Transcript: WGAN-TV Imagining the Future: 3D Tour Tech for RE Photographers14800
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|WGAN-TV: Imagining the Future for 3D Tour Technology for Real Estate Photographers with Dr. Kelley Cours Anderson (@kcoursa), Researcher at Texas Tech University (and incoming Assistant Professor of Marketing at College of Charleston effective August 2021). | Wednesday, 28 April 2021
Dr. Kelley Cours Anderson, Researcher at Texas Tech University (and incoming Assistant Professor of Marketing at College of Charleston effective August 2021)
Transcript: 100-WGAN-TV: Imagining the Future for 3D Tour Technology for Real Estate Photographers
Transcript below ...
What's the Future for 3D Tour technology for Real Estate Photographers?
Watch (above) WGAN-TV: Imagining the Future for 3D Tour Technology for Real Estate Photographers on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 with Dr. Kelley Cours Anderson (@kcoursa), Researcher at Texas Tech University (and incoming Assistant Professor of Marketing at College of Charleston effective 14 May 2021).
WGAN-TV Live at 5 Show Includes
► Imagination is a driving force in market development, growth, and market futures.
► Methodology: Qualitative, Socio-historical analysis. Including a historical review of Silicon Valley, starting from the early 1900’s and a historical review of over 8 years in the development of a 3D/VR-tour technology.
► The Silicon Valley’s technoculture provides guidance for market futures, such as 3D tour tech, but also constrains the future market.
► While developers use their imagination to launch this market, the photography customer (including those first experiencing as an end-consumer) are pivotal in expanding this media into multiple markets beyond developers’ expectations.
➨ Positive: wider legitimacy, targeted marketing, convenience
➨ Negative: (tensions) – photographer customers’ creative rights and end-consumers’ privacy rights
► Ethical growth and potential legitimacy is possible through external imagination.
What is the future for 3D Tour Technology for Real Estate Photographers?
Find out on this WGAN-TV Live at 5 show.
Plus, we discuss:
✓ why the data captured matters (and why it may be more valuable than the 3D tour)
✓ does innovation come from "Silicon Valley" or photographers or elsewhere (and why)
✓ the tension/constraint of who owns the 3D tour
✓ verticals such as museums, insurance and mortgage documentation
✓ tips for 3D Tour photographers such as diversify your portfolio (and why)
It's fun to hear about the future given that many of us are focused on today, tomorrow or next week.
By the way, Dr. Kelley Cours Anderson was previously my guest on WGAN-TV Live at 5:
✓ Transcript: WGAN-TV Virtual Tour Super-Heroes at Your Service
Got a follow-up question for Dr. Kelley Cours Anderson (@kcoursa)? Post it here.
And, thanks to @kcoursa for participating in another WGAN-TV Live at 5 show.
P.S. It's likely that you are familiar with Dr. Kelley Cours Anderson. Her research is often quoted by Matterport regarding homes with virtual tours sell faster and at a higher price.
✓ Matterport Blog (February 25, 2020) With 3D Tours, properties sell up to 31% faster and at a higher price
Listings with a Matterport 3D tour statistic examples include:
- Sold 20% faster (less days on market)
- For 4.8% more (higher sale price)
Transcript (video above)
100-WGAN-TV: Imagining the Future for 3D Tour Technology for Real Estate Photographers
- Hi all. I'm Dan Smigrod Founder of the We Get Around Network Forum. WGANForum.com Today is Wednesday, April 28, 2021. And you're watching WGAN-TV Live at 5.
We have an awesome show for you today: Imagining the Future for 3D Tour Technology for Real Estate Photographers and here to visit with us on this topic is Dr. Kelley Cours Anderson; Researcher at Texas Tech University and incoming Assistant Professor of Marketing at College of Charleston effective August, 2021. Kelley, good to see you again.
- It's wonderful to see you. Thank you again, Dan, for the invitation and to the larger WGAN Community for your continued support in my research. I really am elated to be back and share a little bit today about some of what I've been working on.
- Awesome! We're happy to have you back. I know our previous show: Virtual Tour Super-Heroes at Your Service
That was really just an awesome show to be focused in on photographers - service providers - real estate photographers. And I know that you're often quoted by Matterport because you've done a ton of research related to real estate listings that feature virtual tours selling faster and at a higher selling price.
So you really are our researcher - subject matter expert in this space - on this topic. Kelley, before I ask you the question, "What is the future of 3D tour technology for real estate photographers?" Give us the backstory; the context for why that's such a great question to ask you.
- Yeah, that's great.
So, a lot of my research, as you mentioned, has been centered in this Community. I come of course with baggage before starting my doctoral program. I spent 15 years in industry, researching markets, researching predominantly consumers and retail but was always fixated and fascinated with media and new technology and how that was changing the way consumption was happening.
And so I came into my program, curious ... specifically around this type of technology that all of you work on.
And that has really been the burner for my entire research stream for the last four years from the Matterport statistics you mentioned up to the Super-Hero Service Providers piece that we've been working on.
I've worked on a number of different items not just in real estate, but in the general market area of this technology as well. And so, this project in general that I was going to share a little bit with you today naturally emerged from some of this early dissertation related work.
I became very curious about the development of this as a media technology market.
When I really; I continued to hear from you all - from photographers like you about those imaginative ways that you were using the technology and this was blowing my mind as far as - wait a second, what's happening here?
What is it, what are those underlying mechanisms? So interestingly enough, no one in marketing academia had really unpacked this and tried to understand specifically how, customers and those end consumers actually drove the development of a media technology market which is kind of surprising when we think of how many media technology markets there have been over the years.
