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Why Matterport will Build/Sell a Leica BLK360 Clone for Less Than $7,50016349

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Leica BLK360 Camera/Scanner (pairs with Matterport Capture App)

WGAN-TV Forum Podcast

Why Matterport will Build/Sell a Leica BLK360 Clone for Less Than $7,500

Commentary and Analysis by

Dan Smigrod
Founder and Managing Editor
We Get Around Network Forum
WGAN-TV Live at 5
WGAN-TV Training U (in Matterport)

Every Matterport media release begins with the statement: “Matterport, Inc. … the leading spatial data company driving the digital transformation of the built world.”

Yet, the Matterport vision is hard to live up to when its flagship capture solution, the Matterport Pro2 3D Camera, falls short delivering on the Matterport spatial data promise.

For example, the Matterport Pro2 3D Camera infrared technology can not create:

1. spatial data of outdoor exterior building fascias
2. spatial data of high ceilings more than a couple stories tall
3. spatial data with the Level of Detail (LOD) needed for many commercial real estate spaces and AEC use cases

And, while the Leica BLK360 LiDAR scanner, paired with the Matterport Capture app, does all of the above, its $18,000 price point is simply too high (and capturing spatial data too slow) to create a nationwide network - let alone a worldwide network – of Matterport Service Providers with the necessary gear required for scanning much of the built world. That’s a big-big-big problem for Matterport.

Given Matterport’s ambitious plans for its Matterport Capture Services™ On-Demand program - now in 152 cities among seven countries - I could imagine Matterport is missing a massive number of opportunities because its network of “trained and certified Capture Technicians” can not afford an essential tool for capturing spatial data of large commercial spaces (including building exterior fascias) with high ceiling with the LOD required, for example, for:

1. As-Builts (the first step in documenting the life-cycle of a to-be-renovated commercial space)
2. construction documentation (to compare to a BIM model)
3. critical measurements

In addition to Matterport Capture Services On-Demand, I could imagine companies such as IFTI/PROvision Solutions which offers Matterport scanning at scale across the United States for as-builts; construction progress documentation; and facilities management; Snappr for Enterprise and other companies that provide Matterport On-Demand services, have the same challenge of sourcing a Network of Matterport Service Providers that own – or are willing to rent – a Leica BLK360 LiDAR scanner.

For example, in the last few months, I noticed a pain point/opportunity for IFTI/PROvision Solutions: a significant uptick in IFTI/PROvision Solutions Help Wanted posts in the We Get Around Network Forum specifically for Matterport Service Providers that use a Leica BLK360 for scanning large commercial spaces.

This data point helps provide insight that the demand is there for capturing spatial data at scale of commercial spaces, but the barriers are likely the price point and speed-of-capture of the Leica BLK360 for Matterport Service Providers that are likely under-capitalized solopreneurs.

Additional Matterport puzzle pieces revealing the huge value of spatial data include Matterport media releases announcing:

1. Matterport Completes Acquisition of Enview: Property Insights and Analytics
2. Matterport Announces Investment in Digitization Tech Company SIMLAB to Accelerate Building Design, Construction and Management
3. Matterport Delivers New/Innovative Solutions for the Built World with AWS
4. Matterport VP to Drive Digital Twin Adoption across Government Agencies
5. Matterport Plans to Scale via Acquisitions; Partnerships and Investments

Unlike Leica that likely needs to make a profit on every BLK360 LiDAR scanner sold, I could imagine that Matterport is uniquely positioned to offer a Leica BLK360 clone at cost – or below cost – because Matterport has additional fly-wheel revenue stream opportunities from scanning spaces, including:

1. Services: Matterport Capture Services On-Demand | Matterport for Enterprise
2. Recurring Revenue: cloud hosting
3. Licensing: Matterport Partner Program (usage of Matterport APIs/SDKs)
4. Add Ons: MatterPak, BIM File, Floor Plans and TruePlan for Xactimate
5. Plug-ins: Revit Plugin for Matterport; Procore Integration (adding value in the AEC space)

While Matterport may brand it differently, I will refer to the BLK360 clone as the Matterport Pro3 LiDAR 3D Camera, or Pro3 LiDAR for short.

