By ALAN J. ORTBALS
Imagine being able to take a self-guided, 3D, virtual tour of a residence, office, hotel, hospitality venue or museum, being able to move from room to room at your own pace and zoom in to get a better look at details, all without leaving your home or desk.
That’s what Belleville-based, InvelopNow provides its clients using the revolutionary immersive media technology of Matterport, a company founded in 2011 and headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif.
“Scans from InvelopNow provide a 24-hour open house,” said Chris Malacarne, co-founder and vice president of InvelopNow. “Viewers can go online and see the virtual tour and walk through it on any mobile device or desktop. They can view the space, the room layout, the furniture arrangement. They can see the floor plans. There is a 3D showcase that shows a 3D model structure of the home.”
While some may have seen video tours of homes for sale or venues for rent, the Matterport process is different, says Malacarne. The viewer is able to move from one room to another at their own choosing and at their own pace. They can stop and zoom in on some detail they want to look at more closely. The video can also include tags on items that the client wants to call particular attention to in the home or venue, giving more information about particular features. It also provides a 3D view so that the viewer can get an overview of how the rooms relate to each other.
Malacarne says they have been working primarily with residential real estate agents but the uses are endless. They’ve scanned hospitality venues like hotels and banquet centers and museums are another client base. The Sheldon Concert Hall and the Moto Museum have used their services.
“The marketing director at the Moto Museum was spending long hours on Saturdays showing their event space to prospective users,” Malacarne said. “This was also a problem because they have events on Saturdays. Having people touring the venue was adding a lot of traffic as the crew was setting up tables for the evening’s event. With this, she’s regained her Saturdays,” he added. “They only show the venue in person during the week now. They refer all the Saturday views to the scans. It saves them on multiple angles of efficiency.”
Malacarne said that they are currently working on a program with the Bed & Breakfast Association of Southern Illinois to scan all of the bed and breakfasts south of Springfield and planning to get together with the winery owners in Southern Illinois as well.
InvelopNow will scan anywhere in the St. Louis metropolitan area. Prices start at $300 for a 2,000- to 3,000-square-foot house but they are running a special during the month of September: $199 for a home 2,500 square feet and under.
While the company works mostly locally they also have clients in other parts of the state and the country. Holiday Inn is a client and they will be scanning some of their ballroom venues in Chicago and their Underground Burger Bar near Lambert St. Louis International Airport. They’ve also done work for some of the museums in Boston.
Malacarne said that they recently scanned the 12,000-square-foot Danforth Plant Science Center in St. Louis. The center plans to use the scans for marketing purposes to show the space off to scientists and incoming interns and businesses so that they can see the facility first hand without actually traveling there.
“We’ve also teamed up with a Boston company that aims to bring virtual reality to the classroom, Malacarne said. “All of our scans are adaptable to the virtual reality headsets. You can put a headset on and walk around the space and it’s as if you are there. Their mission is to build a website for classrooms and then supply classrooms in Boston with virtual reality of historical sites that have been scanned.”
There are 30,000 Matterport photographers worldwide and they have scanned museums in Europe, the pyramids in Egypt and many other things. InvelopNow also offers aerial drone photography.