Things like radio has continued to grow. Television is being used in different ways, or then originally perceived; even Facebook's different social media. So this ended up being just a nice compliment to better understand.
And also what I was seeing through these imaginative uses is -- there was an underlying mechanism that we didn't really understand from a marketing perspective, that's driving the market.
So I'll share a little bit more about that but, my dissertation research started with understanding the real estate market; how all of the individuals that work together co-create what you would consider value and different forms of value.
So things that you expect - to things that you don't expect - that emerge coming from this co-creation with this type of technology with the 3D tours and then revealed this other underlying mechanism that showed that, hey, the market's growing in dynamic ways what is happening here?
So the whole second portion of my dissertation work has concentrated on this. The approach is qualitative, of course as much of my work, as you know has really centered in some of that, the approach I take here is called socio-historical research.
So it was really important when studying markets to really go very deep and understanding how the market progressed.
So this includes not only the interactions and the conversations that happen between those social players people such as the developers of the technology to the firm employees to even the photographers like yourselves but also those macro-influences.
The really - the institutions that we live and we work in that shaped the way that we interact with technology today.
So in total, long-winded conversation here, but in total I interviewed 33 firm employees and their customers of a leading technology firm. ... I scraped eight years over eight years of that prominent developer's website.
I looked at and coded over 4,000 pages of press articles, marketing materials, case studies, et cetera that really discussed this technology and how it was conceived and perceived of over time also as well as the posts and the responses.
Thank you to the WGAN Community as well as a significant amount of reading of historical texts to really understand the Silicon Valley; its roots and the culture that really has bubbled up. And in the Silicon Valley in general.
- So you really are the right person to ask this question. What is the future of 3D tour technology for real estate photographers?
- I hope so. It's been a fun journey. The kind of key findings that came out of this, certainly of course as I sort of, nodded to earlier - imagination as being a huge driving force and media technology development.
How that market actually expands not only how it's developed, but how that expansion happens.
- We'll talk about some of your - how you got to your conclusions, but let's start maybe with some of the highlights of the conclusions of what your research showed in terms of what is the future of 3D tour technology?
- Specifically for real estate photographers, and then maybe we'll drill down about, well, why is that the case? How did you get there?
- That's fair.
Okay. Yeah so, as far as when we're thinking about the future when you are a 3D tour - 360 tour photographer within this space there are a few things I want us to keep in mind.
First of all, think wide we need to think wide when we're thinking about how to position your businesses. So what other industries are possible in using this technology. That creation of diversity in your portfolios, of course helps, in really trying to maintain your business during tough times, as many of you felt over the last year, even.
And online forums of course, as I've mentioned in previous conversations, it's like - the WGAN is a great resource for that. It offers a place where you can discuss and have conversations about this but also co-creating this new market and this as an innovation.
But it's also important for us to go deep. And this is where probably we'll spend more of our time today, but we need to consider who this technology impacts.
So one of the suggestions I make is be mindful even proactive in gaining those end consumers, understanding and approval of utilizing this technology the underlying data, which many of us are aware of underlying the content that we capture has great power potential, but as we know power is not always good and not always bad. Usually comes together.
It's all together in the same. So that those are two major takeaways I'm going to make sure that we have.
There's a lot of opportunity for this market, right? So we see that there's a number of positives. Now, I don't consider myself a futurist just to make that clear, but there are a few pathways for this type of technology, especially technology that has that underlying artificial intelligence, that AI that really helps to encapsulate those data derivatives.
And this is really, so the suggestions that I have that I'll share with you where I think the future of this is going is informed from one and interestingly interesting alignment, that comes from people talking about this market right now, but also understanding that larger social structure that constrains our market, right. That can, will constrain where we're probably headed.
- Many in our Community that We Get Around Network Forum are real estate photographers. So do they, do they, do we, stay in residential real estate? Commercial real estate? drill down deep in terms of our expertise in that subject matter area? Or do we start moving into other verticals? And if so, why?
I would suggest there's a lot of opportunity to going wide. There's, of course, benefit to staying narrow and becoming experts and that has been seen.
But I think what we can see in this technology is there is a ton of opportunity for enhancing our legitimacy; the legitimacy for this technology. If you're utilizing it in more than just one industry, looking at the different verticals provides additional support and growth for this market, but it also helps to create as I mentioned, that diversity.
Creates a good portfolio and understanding where you can go. I mean, we've seen different examples from, utilizing this technology, of course in real estate is a foundation it's grown. It's been supported by the key firms that have really grown this market. And that support is important but there's also a ton of opportunity in other markets where your creative imagination can really help to develop this market to situate for a lot longer and have a larger stake hold as a media technology in general.
- So what would be some of the verticals that we should be looking at?
- Yeah, so I think, I am definitely not the creative instigator on this. What I have seen that are very interesting.
We're thinking about it more than just trying to sell things, right. Are there opportunities to offer experiences through this? One of the projects I'm working on right now is looking at it for museums.
Many times, there are a lot of museums they're closed down right now. What are the opportunities for actually scanning this as a museum, either as in lieu of to help promote; is great but for marketization potential for actually being able to have virtual visits to museums where special potential archeological digs that no one can actually go into.
What are the opportunities there from an experience standpoint that this technology can be utilized for. But I've also seen things such as detective training.
You would never consider this as necessarily something from that as an experience, but you could even morph that potentially into something that is -- you're talking about the lock-in rooms or escape rooms. Are there opportunities potentially to expand on that idea to create experiences with this technology more than just a promotional tool.
