have people saying “What is the bar code for?” We have one great agency down south 4one4 Real Estate who have just launched Layar on their print media and I will be interested to see how it is received in the market place. It still seems to require a far amount of education to get people to understand the concept but I agree if mainstream media embrace it then it will definitely assist in spreading the word.

  10. Sal Espro June 22, 2012 at 1:12 pm #

    Looking forward to the day when our listings info will come from our own agency website and not from one of the portals. I won’t be promoting Domain or REA apps any time soon!
    Power to the people!

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