Transcript: WGAN-TV How to Make Money with Matterport in the AEC Space10269
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|WGAN-TV How to Make Money in the AEC Space for Newbies with ToPa 3D Founder and CEO Paul Tice (27 September 2018)
If you are a Matterport Service Provider and thinking about how to get business from General Contractors in the Commercial Space, this is a "must watch" episode of WGAN-TV Live at 5 that first aired 27 September 2018. [This show is one of 30 courses in the WGAN-TV Training U (in Matterport) that is free for WGAN Training, Basic, Standard and Premium Members.]
You are a Matterport Service Provider that has heard about the AEC Space - Architects, Engineers and Construction – but do not understand:
✓ what problems you can solve – with Matterport – for potential clients in the AEC Space
✓ who are the stakeholders in the AEC Space
✓ what the use cases are for Matterport in the AEC Space
✓ the lingo in the AEC Space, including AEC, MEP, FARO, BIM, REVIT
✓ when to add a Leica Geosystems BLK360 scanner/camera to your Workflow
✓ where – and with whom – to begin in the AEC Space
✓ Bonus: Drone opportunities
✓ Bonus: Examples of AEC Spaces scanned with Matterport (including 75,000 and 180,000 SQ FT spaces)
Paul's credentials include:
✓ teaches a Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning Class, Matterport 3D Scanning and Visualization
✓ consultant in the AEC Space for visualization and scanning of spaces and objects
✓ running workshops for: universities, non-profits and professionals
✓ training for FARO and Matterport
✓ speaking at SPAR3D on rapid documentation of construction projects using LiDAR and Matterport
✓ Journalist for AEC Space trade-publications: LiDAR Magazine and SPAR 3D
✓ Licensed sUAS (Drone) pilot
✓ 20+ years of experience: Survey, CAD, GIS and 3D scanning projects
✓ Project Engineering and training teams on implementing various 3D technologies for construction and design; Creating accurate as-builts/site plans for large, complex buildings, structures and landscapes; Licensed sUAS (Drone) pilot; Photogrammetry Mapping and Reality Modeling; Creating and delivering project Visualizations/Presentations to stakeholders.
✓ Matterport Service Provider
There is BIG money in the AEC Space for construction documentation with lots of upside. Stop banging your head against the wall of residential real estate and succeed faster in the AEC Space by watching this episode of WGAN-TV Live at 5.
Transcript | WGAN-TV How to Make Money in the AEC Space for Newbies with ToPa 3D Founder and CEO Paul Tice
- Hi, all. I'm Dan Smigrod, founder of the We Get Around Network Forum. Today is Thursday, September 27th, 2018, and you're watching WGAN-TV Live at 5. Our topic today, for Matterport Service Providers, how to make money with Matterport meets AEC space for newbies, and our guest today is Paul Tice is the founder and CEO of ToPa 3D in the Portland, Oregon area and working out of the, I wanna say, Bend, Oregon, right now. Paul, good to see you.
- Hey, nice to see you too, Dan. Thanks for having me.
- You bet. Thanks for being on the show today. We got a lot of stuff to cover with Paul. If you have Matterport, maybe you've been scanning houses, you keep hearing these initials AEC, architects, engineers, and construction, how do you make money? You know, what problems do you solve in this AEC space? Who are the potential clients in AEC?
Who are the stakeholders, the people you might talk to in AEC? What's the use case for Matterport in this AEC space? We're even gonna talk a little bit about the lingo because it's a little bit crazy, MEP, FARO, BIM, Revit, as-built, et cetera, so Paul is a subject matter expert on all of this stuff. So excited to have Paul on the show. Paul, let's talk a little bit, before we jump into the topic and cover this, let's just talk a little bit about you because I'm really excited about even just your credentials. You're teaching a class on lynda.com/linkedinlearning?
- Yes, yeah, yep, that's been a lot of fun. LinkedIn, I was speaking at a virtual reality meetup and showed some Matterport and showed some photogrammetry, models that we have been making, drones, and so forth, and I was headhunted a little bit, and they said, "Would you like to teach for LinkedIn?"
And I said absolutely, yes, so it's just a great environment. So I've been able to get the message out of how to use some of these tools. The tools are transforming so quickly. Every six months there's a brand-new innovation, at least, sometimes every month. And so my thinking is, is there's no sort of hold on the data.
There's no reason to keep it safe and sort as trade secret because if somebody given enough time can learn it themselves, I just wanna fast-track that for them because that's how I learned. There's a lot of generous people on YouTube and different places that I was able to learn from to do a lot of this stuff, and I'm always learning, so it's a really neat environment to sort of give and trade information between service providers and software companies and things like that.
- And the title of your class, Matterport 3D Scanning and Visualization, so you can find that on lynda.com, L-Y-N-D-A .com, or on the LinkedIn learning classes. And why don't you talk a little bit about what you do with your business? You're the founder, CEO of ToPa 3D, based in Portland, Oregon. What's the specialties and some of the things that you do, so that we have context for today's show?
- What we do is reality capture. So the concept there, which is a big buzzword with Autodesk communities and all that sort of thing is we use sensors or 3D scanners, drones, any kind of, sort of, visual capture device to document spaces and places. So the thing that separates a photographer or a drone pilot or these types of people apart from people in this industry is that we capture data that is measurable.
So, we're creating a space in 3D, we're doing it with measurable data, so we're using infra-red sensors, like on the Matterport camera, or using GPS sensors on the drones to geo-tag the images to make accurate models to some degree or we're using control points from surveyors out there in the field to line up all this data.
So, reality capture is a pretty big, sort of, bandwidth technology, but at the end of the day, it's using anything from a smartphone to a several thousand dollar scanner to capture a space so that somebody can use that to make a decision or to understand something in a way that is difficult to do without some sort of context, you know, like either physically walking into space or something, so this is just a really amazing tool and we find a need for in a lot of different markets, including probably primarily the AEC market.
- Mm hmm. And so folks in the AEC space would either engage you as to capture reality, as a consultant, and then maybe there's others that engage you for running workshops, training, even universities, nonprofits, et cetera.
- Yeah, that's right. So, I've had to run the gambit in this industry quite a bit. I've seen a lot of different venues who are interested in the technology. I sort of started doing historic preservation work with 3D scanning using a FARO scanner with photon, and I learned a lot about historic preservation and what they're after, and at the end of the day, designer or some people like this, they want see it but they also wanna do something with it.
Very few people just wanna have a visual unless they're maybe a real estate agent or something like that, so I started with historic preservationists and nonprofits. I did a lot of pro bono work just to sort of market and drive the industry, working the technology. And I did a lot of presentations with that.
I was doing some animations with Point Clouds, which is a data type that's generated from either 3D scanners or from photos, like from the Matterport scanner, and so doing some creative things like that, and that sent me to the Bentley Be Inspired competition in Amsterdam, and our company won first place to show how we could use Mattertags or, excuse me, I want to say Matterport, but using scanners or point ground data to visualize spaces in a very fast and multimedia sort of way, using animations and things, and they had never seen that.
So that was kind of a turning point for me, winning that award with the team. Our team collected the data, and I processed some of it. I did a lot of the animation work, so it was a team effort. But what happened after that is we were invited to speak at conferences about Point Cloud data and scanning and all things reality capture.
So, I started traveling. That was back in 2012, I guess it was. And from that point on, I was connected with new people, people in the real estate industry. I was connected with University of Oregon, various schools, Oregon State, and I did some co-teaching at the master's level for historic preservationists to expose them to the technology with Dr. Lauren Allsop who is architectural conservator who's based out of Scottsdale, Arizona.
She was amazing to work with. Still is. She did some conservatory work on the Titanic, and so she has some really neat credentials and exposure to different technologies as well. So, I guess moving through this industry I've been exposed to a lot of different 3D tech, and now the big thing is virtual reality and augmented reality, and Project Tango is kind of moving towards AR kits and these different development options.