Matterport Migration from Virtual Tour Company to Digital Twin (Spatial Data) Company

As San Francisco bay area-Hopscotch Interactive Founder Emily Olman (@Hopscotch) recently pointed out on WGAN-TV Live at 5 when discussing her Matterport Timeline: 2014-Present, Matterport has moved from promoting itself as a virtual tour company to a digital twin (spatial data) company.

Spatial data collected is “overkill” for residential listings, says Olman, where 360 virtual tours created by real estate photographers can compete with Matterport based on pricing (resulting from the speed of 360 capture without the need for spatial data).

“... we only use 10 percent of [the spatial data] in the virtual tour and the rest of it's lost and thrown out and actually very disinterested for the Realtor and so that's why I think that other virtual tours, that just if a client just needs a virtual tour, they don't need to be asking for Matterport, but yet they do,” said Olman. “There's all this stuff and that's why I would say Matterport had become very much the standard over the pandemic and over the last several years but I think that the dollhouse and the 3D data that we get is ultimately more valuable for Matterport than it really is for the Realtor … .”

While Matterport was the only platform and 3D camera solution of its kind when it launched its Matterport Pro1 3D Camera in 2014, today Matterport faces multiple 3D and 360 virtual tour platforms and software competitors in residential real estate such as:

1. Asteroom
2. EyeSpy360
3. Giraffe360
4. iGUIDE
5. InsideMaps
6. Metareal Stage
7. Nodalview
8. Pivo Real Estate
9. Ricoh 360 Tours
10. Tourbuzz (Urbanimmersive)
11. Zillow 3D Home

Despite being the leading virtual tour brand in residential real estate, this will devolve in the long-term; thus, Matterport marketing focuses on the future – digital twins (spatial data) company – rather than a virtual tour company for residential real estate.

And, while I would argue that in the future Matterport should exit the camera business entirely, if it is going to deliver on the promise of “the leading spatial data company driving the digital transformation of the built world,” Matterport must build and sell a Pro3 LiDAR for less than $7,500 so that it is not dependent on camera or scanner companies offering solutions at a mass adoption price point and focus on Matterport use-cases that fully leverage spatial data.

Why less than $7,500 for a Matterport Pro3 LiDAR 3D Camera?

At the very least, Matterport needs to be able to say, “less than half the cost of …” with “the same or better features than …” for capturing spatial data. Half the cost of a Leica BLK360 would be $9,000. That still seems too high for mass adoption.

Even if Matterport Service Providers will likely earn significantly more for Matterport models created with a Leica BLK360 LiDAR scanner; or a Matterport Pro3 LiDAR (that is at less half the price of a BLK360), it will still be a hard-sell by Matterport to get Matterport Service Providers to invest in a several thousand dollar proprietary camera/scanner than only be used with the Matterport platform.

I could imagine that as Matterport Capture Services On-Demand has commercial projects that require a BLK360 (or similar) capture solution that will motivate Matterport to provide financial incentives to select Matterport Service Providers (its “trained and certified Capture Technicians”) such as:

1. Much higher revenue per job
2. Bonus payments to help pay off the BLK360 (or Pro3 LiDAR) investment
3. Guaranteed commitment of scanning business from Matterport
4. Lower price (than publicly promoted) for a Leica BLK360 (or Pro3 LiDAR)
5. Bonus for completion of “X” square feet of Matterport Capture Services On-Demand originated scanning jobs using a BLK360 or Pro3 LiDAR
6. A lease to purchase option
7. A combination of these incentives

Interestingly, these targeted financial incentives will likely favor the Matterport Capture Services On-Demand jobs at the expense of dozens of companies such as IFTI/PROvision Solutions and the Snappr for Enterprise program that offer Matterport scanning services at scale: thus Matterport will continue to compete directly with some Matterport Service Provider agency clients:

1. on price of providing scanning services
2. offering commercial grade spatial data at scale
3. Offering a Pro3 LiDAR camera/scanner at below market pricing for its “scanning techs”

While it is obvious to me that Matterport must build/sell a Leica BLK360 clone for less than $7,500 - Pro3 LiDAR - that still leaves Matterport facing competition for:

1. speed-of-capture of spatial data capture
1A. Reduce the cost of labor for the capture of spatial data
1B. Enable daily or weekly construction documentation (rather than monthly)
2. Size of digital twins
3. Even higher Level of Detail (LOD)

The single highest cost of capturing spatial data is not the camera: it’s the cost of labor to operate the camera.

If you conclude that general contractors of large commercial spaces will want weekly construction progress documentation to compare to their BIM models, two Matterport impediments today are:

1. moving a tripod from point-to-point to capture each scan (spin of the camera)
2. Matterport digital twin model size (either because of the processing speed of the capture device or storage of an Apple iPad or Android tablet)

Matterport competitors in the AEC space that have solved spatial data speed-of-capture and limitation of digital twin model size challenges are:

1. Cupix with their HelmetCam solution paired with a 360 camera and using photogrammetry and videogrammetry
2. NavVis VLX wearable mapping system: a two-LiDAR sensor “back/front-pack” wearable

PropTechConsulting Founder Jonathan Klein (@Jonathan_Klein) writes at length in the We Get Around Network Forum (www.WGANForum.com) about Matterport competing scanning technologies, 3D/360 platforms/software and 3D/360 cameras in his post: Revolutionizing Real Estate: How Mobile 3D LiDAR will change the Industry.

Looking Beyond 2022

On September 7, 2021, Leica announced two next-generation scanning solutions at scale:

1. Leica BLK ARC: Autonomous Reality Capture for Robots (“Spot”)
2. Leica BLK2FLY: Autonomous Reality Capture Drone

These two autonomous LiDAR speed-of-capture solutions show us the future - today - with the only barrier being (mega) price.

I could imagine that these two Leica solutions are both a threat and an opportunity for Matterport for scanning large commercial real estate and AEC spaces: including tall outdoor building fascias.

To help make sense of this future, WGAN-TV Live at 5 shows in 2Q22 will feature Leica subject matter experts on the Leica BLK ARC and Leica BLK2FLY spatial data capture solutions, including features, benefits and use cases. Please see the WGAN-TV Schedule in the We Get Around Network Forum for air dates.

In the meantime, I would be surprised if we don’t see a Matterport media release in 2Q22 or 3Q22 announcing a Matterport Pro2 LiDAR 3D Camera for less than $7,500.

It is essential that Matterport build and sell a Leica BLK360 clone under $7,500 that addresses these existing Matterport challenges in the commercial space:

1. spatial data of outdoor exterior building fascias
2. spatial data of high ceilings more than a couple stories tall
3. spatial data with the Level of Detail (LOD) needed for many commercial real estate spaces and AEC use cases

A bonus for this Matterport LiDAR scanner/camera would be if Matterport also solves these challenges:

1. speed-of-capture of spatial data capture
2. limitation of model size
3. Even higher Level of Detail (LOD) from competitors

What do you think?

Will Matterport build, create and announce a Matterport Pro3 LiDAR 3D Camera for less than $7,500 or, instead, introduce a Matterport Pro3 3D Camera with incremental improvements in scanning spatial data?

# # # # #
Post 1 IP   flag post
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pixelray private msg quote post Address this user
It seems you know something! After using the BLK, it was awesome for outside use...amazing results...super slow...but totally worth the wait as it can do so much more than the pro2
Post 2 IP   flag post
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Quote:
Originally Posted by @pixelray
It seems you know something! After using the BLK, it was awesome for outside use...amazing results...super slow...but totally worth the wait as it can do so much more than the pro2


Other features that should be included in a "Matterport Pro3 LiDAR 3D Camera"?

