RESEARCH & RESOURCES

Onboard Informatics Gives Customers Consolidated Real Estate Data: Data Integration Tool Integrates 2 Million Real Estate Listings and 17 Million Real Estate Photos Every 10 Minutes

Commentary by Joseph Rugolo, Director, Data Operations, Onboard Informatics

Since 2001, Onboard Informatics has provided comprehensive local, regional, and national real estate data solutions, powerful Web tools, and Web services to some of the most innovative companies in real estate, publishing, and technology. The company powers the answers to pressing real estate questions, such as: “Where is my ideal neighborhood located?” and “Which homes for sale are in my price range and within 30 minutes of my workplace?” This is done through real estate property listings and neighborhood, geographic, and demographic integrated search and display advertising and consulting.

The seamless integration of real estate property listings, innovative lifestyle search, and community, school, neighborhood, geographic, and demographic information is provided to a wide range of clients, such as Coldwell Banker Real Estate Corporation, Realtor.com, Move.com, CNN Money, and the New York Times.

However, being able to provide its clients with up-to-date and accurate data on current real estate listings, community facts, and detailed school data on a daily basis was no easy feat for Onboard Informatics. The amount of data that needed to be integrated, and the varying types of data, made this initiative very challenging. The information that powers the company’s services comes from a variety of disparate sources and presents an average daily volume of 2 million real estate listings that are accompanied by approximately 17 million photos and a few million records for real estate agent profiles.

Being able to centralize the process of nightly updates and eliminate the manual coding that had some developers sitting by their computers until 3 a.m. was a critical goal. The IT department researched various tools and found that some were simply too cost-prohibitive and others weren’t easy to use.

“Talend has been successful in getting us onto a single platform that the entire team knows how to use. When we installed the product and used it, we found it very easy, and the pricing model was where we needed it to be.” —Joseph Rugolo, Director, Data Operations, Onboard Informatics

Before Talend, Onboard Informatics was using a tool that came free with Microsoft SQL Server, but it couldn’t effectively do the job. Onboard Informatics looked to Talend to handle the big integration work required to make its services run. Thanks to Talend’s scalability and near-real-time integration capabilities, Onboard automatically runs its data integration processes every 10 minutes. This translates to updating real estate listings, photos, and broker profiles in near real time. With the help of Talend, Onboard built a component for geocoding that standardizes the coding of addresses and ZIP codes, eliminating duplicate records. This has shaved hours of manual deduping in the system. And according to Joseph Rugolo, director of data operations for Onboard, the broad number of native database connectors represents a huge benefit of Talend.

Talend has enabled Onboard to “on-board” its new clients much faster and ensure that a site with such time-sensitive information is always up to the minute. “So far, we’ve seen a decrease of 20 percent in time spent doing manual coding and processes. But aside from quantitative metrics, we’ve been able to eliminate many of our headaches and integrate our new customers much faster,” Rugolo said.


This article originally appeared in the issue of .

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