And at the end of the day, what people really wanted is a way to see and visualize this data and work with it, but in a lightweight fashion. So, just backing up a little bit, talking about the trend of the industry, it started with this 3D scan data that was really large data files, several gigabytes. Most of the software on the market, CAD software, couldn't really handle it, so you'd get crashes. The little Windows icon would just spin and spin and spin, and you were hoping that it's gonna kick in but it never does.
So it was really disappointing because we had this really great hardware, but the software hadn't caught up to it yet. And one of the things you could do with scan data back eight, nine years ago is you could make little virtual tours, but there was really no way to host it, and unless you had a sort of super computer, nobody could really use it. So the historic preservationists were, didn't usually have the technology readily available to be able to even work with the data or figure it out. So then we had to learn how to convert it into something that made sense for them, like into a CAD drawing, a simple 2D CAD drawing.
Like we're taking this massive amount of useful data and we have to dumb it down into something that's so simple, but it almost seems like a waste of money and time, you know, because of the deliverable. You could almost do the same thing with a laser meter. Just cost a couple hundred dollars at club Costco or something.
So, but eventually the software started catching up and the algorithms got more powerful and the visualization, renderage, engines, and so forth started becoming pretty robust. And then, handful of years ago, Matterport came on board. And I was watching I think a Redfin advertisement on television, and I saw, you know, it didn't even talk really about it. It was just going in the background, but it was a dollhouse, and it was spinning around, and they're like, "Contact us today to buy a home," or something.
And I was just fascinated with, what is that technology that they're using on this commercial, and it was Matterport. So when we learned what it was, we started hunting down ways to get ahold of one of these cameras.
We ended up buying one, and we started using it and learning how it works. And it works very similar to the scanners we were using, but the really great part about it was, is everybody knows from watching this probably, is that it just made it so simple to use on an iPad or even a smartphone. It totally democratized 3D modeling so everybody could get access to it and really, really understand space. And in that way it was a game-changer.
I mean, what we've seen is that some of these scanning companies are trying to find ways to make their data smaller so that it can fit onto this kind of platform, so now enter the Leica BLK360 from, you know, and potentially the RTC360, the new Leica scanner coming out, is looking at having integration into the Matterport Capture app because they understand that people really do wanna see their spaces in a way that's intuitive and simple so they can make decisions. So it's just been a really amazing evolution of how this all came about.
- Yeah, it's very exciting. I think maybe it's almost like two railroads crossing the country here. Here you have maybe a low-end scanner, Matterport, that is really about the, has been about the photography, then over here you have these LiDARs, really expensive things that have always been about the data.
Now the data cameras have the photography and the photography has the data, and somehow they're kind of coming together, and it's blurring in terms of what these different technologies are and how they get used, which I actually think probably brings us to this AEC space is to say, oh, okay, because you've been...
You have the benefit of maybe being bilingual or trilingual that you are. You speak the AEC world; you speak the Matterport world. Now they're all kind of blended together. If I'm a Matterport Service Provider and I keep hearing these initials AEC, what are the opportunities for making, how do I make money in the AEC world?
And I thought maybe we'd just start with maybe go through each of the stakeholders and what problem that Matterport solves for them.
- Yeah, sure, there's actually a developing laundry list of that, you know, there's... So because I came from this terrestrial, high-end, LiDAR 3D laser scanning sort of process, we learned that the AEC, or the architecture, engineering, and construction industries, they have a need to have a measurement on as-builts, is what they call it, or some have said as-is. Ken Smerz, I think, might have coined that from Eco3d--
- Maybe what we do, because I think there's a lot of terminology in this space, if we're newbie to this AEC space and you tell me as-built, I gotta stop you and say, "What is an as-built?" What is that?
- Yeah, sure.
- And it's important to understand that.
- Absolutely, yeah, an as-built is essentially an architectural drawing that represents the space as it is today.
So when an architect or somebody goes into a space, they usually and historically would hand-measure everything or use laser meters or something to get accurate dimensions of that space, you know, ceilings, floors, walls, and even pipes, like documenting where the pipes, or what we call the MEP systems, are, the mechanical systems, like the HVAC units that carry air, the electrical systems, all the conduits that pull the electrical, and the plumbing systems, where all the pipes are for that.
So they need to know where all that stuff is because a designer is gonna remodel a space, which is the primary need for as-builts in most contexts for construction, is they need to know where things are so they can plan what they can leave behind, what's still in good shape, and what they have to rack out, and what they end up destroying or pulling out of the building, how that's gonna affect other systems. So they just need to know where everything is so they can plan how they're going to redesign that space and use kind of what's left of it when they're done.
- So if I'm hearing you correctly, that building that's about to go under renovation, you might say, "Well, let's just go back "to the CAD file for that building," and I think I wanna say probably the answer is, well, many buildings don't have CAD files.
- And even if they did, it probably changed since the time the building was originally--
- That's the problem.
- That's the problem. What they call the as-built documents or the existing architectural drawings that they have are not truly as-built most of the time.
And, like you said, they may not exist. So, especially historical buildings that we're going to renovate, which they're doing a lot of on our university campuses here at Oregon because they're historic brick buildings and the exterior's nice but the interior needs a revamp, you know? So, the drawings, sometimes these buildings have been remodeled many, many times over the years, and some of the buildings are a hundred years old.
And so the drawings may or may not reflect what's really there, so, and another thing to point out is these MEP, or mechanical, electrical, plumbing systems, that make a building breathe, you know, keep it alive. Those systems are obviously complicated because you have pipes going in all kinds of directions. But they're also plentiful, like you can have mechanical rooms full of pipes and coolers and heaters and boilers and all this stuff, and it can be sort of a spiderweb of geometry, as we might say.
And so hand-measuring all that and trying to figure out exactly where that's at and how high it is from the walls so they can fit something else in there, like a new product or a new pipe or something, it takes a long time and there's a lot of human error that can come into that. So, enter the world of reality capture or 3D laser scanning, you know? Because a scanner, like Matterport, it can create a full 3D representation relatively accurately of a space in just a minute or two. Now the Matterport cameras are down to seconds with the new firmware.
So, this is just a really awesome way to get data in the field. But, the trick is, is getting that data to the client so they can use it for something. So that kind of seques us into this new part of taking the existing data in the field that we collect with these scanners, like Matterport, and we convert it into something that can be used by the client.
In some ways, Matterport helps with that too because they kind of have an end-to-end system where they capture and show the data in their own cloud software that you can actually take some measurements from, and you can also download some assets, which we can talk about a little bit later, and use those for AEC applications.
- Okay, so we'll talk about MatterPak a little bit down the road, but I think, just really to identify the stakeholder and the problem and the first problem is for anyone who's involved in this project is there's no existing as-built means. The architect has to come in, measure, measure, measure, measure, take pictures, pictures, pictures, reconstruct this space because in this world today, we operate in 3D modeling.
- And this can take weeks.
- Weeks, weeks. So the problem that a Matterport photographer, a Matterport Service Provider can solve is literally within a day or two turn around what used to take weeks for an architect to reconstruct. So, and I would imagine that that is both time and money.
- Absolutely, you know, thousands of dollars. The thing about when we talk about saving time and money and we talk about use cases of this, yes, in this case, two things that are really important for renovation with Matterport is that they get this visualization so they can understand the space, just understand the space, that spatially they can see it.
And they can pass that information to all the stakeholders or all the subcontractors, even the painters and the carpet layers, who are going to be working on that space, and so they all understand the space very quickly and what might need to be done, and so it's also a bidding tool. It's a tool they can use to actually make a bid on a project because they can take rough measurements of that space. Now the second thing I wanna bring up to that point of rough measurement is that Matterport has an accuracy of about 97% to 99%. I've seen up to 3% margins of error in Matterport when we stitch the scans together.
