Matterport CEO Bill Brown says one of the company’s chief goals at Property Portal Watch's (PPW) September conference in Madrid is to meet and develop new partnerships with proptech innovators from leading global portals.
The VR leader already has many partners representing the world’s leading property agencies, portals and internet listing services, including Redfin, Apartments.com and REA Group.
"REA Group says that buyers are 60 per cent more likely to email an agent and 95 per cent more likely to call an agent about a property listing if it includes a Matterport 3D Showcase," Brown says.
"Similarly, CoStar’s Apartments.com says that properties with 3D tours receive 49 per cent more leads."
"Embedding Matterport immersive 3D Showcases onto property listings and search pages has proven to be a game changer for our clients and partners," he asserts.
He adds, "it's as easy to embed a Matterport 3D model on property and search web pages as it is a YouTube video -- and the results our clients report include increased consumer engagement, improved value for agency ad spend, and first mover advantage for innovative brand leaders.
"Matterport proptech customers have seen multiple benefits from the solution - expanded reach by allowing viewings for people who are remote, whether international or in adjacent markets and the convenience of maintaining an open house 24-7 for agents and sellers, without the added inconvenience of opening up the house."
Matterport offers prospective buyers the ability to preview a home, and to get additional information on that home, on demand, from any device, and from anywhere.
In addition, users can revisit a home after they’ve left it, when they are making the decision, and can share the experience of being inside the home, via that same immersive experience, with other family members.
Important initiatives underway
As a bronze sponsor of the upcoming conference September 28-30, the 3D and VR specialist also aims to demonstrate some exciting new product offerings to the European and international proptech marketplace.
“Any technology that helps support how a customer can time-shift their property buying process and see the property in more detail than ever before is going to be coming on strong," Brown says.
"Look for 3D, VR and drone photography to play a big role here. Our 3D and VR technology is an incredibly immersive, easy to use solution for sales and rental property portals, ILS and agencies around the world. And it’s already been proven commercially at scale.”
Brown says Matterport has lot of important VR initiatives underway, and he asserts the company will be a key player in the explosive growth of this technology.
“We are seeing the VR market heating up,” he says. “With the combination of Samsung Gear, Google Cardboard and Daydream, and content libraries from Matterport, VR will become more commonplace, and the way for people to totally immerse themselves in a space.
“Today there are Matterport models of over 250k+ spaces, which have received over 55 million views. In 3-5 years, we expect that number of Spaces to be in the millions, and the views to be significantly greater,” he says.
In terms of 2D and 3D, Brown says image quality will improve further.
Furthermore, he expects users will be able to tell people who visit a richer story about a space.
“Today we have Mattertag Posts as a way to communicate additional information about of a space, such as to highlight special things, like added information about the appliances, for example.
"In the future as we build multimedia capabilities into Mattertag posts, there will be additional, richer, storytelling capabilities, so people can get more of the gist of a space and its components, than before.”
In addition, “people will be able to do visualization of changes to a model,” he predicts.
“Perhaps they will be able to change their flooring, virtually paint their walls, move the furniture out and put in new furniture/ appliances.
"When you are spending so much money on something like a kitchen remodel or new flooring, you should be able to give it a test drive, to try before you buy, so to speak, as mentioned earlier.
"This helps you to make the right choices, ones you will be able to live with, and have the confidence in your decisions, early on in a project.”
Matterport is working with retailers in the home space on these types of future applications and that the capability will not just exist for residential properties, but for office space, and other commercial properties as well.
Customer study confirms engagement
Brown says Matterport recently fielded a customer study, which confirmed that the company's proptech customers are realizing significant benefit with regards to engagement and expansion of audience/market share.
69 per cent realized greater engagement per listing in terms of longer times spent viewing a listing site, while 67 per cent are attracting more buyers, renters or prospects because of Matterport.
The study also found 60 per cent of clients are attracting more remote buyers, renters or prospects because of Matterport (July 2016).
Brown argues not only is a picture worth a thousand words, a picture requires no translation.
“We’ve already seen home buyers in China purchase property in the US solely through a VR headset,” he relates.
“We expect this breaking down of geographic and cultural barriers to have a big impact on the way that properties are bought and sold.
"With immersive media, consumers in all kinds of industries have the opportunity to try before they buy in a way that was never possible before. “
Committed to proptech market
Brown, who has been in tech for over 25 years in a mix of start-ups and big companies launching new products or businesses worked for bamboo/iPIX, one of the first real estate virtual tour companies.
He was also founder and CEO of ProductPOP a 3D product visualization for e-commerce among many others including Canesta, a 3D sensor company acquired by Microsoft; and Motorola Mobility.
“I’ve always been attracted to new technologies, and especially media tech, and I love the process of figuring out what the market needs and creating great tech products to meet those needs,” he enthuses.
Having decided he wanted to be a tech entrepreneur early in his career, Brown says he focused on experiences where he could learn and develop versatility, from marketing to product, operations, finance, sales and general management.
“It’s more important to me to be playing the right role to help a team of people I’m excited to work with, and to be successful and grow in an area I’m passionate about than being ‘CEO’ per se,” he relates.
“It might sound corny, but I want to make a difference in the best way I can, and at Matterport that’s in the CEO role.”
Having said that, Brown adds Matterport is always interested in learning about potential investments that could help the company achieve its global expansion goals more quickly.
“What Matterport and all our partners share is a deep commitment to providing the agents and customers who use our services the most innovative, helpful, engaging and easy to use property experiences,” he reveals.
“Any property portal or agency that shares this interest is a potential partner we would like to meet in Madrid.”
Madrid aligns with expansion goals
Brown says the location and timing of PPW Madrid aligns well with Matterport’s ongoing international expansion plans for Europe’s real estate markets.
“Matterport already has customers using its cameras and cloud services in over 53 countries,” he says. “And we have resellers helping us sell to, support and locally service our fast growing client base in markets from Australia to Canada to the UK.”
Through the company’s recent acquisition of 360 degree tour company Virtual Walkthrough in the UK, Matterport now has its own local team in Europe which can provide its 3D and VR solutions.
Brown says the integration is “going great” and looks toward offering greater support for clients and partners in the region-- namely, Europe’s leading property listings portals, agencies and real estate photographers and visual content providers.
Virtual Walkthrough remains a wholly-owned subsidiary and continues to locally service its existing clients in the UK and Europe with 360-degree tours.
“What our company integration enables is scalability,” Brown explains.
“Virtual Walkthrough’s team will be able to sell Matterport cameras and cloud plans to the many businesses who prefer the more affordable option of owning an easy-to-use, in-house solution for creating 3D and VR experiences as well as to professional service providers who seek to create Matterport 3D and VR Showcases for clients on a service-for-hire basis."
He adds Matterport will continue to “invest wisely and partner strategically” in these markets.
“It’s the best way to grow and improve our company, make our customers happy, assure our network of Matterport Service Partners are successful, and deliver the most value and innovation for the global property marketplace."