Matterport’s Latest Cloud Platform Opens 3D Technology for Widespread Adoption
Andrew Wheeler posted on February 08, 2019 |

Matterport was started in California eight years ago by Matt Bell and David Gausebeck to create the first 3D capture solution for commercial and corporate use. The startup wanted to make a 3D model of the world, by developing and creating efficient and easy-to-use 3D capture technology for a variety of industries including real estate, construction and insurance. 

The result: The first Matterport Pro camera, which you can read a hands-on review about here.

The camera was somewhat expensive, and users needed an iPad and to pay USD 49 minimum per month to host captured spaces (standard: 3-100 scans, large: 100-200 scans) on the free Matterport Capture app, which connected wirelessly to the Pro camera. You also need a professional tripod with a quick release clamp that could hold 6.5 lbs securely. Once you have these things setup, it doesn't take long to realize that the Matterport system is very easy to use.

Matterport’s huge database of 3D scanned locations puts the company in a unique position of having not only the largest 3D database in the world, but a 2D image database to match with it. This is beneficial for new applications, since computer vision works much better with 2D images than 3D models. (Image courtesy of Matterport.)
The Matterport Pro 2 camera is partially responsible for the company's harvested database of 3D scanned locations, which puts the company in a unique position of having not only the largest 3D database in the world, but a 2D image database to match with it. This is beneficial for new applications, since computer vision works much better with 2D images than 3D models. (Image courtesy of Matterport.)

Then the startup released new versions of their hardware: the Matterport Pro 2 and Pro Lite. These gave users the ability to capture high-quality documentation, including 4K 2D photography, floorplans, dimensions and conditions of a property or building. 

Next, Matterport announced that the Leica BLK 360 laser scanner could be used in concert with Matterport’s proprietary infrared (IR) scanning technology. With the addition of the Leica BLK 360 scanner to Matterport’s suite of products, users could extend the range of each individual capture, improving both the efficiency of scanning large spaces and the resolution quality of each scanned area. 

The Matterport Pro 2 3D camera and the Leica BLK 360 could also be used as stand alone devices with Matterport’s Capture app. However, Matterport camera users faced a larger investment for the Leica BLK 360, plus a bit more of a learning curve. If users were in the market for an upgrade, the Matterport Pro 2 seemed like a wiser choice to make for quick scans and capturing panorama data for pre-construction and construction documentation, or for inspection reasons.

Matterport Meets AI In The Cloud

They have a patented AI image processing technology that is powered by deep learning algorithms know as Cortex. Cortex is trained on billions of 3D data points. Matterport’s spherical lens cameras including Ricoh Theta V and Insta360 ONE X help in the capture, analysis and construction of advanced 3D models from 2-dimensional images.

Recently, Matterport unveiled Matterport Cloud 3.0 which is a platform that enables 3D capture by a much wider commercial audience including businesses and individual professionals.

This subscription-based cloud software bolsters its flagship camera , the Pro 2, by providing its users the ability to transform imagery into immersive 3D models. Images including panoramic and 360-degree imagery taken by the spherical lens cameras can later be converted into desired immersive models. 

The Pro 2 Camera of Matterport is compatible with several 3rd party devices including the Leica Geosystems BLK 360 laser scanner. (Image courtesy of Leica.)
The Pro 2 Camera of Matterport is compatible with several 3rd party devices including the Leica Geosystems BLK 360 laser scanner. (Image courtesy of Leica.)

These cameras facilitate 3D capturing and the creation of 3D experiences at a very low of cost of entry. These cameras themselves start at under USD 400. The cloud software further enhances the reach of the Pro 2 Camera and the Leica Geosystems BLK360 laser scanner, creating an ecosystem that is available to a much wider commercial audience. The targeted demographics for this move was those that did not require very high accuracy and image quality that was provided by several other product offerings from Matterport.

The CEO of Matterport, RJ Pittman stated as follows:” Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for Matterport, our customers, partners and service providers. With Matterport Cloud 3.0 and Cortex, we are taking an important step in our evolution to better serve new and existing customers and partners with more choices to get started and grow with 3D capture. The power of our new software platform brings us one step closer to camera ubiquity. The versatility enables us to deliver a compelling entry-level solution for simple, smaller projects, while we continue to innovate and extend our industry-leading Pro2 capture experience for professional users”.

Wait, when did Matterport get a new CEO? In 2018, it turns out.

According to a Facebook post from former CEO Matt Bell from November 2017:

"Thanks to the effort of a large group of people (over 200 employees now, and many thousands of independent professional camera owners!) we’ve actually made a difference. Over 4% of homes on sale in the US now have a Matterport 3D model, and we’re becoming a general purpose tool used for everything from construction documentation to virtual shopping to remote experiences of travel destinations. Over 750,000 spaces have been captured in total, and we’ll reach a million before too long. 3D content is a new form of media, and we’re forming the foundation that enables app developers to build a wide range of industry specific apps that bring more value to this 3D content."

Interesting. He stayed on the board of Matterport as an advisor. Onward.

According the new CEO, RJ Pittman, who came to Matterport from Ebay, where he served as SVP, Chief Product Officer, the company is now also focused on improving its platform by opening it up to a broader developer community. This move is aimed at enhancing the capabilities of the platform and introducing new functionalities for future and existing product lines. The CEO further stated that its expanded capture ecosystem and its focus on the cloud would help foster innovation. This expansion would include third-party integrations. They've also created the following updates for the Matterport 3.0 ecosystem including upgrades to Workshop 3.0, Capture App 3.0 and Showcase App 3.0:

Workshop 3.0 – This is Matterport’s core image editing environment, which now has reorganized controls and features as part of an overall push to make the user interface more intuitive.

Capture App 3 – This is the core software that maker Matterport very easy to use. They overhauled the 3D capture app (in beta) so now it runs on iPhone as well as iPad for easier control of 3D scanning and uploading. The company says that the user interface enhancements are based on customer feedback.

Showcase 3.0 & SDK – Faster rendering of large-scale 3D models, with a higher quality output.

Showcase 3.0 performs rendering jobs more quickly and at a higher quality. (Image courtesy of Matterport.)
Showcase 3.0 performs rendering jobs more quickly and at a higher quality. (Image courtesy of Matterport.)

The 3.0 Software including the cloud, workshop, showcase and capture are available for existing customers in beta immediately.

Beginning March 2019, Matterport plans on releasing a free trial option and a $9.99 ‘Starter’ subscription for supported 360 cameras. These features are available to third party 360 camera owners. The Pro2 3D camera will now be available at $2,995 while the Pro2 Lite 3D camera will be available at $1,995.


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