And that's important to really recognize because most of the time, it is about 1%, as they say on the website, but sometimes it's more than that, especially for really large spaces or spaces where there's not a lot of connection, like you're going around a building and you try to loop on itself. Sometimes that, you won't even really perceive that error, but when you put it into a CAD model, it'll become clear what's wrong, you know, a square CAD model, for example. So, knowing that, knowing your tools, knowing your equipment and how accurate it is can help drive you into the industry and sell the tool correctly, you know.
We have ran into situations where we thought Matterport would be a good tool for the job, and the accuracy wasn't really where they needed it to be. We hoped it would be, but it wasn't, in the early days. So we had to redo the data with a terrestrial scanner, and re-shoot the whole thing, so that's another time waste on our end. So it's really important when you're going into these use cases, which I'll talk about a few more, but in this case, like for renovations, to really ask how accurate do you need the data, and if they're telling you an eighth of an inch or a quarter of an inch, you need to move to a different system, you know.
But if they say, "One to two inches is fine. "We just need to know the space," the Matterport could be a really, really great option for you.
- Comment on this. What I usually tell people when they say how accurate it is, I generally will say Matterport is good enough for an architect that wants to sketch out ideas of an existing space, and so it's an easy, fast, and quick way to get the underlying 3D model, the as-is, to build on top of that to sketch out. Then, the data is good enough for quoting on projects.
So if you're asking subcontractors the bid on the flooring, the measurements are probably good enough to how much floor covering, how much wall covering, how much paint, et cetera. But if you're going to need, trying to fit some pipes together, then it's probably not the right solution. And if you're cutting glass based on this, don't do that. If you're trying to... But generally the trades do their own measurements anyway, regardless of who does the measurements.
- Sure, sure.
- So, what would be an example, can you give just one more example of something where you need the precision in AEC where it would be obvious that Matterport would not be the right solution, so don't go there?
- Yeah, to document MEP systems, you know, one of the architects for the designers need one or two inches of clearance in their design.
You know, those kinds of applications, that really tight precision, not a good choice. Also because Matterport doesn't return data on black objects very well, like black pipes, and a lot of plumbing and stuff is black by nature. It's wrapped in something, and so you just may...
Or even areas where there's a lot of reflective surfaces like a data center-type situation, like a silicon weight or manufacturing facility, where there's a lot of shiny objects, like everything's a mirror almost. Not such a good plan either. Even regular scanners struggle with that, so thinking about accuracy and thinking about the type of materials you're gonna run into in that environment can drive that decision as well. You know, it was really designed as a real estate tool, and they found that it actually could be used as an AEC tool.
So the AEC community is vetting that for different use cases, and as I mentioned, those are kind of what you want. But like you said, if it's a rough-in that they need rough measurements, if it's a pretty opaque surface, you know, like just regular paint, things like that. It's not shiny, not too black. And the precision is within inches, not millimeters, then you're probably okay to try it out. Also, the thing you wanna think about, last thing on that, is security.
So, a lot of AEC jobs have a high degree of security required to work on that job. You have to sign a nondisclosure agreement and all of that and carry a whole ton of insurance. So we could talk a little bit about the business model of Matterport for AEC in a little bit, but the idea there is that you just have to kind of know what you're getting into with that environment, and Matterport hosts the data on the cloud, and not every contractor's gonna be savvy to that, you know?
Some clients or owners of buildings don't want their stuff out in wild west that anybody can look at. And Matterport doesn't have a local solution yet.
- Yeah, I think if I'm a Matterport Service Provider and I'm scratching my head wondering who I could talk to that's AEC, architect, engineer, construction, I'm probably not gonna go after the CIA, the NSA, the FBI, the military, and there's probably some commercial construction where the buildings are 50,000 square feet, 25,000 square feet, and maybe a lot of these issues related to security and cloud maybe become non-issues.
- The architect or even the general contractor's looking for ways to say, or the client, how can I get to as-built as fast as possible, the as-built drawings, the as-built CAD, how can I get to that as fast as possible at the least amount expense, and also I think maybe be a little bit more accurate than even an architect coming out and measuring, because I'm gonna guess, correct me if I'm wrong, but if you have all these odd shapes in a building, you can't possibly measure every, so you're gonna take key measurements and you're just gonna smooth out that line and say, you know, this wall goes this way and I'm not gonna measure every... You know, I'm just gonna say, oh, straight line and I'll note it on the drawing, right?
- That's right.
- Where Matterport's actually gonna capture all the, whatever the right word would be, the undulations of that space.
- Yes, yes.
- So anyway, so that's kind of architect. Let's go into maybe who else is a stakeholder here. What problem do you solve for them?
- Yeah, so, we do find that hospitals have been a really great client of ours because hospitals do remodels all the time. And so, as in the AEC environment, we just finished up two really large hospitals. We did one that was 75,000 square feet and another one that was over 160,000 square feet, you know? And we had two Matterport cameras going at the same time on two different floors, and we're pushing out these massive models with 500-plus scans.
We probably did 5,000 scans over the period of a week with Matterport, so we really pushed the limits of it. And I think that is something that you should consider if you're gonna be in the AEC industry, is that these spaces are typically gonna be pretty large if you're gonna go into commercial scanning. But Matterport can handle between 200 to 500 scans pretty well. I even heard that one guy got a thousand scans to process to the cloud. Although, sometimes that may or may not work, but--
- I'm imagining that you did this, treated each floor as a separate Matterport scan.
- Yeah, and then we linked them together with a MatterTags. So the MatterTags are a really handy tool because you can put the link of one model in the tag and it will show a thumbnail, a movable thumbnail, of the other Matterport model inside of that view. So you can jump between floors.
As we get to the end of a corridor, we just have the MatterTag sitting there and then they can jump to the next floor up the stairs through that tag, right?
- Great. That is really actionable information. That's really awesome, yeah.
- It's really neat, yeah. We found some creative, we also did some PDFs, an overview map of all the floors sort of stitched together using Photoshop and made a PDF and linked that. We host it on our Amazon server, Amazon web server, Amazon S3, and then we link it from Amazon to Matterport and they can see the PDF map show up on a MatterTag as they first enter the space and say, "Oh, where am I?"
And we have it highlighted in blue where they're located on that map. So, just these little ways of creatively linking models together so that people can feel like they're going to stay in the experience as they navigate that space, rather than having to jump out, go to a web browser, jump back in. We try to keep them in there.
- On the 160,000 square feet, how many square feet per floor did that work out to about?
- I think it was about 40,000-ish.
- 40,000. And did you feel that that was pushing the limit of 40,000, 500 scans?
- You know, what happens, what we found in the app is that we started getting some drift and the corners started bending, especially long corridors. And so we would back up, delete the scans, and then try to scan again to try to get a better connection, and we never really could completely get rid of that, but when we processed it in the cloud, it actually straightened out. So we got lucky, I think, because there's no prediction on how that's gonna work.
But, you know, in this case, like I mentioned, the accuracy, if I've measured end to end of that large building, it's probably not that great because it's so many scans and who knows where that drift is happening in the data.
But it gave them a really great context of all these, there were hundreds of rooms and labs and clinic rooms and things like this, and they really loved it because they sent that out to all their subcontractors of like estimating paint, estimating flooring, estimating all these kinds of things that need to be done to that building and just invaluable because otherwise they'd have to try to get a Revit model, which Revit is architectural modeling software that's made by Autodesk, and it's a standard for the most part in North America and some would arguably say in the world to create 3D models for architects, because these models that are built inside of this Revit platform from Autodesk have, what they call, intelligence or metadata that's attached to each of those model components.
So a wall, if you click on a wall, it'll tell you all about that wall, if it's gypsum, who made it, when it was made, all that stuff. And, so it's a really amazing design platform and it's kind of database-driven, but it's got visual as well.
