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An Introduction to iGUIDE

September 5th, 2018

As professional real estate photographers, we’re often looking for the next product, service, or technology that could help set us apart from the competition and grow our business. Our mandate at PFRE is to help real estate photographers be successful and one of the ways we do that is by keeping you informed and up to date on products and technologies that are available to our industry.

I recently got the chance to catch up with Kevin Klages, President and CEO of Planitar. Planitar is the maker of the iGUIDE camera system that uses laser and visual data to document a property. Below are the topics we discussed with timestamps included:

  • What is iGUIDE – 01:00
  • Who is iGUIDE – 01:52
  • What measurement standards are coming – 06:38
  • Why should I offer iGUIDE? – 18:01
  • Who will Planitar sell cameras to? – 23:59
  • Where is iGUIDE being used now? – 26:02
  • How many iGUIDE operators are there? – 26:44
  • How does iGUIDE help real estate photographers build their businesses? – 27:31
  • How does iGUIDE compare to Matterport? – 31:39
  • Pricing explained – 40:21
  • Can you download iGUIDE and view it locally, or host it elsewhere? Yourself? – 42:23
  • Can iGUIDE handle large spaces? – 46:05
  • Are you aware of any areas that are moving toward mandatory measurement standards for real estate listings? – 47:40

The iGUIDE camera will:

  • Capture room dimensions
  • Capture area sq. ft.
  • Create scaled floor plans
  • Generate 3D virtual tours

For more information and up to date pricing, you can visit the iGuide website here.

Is there a demand for 3D tours, floor plans, and accurate measurements in your market?

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21 Responses to “An Introduction to iGUIDE”

  • I watched the video and contacted the company for information and prices. As best as I can tell, it’s about the same thing and price point as Matterport. So why would I invest $4,500 into a camera system that isn’t proven when Matterport has been around awhile and everyone knows it works? Besides, I have only ever had two realtors ask if I did Matterport so that really doesn’t justify investing that kind of money into something that may only be used a few times, at best.

  • Hi Larry, thank you for watching the video. To address your first comment of ‘known and proven’, we are the largest Canadian content creators. We may not be known in the USA yet but are very much proven in Canada. I would disagree with your second remark about iGUIDE only being used ‘a few times’. iGUIDE either started or has become a benchmark service in many of our Pro’s product offerings. iGUIDE is a great way to add a full suite of tools to a photo shoot; increasing your revenue and profit. Thank you again for watching and your engagement.

  • I recently heard from a real estate agent that matterport and other 3d sorts of tours were proving to be a negative for a substantial number of buyers. She explained it this way: photos never show everything, of course (or shouldn’t), their strength being that they provoke interest without giving away too much, leading to the goal which is to get buyers to come and see for themselves. matterport and their ilk provide so much detail that at least for some potential buyers, it becomes a turn off. They look in every nook and cranny (so to speak) and feel as though they’ve seen enough and don’t need to visit. And of course there is always something less than perfect. The greater detail in the 3ds gives more chances for the buyer to decide that there was some little flaw disqualifying the property.

    Or so she said. Some of that resonates with me, however fascinating I find the experience. At least it gives pause, for iGuide or Matterport or any other such provider.

    Anybody else care to comment?

  • @Jay

    1 agents opinion is hardly enough to even consider. Especially since more of these technologies are coming into view.

    I would like to know the numbers. Like, how many 3D tours are created in my area yearly and vs. Previous years. If iguide and matterport cared to show and prove those numbers, I would listen.

  • As a real estate service provider in Toronto, I can say that we are very happy to have integrated the Iguide system into our business. We looked at multiple systems in the marketplace and found that Iguide offered quicker capture time than most systems (more properties can be shot in a day), accurate floor plans with measurements and next day delivery. We offer multiple services including photography, videography and drone and find that the Iguide helped us stand out from our competition and therefore is booked 85% of the time with our packages. We were also drawn to the fact that Iguide are a smaller company with a big focus on customer service.

