Matterport’s Brave New 3D Experience
Real estate tech innovator Matterport was founded in 2011 in direct response to the lack of cost-effective, easy-to-use technology that could create 3D models of a physical space. The company’s vision is to establish 3D spaces as a primary medium for experiencing, sharing, and reimagining the world. Over the past several years, Matterport has led the charge in democratizing 3D technology and experiences, as it is their belief that, in the near future, this technology will be just as accessible as 2D photography.
The numbers back up the company’s lofty ambitions. Matterport has produced over one million 3D spaces across 90 countries; these spaces have been visited nearly 400 million times.
To get the scoop on the three dimensional future of the real estate industry, we sat down with Matterport’s vice president of Sales and Business Development, Mark Tepper, as well as the company’s new CMO, Chris Bell. A recent hire at Matterport, Bell is best known for his work with Apple’s iTunes platform, a project that he spearheaded and launched, essentially making iTunes a household name.
What differentiates Matterport?
The unique distinction between Matterport and other real estate-based platforms/tech initiatives is that Matterport is true 3D. Many other companies out there claim to provide a “3D” experience, but are actually stitching together 2D images or 360-degree panoramas. Marketing spaces in this manner can limit and distort the accuracy of what is being presented. Matterport’s True3D™ gives potential buyers a fully immersive experience by taking them on a tour of real-world spaces just as if they were physically walking through the space, granting them the freedom to experience any property at any time on desktop and mobile devices, or through platforms such as the Oculus Go, GearVR, and Google Cardboard. In doing this, Matterport enables better decision making, communication, and collaboration around properties.
Why do you feel 3D technology is essential for the real estate industry?
3D technology has the potential to increase sales, cut down on the number of in-person showings, and decrease the time each property spends on the market. Studies have shown that today’s buyers are increasingly willing to purchase a home without seeing it in person. Matterport’s technology simplifies the home search process, especially for buyers who have to travel long distances. In addition to the convenience factor, we also like to describe homes using Matterport’s immersive 3D media technology as “more buyer ready” because they’re available to just about anyone, anywhere. From our perspective, 3D is well on its way to becoming the standard in residential real estate.
What challenges have you had to overcome when introducing Matterport’s technology?
Not all of the agents and brokers present in today’s real estate market grew up using technology, and oftentimes they anticipate that it will be more difficult to implement and expensive than it really is. Although this is a challenge Matterport is faced with regularly, we have spent a considerable amount of time educating our customers on the technology to show them that it is cost-effective, easy to use, and will help to facilitate an immersive experience for their clients that will help them make a decision faster, and with more confidence. We also provide the option for brokers and agents to hire Matterport Service Providers (MSPs), who can create the scans for them if they’d prefer.
Chris, how has your experience at Apple and iTunes informed your approach to Matterport?
At the end of the day, digital bits are digital bits. It is deceptively simple to get into the business of delivering value to customers via digital content in the cloud. In reality it takes a robust hardware-software-services ecosystem to make it work seamlessly; one that is carefully optimized to the real world needs of customers. Product experience and ease-of-use is paramount. At iTunes, we took a burgeoning interest in digital music downloads into the global mainstream. So there are a lot of similarities between where the Matterport product line stands today in the B2B world and where the iTunes Store was as a brand new consumer product back at launch in 2003. We are telling a simple story about something that has to date been a bit esoteric and niche and turning it into a well-understood global experience for customers. When we are successful in these endeavors, the technology recedes in importance and the utility and simplicity of the service takes over. The goal is to make people wonder how they ever lived without our solution.
How do clients share their 3D experiences?
3D spaces captured via Matterport’s technology are commonly shared on listing portals, such as Realtor.com, Homes.com, and Apartments.com, and across various social media platforms. Brokers and agents tend to share a teaser video of the immersive 3D tours on their social channels, featuring a dollhouse view of the property and specific parts of the walkthrough. Some agents have also incorporated 3D walkthroughs in interactive brochures that clients are able to click through. Many agents and brokers have shared with us that leveraging the 3D technology has become a huge differentiator for their business, attracting more interest on listings than with traditional 2D photography alone.
Who are some of your most prominent clients?
To date, over 30,000 real estate agents and brokers have used Matterport to feature their real estate listings. Some of Matterport’s most prominent clients include Redfin (one of the earliest adopters in the real estate space), Purplebricks, Sotheby’s International Realty, and Apartments.com.
What other sectors of real estate does Matterport serve?
Matterport is beginning to leave its mark on a number of industries outside of residential real estate, including architecture, engineering and construction (AEC), travel and hospitality, insurance, and retail. Our clients from these sectors are turning to Matterport to create a holistic visualization of real-world spaces whether it be homes, hotels, construction sites, or disaster areas.
What new developments does Matterport have coming down the pipeline?
Matterport released the Pro2 Lite, our most affordable camera to date. With its push button simplicity, the Pro2 Lite does not require any training, weighs less than our original model (Pro2), and offers the same high-quality 3D imaging. Matterport is also currently working on an automated system that will use artificial intelligence to determine and select the photos that highlight the most significant features of a home. With Matterport, agents get both fully immersive 3D tours and high-quality 2D photos for the same price as just professional 2D photography. It’s a real no-brainer, especially for the listing business.
What other new tech do you see on the horizon for the real estate industry?
Augmented reality (AR) is an area that we are focused on developing, particularly as it pertains to its application in residential real estate. Real estate agents spend an inordinate amount of time touring prospective buyers and renters through apartments. That time could be spent on marketing themselves and prospecting new clients, which agents needs to do in order to grow their business. With Matterport, agents can send a link of a property to a client, enabling that person to virtually tour and experience that property as many times as they want. We hope that by developing AR capabilities to complement the existing Matterport experience, agents will be able to give home buyers an even more enriched experience, particularly when they’re at an open house.
How has this technology changed the way real estate professionals do business?
Matterport’s immersive 3D technology has completely streamlined the process of buying a home. It is more efficient and convenient for everyone involved, which is a significant differentiating factor. In the past, the real estate industry has viewed technology with ambivalence, but the tides are turning and technology is truly becoming a must-have tool.
For more information, please visit www.matterport.com.