The SmartView database is designed to be populated by a service agency that enters data about each property. A realtor then displays the properties using a run-time version of the program distributed on CD-ROM.
The SmartView database is extremely simple. The user simply enters search criteria and presses the Find button. This builds a list of homes matching their criteria which can be scrolled through using the buttons at the bottom of the screen. Further reduction can be accomplished with subsequent searches or a new search can be started by using a "blank search", i.e. pressing Find with all fields cleared.
Once the user has found an interesting property, they may press the View button to see a walkthrough of the home. Alternately, a still photograh can be shown if a walkthrough is unavailable.
Distribution of CD-ROMs is done monthly to incorporate changes to the database and keep the listings current. The target market is realtors who represent properties that are reasonably expensive; however, the per-property price is small and may be attractive to sellers of lower cost properties. Estimated price of service agents for inclusion in the database is $100.00 per property.
The program is not limited to CD-ROM applications. In fact, special consideration was made during program development to provide full database functions when limited by the read-only properties of the CD-ROM media. This database can be used on large fileservers to include a virtually unlimited number of properties.
The alpha version was written to use the Microsoft Access database format, which limits concurrent users to a maximum of 255. The program can be compiled to use DB/2 or SQL Server formats if an interested party anticipates they may need more than 255 concurrent users.
Another attractive medium for this program is the Internet. The SmartView database, with very little modification, will run on Microsoft Windows systems over the Internet. A realtor can include this program as an option on their home page and the program is much more informative and easier to use than existing realty search engines.
The database program is compiled in two different versions. The run-time version (shown above) is designed to run with read-only media and does not allow the user to modify the database. A development version is used by the service agency and has buttons for Add, Update and Delete. The service agency must also use videocameras and image capture equipment on the development system.
The alpha version of SmartView has been installed and is being used by a Tulsa realtor. SmartView alpha requires the user to launch Video for Windows and doesn't provide all the search features of the proposed beta.
The beta version is expected in early 1997. Changes include improved search functions, including a Clear button so the user doesn't have to clear individual fields manually. Video support will be improved and it has been suggested to provide a full screen mode for advanced systems. We elected to display the video clip on top of the database form due to lack of space on 640x480 screens; however, another suggested method is to include the video clip directly on the form when in 800x600 mode or greater. This video field would show the first frame of the video sequence for each property until View is pressed to show the video walk-through.
Another suggestion we are considering is the inclusion of vector graphics to display blueprints of model homes for builders. We can display AutoCAD images within the video frame as easily as we can display walk-throughs, so this option seems likely. AutoCAD vector mode may also be attractive for commercial properties who need to display structure and layout instead of or in addition to photographic images. We are asking existing users about their needs for these video options and for other feedback to improve the program.
Parham Data Products offering of the SmartView system is currently limited to service contracts, marketed directly to realtors. Interested realtors purchase the CD- ROM service by monthly service agreement, renewed annually. We then subcontract videotape and data entry services to capture the database information.
We are considering making the SmartView program and the necessary video equipment and software available for sale to service agencies and other interested parties.
Contact Us for more information.