So what they typically would do is they try to hand-measure the whole space, and then they try to build this Revit model if they're, because there probably wasn't one already created. They just had architectural drawings. So they had to re-create a model from the drawing, which takes weeks, and then they would have to somehow give that to subcontractors who hope the subs actually use Revit, and if they don't, then they have to convert it to a CAD file to try to get them to use it and make sure it's in the right version, and, I mean, it's just an ongoing thing. Short of getting people all in the same room or looking at the same screen on a webinar, it's difficult to share that information. But Matterport totally democratized that.
And I gave everybody permissions to that Matterport job on the cloud. I made'em collaborators so that everybody could go in as an editor that, the Matter. I mean, we only had about six editors and the rest were viewers. But they could go in and take their measurements and figure out what they needed to do and tag it up and send links to other people.
We actually linked it to box.com. We took photos of all of the outlets and some other things that was important for the job, and we linked those photos to MatterTags inside the model so they could see what the camera didn't catch, you know, what the Matterport camera didn't catch. They could see details from our smartphone photos. So that's another thing you can do is you can link external data to this thing to make it more intelligent. And that was really useful. To your question, other industries that we've--
- Well, let's stay on hospital for the moment.
- Yeah, okay, that sounds good.
- I'm not asking for a name of an individual, but who's the client at a hospital? Is it the architect? Is it the general contractor? Is it the owner?
- The owner.
- It's the owner of the hospital? Great. So what problem are you solving for the owner of the hospital?
- They just want their remodel done so they can get new equipment in quicker, faster, smarter, cheaper, you know? And, so I was approached by two different general contractors who won two different hospitals, so we did two different projects in two different states. But the idea there was they wanted a way to share the data and to understand the space, and they wanted a way to take enough measurements and--
- "They" meaning the general contractor or "they" meaning the owner of the hospital?
- Well, it's a collaboration, so the owner says, "This is what we need done," and the general contractor decides how they're going to do that. And then the general contractor decides who's going to work on that project, and as far as all the subcontractors, and then they've made a decision like, well, we should 3D scan this whole space because they already knew 3D scanning is a great technology. But then, you know, so we offer two costs.
We offer the cost for the 3D scanning from the LiDAR and then the Matterport, and the cost was quite a bit different, right? So, Matterport was probably a quarter of what the laser scanning would have been. So it's a really... For them, it made a lot of sense. It still was a good paycheck for everybody involved. No problem there. Totally movable. Somebody had a business doing this, very--
- Let me stay on the owner. I wanna follow up on this. So, would the owner of the hospitals say to the general contractor, "Go pay for a scan. "We would like to have that. "It's going to be helpful to us," or is the hospital saying, "Mm, we're gonna go ask "three architects to bid on this project "and we want to hand them the 3D model, "the as-built, along with the data," so that they're not trying to re-create the world even to quote on a project?
- You know, it depends on the client. Some clients want to be owners, really want to be involved in the project and they have a plan on how they want to accomplish that project. And sometimes the owner says, "I don't care how you do it. "This is what we need done. "Figure it out." And so I've been approached by both an owner's rep and by the general contractor and by the architect, and often times when I teach them what the technology can do and what it can't do, then they'll take that information back, I'll write a proposal, and I'll say, "This is what you get. "This is the accuracy. "This is a sample of what it would look like."
I send them a link to my Matterport model of something, and then they take it to the owner and they get the owner's buy-in, which is a stakeholder, right? The owner says, "Oh, that's cool technology." "That could serve us in a lot of different ways," and, "Will it meet the goals of the project?" And the GC will say, or the general contractor will say, "Yes, it will." "Great, we'll pay for that." So then it's approved in the budget.
Then they say, "When can you start?" And that's when I get to go to the field with my crew and start the deal. But sometimes, but that's a bit of a moving target when you ask about that because it depends. Again, some owner's reps or owners will understand the tech and understand what, they may even have other uses for. Sometimes they even just use it for marketing to show a before and after. So they say, "We want you to scan now, "and then we want you to come back in a year "and scan it again."
- So certainly the architect would probably be way interested in that, to be able to say the before and after, particularly if they're quoting on new projects where somebody's not even going to be in town to visit work that they've done. The general contractor may wanna be able to have people walk through projects that they've done. I want to go back to the owner, though, and I love that it's a moving target because it can happen anywhere.
So, from an owner's perspective or the owner's rep, they may wanna have Matterport done even before they talk to the architect, even before they talk to a general contractor.
- Right, yeah, that's right. And I have had that.
- So that would be a stakeholder that has a problem, which is we're gonna go put this out on bid with three different architects, five different architects, and we don't want them all showing up with laser measurers and taking pictures and reconstructing the space, only to come back with a proposal. We wanna fast-track them to have an as-built for doing their sketches and their proposals for us.
- Yeah, and it depends on how the owner's rep or the owner is staffed up too. So, we worked with Metro for a short time, which is in Portland, and they're in charge of the convention center and the Rose Garden Arena, the Moda Center, where they have basketball games and all these different properties that are really high value.
And they actually learned about Matterport because they had their own little kind of technology team and marketing team on staff already. So they figured out what they wanted before they even looked at a general contractor or somebody to help them with this project. And so they wrote the proposal to mandate basically Matterport into the project, but they didn't call it Matterport.
They just said, "We want to have a 3D model "of the space that can be shared on the web," and they basically wrote every spec possible that matched the language of Matterport, but they didn't say Matterport, because they said, "We want everything that does, "but we can't call it that because we have to say," they have some policy where they're not allowed to say, "You can only use this specific "technology to get to a goal." They say, "This is the goal, "and this is exactly what we want it to look like," but if there's other technologies that do it, then that's fine. So that was another way that it's come across our field.
- Yeah, I mean that's so helpful because and now if you're a Matterport service provider and you have the opportunity to talk to the owner and be able to have this, your specs for what you do written into the requirements for the general contractor, that sounds way cool. Let's move over to the general contractor. Why does a general contractor want a Matterport scan?
- Well, like I mentioned before, they wanna be able to share it with their subcontractors so that they all know what's going on, but they also wanna use it for planning. So one project we did called Bean Hall down in University of Oregon, they had all these piping systems in this historic dormitory. But they needed to save some and remove some.
So I asked them to hang little colored ribbons, coded ribbons. I said I couldn't probably read text on'em, but I could see color, and hang them like green is destroy, red is keep, or however engineers like to do that is kind of reversed, and so we went through and scanned it with the Matterport and then they were easily able to see remotely what needs to be done, and so they were making changes to their design models based off the Matterport model to some degree. We also 3D laser scanned it with a FARO scanner, and that's where we did that Cloud Compare analysis where we compared the terrestrial laser scan data to a Matterport and saw how those match up, as far as accuracy goes, and I did a little YouTube video on that comparison, which has had I think 20,000 hits or something.
- What was your conclusion? Your YouTube channel is?
- It's just ToPa 3D YouTube.
- Okay, so that's Tom, Oscar, Paul, Alice, YouTube channel, ToPa?
- 3D. That's two words. ToPa is one word, and then 3D. ToPa 3D.
- Yeah, all runs together on the YouTube. If you type ToPa 3D YouTube, you'll find it.
- ToPa 3D, and then you can see that. Give us the short answer. How did Matterport compare to a LiDAR scanner?
- So, the short answer is it's not as robust. It didn't pick up reflective surfaces very well or the dark pipes at all, in some cases. But what it did do is in small rooms, it was almost just as accurate. It was within a quarter to a half of an inch, where the Matterport scanner didn't have a lot of room to move around, we might have gotten 10 scans, it was very accurate in a sort of a cube room.
But when you stretch that Matterport scanner over the length of a building that was almost the size of a football field, you know, it kind of drifted and you saw that there was some inaccuracies on one end to the other. So they never could fully line up to the FARO scans.
- Are there some industry standards of how people refer to accuracy in the AEC space?
- We call it measurable precision. We call it tolerance. You know, what's your tolerance of a project? And a lot of them will say, surveyors will say two hundredths, which means two hundredths of an inch typically. But they'll just throw out a decimal. And an architect will say an eighth of an inch, you know? And like a general contractor can be somewhere like millimeters or a quarter of an inch. They talk like architects, so depending on who you talk to, but you need to be able to say, "How accurate do you need the data?" Some version of that when you're asking to work on a job like that.
