In my 2014 predictions, I suggested that location intelligence would need to incorporate an "immersive" experience for dashboards so that big data could be visualized especially for spatial relationships. I am probably behind on a few technologies already in the marketplace, at least for building information and real estate applications.
On Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Floored, a company that uses vitural reality (VR) to help commercial real estate developers visualize exterior and interior structures in a 3D, immersive experience, raised $5.2 Million in Series A funding. Floored uses a 3D camera developed by Matterport. The Matterport camera produces a triangulated irregular network (TIN) of interior office space, furniture, walls, etc. (See video demo below) The rendered TIN model is not quite as spatially defined as imagery from a LiDAR point cloud but probably good enough for most applications and which the company suggests is less expensive. Textures and colors can be added to the Matterpoint-generated scene. Matterport has, in turn, begun to work with PrimeSense, the technology within Microsoft Kinect that allows it to "observe a scene in three dimensions" according to the PrimeSense website and translate gestures into an action within a video game, for example. PrimeSense call also translate objects like furniture and walls giving depth to the on-screen image.
The result is an interactive model that developers can use to immersively view interior spaces. Now, this does not seem revolutionary to geospatial and BIM professionals but there may be a few twists. First, the time it takes to capture the interior space is only about 1-hour for a 1200 square foot area. Cost comparisons were not available but certainly with less resolution than LiDAR the TIN model shoul be less expensive. The WSJ observes that the Floored-Matterport solution is an alternative to AutoCAD that is more "heavy duty."
How does Floored make money? Floored creates the 3D models and charges users to host the images and data.
The combination of a SaaS solution for real estate, an imaging camera that is an alternative to LiDAR and a technology that introduces an immersive experience provides an excellent example of the type of visualization that I see being introduced into more geospatial and LI apps.