Supra to Develop iPhone Keybox Opener and Application

fob-between-fingers.thumbnailA few days ago I was invited by the NWMLS to participate in a focus group discussion with Supra to talk about the upcoming iPhone App and hardware dongle that they will releasing soon. There were about a dozen agents who participated and some great feedback was generated for Supra to use.

As most people know, the limiting issue with the iPhone for Supra Keyboxes is the lack of an IR port. The old Palm Treo had this and so it popular as an E-Key. Both the Blackberry and the iPhone (the two main smart phones on the market) need some kind of hardware accessory to make this work. The Blackberry uses a fob that retransmits the IR signal via Bluetooth. And the upcoming iPhone IR accessory will attach to the bottom of the iPhone to receive the data (see video below).

Once the device is attached and the application launched, you will need to put in your lag number and password. Then you will be prompted for what action you want to perform, typically to open the keybox or release the shackle. You then will be prompted for the shackle or keybox PIN. At this point, the phones UI (user interface) will rotate 180 degrees. This is because you will need to point the bottom of the phone (where to fob is attached) to the keybox IR port.

The fob attached to the iPhone must be pointing directly at the keybox IR port. It sounds clumsy, but it really is no big deal. iPhone users are already used to having their screens flip from portrait to landscape and this is not much different. Once the keybox function is completed it turns back around.

Lot's of cool ideas were bantered about. Especially ideas that would utilize the iPhones internal mapping and geo-tagging functions. Such as: setting up prearranged tours with directions, finding nearby similar listings after a keybox is opened, interacting with other iPhone apps like Zillow and Walkscore to get data and statistics you can share with the client you are showing. Probably the biggest request was the ability to email or SMS istings on-the-fly with added pics and video to clients. This would be a big selling point and would give agents a way to clearly differentiate themselves.

All of this is due out sometime later this summer. But remember when a developer tells you “real-soon-now” you better pad the timeline.

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