- Level Of Details. So, Level of Detail is a modeling term in BIM industries. So BIM stands for Building Information Modeling. Some have said Building Information Management. But the idea there is it's a building and it's a model, and in between is information. So that's where that Revit modeling comes in. But it's much more than that.
The information they need to know is schedule and all these other sort of analytics that go into a project. So, BIM is really a process, coordinating multiple subcontractors, designing how the building's going to fit together with all the different systems, and when they do the coordination before the project even breaks down, they're verifying that this pipe isn't hitting this pipe in the 3D model, and that somebody moves their pipe so that once--
- Is there a name for that?
- Well, they call it coordination or they could call it clash detective or clash detection in the industry because that's a tool that's built into the primary software that uses that called--
- So who would know? When someone creates a BIM model of what's supposed to be built on top of the as-built, that while somebody's building, it creates a conflict with maybe the electrical, the plumbing, where... And the words often are used is clash detection.
- Clash detection or clash detective. So the way this works typically is a reality capture service provider will go scan a space with some kind of scanner, even a Matterport, and then, this might be a good segue into MatterPaks, but then you can take that data and superimpose it on the 3D model in Revit or Navisworks or CAD and see what's really there with the scans and what is there in the design and then they'll, so the designers will then move their model to match the Point Cloud.
They'll nudge it over and move those 3D components to match the actual as-built conditions, and then they can start their coordination process. That's the ideal.
- I don't understand how that's done. I shoot Matterport and I get a 3D tour. How do you do clash detection with--
- Yeah, yeah, so the really great thing that Matterport has done is they also pull out a Point Cloud from the scans and the photos that are taken from the Matterport camera. And they bundle it. It was a beta program, but now they're bundling it into what's called a MatterPak, which is $49 per model.
And the MatterPak contains in it a Point Cloud, and you can download it. As soon as your model's processed, it's immediately available for download. But when you do it, you have to pay through your subscription, right? So, for $49 you download it.
You'll get a reflected ceiling plan, which is like a photo snapshot of the entire ceiling of the entire building in one photo, like an image, right? And that's good for architects to know where all the lights are so they can determine where all those lights are and other ceiling sort of information. It's like a map of the ceiling, reflected ceiling plan.
And then you'll also get a floor plan, and that's different from the schematic floor plans that you can download separately on the Matterport website. This is actually a, these ceiling plans and floor plans are actually generated from the Point Cloud. And then you also get a XYZ file.
It's called cloud.xyz, and you get an object file as well, which is a 3D mesh model with all the textures that we can pull into like visualization software, like Blender Game Engine or 3D Studio Max or Maya or something like that. But, the Point Cloud, the XYZ, and those two plans, those are really valuable for AEC. So the Point Cloud is something.
They give you the most basic form of the Point Cloud. It just has the XYZ coordinates of every point. So what they're doing is they're generating a point model from the mesh model that was created from the Matterport camera. What we see when we're looking at the mesh model on the Matterport cloud is not as high a resolution as what's originally generated. We get kind of a, I guess a dumbed down version of that model when we see it, but the actual model is actually very, very high resolution and it's picking up very sharp corners and edges and it's not really bubbly like you'll see when you're looking at the mesh on the dollhouse view, for example.
- Excuse me, you mentioned earlier that the architect standards seems to be working in AutoCAD, Revit. Matterport's providing a .xyz file. Can that .xyz file be imported into our Revit, .rvt--
- Yeah, so--
- an RVT file?
- Yeah, that's right. So there's a conversion process. So when you take that XYZ cloud file from the MatterPak, you can import that into software that Autodesk makes called ReCap. It's free, and you can download it from the autodesk.com website. And you just drag and drop that XYZ file in there and it converts it into what's called an RCP file, or an RCS file with an RCP file as well.
All that means, RCS is a recap scan. RCP is recap project file. Anyway, those work in tandem. So you convert it into this format called ReCap, and then that works, that ReCap file is now a Point Cloud that can talk to all Autodesk software. So you can import that Point Cloud now into Revit, into Navisworks, into AutoCAD, into lots of different platforms on--
- And then once you've imported it, then you can save it as a Revit file, for example.
- You can embed it, but it actually is kind of like a link, an external link you sort of, the best practice is to link it to the model. You just link it there, and then you can move it into place and then you can perform that deviation detection between the model and the actual Point Cloud.
- Okay, so remember, I'm a Matterport Service Provider, I'm a newbie, I got my camera, I'm hearing these words for the first time, so when the architect says, "Can you give me a Revit file?" the answer is I can give you a cloud.xyz file that you can bring into Autodesk ReCap, and then from ReCap, open Revit and point to the ReCap file.
So there is an interim step of going from Matterport to Revit, and there is a path. You just need to know some of the lingo here, which is the architect's going to ask you the question, you know, "Can you give me a Revit file?" and before you say no, the answer is, I can give you a file that can be imported into ReCap so that you can use it within your Revit platform.
- That's right. To some degree, that's true. So, can you give me a Revit model? If they say that, you can say, "Well, we can give you a Point Cloud, "which you can visualize in Revit," but the modeling part, what they're asking for is actually a vector model rather than a point model. That's gonna take some work. You have to actually create that and trace the Point Cloud position.
- Uh huh. Do you know any companies that would provide that service?
- Well we do. We're one, but there's many.
- Stop there, stop there. So that's topa3d.com. T-O-P-A 3D .com. So if you get stuck and someone says, "No, I need a vector file," and you're scratching your head, "Well how do I convert to a vector file?" you send Paul an email, call Paul, send up a smoke signal, and he can provide the interim solution of that file conversion, yeah?
- Yes, or teach you how to convert it to, at the very least, to something that other CAD platforms can talk to.
- Okay, but I'm gonna assume that I'm a Matterport Service Provider. I bought the camera because I like the fact that I can take pictures. The fact that there's this thing called MatterPak, M-A-T-T-E-R-P-A-K, scares me because I have no idea what this reflected ceiling and this thing at the bottom and this XYZ, but if I just know enough words that if the architect's asking for a Revit file or is asking for a ReCap file or asking for a vector file, the answer is one way or another, you can provide what they need. If may cost you some money to engage Paul to either, ToPa 3D, to either do the conversion for you or to provide consulting services to you to help you make that sale because Paul knows the lingo to help you through that critical point.
- Yeah, and the process of how to take it from downloading the MatterPak and, yeah, and how to feed it to the AEC industry and know what they're asking for and know the path to get there.
- Okay, got it. So is there anything else in that MatterPak that matters?
- You know, that's the most important pieces is the, in the object file, like you can take that object file and you can drag and drop it into Unity game engine, you know, or Unity visualization, so you can do VR with it. So I've actually been able, in my LinkedIn learning course on Matterport, I show how you can actually take Matterport data object files from that MatterPak and pull it into Unity and texturize it and then view it in VR and create your own video game around it if you want to. I didn't go that deep, but I--
- For the purpose of today's topic, though, on the show, somebody in the AEC space, if you told them you had a .obj file, an object file, it would make their eyes glaze over and they'd have no idea what to do with it?
- Not necessarily. A lot of people in the AEC space understand models of different kinds. But I think they'd be more interested in the Point Cloud.
- Great, okay.
- That would be what matters.
- That's what matters about the MatterPak is the XYZ files. So let's just go back to general contractor for a moment because it's such, I want to say that's where the money is. The general contractor has a lot of money.
- So the question is, I'm going to start with, how do you help the general contractor save money? Main point, how do you help a general contractor save money?
- Creating the as-builts. That's the shortest answer I can say is going out and creating those as-builts for them. In other words, making a map of the existing, a 3D map of the existing space, and if their accuracy, if their tolerance is a couple of inches or worse, then that's a perfect storm for Matterports.