- And who is driving the use cases for 3D tours?
- You all! So certainly that's a lot of what my research has shown. It's not necessarily the developers. It's not the firms. When I talk with firms, they're commonly surprised by the creative innovation that comes into play.
When the photographers come out, such as sticking cameras down, manhole covers to really be able to track plumbing, in different countries.
So there's different options and things that they're not considering. So there's a lot. -- This is why I say, it really is a creative exercise by the photographers themselves to really bring that forward.
What I find too is you might find someone that actually becomes a photographer because they were in a different industry; saw a potential opportunity within that industry.
And that by definition is that creative imagination, bringing in their own, other mental framework alongside this technology, to create something new in an entirely different vertical, such as retail.
- So, if you're a photographer and maybe you've been drawn to this because of the technology, we tend to be a little bit geeky.
It's not necessarily a bad thing that we've come from a different vertical that perhaps we can figure out if as you mentioned retail, we came from the retail space.
Perhaps there is subject matter expertise mashed up with this technology that we can apply that the manufacturer/developer of the camera and the platform never even imagined.
- Correct that's absolutely right. Yeah I think ... think of that as a benefit versus, a negative that you're not necessarily an expert in real estate. Obviously real estate was well developed by multitude of different camera software providers in this space but there's a lot of opportunity to bring in new insight and new thoughts from your other clients and from your own previous experiences that can drive this technology into completely new uses that will just continue to develop this market.
- So, is the imagining the future of 3D really -- I guess I had hoped you were going to hand us the 10 commandments or at least three or five of them.
Is it really who ... ... now has a camera and what is it they imagine rather than someone else thinking what they imagine.
It's really the photographer, perhaps again, coming from a different vertical or a different background or subject matter expertise, mashing that up with the technology to explore a use case that may never have been considered by the developers.
- That is certainly part of it. As far as -- I don't have 10 commandments but I do have ideas on other areas where this is going to develop.
There's some positive, really strengths that I see in this continual propelling that's happening right now, right? We saw a significant increase in usage of this technology over the last year.
So we're going to likely see because of the diffusion that you'll continue to help facilitate opportunities for the technology to be legitimized for firms that are leading the development in this to potentially become data experts because of this large data moat, if you will. Right? Of this big data of new spatial data but externally there's a lot of opportunity. So we think convenience in what you would consider a content lifecycle.
So utilizing the same content from multitude of different ways is something I know that I'm seeing a lot of convergence and thought on in relation to this.
And this is because of course within the larger Silicon Valley technology forward firms this is the way we're thinking about how we can utilize this type of data.
It does provide a lot of convenience certainly for others in larger markets. So if we're thinking real estate, of course, you've got to think larger than real estate. You can utilize potentially that same technology - that same scan - can be transferred to different owners over time, right?
So you can utilize it for construction. And utilizing it for maybe a mortgage. Utilizing it to potentially have some insurance guidance as well as even, selling a couch.
As one of my informants told me as well. So that content life cycle can push some of the future of where this technology goes. But of course there are tensions.
I'm sure this is where you're heading as well.
- No, and I actually, you mentioned data moat and I wanted to return to that. What do you mean by data moat? How important is data? What is the use for the data and maybe there's photographers that are capturing data without even realizing they're capturing the data. So, what's the value of the data? And what do you mean by data moat?
- Yeah, that's a great question. Yeah and a lot of times, and I'm probably speaking to the choir here a little bit, but many times you're forced to as a photographer, utilize SaaS based platforms where you put the content or the files onto that platform in order for you to even be able to view or use that content, right. It means nothing unless it's put into that platform.
What emerges, especially in these platforms that are artificially intelligence driven is there is a lot of data on that back-end file. So you've got, of course the content, the pretty visual that we're all more worried about, right?
As photographers, you're kind of concerned about your maybe creative rights first of all, that's a tension.
So you're worried about your creative rights of who owns that. But also there's a load of underlying data that sits underneath the content itself. That data is measurement data, as we're aware, right?
And much of it, many of these different types of technologies there's ability to measure things. There's also abilities to identify brands of different, say appliances. All of that information can be backlogged. Now that is data in a similar sense that you would think of Google. Of tracing data. Of search data.
In the same sense of Facebook of understanding associated friends of understanding associated groups. All of that data could be utilized. I'm not saying it is, but I'm saying it can be utilized in different ways potentially to create, let's say optimized targeting campaigns.
Let's say again, being able to utilize it for insurance purposes. So they know exactly what that square footage is. All of that type of underlying data exists under those files. And at this point aren't necessarily are being continually growing.
Over time that creates what you consider a data moat that kind of separates you, even from maybe main competitors. The more scans you have the larger data moat you have that allows you to really be able to own this space.
Spatial data isn't something that's new, that's fairly new. Let's say within the last five years that we're thinking about, being able to potentially target somebody for, "Hey I see what size your living room is. Let's give you a 72 inch couch when we're targeting you versus the 86 inch couches," As an example.
- Do you think we'll see that?
- It's a possibility. I think there is, right now we're seeing a lot happen, right? With our big tech firms. There's a lot of concerns about privacy.
There could be some tensions that slow that type of progression. There's a lot of open questions that need to be really discussed as a market in this area of understanding who owns that type of data.
That's really what my research I hope is at least lifting up some of those questions to start posing. Is it the homeowner? Is it the photographer? Is it the real estate agent? Is it the tech firm?
There are so many different what I would consider actors within this network that this impacts, which is why I say it's important to understand the whole trail and understand who really has ownership of even that underlying data. And what's done with that data.
