In the not-to-distant future, many real estate agents and consumers will be able to use their smartphones to capture 3-D home tours. The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is the only smartphone on the market that offers this functionality, but a handful of other 3-D camera-equipped mobile devices will roll out later this year.

  • GeoCV is focused exclusively on designing 3-D home tour apps for compatible smartphones.
  • The goal is to make cheap, high-quality 3-D tours that will be a no-brainer for agents.

In the not-to-distant future, many real estate agents and consumers will be able to use their smartphones to capture 3-D home tours.

The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro is the only smartphone on the market that offers this functionality, but a handful of other 3-D camera-equipped mobile devices will roll out later this year.

New York City-based GeoCV is focused exclusively on designing 3-D home tour apps for such phones.

It’s already created one that runs on the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, and plans to make the app available to real estate photographers and agents around the country in the coming months.

The company recently closed a $1.8 million seed funding round led by Runa Capital, bringing its total funding to $2.5 million. (Emery Capital and some angel investors also participated in the round.)

Saving money (and headaches)

GeoCV’s app will be compatible with a number of other smartphones with 3-D cameras, since they will likely use the same operating software as the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, according to GeoCV CEO Anton Yakubenko.

The goal is to make cheap, high-quality 3-D tours that will be a no-brainer for agents.

At launch, GeoCV’s app would require hardware that costs about $1,000. Agents and photographers would be best off using a Lenovo Phab 2 Pro with a tripod, panoramic lens and external 3-D camera, Yakubenko said.

This apparatus would require some assembly, but it’s much cheaper than the 3-D cameras sold by virtual tour providers Matterport and Planitar. (Matterport, the leading provider of 3-D homes, also offers a 3-D-capture app that works with the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, but the vast majority of its tours are generated using its standalone 3-D camera.)

Yakubenko anticipates that other coming smartphones will have better 3-D cameras than the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, in which case an external 3-D camera wouldn’t be needed.

In addition to capturing 3-D home tours, GeoCV’s app would also collect material that would be rendered by GeoCV into listing photos and a 3-D floor plan.

At the moment, GeoCV is producing this media package for New York City agents for $149 a pop. Its 3-D tours, which include a “dollhouse view,” are comparable in quality to those generated by Matterport’s camera.

GeoCV’s online viewer shows a home’s 3-D tour, floor plan and listing photos and can be embedded on agent and brokerage websites.

The case for (and against) 3-D

Some agents worry that 3-D tours reduce property showings, but enthusiasts welcome this effect: The tours weed out “lookie-loos,” they say. Plus, the media can generate interest in a home from more remote buyers.

Redfin, Apartments.com and REA Group have reported that listings with Matterport tours receive significantly more inquiries and engagement, according to Matterport.

Paying heed, realtor.com recently stitched Matterport tours into its mobile app. Meanwhile, Zillow has hinted at plans for a “virtual co-shopping with your agent.”

Still a 3-D skeptic?

Apple bought the 3-D hardware that has powered Matterport’s camera, and is expected to release a new iPhone with a 3-D camera this year.

This iPhone probably won’t support 3-D home tour capture, Yakubenko said, but he thinks there’s a good chance the next one will.

Email Teke Wiggin.

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