Sounds like "faster" than a Leica BLK360?

Dan
Post 3 IP   flag post
ron0987 private msg quote post Address this user
@DanSmigrod I think your right on the money and Pro 3 would be most logical progression.
Post 4 IP   flag post
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JuMP private msg quote post Address this user
@DanSmigrod Here is one camera from www.realsee.com ... it is a "camera + laser" system for similar purpose of Matterport Pro2 or BLK360.


Post 5 IP   flag post
Wingman private msg quote post Address this user
As I have mentioned in original thread about Pro3 Matterport can easily make a better unit than a BLK360 simply because there are much more affordable OEM lidars due to a lot of developments for self driving cars.
Post 6 IP   flag post
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DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by @ron0987
@DanSmigrod I think your right on the money and Pro 3 would be most logical progression.


Other features that should be included in a "Matterport Pro3 LiDAR 3D Camera"?

Dan
Post 7 IP   flag post
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Quote:
Originally Posted by @JuMP
@DanSmigrod Here is one camera from www.realsee.com ... it is a "camera + laser" system for similar purpose of Matterport Pro2 or BLK360.




@JuMP

Wow! That's cool. Can you share the deep-link for the LiDAR camera/scanner (above)? I could not locate it at www.realsee.com ... (though I did see yet another 360 camera I have not seen before.)

I would to see the specs/pricing.

Dan
Post 8 IP   flag post
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DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by @Wingman
As I have mentioned in original thread about Pro3 Matterport can easily make a better unit than a BLK360 simply because there are much more affordable OEM lidars due to a lot of developments for self driving cars.


@Wingman

That's cool! LiDAR development with self driving cars bringing down the price of LiDAR.

If iGUIDE can offer the iGUIDE PLANIX Camera Kit - with LiDAR for around $2,500 - albeit with 2D scanner data; not 3D scanner data - Matterport must be working on a Matterport Pro3 LiDAR 3D Camera.

Dan
Post 9 IP   flag post
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DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
Hi All,

Additional thoughts?

Dan
Post 10 IP   flag post
inmerso3D private msg quote post Address this user
Interesting article Dan.

I think Matteport needs to do something for the outdoors. Even to feed or train your CORTEX for outdoors through AI and then be able to achieve quite accurate models through photogrammetry.

I think for most commercial uses photogrammetry already does it well (as does capturingreality) and a new exterior cortex would do it even better.

For this reason Matterport should do what you mention. To train its cortex and then not depend on lidar as today it could do without its 3D pro cameras.

In summary, it is to do for exteriors what it did for interiors and there it would be a spatial data company.
Post 11 IP   flag post
ron0987 private msg quote post Address this user
@inmerso3D I agree with your thoughts on photogrammetry angel to use for exteriors, I just don't see it from the existing or future MP platform.

But I do think if they find a happy medium and find a good lidar combination. Because MP does not needs a high degree of accuracy I don't think it needs the Leica level of accuracy, and if you do you go with the existing BLK360.

I agree with @Wingman and @JuMP I think there is a cheaper happier less expensive product. I can also see Leica take the MP Leica relationship to the next level and also create a less expensive lidar.

But to lower the price on the lidar and increase the quality of photography is where I think the challenge exists.

Just my thoughts.
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Matterport Matterpak .xyz Pointcloud courtesy of Matterport


Example: E57 Pointcloud courtesy of Matterport

---


New/AEC! Matterport Plugin for Autodesk Revit + Matterport E57 $89 Add-On


Matterport Blog (24 March 2022) Introducing Matterport E57 | Converting your digital twin into a point cloud

To further optimize 3D workflows, we’ve introduced the Matterport Plugin for Autodesk® Revit®. With this integration, users can connect their Matterport E57 scan data, Matterpak, or BIM files directly into Revit projects without any manual downloading, uploading, or conversion. By leveraging Matterport E57 files and the Revit Plugin, Scan to BIM and Scan to CAD workflows have never been more efficient. Utilizing the ReCap SDK, point cloud data is inserted and pre-registered from the cloud into your Revit project.