- I so much want to visit on this topic of data, underlying data and the ownership. But before I ask you about that, I still wanted to go back to some of the use cases.
You mentioned just in quickly passing one of the use cases for this the scan data, collected when creating a 3D tour with some platforms might be related to mortgage.
What do you mean by that? Can you give me an example? So I could get my head around that?
- Yeah, so it could actually, if we were to really think forward about where a mortgage company is, what they're concerned about?
There is certainly some market values when we're thinking about real estate in particular about what the structure is, what the space actually looks like.
There could be new forms of evaluation. I've actually had some informal conversations at say a young REALTORS association I won't name the city, but happened to meet with informally a number of people, including mortgage.
And they were really excited about this type of technology. They're thinking forward, as far as, like what are the ways that we evaluate a space and making sure that we have a better understanding of the market value potential of different real estate spots?
- Well, for mortgage, does this mean I apply for a mortgage and with that mortgage application, goes my 3D tour and my underlying data for the purpose of deciding that I get a mortgage sooner, or I don't get a mortgage or that there really is a house here; and it's got walls; and it's got X number of bedrooms and bathrooms; and built out living space. Is that part of this?
- Potentially, right?
So, especially towards the end, when you were mentioning a real home, understanding what is actually in the home and having that validation you don't necessarily need the additional records.
It reduces some of that paperwork that might have to go. If that data is packaged in a way that is a benefit for mortgage companies working--
- I'm not a subject matter expert on mortgages but I imagine somebody comes out to the house just to verify that there actually is a house at that property. I imagine today, a satellite image could do that but somebody still comes into the house in order to measure square footage, bedrooms, et cetera.
So is it possible that that step could potentially be eliminated completely?
- Yeah, that's exactly where they're thinking especially in thinking of potentially reducing inspections. You're thinking about the market value. It's really what they were most concerned about in mortgage, from my understanding as well from a couple of home purchases themselves.
That certainly, that step could be reduced. So you've been seeing that a little bit more in recent years, anyhow and this actually provides; this type of technology provides a significant amount of transparency that images alone and video alone doesn't do.
Any stage in that real estate process or in a living in a home process that requires that additional person to come in physically to a home will potentially reduce that necessity.
- So part of imagining the future for 3D perhaps is imagining a lot of data being collected. Is there at some point that you get to a tipping point that there is actually enough data for an application such as automating what I would think of as an SDK, APIs, automating the process of -- Oh.
Okay there's a mortgage application from 3423 Piedmont Road, Atlanta. We now need to go check to see if there is a 3D model of that location. Oh, okay. Now we can either do a -- gee, I wonder maybe I'm not thinking far enough in the future because I'm thinking, Oh I could walk through the 3D tour and count bedrooms but I'm guessing you might say, well actually the artificial intelligence - the machine learning - could probably, count the number of bedrooms and bathrooms and et cetera.
- Exactly, exactly.
I mean, that would be the beauty of the underlying data. You don't necessarily need the scan, but you have the underlying what you'd consider more -- that metadata that exists for each of the scans. And of course, would probably need to be updated. It depends on if this becomes a technology where this is a dependency on insurance, right?
If this is a -- I could foresee. So for example, an industry such as insurance, driving this technology significantly forward if there could be an evaluation that says, well if we have a log of this then maybe you get a break in your insurance costs that would drive additional usage substantially because it gives a lot of transparency documentation of a home.
It can be updated a certain, every few years. That type of a use case would probably drive that type of database probably even faster than the sell of real estate.
- Hmm, so when you think about imagining the future and then you see new technologies come along that overlay.
So I can think of just even in the last few years we now see augmented reality of real spaces. Virtual reality of real spaces. Is that part of what you're looking at is mashups of yet other technologies that enhance the value of either the tour itself or the underlying data?
That's a great question. I haven't gotten into that very far. We're just starting to do that with some of our museum research with virtual, true virtual reality. I'm seeing the presence that people have inside of those spaces, comparative to real life experiences.
But that is something that I'm just starting to brush upon. There's a lot of opportunity certainly with this type of research, there's also some ethical implications we have to keep in mind as well. When we're thinking about, trying to sell a home, if it ends up being re-staged or potentially new flooring put down if there is some modification within some of these scans. But beyond that, no, I haven't.
Haven't dug too, too deep, but it is a consideration.
- I think if we're talking about museums and I could imagine the progression might've been, Oh we had a photo, we had multiple photos of a museum.
Oh, we have a 360, Oh we have 360s in different galleries. Oh, we have a 3D tour where it feels like you can walk through the gallery.
Oh, we have virtual reality. That feels like you can experience - which is impossible to explain to anyone unless they've actually experienced virtual reality - Oh, we have augmenting reality. Now we have a way for wayfinding in the museum to actually walk to what it is that you want to go see or, holding up, perhaps an iPhone with augmented reality where I'm just holding it up towards a painting.
And all of a sudden the artist or the gallery curator is telling me about that artwork does this -- Is this the kind of thing that you look at? And when you start thinking about imagining the future of all these mashups?
- I do see mashups as being the likely future on many of these, virtual reality on its own is clunky. 3D tour, it tends to make people nauseous.
There's a lot that has to happen on the technology side, I know researchers across the globe that are working on that to make those goggles lighter weight to make it more user-friendly. Augmented reality is great but there's limitations within that too.