It's the perfect place to use a Matterport camera. If it passes security, as far as cloud protocols, if the accuracy isn't too tight. You know, a millimeter is a little too tight for Matterport. And the third thing is you need to have insurance.
So you need to be able to get into a project site. So every single project site requires a service provider to carry umbrella insurance and liability, some type of professional liability insurance, a general liability, and oftentimes that starts at $1 million.
So, to be in the AEC space, to be able to play in that world and to do those projects, you have to know that you're gonna be wearing a hard hat, you're gonna be wearing safety boots, a safety vest, gloves, and safety glasses, full Personal Protective Equipment, PPE, and you'll have to have the proper insurance based on their needs. And that insurance is gonna cost you between $3,000 and $6,000 a year. So that's kind of the basic requirements to get into this industry.
- Now that seems, I know we carry, I want to say general liability insurance for $2 million, but I don't think our premium's anywhere close to $6,000. Is that related to commercial constructions scanning.
- versus a home scanning?
- Mm, interesting, okay. So the cost of entry can be quite large. Is it possible to be a sub for someone else that carries the insurance?
- An employee, but--
- An employee, but not as an independent contractor.
- Typically no. Almost everybody that comes off of that site as a subcontractor has a minimum insurance requirement, so you'll just need to look at that for the project.
- Okay, and I would imagine that one of the ways perhaps around that is to say, "Hello, ToPa 3D. "Are you able to engage and scan?" And so essentially I develop the business, but I bring somebody else in to do the actual scanning that has the appropriate insurance and also has the gear.
I realize the gear is not that much, but I guess we should say for a Matterport Service Provider, you're not going to be able to walk on the job site without that safety vest, that hard hat, the shoes, et cetera, and that comes out of your pocket, so you got to figure they're not loaning you a hard hat and a vest. You might, but you figure you got to buy some stuff. It's not going to cost you a lot, but you gotta buy it.
- Yeah, with the camera and the gear and the insurance all in, you're gonna look at $8,000 to $10,000 probably per year to get into this business. And so, which isn't too bad, I mean, it's $8,000 the first year and then the next year it's only going to be your insurance cost, which is, you know, you have the camera already.
- I think the other thing to keep in mind is you have to bid these projects higher because your overhead, you know? And these jobs often require you traveling quite a long distance. It's not just your neighborhood. It's going from state to state sometimes.
And to do this business seriously, I think you really need to consider raising your prices from real estate to construction. So we add on about 25% to 50% more to do the construction jobs than the real estate. Sometimes we've gone up to three times as much just because of the logistics to make that happen and to cover those expenses. And these projects can take more than just one day. They're not just in and out, like I mentioned. Some of these projects are quite large.
- When you did the hospital and let's say 160,000 square feet, could you do 20,000 square feet a day?
- Yeah, we were doing between 20,000 to 30,000 square feet in a day per camera.
- And so then you needed to do a calculation to say how many scan days is it going to take me, and then I imagine that you also figure that worst case you're not going to be allowed in to certain spaces at certain times and that you'd have to come back and re, you know.
- Yeah, this is really great. It's like you're reading the whole project scope. So what we ask for in the scope is we say this is how much time it's going to take. This is the cost based on what we think it'll take. But also, if we don't have building access, then we have the right to a change order. In other words, we can increase our cost if we can't get access, and that's exactly what happened. We didn't have access to the pharmacy because it was very secure and they had to have an escort.
Some of the closets were just locked. Nobody had a key. So we had to come back like three times.
And so we have to think about the per diem as well, you know? How much does it cost for meals, lodging, and incidentals to take that trip to go there and do this job and come back and so forth, mileage, whatever. So you have to take all that into consideration, but in your contract language, really make sure you point out that sort of disclaimer that says if we don't have access, then we have the right to raise our price to take care of that. Because you can start losing money very, very quickly on these large jobs, especially if you have an employee who's getting paid hourly or something that's going to have to stay out there another couple of days. If you don't have budget for that then you're going to eat it, so it's important to think about that.
- Tremendous. These tips are just, they're golden. Thank you for sharing these, Paul. Just awesome. I wanna go back to the general contractor, and I'm going to stick with as-builts. So the general contractor pain point is having an as-built for who are the other stakeholders that find an as-built helpful?
- So we've done a project for Building Forensics. There was construction going on next door to a building that had historical value, and they wanted to make sure that when that was happening their walls didn't get cracked or something because it's just some sort of unreinforced masonry brick. In any case, so they wanted, we Matterported the whole basement foundation area.
So they had kind of an unlimited amount of photos. All the brick work that was exposed down below. And they just use it as an insurance policy. We didn't actually really do anything except scan it and we just, and they want us to scan it again when the project's done so they can compare the images, you know? And some of those applications we can scan from the same position doing that over and over again so that we can kind of see roughly changes over time from that vantage point.
- Mm hmm.
- That's another sort of application that we ran into as well.
- So, do the electrical people find it helpful, the plumbing people, the mechanical, or they really care about the BIM and so it's the general contractor who cares about the clash detection among the trades?
- Right, the general contractor generally coordinates that clash detection and making sure that everybody who submits a model to the master model or, what they call in the industry, the Federated Model, like a star ship, the federated star ship, when they put all their models together and they have to make sure that they all fit. And sometimes they just smash into other ones and they have to figure that out before they start building the building because Revit has this capability of when you build the model, you can actually make 2D prints directly from the model, right? It creates sheets for architectural plans and sections and elevations directly from the model.
So the model needs to be accurate in how it's gonna get built, and then they distribute that data to all of the subcontractors to start building from. So, yes, the general contractor's concerned about that. I don't get a lot of calls from the trades, like the MEPs sort of folks or painters or carpenters. But I have got jobs where, for disputes to builders, like I said, forensics on that one case.
Another case, I worked with a client who multiple times we've been called in to scan a house, a residential, or even commercial, and show in 3D and also with the photos what the problems are with the structure. And they've actually used it in court and so they're able to see like hundreds of photos from all these different vantage points, whereas doing it with a camera is kind of tough unless you maybe have a 360 like a Ricoh Theta camera. This is just a much easier way because you can go from dollhouse and say, "I want to see that room," and dive right in, you know, of the dollhouse. And those sort of things just settle almost right away because they're like, "Well, we see everything. "There's kind of no dispute here," so that's the end of that stud to talk I know.
- Cool. Are you using Matterport for progress, construction progress documentation? Or no, no, really as-built. That's going to be Matterport's sweet spot.
- Well as-builts is good. The accuracy, though, for as-builts usually is tighter than what Matterport requires, so we have to be careful when we talk about as-builts in that a lot of times they need that eighth inch or quarter inch tolerance for as-builts, especially mechanical, electrical, plumbing as-builts.
- Would they do the scan twice, meaning let's do Matterport initially. That'll get the architect being able to sketch and design and propose, and then once we get going, we'll bring in the LiDAR scanner to actually do the heavy lifting.
- That is a possibility too. We've done both. We just finished a project where we scanned a tea house that's getting remodeled, and it's like three stories tall. It's pretty big. And they actually did that. They took out Point Clouds and they used it as a rough-in for the as-built. We actually scanned outside. We scanned just after dawn before the sun comes up, or before dawn, rather.
So there was ambient light, so we were able to scan the entire outside area with Matterport and it looked great. So there's some ways we've been able to trick it to do that kind of work. And we gave them the Point Clouds and they were able to work with some of that, although we had to re-scan the outside because there was some inaccuracies on the backyard, so we used a FARO scanner for the backyard on some of those areas.
- A FARO scanner is what?
- It's a terrestrial; it's a brand. It's a terrestrial scanner. It creates LiDAR data, very accurate LiDAR data.
- And LiDAR is?
- Point Clouds. It's light detection and ranging, sorry.
- Which means we call it a super high-end scanner?
- Super high-end scanner's a great word for it.
- And how much do these things cost?
