Estate agents use mobile messaging to sell homes

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Estate agents use mobile messaging to sell homes

Daniel Thomas
Estate agent Foxtons and property portal assertahome have both launched a new service that allows house buyers to download images and information on properties to mobile phones.

The move, announced last week, is one of the first applications of Multimedia Message Service technology by corporate users and indicates that third-generation mobile phones could be useful for businesses as well as consumers, analysts said.

"It is the first business use of MMS I have heard of and although I have doubts about how sustainable it will be, it is good to see people coming up with innovative ideas," said Richard Clifford, wireless analyst at research firm Datamonitor.

The estate agents' services, based on technology from mobile software firm PocketThis, allow people to send property details from the www.foxtons.co.uk and www.assertahome.com websites to a mobile phone with one click. The user then has one-touch call-back options to speak to an agent, send the property details to friends and organise properties into folders on their mobile.

Although the service is a reasonably smart use of MMS, Clifford believes that in the longer term there is more potential for business-to-employee

applications. "It could be used where information needs to be shared immediately, such as schematic diagrams for BT engineers," he said. "It could also solve a business problem, by, for example, cutting paper or the number of employees in a call centre."

To date, most consumers have been largely ambivalent towards next-generation mobile phones, but recent research from Taylor Nelson Sofres found that UK users would be prepared to pay more for MMS - about £6.60 per month - than their European counterparts.

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