So there's going to be a mixed mean. I see, extended reality going into more of a mixed effect into that mashed effect where we're utilizing more relatable to your point that underlying data facilitates this, but being able to, utilize the data in different ways than we're probably even considering right now of mashing that data together for engaging experiences for consumers. That's ultimately where I can see this going.
- Well, I'm actually old enough to remember a bag phone that my parents had. I didn't have it.
And, I think if we had looked at a mobile phone I don't even know if a bag phone, literally for someone that hadn't experienced this, it might be three inches by six inches by 10 inches.
And it literally was a bag that you put over your shoulder and you'd carry it. And I think anybody said, well, that's mobile technology? That'll never be mass adoption.
So if we kind of fast forward and look at mobile phones today, it's way different than what might've been at the early beginning. Are we still at the early beginning of 3D tours virtual reality or augmented reality and mashups?
And so it's really a little bit hard to evaluate what the future will look like because we're constrained by thinking about the future as it exists today?
- Yeah, I think that's a really great way of creating some synopsis there of, because we are constrained in our current thinking and the way things are done, the way things are done in Silicon Valley, the way we sell things in Silicon Valley the way that we are able to market and monetize things that does constrain where we go with this.
Oftentimes developers create something for the purpose of creating technology. I mean, we all appreciate that.
Okay well, the newest phone is exciting because it has this feature. But oftentimes even something that's highly innovative ends up getting utilized in different ways because you bring somebody else in from the outside that does repurpose it.
And I think that's true, in general. So are we in the early stages? Most technology experts probably would agree. We are definitely in the early stages when it comes to extended reality. There is a ton of opportunity and growth.
As the technology continues to streamline we're probably still hitting some limitations when it comes to Moore's law. As soon as we bounce back up with whatever new synthetic technology allows us to make technology even faster and smaller it will continue to propel.
But the future is kind of challenging because there are and this is usually just in general where my research rolls in is you have so many different moving parts. It can be a good challenge if we have any guidance whatsoever it's understanding how we've conceived of things today.
There's usually - in general - as we're kind of feeling right now, which is another reason why I think we're early in this stage. If we think of media technology and early days, just in general over time, there's usually a fear factor, right? There's a lot of excitement as the same time is we're also really concerned potentially for the future of this technology.
How does that impact us as a society? So we are definitely within that stage with this type of technology as well. But even if you look back at the early 1900s that radio, it had that very same feel.
So we talked about mobile phones, probably very similarly because, still concerned and talking about a lot of mobile technology, a lot of social media, of course that's propelled the way we perceive those mobile technologies and utilizing mobile technologies, but even in radio.
I mean, can you imagine in the early 1900s you have a voice coming from a box and you're not really sure why that feels like it invades this space, right?
So we have a lot of space invasion concerns typically with new media in those early stages, until it becomes more legitimized.
- When you went back to the historically looking at the early days of - and I don't know if that Silicon Valley in particular or just new media in general - is there anything that you've teased out of the early days of whether that's radio or TV or internet or whatever it might be that you can apply to, thinking about the future of 3D tours?
- Yeah, I, in the research that I've done it's more understanding. And as a constraining factor versus something that's a predictive nature.
So, that's another study that probably is worthwhile and diving into, but that's not been the concentration of my work to date. But there's definitely some factors that we really understood from the Silicon Valley that paint the picture and understanding; why we are at right now. Why technology tends to develop in the way that it does.
- And are we way further along because of the foresight of Silicon Valley or because photographers have been using the technology in innovative ways that were never even imagined by those that develop the technology?
- I would argue the later, I think because digital any of our digital technologies in general are, going to be more readily adopted because it's easier to pick up because you do have a technology followers that are avid photographers in this case who are interested in the newest technology that does propel the potential for this technology a little bit faster than say radio did.
However, there were radio hams. I mean, we have to keep that in mind too that really helped propel that technology back in the day as well. That role of the radio hams just as today, the role of the VR photographer, 3D photographer, is incredibly important and understanding and shaping the way that that technology is used and can be used and perceived as in the future.
- You talked about constraints was COVID-19, is COVID-19, is the pandemic, a constraint or a driver of this technology.
- I would call it a shaper. We've definitely - there's no doubt about it. We've seen significant increases, even realtor.com in the real estate market we've seen significant jumps, they've executed some statistics related to that, but I would call it a shaper.
So we think about, if it was another crisis that we had come across that wasn't pandemic that didn't necessarily need touch less that would be a very different way of shaping the way this technology moves forward.
What I had heard from many of the interviews from talking with you; from following you all along in WGAN Forum ... is the way that it was utilized was obviously in cautious ways new practices that came aboard, new ways of thinking outside the box so that you can keep your businesses alive during this time.
That certainly propelled it. I won't call it a driver though. I'll call it a shaper and understand where this market goes. Increases of course, for museums. Increases for real estate. So that we could continue that long. If it was another scenario it could have gone and shaped a completely different way.
- Are there constraints that have been in our space that are still constraining the potential of 3D tour technology?
- Yeah, I think this goes back to that imaginary; what I call the social imaginary socio-technical-imaginary of the Silicon Valley. So ultimately the culture and the techno culture if you will, of the Silicon Valley really has, focused of course on monetization.
Focused on the things that they believe can be monetized. If it doesn't fit within that pretty box, of course, and they don't understand how it could be utilized for monetization purposes that will innately constrain the support that you receive.
Real estate is, of course, an industry that has received tons of support just through a number of mechanisms that I'd be telling my analysis but also of course, having the mindset coming in that this was a good technology because it can help monetize and create increased purchase price does decreased days in the market, so that certainly will help to propel it forward.
