At this point, it’s pretty clear: the future is virtual. Now that people are used to shopping, socializing, working, learning, entertaining, and working online… It’s hard to imagine exchanging the convenience and opportunity this brings to our lives. What if the apps we use to do this were…better? More natural, more fun? Welcome to the Metaverse. And the company quietly helping to make it possible: Matterport (NASDAQ:MTTR).
Metaverse platforms allow us to leave clunky 2D websites behind and enter a “Internet Embodied”.
When we’re done attending an online meeting (as a digital avatar), we can simply teleport to our virtual “living room” to hang out with friends. It’s as easy as clicking from Microsoft Teams on a “Zoom hang” with our college buddies… But it’s more seamless – no more downloading and juggling all sorts of different apps to do it!
Until now, however, 3D worlds have struggled to realize their full potential for one big reason: logistics. Objects and landscapes had to be drawn by hand; as you can imagine, this is an incredibly long and expensive process!
Today, two major advances are breaking down this barrier: artificial intelligence and the 3D capture of “digital twins” of physical spaces.
Matterport Digital Twins
For VR and AR developers, digital identical twins are a leap forward akin to “the invention of the camera” over “the old days of painting.” says Matt Bell, co-founder of Matterport.
Matterport provides 3D cameras (which bring depth to an image), 360 cameras (which bring multiple angles), an app to capture those images on your smartphone, software that brings it all together in a digital twin of space and apps to overlay on AR functionality. According to Matterport.com:
A Matterport digital twin is the most accurate virtual 3D model of a real place, whether it’s a room, an entire building, or an outdoor space. Digital twins allow industries like real estate, hospitality, construction and insurance to simplify the way they work and connect with customers and suppliers.
Below is a Matterport “dollhouse view” of an upscale home, where you can exploit any room and take a virtual tour of the space. Retailers, hotels and travel rental companies also find it convenient to present their offers in such detail. Since his last Q3 report, Matterport’s customer base includes 13% of Fortune 1000 companies.
The company has built “a worldwide network of Matterport Service Partners” that you can hire to bring a Matterport camera to your museum, office or coworking space, event venue…any type of property you want. Once they have captured the digital twin, you can offer a virtual tour of the establishment to potential customers or visitors.
Is Australia a place you’ve always wanted to visit? Well, the thefts alone cost a whole salary. Not to mention that the journey takes 24 hours of your life.
In the Metaverse, you might be able to explore the Australian Outback more easily than you can step into an Outback Steakhouse in your hometown. you could see Bohemian at the Sydney Opera House, check out the street art on Hosier Lane in Melbourne (pictured below), then stroll the Swan River in Perth, all with zero commuting time.
Several sites like these are already captured as Matterport Digital Twins. Of the, the web3 metaverse encourages Matterport Service Partners to map ALL major cities and destinations. All in a tiny fraction of the time graphic designers would need to sketch everything out.
Then, metaverse tourists can purchase digital souvenirs to dress up their avatars and then show them off to their friends. It is the logical continuation of virtual showrooms, like this Harrods online experience, the luxury department store in London.
Beyond these hypothetical examples, Matterport already does a lot of work in the real estate industry, modeling real estate properties on sites like red fin (NASDAQ:RDFN) and Remax. Other customers include Airbnb (NASDAQ:ABNB), Hyatt Hotels (NYSE:H), National insurance, the clothing retailer H&M (OTCMKTS:HNNMY), and the US State Department.
Matterport and Mark Zuckerberg
The big Matterport project that got many investors excited in 2021 is a collaboration with Facebook AI Research (FAIR), now called “Meta AI”.
Matterport has its own AI, Cortex, which he uses “to create large-scale precision 3D spatial data”. Cortex learned all about room dimensions, object and room recognition, and more. Now, Meta will train its Habitat AI to gain the same understanding by feeding its neural network with the Habitat-Matterport (HM3D) 3D research dataset.
HM3D’s initial announcement is geared more towards training AI assistants, “like robots that can retrieve medicine from a bedside table or AR glasses that can help people remember where they left their keys.” .
But given Zuckerberg’s metaverse ambitions, Matterport can bring much more to this partnership. After all, an AI trained with Matterport data (five million rooms!) can not only analyze digital twins… It may also be able to to create realistic spaces to help build the metaverse, faster and stronger! And the realistic spaces were exactly the vision presented by Zuck during its big metaverse event in October.
Meanwhile, Matterport has brought in additional firepower that could help the company add new revenue streams into the metaverse:
Earlier this month, Matterport announced that it had reached an agreement to acquire Enview, a geospatial analytics company.
“Enview’s technology performs a variety of 3D spatial operations, including object recognition, feature extraction, feature-based change detection, 2D and 3D measurement and attribution.” In other words, the new subsidiary from Enview will complement Matterport’s Cortex AI and help expand Matterport’s technology for outdoor spaces.
In Q3, Matterport has already captured an incredible 18 billion square feet as digital twins. Tourism, retail, education and online meetings are just a few of the businesses Matterport could venture into – monetizing their vast data library by turning it into a metaverse… or s associating with those who are already building such platforms.
Whichever path the company chooses to take, the math is very favorable to the investor at this point. From $100 million annual income today, Matterport’s total addressable market could be $240 billion, still in its very early stages. And in this competitive landscape, this huge data set of digital twins gives Matterport a very strong first-mover advantage.
As of the date of publication, Ashley Cassell had (neither directly nor indirectly) any position in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, subject to InvestorPlace.com Publication guidelines.