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RESO Fall PlugFest: Where the techiest real estate Geeks will go

RESO Fall PlugFest: Where the techiest real estate Geeks will go

By Jeremy Crawford, Executive Director

If you’re a Geek, you most likely know what a “PlugFest” is. If you’re not a Geek, when you first heard the term, it may have sounded a bit strange. That’s okay because the audience for our upcoming RESO PlugFest, held the first day of our Fall Conference in Austin Oct. 27-29, is designed for the techiest real estate Geeks.  Don’t worry though, we have a full track of sessions for the non-geeks at the RESO Fall Conference that run concurrently during PlugFest.

For non-Geeks, a PlugFest is an event where software engineers gather to bring their concepts to life while they test data standards, see how they can exchange data and interpret that shared data so a user can easily understand it. They create a platform of interoperability between data, products, and standards. If what is available “off the self” –technologically speaking – are standards compliant, then they should function as expected when they’re “plugged” together. It’s also a highly collaborative, open, and friendly environment that’s devoted to facilitating conversations and exchanging expert experiences, both digitally and face-to-face.

PlugFest has two parts, really: The “hack-a-thon,” where the Geeks code away, and for those who are watching, we provide an expo area of tables where technology partners will showcase their related technology, that will include firms such as YoData, MLSListings, TLCengine and more.

For example, Onboard Informatics will offer up its “Property Search Engine” API for the PlugFest. It’s a RESTful API that offers access to over 148 million property records from CoreLogic collected public records data, including over 120 property attributes, AVM, recent home sales, 10 years of sales history, taxes and assessments. According to Chief Product Officer Scott Petronis, Onboard will provide PlugFest participants access to their developer portal, which includes a free trial account. That account, Scott says, will be available for use afterwards for “non-commercial (e.g. development) purposes.”

PlugFest will also feature a few highly technical presentations that will showcase the most innovative, cutting-edge uses of RESO standards.

Last fall RESO debuted its PlugFest and it was a hit. This year we are not only bringing it back, we’re making it better, more streamlines, and we also are adding an exciting new dimension with help from our friends at the Department of Energy.

Earlier this year RESO joined the DoE’s new “Better Buildings Home Energy Information Accelerator Program.”  RESO, along with the Council of Multiple Listing Services and NAR’s Green REsource Council are among 32 partner organizations that announced the launch of the Better Buildings program from the White House in May. 

Working with the DoE, RESO and other key industry partners will help the real estate industry develop replicable, sustainable approaches that make energy-related information — such as energy certifications and estimated annual energy usage — easily available through the MLS and other reports.

RESO would like to see an “energy-transparent” shopping experience for consumers. Right now it’s nearly impossible to compare accurate energy costs and energy efficient features for homes listed for sale on the MLS.

This is where PlugFest can help advance these efforts, giving real estate Geeks the free reign to tap into big data sources, provided by the DoE. PlugFest participants will be able to pull from these additional data sets and pair this with RETS data, and create new data “mash ups” between the data sets that may help pave the way for future innovations to promote energy efficiency through the use of real estate data.

That’s the really remarkable thing about PlugFests: they are freewheeling and allow a hotbed of creativity and innovation because of the information environment that it fosters. At a PlugFest, in contrast to the formal process of certification, which requires testing and more testing, the approach is more down-and-dirty: You plug the data into your concepts, ideas, and toolsets and it either works awesomely or it does not.

RESO PlugFest is an open sandbox, ready to explore for three hours. Participants will quickly introduce their data or tool and learn about the other resources in the room. Teams will then form and that’s when idea-generation and exploration begins. Onsite resources are available to help teams advance their mockup or prototype. PlugFest will wrap up with final presentations that will share the innovations and outcomes. Winners’ innovations and prizes will be awarded for top innovations during the RESO Fall Conference

There are three ways to participate in RESO PlugFest:

  • You can contribute a set of anonymized data for PlugFest participating teams to explore that conform to the RESO Standards or are industry related and API available
  • You can send observers to watch and learn from this popular, innovative exercise in organized chaos
  • You can send participants to watch, ask questions and learn about the most innovative implementations of RESO standards directly from their peers

Attend the RESO PlugFest to:

  • Test your products interoperability with other relevant RESO products
  • Field questions and obtain answers from other RESO participants
  • Solicit first-hand information on how RESO standardization is progressing and how to implement RESO standards
  • Receive support from experienced developers to improve your implementation of RESO standards
  • Learn how to integrate open standards implementations into your software project, and grow your base of users and implementers
  • Provide feedback and discuss which features are needed for your applications or use cases
  • Develop personal relationships with some of the leading developers and open source project experts in the industry
  • Test your implementations together with experts and help ensure 
  • Learn from the technology presentations regarding innovative implementation of RESO Standards
  • Collaborate with the real estate tech community to find ways to be more efficient, more productive and more innovative


We all know that software technologies change very rapidly. PlugFest is design to help participants make sure they are making the most of RETS.  Though networking, exchanging ideas and business cards with the most progressive thought leaders in the industry, those attending PlugFest will have access to one of the most intensive professional development opportunities of the year.

PlugFest is certain to be one of the best reasons for real estate technologists to join us in Austin. The RESO PlugFest is open to any company or individual interested in attending. Space is limited. If you are interested in attending, more PlugFest information is available here, and you can register here, but act quickly as we are starting to fill up!