One of the most exciting aspects of the real estate business is the fact that it's constantly changing. And with the way technology is going these days, that change is moving faster and faster. While drones are transforming the look of modern real estate photos and videos, another new technology called Matterport has come along to once again dramatically change how real estate listings work.
If you've ever used Google Street View, you'll have a pretty good idea already of what Matterport does. Using 3D imaging technology, Matterport allows online visitors to virtually "walk" through a property just like they would virtually "walk" around a city using Google Street View. And although "3D walkthrough" tours have existed for years, this is the first piece of real estate technology that really allows users to control how the experience a property when they're looking at it online.
"The key difference with this technology and what sets it apart from the videos and virtual tours that we are used to is that it allows the viewer a completely immersive, user controlled walk around experience of a space in its entirety,"
says Andre McKenzie, owner of SilverHouse, a boutique digital marketing firm that is one of the early adopters of Matterport Technology.
"You can literally take in any and every view that you could possibly want to take in from any spot or angle."
The technology also allows users to view multiple perspectives on a property, as you can easily switch back and forth at any time between a first-person walkthrough perspective, a 3D floor plan, and a side-angle "dollhouse" view.
"It allows the viewer to see every view they want to take in instead of, with a video, seeing what I as the video producer, want to show you,"
As of January 2015, SilverHouse is one of the first companies in Canada to offer Matterport 3D walkthrough technology to their clients. And while SilverHouse specializes in real estate, McKenzie sees plenty of opportunities to apply Matterport 3D technology outside of the real estate world as well. In addition to property listing tours, McKenzie sees this type of technology as the perfect fit for a theatre wanting to show the view from every seat in the house, or a commercial space looking to showcase its facilities for trade shows.
"What got me into [Matterport] was the ability to shoot environments that you can't typically see from just a website,"
Matterport 3D technology was invented by a startup company called Matterport, which is based in California. Although the Matterport company has been working on this technology for over three years, it's only recently that the technology has become available to real estate agents and other professionals through companies like SilverHouse.
"This was our attempt to do something a little bit different that nobody else had yet, and to be the first in the marketplace, in Toronto at least."
McKenzie says the technology is easy to use, although there's still more that goes into a 3D walkthrough than a typical real estate photo or video shoot. While a typical photo or video shoot may take an hour, mapping a property for a Matterport tour will take at least an hour and a half to two hours, says McKenzie. This is because the Matterport camera has to be set up at several specific locations throughout the property in order to take in all the necessary information for a 3D map. In addition to a regular camera, the Matterport camera uses eight additional sensors to take in information such as room height, object surface area, and the distance of objects in the room from each other.
As the technology is still in its infancy, there are new features being added to Matterport all the time. According to Matterport's website, users will soon be able to not only virtually walk through a 3D model of a property, they'll also be able to leave virtual notes for themselves throughout the house, take measurements, and even rearrange or switch out the furniture.
Currently, users can access Matterport 3D tours through their computer or tablet, and the company is also working on making the technology available via smartphone in the near future.
Of course, to really get an idea of how Matterport works, you'll have to try it out yourself. Take a look at the 3D tour on my latest listing and let me know what you think of the technology. Will Matterport make the home buying process easier? Is it something you'd consider using for your next listing?