A conference is taking place in north London today that will discuss the issue of collaboration between software suppliers.
Most of the 70 attendees are industry suppliers who will be asked questions by, and hear the views of, agents on a panel.
They are Katie Griffin, former NAEA president; Iain McKenzie of the Guild of Property Professionals; Christopher Watkins; Kristjan Byfield; and Perry Power.
The conference is being organised by Charlie Wright whose own software company is BestAgent, and whose previous venture was aspiring trade body CIELA.
Wright said: “Agents are currently under-served by the proptech community, not because there aren’t great products out there, but because they don’t talk to each other.
“This means agents can’t currently get all the tools they need in one place. This translates into frustrating data-entry duplication, slowing down attempts to streamline their businesses.
“There are some first class products out there, which add real value for agents, but too many of them are still stand-alone and require a separate log-in.
“If CRMs and suppliers work together towards one single proptech standard, it would benefit everyone.”
His colleague Samantha Westlake, also instrumental in putting on today’s event, said that only industry suppliers had been invited to the conference.
Despite this, a number of agents had asked to attend and had been turned away because of lack of space.
She said: “The panel guests are agents who are known to represent the wider view of many agents, and will be trying to explain the view that much proptech is solving non-existent problems.”
BestAgent is free CRM software currently only available to single office agents. It makes its money from third party supplier products such as Yomdel and Viewber.
Both Westlake and Wright were previously involved in the failed launch of CIELA.
Westlake said that CIELA supporters had been shown BestAgent, because had CIELA succeeded, its members would have had exclusive availability to the product.
She said: “There was some indecision about whether to proceed with CIELA for a while, but the weakening of corporate agents, the struggles of the hybrid agents to become viable, and the successful lobbying for better laws by Propertymark were all contributing factors to the conclusion that an organisation such as CIELA was no longer necessary.
“In preparation for the possibility of a successful CIELA launch, suppliers were also consulted about their interest in working alongside CIELA and relationships were formed which have been inherited by BestAgent.
“In the end, it has made far more sense to take a completely open collaborative approach where all agents and all suppliers are welcome, and the out-dated protectionist practices by some in the industry might hopefully begin to fade away and allow better innovation.”