JCI Tech to launch services
JCI Technologies of Victoria is poised to become Canada’s largest electronic publisher early next year with the nationwide launch of two new Internet services.
RealtyMatch, which has been up and running with 8,000 home listings on Vancouver Island for the past two months, will begin its move across the country in January.
Also early in the new year, AutoMatch, now being beta tested with content from 30 car dealers in Victoria and Vancouver, will be up and running nationally.
jci, one of only two Canadian content providers to the Microsoft Network, began its first service, JobMatch, nearly three years ago using ivr (Interactive Voice Response) technology.
JobMatch is now on the Internet as well as the msn and has recently become part of a pilot project for Human Resources Development Canada.
It is being tested in Canadian Employment Centres across the country before full rollout later next year.
Geoffrey Edmunds, president and chief executive officer of jci, says ‘the main three things that affect people are their job, their home and their car.
‘If we can secure those three things, we become probably the biggest electronic publisher in this country,’ Edmunds says.
‘Everyday right now, we’re putting out an electronic magazine with 8,000 real estate listings in it, fresh everyday,’ he says.
Edmunds says jci will be spending about $2 million on advertising to launch its services in 1996.
He says the company will get a break on newspaper advertising since Torstar owns 32% of the company.
In Toronto, jci uses Temple Scott Associates for public relations and Response Innovations for its direct marketing activities.
Parallel Strategies of Calgary handles other advertising.
Direct mail packages promoting JobMatch will be sent to all employers in the country beginning in January.
In addition, jci is producing cd-roms that will be an instruction booklet for the services but also a launch pad directly to the sites.
Edmunds says the cds will describe the services in an entertaining manner, complete with music, and, in the case of the JobMatch section, it will assist users in building a resume and then pay to join the service from the cd.
Edmunds wants to get the cds included with every computer sold in the country and also distribute it through publications, car dealerships, real estate companies.
As well as providing all three services on the msn, jci has signed a deal with Stentor to provide content for a kiosk that is part of Stentor’s Beacon Initiative.
There are already 300 kiosks, meant to serve people without access to online services, in place with a target of 4,000 by the end of 1999.
Stentor has signed an agreement with 7-Eleven convenience stores to install the kiosks in many of their locations.
JobMatch allows the placement of an electronic resume on the service for $25.
Employers can get access to the service by phone or computer, input the skill sets they are looking for, experience and location to get a list of compatible job hunters.
They pay just $7 for each resume they request.
With RealtyMatch, house hunters can target with criteria such as city, neighborhood, type and style of house and price range.
Edmunds says the real estate system has been easier to set up because the 115 real estate boards across the country already have a database that is updated daily.
The database is downloaded to the service along with pictures.
Realtors wishing to have their home page linked to the system will pay a fee, and there is also a charge for those who want to use extra pictures such as interior shots.
Edmunds is looking for other links on the site, such as with financial institutions.
‘Banks are concerned with how they reach prospects looking for mortgages,’ he says.
‘We’re saying we’ll connect them directly.’
Edmunds expects to finalize deals with several real estate boards soon, including the Toronto board whose 22,000 salespeople account for 23% of real estate sales in the country.
jci has acquired leading talent to develop the industries it is pursuing for content and that includes the automobile industry.
It has signed a deal with Trifour Systems, a Vancouver Island company operating for more than 20 years, to provide the content for the AutoMatch system.
Trifour builds servicing and inventory control software for more than 200 car dealers in Canada and will be going to its customers for new and used listings.
Edmunds expects there will also be hot links to the home pages of car manufacturers and private Internet users will also be able to use the service to sell their used cars.
AutoMatch will allow consumers to pinpoint year, price, type of vehicle and see full-color pictures.
Edmunds says he does not expect to stop developing product after AutoMatch.
‘It’s wide open,’ he says. ‘Look at what tourism could do with this.
‘You could search not only for destination, but also accommodation, and then make a reservation with an e-mail message.’
jci has also registered its service names worldwide and will begin its expansion in the u.s. with JobsAmerica next year.
JobMatch, RealtyMatch and AutoMatch can be found on the msn or at www.jobmatch.com, realtymatch.com, or automatch. com.