by Mellonie Francis Thu May 28
Conducting virtual walkthroughs has never been more vital for realtors than it is now. With so many people practicing social distancing and worried about small enclosed spaces, the real estate businesses have started using Zoom to conduct virtual walkthroughs and live auctions.
In fact, a lot of realtors are enhancing their businesses by integrating zoom into their booking systems, where a meeting is automatically created and sent to each participant who wishes to view a property or live and join with login details automatically. ZOOM has become one of the best tools for remote working for a lot of real estate agents recently.
But, a huge part of the real estate business is arranging open houses where clients can physically visit the house, look for all the details and experience the complete look and feel of the house. Due to COVID-19, this has been affected immensely as real estate agents now find it almost impossible to get people to open houses, which then affects the business directly.
One of our clients wanted to enable their real estate agents to have an easy streamlined way of conducting live viewings. There were a plethora of options for live viewings but many came with limitations. They lacked vital functionalities like automatic link sharing, custom scheduling by agents, and automated notification to users.
The real estate company decided ZOOM API would be best as it had a strong API offering with lots of choices. After integrating all virtual walkthroughs with zoom, Agents can post a date and time of choice for a virtual walkthrough, disseminate the link for buyers and host the open house virtually. The integration of systems has reduced the stress of going back and sending links to 200-1000 users separately, as this is all taken care of via the client booking system and zoom now.
To integrate ZOOM API with your website or platform of choice, you first need to check options of APIs, pick the one that suits your organization structure and usage, select the scope of what you want to achieve through integration.
Zoom takes about 24 hours to approve your request for integration, sometimes they even contact you to confirm your integration request with your platform. Once your app is approved by ZOOM, you are provided with an API and a secret API which then needs to be used to integrate with your platform. You can then integrate your ZOOM with your website with a restful API. Finally, you will then need to create a call back URL to ensure which URL the restful API responds to.
Ideally, zoom needs to be integrated with a booking and payment system (as zoom provides the video conference feature only). For our real estate client, we had a custom booking system that we integrated with zoom. However, if you don’t have a custom booking system, off the shelf solutions like acuity or Calendly can integrate beautifully with zoom.
To integrate acuity with ZOOM, log in to your acuity account, go to business setting > go on integrations, make sure you are signed in to your ZOOM account > click on video conferencing > click ZOOM > click on find your ZOOM API key and secret > Paste your ZOOM API and Secret into the acuity screen and you are done.
Similarly connecting calendly with ZOOM creates a dynamic scheduling and conferencing combination. Invitees receive location details in the confirmation notification after scheduling the meeting. The unique link will appear within the event details on your Scheduled Events tab and under My Meetings page in Zoom.
After speaking to our software engineering team, I found the team had to put in late nights to figure out the best ways to integrate ZOOM API as not enough documentation was available on the API. It seems zoom didn’t have much of a demand for their API until Covid-19 so we’re still building up this access.
The Loopholes:As a result of ZOOM API being new (also only available to paid accounts), there are a number of loopholes. For instance, If the master account is paid, all users on your team can enjoy the paid features when using API integration. However, when you add a team to your account without API, all users and hosts must be on the paid plan to enjoy the paid features. This loophole is not spelled out in the ZOOM documentation, but our development team discovered these nuances through research and testing. We suspect this is a glitch that will be soon caught by the zoom team.
There are a lot of businesses in different verticals like education and health who are using ZOOM with their systems to make sure their business smoothly transits from physical to digital. If you are wondering about integrating ZOOM with your system and are unsure if it’s possible and which plans are right for you, you can contact my team and schedule a call with them.
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