- Well they range from about $20,000 to $150,000, depending on the type you want.
- Okay, so, it might actually pay to do Matterport first?
- And then before, because I would imagine if you're renting or owning a machine that cost $20,000 or $150,000, you're going to be charging a lot more, and therefore maybe the first phase of the project really isn't as-built for the architect to do the initial sketching. So if you get the owner, if you're lucky enough to get the owner, then they may very well go for the Matterport because it gets the process going for the architect.
- Totally to be designing, and then once the architect has selected a general contractor, I'm presuming the architect's done before the general contractor.
- Do they both get hired at the same time or not necessarily?
- Well the architect is a lot of times before the general contractor comes on board, yeah.
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|Part 2 of 2
- So, and the architect actually may be able to afford to do Matterport because it's replacing them sending people out to do the laser measure and take pictures and reconstruct the space. They don't necessarily want to pay for the LiDAR scanning.
- That's exactly right, and that's exactly the right application. You said it very well, Dan, is that in that pre-design or early design phases of the project, Matterport is where we get called in to do that kind of work because it's got rough-in, kind of measuring and understanding the space to do some preliminary assessment, to do kind of whether or not it's feasible, like a feasibility assessment to remodel this thing. Is there too much damage? It's just a really nice way to capture that space and understand it. And then exactly right.
When they're ready to go full on and get those accurate as-builts, then they'll switch over to the LiDAR, the light detection and ranging terrestrial laser scanners that are more high end to get that accuracy. But Matterport is a great tool in the toolbox that comes early in the phase. And sometimes it comes later too. It's hard to say, you know. It's not always predictable, but that is a little bit more predictable in the beginning, yeah.
- Well, I also hear you at the end. If I'm the architect and the project's done, I'd like to, I'm going to take 2D photos, is probably how it's been done to be able to show in a paper or portfolio or online, but now imagine you come back with Matterport and scan the entire finished project and the architect is able to show it off. I actually wonder, where's the money? So, if you scan the project at the end, is that something that the owner, the architect, and general contractor might share the cost in, because they all have a reason to have the finished product?
- Well what we get contracted to do is we get the full contract in the beginning and they break it in half. They say, "We'll need a scan at the beginning," and they've decided they need a scan at the end, and so we sign on to a contract. We'll say $6,000. And so we bill $3,000 when we're done with the first half, and then $3,000 when we're done a year later with the second half. So, that usually comes at least, in my experience so far, it all comes up front and that sort of dialogue. But we have had calls on the back end to have something that's been done already, because they just want to showcase it.
- Mm hmm.
- We did a furniture design store, and that was a really neat project because it was already done and they just wanted to showcase all of their wares, you know? So, that's another thing. So, I guess there's a lot of ways that you can look at it, but typically we've seen contracts come all at once and tell us how the whole plan's going to work all at the front end.
- Mm hmm. So, I think part of my takeaway, hearing you talk about owners, architects, general contractors, subs, that if you're lucky enough to get into the owner before the project moves to an architect, that's way cool because you either get scoped into the project or the owner just simply decides I'm going to go buy this because I'm gonna ask multiple architects to go do proposals for me.
And then second, maybe to be chasing after architects because the architects don't really necessarily care, excuse me, about the level of accuracy, level of detail. They care about, is it a 3D model that I can build on top of to propose a design?
- And the general contractor, that one may be a little bit of a challenge because their level of accuracy requirements at that point may be that they really do need the FARO, LiDAR scanner level of accuracy.
- Or Leica or Z+F. You know, there's a whole bunch of scanner models out there, but I will say that that's mostly true, but the general contractor also would want, like I said before, to share that data with their subcontractor's bid.
- Yeah, so, and that's way easier to share mat. So I think you even used the word democratization, that Matterport democratizes all the people to be able to, all the subs, to be able to view and measure because whether they're using an iPad or they're using a desktop or a laptop, you can look at Matterport running in its own 3D showcase player, as opposed to talking to the painter guy and if you said, "Hey, I want to send you a Revit file," they'd have no idea what you're talking about. All they know is they wanna come out and measure the walls to calculate. But now, you can give a Matterport, give them access as a Collaborator for them to do their own measurements without having to...
So it's democratization enabling the subs to be able to quote on a project without necessarily having everybody measure the same space over and over and over again.
- You know, and Matterport is about five times faster than the LiDAR terrestrial scanner. It's just so much faster. You're getting a 20, 30 second spins. Granted, you can only jump about five to eight feet between scans, but I've even jumped a little further and got away with it.
But if you're doing a space, you don't have to jump that far because it's so many rooms. You have to jump that way with a terrestrial scanner as well. So, speed is... To get through 160,000 square feet with all these rooms that we have, you know, in the speed that we did it, would not have been the case with a laser scanner. You know, it would have taken probably a couple weeks and a lot more cost, so it was just a really great, fast, inexpensive way to get some sort of mind wrapped around that space.
- Mm hmm.
- I want to say I'm really excited. Go ahead, I'm sorry.
- It's okay, it's all right. Go on, Paul.
- Well, I'm really excited because the object file and the Point Cloud and those things that are generated from Matterport from the MatterPak, there's a new software out there that's coming on the market full steam called Revizto, and Revizto is kind of like Navisworks software, which does that clash detection. It's like that combined with, it also has virtual reality functions where it can go into VR.
It's a really great kind of general contractor or construction-based software that can visualize BIM models intelligently. And it works on iPads and everything, but it also accepts object files, OBJs, meshes, and it accepts, it's going to be accepting Point Clouds in the near future, as far as I am told. So this will allow us to see in situations the model and the Matterport model sort of superimposed on each other in 3D space on an iPad for construction professionals, and I think that's... So Matterport really did a smart thing in that they made their data sort of inter-operable with all these systems. Even if the accuracy's not there, you still have some really important functionality.
- Yeah, that's awesome. It sounds like the Revizto is gonna add huge value to the MatterPak, to the Matterport MatterPak, as using that object file. I was going to ask you about facilities managers. Does that fit into any of your, the projects done, it's being turned over to whoever's managing that property. Does Matterport fit into that, any of the work that you've done?
- No, not really. I haven't, to be fair, that's not something I've done a lot of work with. Most of the work we've done for facilities managers, we've done some work with some government agencies. They're most interested in having a low-tech photography solution that just kind of documents what they have, and they want to be completely offline. A lot of them don't even have access to the internet while you're at work there.
- Got it.
- So Matterport's kind of off the table for some of the facilities managers clients we've seen. That's not to say that some more progressive facilities managers who do want cost solutions wouldn't be open to it.
- Mm hmm, all right. Paul, before we wrap up, I want to do, if you don't mind, a lightning round with you. I'm going to give you some jargon and you tell us what it means.
- I'll try .
- Request for Information.
- What is that?
- So it's like a proposal, but it comes from maybe a professional like an architect or a general contractor, and they want to know, can you provide, it's kind of, there's Requests For Information and there's RFQ, Request For Quote. But it's not a formal proposal. They're not saying we want you to bid on this necessarily, but we want to know what you're capable of, what this project might need.
It might be a document that goes out to ask for technical information on how to accomplish a project. It could just be a document that asks some sort of question about the existing projects. We need to know if this RFI is going to be resolved or not. Is this pipe supposed to be here or not? And then, whoever's responsible for that pipe needs to answer that question, you know? So it's just a Request For Information. It can be very broad.
- So if I'm a Matterport Service Provider, I call up the owner of the building and I say, "Hey, I got this thing that does 3D tours," blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and they say, "Great, we'll send you an RFI," we now know that they're not asking you for a quote. They're just kind of asking, kicking the tires a little bit to understand what it is that you're capable of doing.
- In that situation, that can very well be true.
- Okay, RFI. RCP?
- Well, RCP could be Reflected Ceiling Plan or it could be a ReCap file. So, Reflected Ceiling Plan is, like I talked about in the MatterPak, it's basically an ortho photo or all the Matterport images stitched together to make one full ceiling of the entire building we scan as like a map, a 2D map.