I'm now recognized as, of course an actor that helps facilitate that too, but, ultimately things such as glam photography, that may be perceived by Silicon Valley culture - by more capitalistic culture - as an area for this to really propel in that long term monetization mindset that we have in the Silicon Valley.
- What one of the constraints you mentioned was ... Who owns all this stuff? Can you talk more about that topic?
- Yeah, thank you for asking that. ... This is where most of what I consider tensions arise. Of course, on the photographer side, the idea of loading imagery or loading those files into that SaaS based platform, poses questions of, "Wait!
Do I own the creative or does the technology firm own the creative?"
Then of course, additionally, any of the underlying data, "Do I own this data or does the firm own this data?" If you ask a real estate agent? "Well, I own it." "I paid for it." If you were to ask an end consumer the seller of the home the question would be, "Well, it's my home. Why wouldn't I have authority over what happens to that image?" What happens? And of course, the sale of the transaction, then it goes back to the buyer.
So there's a lot of complexity that happens there. And right now what I have heard from multiple photographers as well as there's a lot of changes that happen over time.
Sometimes for good. Sometimes for confusion. That really does muddy, the water and understanding and making that crystal clear. There's been privacy act--
- Could you provide some clarity on that topic of who owns the imagery and the underlying data?
- Say that again.
- Could you please provide clarity of who owns the photography and who owns the underlying data?
- You would really have to read the terms and conditions statements for each of the providers that you work with. I can't give, I won't give that I'm not legal counsel. Yeah, but there is. I mean, it's something I--
- It's not fair for me to ask you that question. It's almost rhetorical and it is interesting to hear you identify potential different stakeholders from the photographer to the technology provider, to the client.
And in the vertical: real estate agent in that vertical of real estate agent - being selling somebody's home. "Okay well, is there a location licensed in there?" "And was there permission for use beyond the intended use?"
- Mm hmm.
- And now is that, underlying data being used for a different purpose that wasn't originally -- I doubt the homeowner even knew that there was underlying data and how would that affect the potential future homeowner of what their interests might be in that data?
I probably left out government in this because I imagine - at some point - there will probably be some legislation here that affects the buyer of the house who may have different -- who may own the house at that moment in time.
And yet there's data, associated with that house that they may or may not own. So forgive me. It's not fair for me to ask you that question. But I feel like I should ask it, but I will ask about the tension. So, because those -- there's not clear answers at least from my perspective as a photographer
- who of course thinks I own everything that I shoot in the absence of somebody telling me otherwise - what does that tension do in terms of the future of 3D tour technology?
- Yeah, I mean, in short, it slows it down. You're going to have significant photographers, start to move off because there's not that clarity. They might find other providers or completely move to different types of technology, drones, and others where they feel like they have more ownership over the video.
You also might find from a real estate agent. I think it's clear within this market they're real estate agents unless they're their photographer as well; may not have full clarity on what is provided as well.
So they may not be understanding that there are those data derivatives either. But there is some lack of clarity of ownership still within that role. What I'm most concerned about is that end property owner.
So thinking about that end property owner how many steps away are we now? And as an end consumer is now the new owner of a property. Well, am I going to start receiving targeted marketing based on certain things? I don't think that's appropriate.
I worked way too long in direct marketing: direct mail, email, text messages, phone calls back in the day when we used to actually call people. And so, we have -- I can definitely see just the way the structure to your point of government and policy where we've had it in the past that type of database is coming. When that will happen? I'm not sure. But I, and as a consumer advocate I hope that this discussion continues.
- Yeah, I'm going to frame that with an analogy that I don't know the answer to but it is a bit frightening. And I think it's related to this topic, because I know in the last month or so, I've had different conversations with my wife at different times.
And for example, a discussion - we don't own a dog. We don't own a pet. But we were discussing pets and we were discussing pets as related to plush and robotics. And within a half hour on Facebook, I was served up an ad that was very specific to our conversation which couldn't have been coincidental because we don't have pets.
We would never discuss pets. We were discussing it in context to family and boom there was an ad and that's happened multiple times. So I think, and I don't know the answer to that. And I, hopefully somebody will, get back to me and comment on that. But I think the way it's relevant is the person who has bought the home.
Wouldn't expect as you mentioned, necessarily to be served up ads, maybe for a carpet because the platform can tease out that that home has 20% hardwood floors.
And so, there are a candidate for carpet whatever that appropriate marketing piece might be, that might not be the most sensitive piece of information, but maybe I'm being served up alarm -- the homeowner's being served up well, your house is more likely to be broken into because your ratio of windows to square footage is higher.
I don't know what it might be. So these are real issues, aren't they? In terms of -- someone is gathering the data. So there are some -- I think back when I bought my Matterport camera in July of 2014, Matterport was kinda sorta the only player at that time sorta kind of …
Today, We Get Around Network tracks 170+ 3D/360 virtual tour platforms and software. Matterport was pretty much the only kind of camera of its kind at that time. And today there are 50 plus cameras that we track in this space.
So, I wonder about the data collection -- which is a subset of those 170 - of companies that do that - what is it they might do with that data? And, I'm not sure that we'll resolve that on today's show but I think the context is that it does impact, trying to imagine the future of 3D tour technology as a tension.
- Mm hmm, yes absolutely. As far as how we imagine we can utilize it but at the same time simultaneously, it completely impacts the potential development as well. And what kinds of policy may come alongside that and things we need to be conscious of.
As a marketer, I recall sadly I'll date myself, when, do not call lists. There were new regulations. Constantly, I recall - being new regulations related to that, new regulations to direct mail.