The Matterport E57 add-on provides an end-to-end automated creation and registration process for a point cloud derived from a Matterport Digital Twin


Source: Matterport Blog

---

Hi All,

The above news (30 March 2022) aligns nicely with my prediction:

Why Matterport will Build/Sell a Leica BLK360 Clone for Less Than $7,500

Dan
Post 13 IP   flag post
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frstbubble private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by DanSmigrod
For example, in the last few months, I noticed a pain point/opportunity for IFTI/PROvision Solutions: a significant uptick in IFTI/PROvision Solutions Help Wanted posts in the We Get Around Network Forum specifically for Matterport Service Providers that use a Leica BLK360 for scanning large commercial spaces.


@DanSmigrod With the info, you provided above and the increase in providers looking specifically for technicians with the BLK360, would it be possible to add that category to the filter on the WGA network map?
Post 14 IP   flag post
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DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
@frstbubble

Thank you for the suggestion. Great idea!

On Monday (26 April 2022), I will ask WGAN Forum Tech @mikew to make the following change:

✓ on My Profile which is used to create the profiles that appear on the WGAN Find a Pro Map to change the label that says "GeoCV 3D Tour" to "Matterport + Leica BLK360" (since GeoCV 3D Tours are no longer available.)

(If/when Matterport offers a Leica BLK360 Clone, we will add that label too.)

Since you are a paid WGAN Member (since November 2016) - this means your public profile in New Brighton, Pennsylvania on the WGAN Find a Pro Map will be able to display that you offer Matterport and Matterport scans captured with a Leica BLK360 scanner/camera.

The WGAN Find a Pro Map is the first place IFTI/PROvision Solutions looks for a Matterport Pro, if they do not already have one in their database. Thus, as a WGAN Platinum Member, they post to the WGAN Forum "Matterport Pro Wanted in [location] (that uses a BLK360)".

BTW, Matterport Service Providers can rent a Leica BLK360 scanner/camera for the IFTI/PROvision Help Wanted Posts that require a Matterport digital twin shot with a Leica BLK360.

Thanks again for the suggestion.

Enjoy your weekend,

Dan

---


Five (5) Leica BLK360 Scanners/Cameras for Rent in the United States
Post 15 IP   flag post
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@frstbubble

About ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanSmigrod
On Monday (26 April 2022), I will ask WGAN Forum Tech @mikew to make the following change:

✓ on My Profile which is used to create the profiles that appear on the WGAN Find a Pro Map to change the label that says "GeoCV 3D Tour" to "Matterport Leica BLK360" (since GeoCV 3D Tours are no longer available.)

(If/when Matterport offers a Leica BLK360 Clone, we will add that label too.)


Good news ...

In My Profile, the field is now live to check the box for: Matterport + Leica BLK360


Screen Grab: In My Profile, the field is now live to check the box for: Matterport + Leica BLK360

Thanks again!

Dan
Post 16 IP   flag post
Wingman private msg quote post Address this user
Great addition. I even forgot you can do it in a profile settings.

We used to have another way on an astrophotography forum. We used to put all hardware we had in each member signature. This way everybody sees what each member is using and in case somebody needs a help with some specific hardware they can find a member who owns it and ask all questions directly.
Post 17 IP   flag post
WGAN
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DanSmigrod private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by JuMP
@DanSmigrod Here is one camera from www.realsee.com ... it is a "camera + laser" system for similar purpose of Matterport Pro2 or BLK360.




@JuMP

I noticed this Realsee YouTube video (below @ :10 of 1:16 video) includes the LiDAR camera in your post.

Dan

--

Realsee Solutions | Video courtesy of Realsee YouTube Channel | 24 November 2021
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