- That was going to be a trick question, and I got two different meanings, so let's go back into ReCap. ReCap is?
- RCP is the name of a file type, and ReCap is a conversion platform to take Matterport Point Clouds, in this case, and convert them into something that Autodesk software can use. You can also convert Matterport Point Clouds into Bentley software and other CAD platforms out there on the market. But ReCap is just really popular right now.
- Autodesk. They're the makers of AutoCAD. They're the makers of Revit architectural software. They're the makers of Navisworks. They're the makers of 3D Studio Max and Maya, which are animation software platforms they use for movies like Toy Story and things like that.
- My general contractor in the house today said, "Can you give me an Autodesk file?" How do I reply?
- You need to ask him "Do you want a CAD file, like a DWG?" Ask him what the extension of that file should be, DWG, RVT. Do you want Revit files, Navis files, a CAD file? Like what version of Autodesk do you want?
- Okay, great, so that's good. I got a pushback and get a little bit more detail about which program, which software, since Autodesk makes so many different packages, which Autodesk software he or she is using and what is the file extension, and it's going to have some three-digit letter like W, W, .dw...
- G file. I won't even ask what that stands for, but that's what you want to know. It's a DWG file or a .rvt file or .skp file. Push back, ask him what letters. Let's see, Civil 3D.
- So Civil 3D is an Autodesk software platform, and it's designed for civil design. It can take very large files. It can make topography maps. It can make contour lines. You can do section pads, volume calculations. You can do all kinds of things, anything that has to do with moving dirt, building roads, planting an entire project site with trees. All that kind of stuff is really kind of where Civil 3D shines.
- Cool. I want to ask you a bonus round here. Many of our matter, many, we get around network Matterport Service Providers are drone pilots as well.
So, what's the opportunities, okay, I'm going to be quoting, talking to the, now I know to talk to the owners, the architects, the general contractor, and I also do drones. So what do I want to talk to them about? Why would somebody want aerial?
- Well, you know, construction progress is a big one. To be able to take a shot, aerial photo of the project site every month or every week or something like that so they can show the building going up from the same vantage point is really, it's like a time lapse from the sky almost. So that's really that advantage, a vantage point. The other piece for drones is to map the site to make a 3D model of the whole site so they can pull topography, make contour lines, and know the actual landscape. So, as a reality capture service provider, which is a good way to brand yourself if you're gonna offer multiple capture technologies, is just call yourself a reality capture provider on some level. And then you can do the interiors with the Matterport, you can do the exteriors with the drone, and really give them a sense of that space.
- And am I doing that with a particular, with a pixel 4D?
- Yeah, so I actually, I use Pix4D, which is a--
- That would be P-I-X 4D.
- That's right. And it's $350 a month or something like this with no commitment, so you can just do it one month and never do it again at no cost. And it processes your data in the cloud if you want, or on your desktop. The cloud is much faster. And it's very powerful. If you're using DGI products or unique products, any of those, even Falcon 8 or some other drones that more high end, it'll process just about any camera on a drone on the market to date. Great software. I also use ContextCapture, which is made by Bentley Systems, to do 3D models of buildings. Very, very accurate.
Building reconstruction from photos, so that's helpful as well. And I've actually linked the Matterport model through a MatterTag to the drone model that's hosted on my Amazon server as well, so they can walk through a door and hit the MatterTag and go into the 3D model of the entire property as well. So linking into the data sets is pretty awesome.
- So that sounds pretty cool, in terms of doing it with the MatterTags, but I would imagine if you're in the data view, there's some way, some program that you can mash the two up, the data from the drone and Matterport data. Is that happening?
- Yeah, so you can take the Point Clouds and you can combine them using software like any of the FARO scanning software or the Leica Cyclone software.
All these scanning processing software platforms can combine Point Clouds in unique ways. You can move them around and match them up. Cloud Compare is open source and free. LiDAR or Point Cloud software. It accepts Point Clouds from Matterport or any other drone-based Point Cloud. It doesn't matter. So, and then once you get those Point Clouds together, you can mesh them, you know, make a model if you needed to or just trace them out in Revit and make a Revit model. You can do a lot of things with Point Clouds. They're very versatile. So, I'm kind of a fan.
- Wow. Were there other projects... We focused a little bit on hospitals, but were there other projects that you wanted to talk about?
- Well, you know, we've done ADUs, you know--
- ADU, new, we didn't do that in the lightning round. What is that?
- That's okay . Well, essentially what it is, is it's kind of, it's a unit, a smaller unit, like a housing unit sort of thing. The acronym's actually escaping me at the moment.
- As far as what it stands for. But, the idea is small housing units. I just did a ADU, which is like a tiny home, for a developer who's making these tiny homes for people with low income so that they can have a place to stay with low cost, and people are putting them in their backyards and renting them out for a few hundred bucks a month.
- Yeah, exactly, right? So, Matterport's a great way to showcase some representative tiny homes or ADU kind of establishments. There's just a lot of different ways we use this. But the main message we've been able to use with Matterport is to share what the space looks like to help people wrap their mind around it, and especially complex spaces, and then of course real estate. You know, they just love using this for marketing. It's just a really easy platform for them to share.
- Awesome. Before we wrap up, anything else we missed that you wanted to cover?
- You know, I guess I'm just really grateful. You know, thanks for interviewing me today, Dan. It's been a delight. And I love talking about this stuff, and if you have any questions about the AEC industry to your listeners or whatnot, please feel free to contact me. I'm on LinkedIn and also you can reach me on topa3d.com.
- So on LinkedIn, probably the easiest way to find Paul Tice, T-I-C-E, Paul Tice, is to put in Google "Paul Tice ToPa 3D LinkedIn," because it'll find the right Paul Tice.
- That'll be the one.
- Yeah, and frankly, Paul's everywhere, so you can find him on your YouTube channel. That's ToPa 3D, all solid. Just Google "ToPa 3D YouTube." Some amazing videos on your website ToPa, T-O-P-A 3D .com. You have an amazing blog, which goes into some very extensive level of details. I think that was one of the ones you did on comparing the accuracy of Matterport to a LiDAR scan and that video, I think you had 20,000 views that you mentioned, has a companion blog post that goes into great detail that's awesome. So, Paul, thank you so much for being on the show today.
- Yep, I love to teach, so feel free to reach out. Thank you, and you have a great day at it, Dan. Thank you.
- Yeah, thank you. So, we've been visiting today with Paul Tice. He is the founder and CEO of ToPa 3D, T-O-P-A, second word is 3D, ToPa 3D, the website topa3d.com. Paul, as I mentioned, is the founder and CEO. He's based in Portland, Oregon, though presently working on a lot of work in the central Oregon area. The name of the location would be?
- Bend. Bend, Oregon.
- Bend, Oregon. And, Paul has been so kind as to share with us. I think you can see why. He is a... Has a course on lynda.com. and the LinkedIn learning community. Does consulting in this space, does scanning, does scanning with Matterport scanning and high end, does training, does teaching, does consulting, and I've sat in on some of your programs at SPAR 3D Expo and Conference, so he's really very well respected in the space. He's a journalist, on top of everything else, writing for LiDAR magazine and for SPAR 3D as well.
So we've been talking again with Paul, specifically for Matterport Service Providers of how to make money with Matterport needs AEC space for newbies. We've covered a lot of ground. I think Paul has shared actionable information with you of helping you identify who the stakeholders are, what's important to them, know the lingo of how to talk to them. If you've tuned in late, we've recorded today's program. By tomorrow, Friday, September 28th, 2018, we'll post it in the We Get Around Network Forum, so check it out.
So, Paul, thanks again. Good to see you. Good visiting with you. Much appreciated. And thank you all for tuning in. I'm Dan Smigrod, Founder of the We Get Around Network, and you've been watching WGAN-TV Live at 5.
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