We're in an early stage in this type of technology where there really isn't much beyond California that has a little bit that touches this technology. But beyond that, it's not something we're talking about yet but it's going to come.
So it's something that we need to be considerate of. And from an ethical standpoint, and becoming ethical business owners it's important for us to make an expose and understand what people are comfortable with.
And making recommendations as real estate agents. Yeah, you might want to put down those family photos. Maybe scanning with those family photos, isn't the right idea. Understanding even those minor practices that usually we're fine with. That maybe we need to consider that because this has a longer shelf life.
- But it is a good question about someone that has a semantic understanding of the house: knows how many windows; knows which way the windows face; how many doors there are; what appliances that are in the house; what's the floor covering. There's a lot of data that at scale certainly becomes interesting from -- if you're the company that owns or let's see how to say -- has the data.
- It's a good question about ownership, but has the data, and wants to license the data for use cases and how that -- nevermind whether the photographer feels like they should get a piece of that action or the ethical issues - I'm still thinking about the buyer of the house.
And there's a lot of data that's been collected that they might think should not be public and accessible. Anyways, so we should probably just call that a tension. And that's something that's affecting the potential for imagining the future of 3D. Are there other tensions in the space?
- Yeah, as I mentioned before, we concentrated predominantly on consumer privacy but the biggest challenge is there as well as copyright and creative rights, for photographers themselves. I still say that's going to be a large tension. We've seen lawsuits already pop up for this.
So that's going to continue to be a challenge. Beyond that, it's being able to utilize and having limited imagination, and that can happen. So one of the concerns when we're thinking about Silicon Valley Silicon Valley is no longer a place, right?
So Silicon Valley has now become a globalized phenomenon. I'm about to move to Silicon Valley Harbor; is Charleston. So there's every Silicon Valley Hills. I used to live in Austin, Texas. Everyone wants a little bit of Silicon Valley. That mindset has proliferated globally.
So if that continues to proliferate that will limit our potential scope and how this technology can be utilized. So I advocate obviously for, taking a stroll, thinking about things differently when it comes to technology so that we don't get boxed in and limited based on the constraints that might happen from that type of mindset.
- When you talk about imagination, having read some of your documents on this topic you have some different ways of thinking about imagination. I think it would probably be helpful in terms of -- there's different ways of looking at imagination. Isn't that interesting. So can you talk a little bit about that?
- Yeah I mean, at a high level imagination is definitely a concept that has belonged to a lot of different streams of interest. It's definitely more of a philosophical type of approach, which makes it fun. And also meant that my research went in a very different direction than I would've anticipated coming into this program.
But imagination in general has always been perceived as, well it's something that happens because we experienced it in the past. So things that we maybe were related to our senses, things that we can see, smell, touch, hear, taste and our imagination was potentially limited to that.
But many people disagree with that as well. And they say, we're humans. Human imagination is not limited to just the things that we've experienced in the past.
So the way that I conceptualize imagination -- I've got three different forms that I talk about. But one, of course, the ability to think about things paired together in unique ways based on our past experiences. That's considered creative imagination. I borrow these terms from philosophers.
They're not my own, but creative imagination is what many photographers do; they're using the technology in a totally different way. And they're mashing it together versus say a developer who might perceive the world completely different than what they see today.
By doing that and enlivening that new innovation that's what you would consider more of a recreative imagination. Very confusing terminology but a recreative - they're recreating the world potentially around them; versus what we kind of were brushing against which is this idea of the imaginary.
And we have to understand that these creative and even recreative types of things and imagination that we have in our heads exist within a larger structure of a social imaginary.
And in the result of like say technology oriented imaginary a sociotechnical, imaginary and -- I dare you to say that five times fast -- but the sociotechnical imaginary ultimately is interested in progressing science and progressing technology in a way that benefits those.
So that comes with good and bad, of course that emerge, which certainly emerges here as well in this, as we're seeing, as we talked through tensions but that imaginary even helps to guide some of these creative and those recreative imagination processes.
- When I try to imagine the future in our space, the things that I think about, and maybe I'm just way too simplest, too simplistic about it. But I think, well, the quality of the gear, the capture. The photography is getting better every month, year it's progressive.
It progresses. And I wonder, "Wow what might that do for imagining the future?" The price keeps coming down. As things get better, things get either at least less expensive or there's more that you can do for the same amount of money.
Am I thinking too small? When I think about just, Oh the quality is getting better, their price is coming down. There's going to be exciting things come in that we haven't even imagined yet.
- It's not atypical, right. So what I find; what's interesting and what really drove me down this path of trying to understand now, wait a second.
What's happening because there's these buckets of individuals that think somewhat similarly they're still guided by, things that you would see in typical capitalistic markets, typical Silicon Valley, technology centered.
It's going to be more convenience. It's going to be more utilitarian. It's going to be, that's pretty common, for people who are more technology centered.
If you speak to a real estate agent it might be slightly different. What their imagination is constrained to when they're thinking the future is; it's stuff that also is related to real estate.
So virtual staging and ... ... and as well as ... Hey, I see more hardware that allows you to feel the space potentially further down but there's no mindset beyond that.
You talk to somebody who's done something like a number of different types of scans that you can tell that the mindset and the evaluation for potential future starts to widen.
But ultimately, I continued to hear from individuals a lot of technology oriented mindset as well as potential use cases that were still limited to the real estate with us sprinkling because that's pretty similar to what we're seeing in this market right now.
