A Canuck In The Machine

Mark Relph - Senior Director - Startup and VC Team

December, 2007

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Update - Air Canada Mobile Boarding Passes


    Ok - so quick update.  If you install Opera Mobile it works :-(

    Now I need to send an email to the IE Mobile team :-)

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Air Canada: No love for Windows Mobile


    Seriously?  Rogers is selling Windows Mobile devices like mad, so it's not like Windows Mobile phones are rare.  I am flying to Ottawa in the morning and when I was prompted to try this during my web check-in, I thought "wicked....no paper"

    But, alas, it doesn't support my phone (Treo 750 from Rogers)..... and now because I picked the mobile option I have to stop at a kiosk instead of having a printout of my boarding pass already.

    By the way - mobile check-in doesn't seem to work either.

    My team is going to look into this and see what we can do.



  • A Canuck In The Machine

    Announcement: Tarasoft sets new standard with Microsoft Virtual Earth


    Tarasoft sets new standard with Microsoft Virtual Earth


    Tuesday, December 11, 2007 - Tarasoft to incorporate advanced mapping platform, helping 170,000 real estate agents across North America better serve clients
    MISSISSAUGA, ON - Microsoft Canada Co. announced today that realtors across North America who use Tarasoft Matrix® created by Tarasoft can now take advantage of Microsoft® Virtual Earth™ mapping service. Real estate agents, using Tarasoft Matrix® can offer potential homebuyers a more visual and immersive Web experience based on an advanced integrated mapping, imaging, search, and location platform.
    Powering many of North America’s largest MLS providers, Tarasoft provides an estimated 170,000 real estate agents across Canada and the United States with an enterprise level web-based MLS application. One of the industry’s most advanced MLS applications, real estate agents and their clients can enjoy a user experience that is now significantly enhanced with the addition of Microsoft® Virtual Earth™ mapping. Virtual Earth mapping adds considerable functionality to Tarasoft Matrix® with its ability to combine location information and high-resolution imagery.
    “We looked at several leading mapping applications but felt that Virtual Earth is clearly a superior platform. With its advanced mapping features and its ability to offer users aerial views, Virtual Earth is taking the real estate industry by storm, which is why we’re betting on it to power our Tarasoft Matrix® software. With Virtual Earth, we can offer our customers with user-friendly and dynamic mapping tools,” says Brian de Schepper, vice-president, Tarasoft.
    Virtual Earth helps provide MLS users with “bird’s-eye” view imagery that generates a more realistic view of their chosen location. This helps real estate agents provide their customers with more insightful information about a property before visiting in person. The high-resolution, photo-realistic 3D views of buildings and landscapes, plus highly detailed road maps, ensures that users get an experience tailored to their needs – for example, enabling them to view the surrounding neighbourhood to determine the location of nearby conveniences such as schools and parks.
    “Customers and technology partners are demanding rich and engaging user experiences, and the ability to find the information they need as quickly and easily as possible. We’re excited by the work software developers such as Tarasoft are doing with Virtual Earth to help strengthen their customer community by developing custom tools that fit each customers’ unique needs,” says Mark Relph, Director, Development and Platform, Microsoft Canada
    For more information, please contact:
    Jennifer Sommer
    High Road Communications
    Phone: 416-644-2274 Email: jsommer@highroad.com

    About Tarasoft
    Tarasoft is a privately held Canadian company that has been developing Real Estate software solutions since 1990. Tarasoft’s flagship product, Tarasoft Matrix, is specifically designed to power the largest MLS providers in the world. Offering breathtaking performance and unrivalled flexibility at every level, Tarasoft Matrix has quickly become one of the premier MLS platforms in North America. For more information please contact Brian de Schepper at brian@tarasoft.com or 1-800-899-8470.

  • A Canuck In The Machine

    In The News: B.C. ISV aims Virtual Earth application at realtors



    B.C. ISV aims Virtual Earth application at realtors

    By: Kathleen Lau

    ComputerWorld Canada  (12 Dec 2007)


    Getting a bird’s-eye view of a particular neighbourhood should address some real pain points – like the need to save time – for realtors and potential home buyers, said the president of a Web-based software vendor that focuses on the real estate industry.

    That’s because the business of property buying is all about the context, said Seain Conover of Nelson, B.C.-based Tarasoft Corp. “The agent photo might just show the house, but in bird’s-eye view, you realize it’s right beside a five-story apartment building, in the shadow.”

    Conover said integrating Microsoft Corp.’s mapping and imagery technology, Virtual Earth, with Tarasoft Matrix will grant realtors that “killer feature that Google doesn’t have.”

    Plus the resolution is really good, said Conover. “It’s not like it’s ten times further up, it’s a nice low airplane view,” he said, adding the makers have maintained the map imagery accurately.

    But it’s more than just a high-resolution imagery where a realtor can zoom in on the target until the roof of the house is visible. There’s an added slant to it, said Ryan Storgaard, strategy manager for search & online services with Microsoft Canada Co. “You can see it as a 45-degree angle and get that sense of what it’s like there, what the street looks like, or what the front of the building looks like.”

    The integration of Virtual Earth will also mean the imagery is more dynamic with three-dimensional flyovers – where the viewer gets an aerial view as if flying in a plane or other such air borne vessel – available for select cities so users can see the city layout, said Storgaard.

    Besides the much sought-after aerial perspective, Conover said the application programming interface (API) should let real estate agents load their own imagery atop that of Visual Earth to illustrate things like school districts and property boundaries. “So if someone’s looking for a home, they’ll know what school district they’re in just by looking at the map based on it being a slight shade of purple versus a neighbouring slight shade of blue,” he said.

    Similarly, agents can define the shape of a property using these transparent customer overlays.

    Integrating Microsoft’s Virtual Earth technology responds to an industry need for better customer visualizations, said Conover, adding that the flyover view in particular is one such feature that realtors have been pining for since Microsoft announced the platform capability.

    Storgaard said granting real estate agents the ability to provide a “richer and more immersive experience” was the main driver behind the integration, meaning realtors can now couple the technology with industry information like demographics and crime rate.

    The decision to integrate Virtual Earth versus another vendor technology, according to Conover, was encouraged by Microsoft’s close work with the real estate industry, and the fact that its mapping and imagery platform had been clearly defined as an enterprise platform.

    The integration was also borne out of a long-standing relationship with the Redmond, Wash.-based vendor during which Tarasoft had previously used the “prehistoric” MapPoint, said Conover, who insisted it was not out of a desire to leverage adoption given the ubiquity of Microsoft’s platform.

    Microsoft’s push into the enterprise arena with its mapping and imagery technology is not a recent occurrence as the company has been engaged in this area for several years, said Storgaard.

    Actually, the company has been collaborating with several Canadian businesses looking to complement corporate services with mapping and imagery technology beyond a “public-facing mapping interface,” he said.

    Mountain View, Calif.-based Google Inc. offers a virtual globe software called Google Earth.

    Businesses using a SharePoint platform for emergency response, for instance, might need to integrate workflow and associated imagery to identify the location of assets. Coupling the vendor’s traditional software stack with Virtual Earth services “provide for some very interesting scenarios where mapping becomes a lot more prevalent,” said Storgaard.

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