Predominantly real estate and technology gurus with a little bit more of individuals that have other experience that are thinking about, Oh, well, if I have a theater background if I have a theater background I might think of actually doing, utilizing this in a different way that relates to also theater not just real estate.
- Mm hmm well, when I do think about quality getting better price coming down, that kind of the next two things that I start to think about is,
Oh! This data that's being collected. And certainly in the first year or two that I knew I was collecting data. There wasn't anyone that had any interest in it at least on my radar, but I'm thinking, oh my gosh! This data is semantic understanding of a space.
Wow, if this scales it's some humongous data set that can be served up with an API. Well, that sounds like it really could have an impact on the future of 3D tours.
- Yep absolutely, not just 3D tours, but then as we discussed a lot of other things related to real estate, but even further than that.
- Yeah, so the, in many verticals, so I suspect we still, we haven't even - we don't know what we don't know.
We know this data, the spatial data is interesting but maybe the use case of that data is by someone who's not even in our ecosystem that looks at the data and says, "Wow! You can you collect that kind of data?" "Oh! I'm in this field.
This is how I would use that data." So we may not have even found the people who know how to unlock the value of the data. I mean, yeah. So we talked about mortgages, but okay. But is there a mortgage company that's actually ... deep in the, into, yeah.
Let's accelerate that or the, I think about insurance documentation, it's a little crazy thing. We've had three different floods in the house all for different reasons.
And everybody comes out: the insurance adjuster comes out, creates an Xactimate sketch. The general contractor comes out and makes an Xactimate and the key subcontractor comes out and makes an Xactimate.
And another insurance adjuster comes out for some reason. And I'm thinking, well, who's paying for this bill? Doesn't the insurance company care that they're being charged by all these different people to create the same -- And isn't that what Matterport does is it captures all the data and could create the tour once?
So, I wonder at what point do some companies finally come into this space and say, "this is so disruptive in a good way." And then, it will save a lot of money for the stakeholders. And will also save a ton of time. And then, even as I say that maybe I'm a constraint because I only think in terms of things that make money and save time.
So, and maybe that those aren't the right filters or the only filters for imagining the future.
- It's interesting because that actually taps into some of my other work within the real estate; it's really common especially in technology. And those that are more technology oriented to consider a technology is highly what you'd consider utilitarian.
So convenience and less costly. And those mechanisms, as we see right away that's got to be the inherent value that comes from this technology. When in fact this technology also builds in motion. There ends up being a lot of what we would call hedonic.
So things that are more emotional. Things that actually bring social presence to being able to share this with loved ones, across three States away.
These types of values are even an ethical value. We talked about ethics a lot, but there is inherently; there's some ethical value that gets encapsulated with this type of technology.
- My business card says Chief Photographer. It sounds like I need to change that.
The chief Hedonics Officer Chief Privacy Officer, Chief Security Officers; a lot of other hats but I haven't thought about that. I actually need to wear when I'm capturing this data because it does have tons of other use cases known.
And what we think are probably, is this like an iceberg where we only see the tip of the iceberg of the future because that's the constraint of how we see the world. We see it in our own little world of residential real estate. Maybe commercial real estate.
Maybe insurance documentation. But really that that's only the tip of the iceberg of what's possible.
- Yeah, and I would also say we're probably looking at it from slightly different angles on top of that, right? Because we all have different clusters of our social upbringing and, how we live that might -- I'm seeing it from this angle.
You're seeing it from this angle. A consumer seeing it from that angle because they just want the technology to integrate with everything else. So it makes their lives easier. But then there are all of these things to your point under the surface.
We're not considering, we're not thinking about because we always associate technology with that utilitarian because it is by definition. Technology is a tool. And when we think of tools, we think utility but ultimately it has so much more embedded within it.
- This is awesome. I know we started out with my first question was," What is the future of 3D tour technology for real estate photographers?" I'm not sure that we've answered that question.
It might be that we've generated more questions than answers, but maybe that's really important that we all start thinking about what the future is. And I know I can't wait for the future to arrive; whatever that is. Kelley, what's your next project? What other research are you working on?
- So we're continuing to work on MLS data of course, we just got a 2020 data set.
So we're trying to look at pre and during the pandemic, trying to understand what that did; at least in a single market. I'm working with a phenomenal, my phenomenal co-authors and another one we picked up who does some amazing econometric stuff that's not my expertise.
So I'm so stoked to have her Julia on the project now to help out with that. And then another one that I mentioned earlier we're still working toward museums and trying to understand the 3D tours.
And hopefully soon when things are safe to start collecting data in person. We'll do some virtual reality and … how that evaluation of space, understanding what we gain from that type of experience. And also what is it that we're losing?
That thing under the bubble we're not even thinking about losing in that experience that's underwater, but I suspect there are some things that we're probably losing in that experience that are important to understand when utilizing this for, specifically museums but also other types of use cases as well.
- Awesome thank you so much for researching the space and adding insight to understanding what we do. I know most of us as photographers, we're thinking about today, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week.
So having a conversation about imagining the future of 3D tour technology, or what is it we can learn tease out of the MLS data to help us - Succeed faster - is awesome! Thank you for being on the show again, Kelley.
- Thank you, Dan. Really appreciate it.
- We've been visiting with Dr. Kelley Cours Anderson, a Researcher at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas.
Dr. Anderson is also an incoming Assistant Professor of marketing at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina.
That's effective August, 2021.
I'm Dan Smigrod, Founder of the, We Get Around Network Forum for Kelley in Lubbock and myself in Atlanta. Thanks for tuning into WGAN-TV Live at 5.
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