  • I’m in Texas and TourFactory in this area offers both iGuide and Matterport. I myself offer Matterport, partially because I wasn’t aware of the existence of iGuide back when I bought the Matterport. While I am generally happy with Matterport, I’ve found that only two clients consistently hire me to do 3D virtual tours. This is probably due to my failure to market it properly, but lately has also been due to the market here where houses have been selling within 1-2 days and clients don’t get the benefits of a 3D virtual tour by the time the home sells.

    I’ve also found that with such expensive systems and hosting fees (at least for Matterport), plus the time it takes even with the fast capture firmware update, it’s hard to clients to book it. I made a mistake recently where I uploaded a 3D tour to a client’s folder in the Matterport cloud system, but forgot to make it public and by the time they realized they never got links to it, the home (a $1.2m lakefront) had already sold. It had been three weeks, which is admittedly a VERY fast turnaround for a home that size and price in this area. The client emailed me asking about it stating the home was under contract, and I was left with the option of fully refunding their Matterport shoot. Forgetting to make the model public turned out to be a VERY expensive mistake to make. I wrote the client a check. The next day, she texted me, astounded that the check wasn’t a refund for the ENTIRE shoot, which consisted of Matterport, stills, and twilights which took me an entire day at the house. She wasn’t asking for a refund on the whole thing, she just thought that the check was rather large; essentially, she was very surprised that it cost her that much for the Matterport. This was AFTER a standard 20% discount I give to her team on 3D tours, and the reason she didn’t know the price was that her assistant usually handled it and that assistant had just quit and left her with the ball.

    All of this is to say, clients typically at least ACT taken aback by the price (I go by square footage) when I quote them–whether it’s because they are trying to negotiate on my price or because they are genuinely getting sticker shock, I don’t know–and when I have to charge accordingly to compete with the competition and make my time worthwhile, people not wanting to pay that much results in fewer people requesting 3D tours and really puts a dent in my ROI.

  • @Jay I agree with this statement:
    Real Estate Photographs should “provoke interest without giving away too much”.
    This is what the very skilled professional realtors of multi-million dollar homes that I shoot for tell me.
    These realtors sell 5-20 million dollar homes. Like a movie trailer, don’t give away the whole story.
    Everyone has a different idea on selling and marketing……keeps life interesting.

  • I own an iGuide Camera, it’s well designed and easy to use. The results are a fast loading elegant professional 360° tour with every bell and whistle my seller agents ask for. clients use the branded version on their website and social media and the unbranded virtual tour link for MLS syndication to the likes of Zillow. The feedback from BUYERS is excellent. As a property marketing product, it ticks all the boxes for the photography (stills and 360°s), details like room measurements and floor plans. It’s marketing, good marketing. I like it because it’s a very fast capture site, little processing effort and always delivered the very next day.

    What’s not addressed in this video is the relationship you get with the iGuide team. I know Kevin, he calls me every month asking if there is anything he can do for us. I know Alex, I know Chris, and I know Michael. I think it’s a fair investment. Consider the speed of capture, processing time, turn around, the resulting professional product AND an entire team of people I can call. Even the drafting team works with you.

    Note that one of Brandon’s very first statements is that there is an increased interest in 360° technologies. I provide marketing media, and when clients ask for 360°s we have options. The iGuide product may be something that works for your business.

  • Most here probably have not been around long enough to remember “CirclePix” and others that promoted 360 Virtual tours many, many years ago. The for runner of these 360 products. Just like then, these companies are pushing a proprietary product that can not be created without some interaction through them…. They hold the keys to that very expensive piece of plastic that creates the tours. Invest in the system, and what happens when they go belly up? As one who experienced that scenario many many years ago, we had to spend thousands to create the code to run a server that would continue our 360’s until the recession. After that, no seasoned agent wanted anything to do with those type of 360’s.

    Now there is a new generation of systems and output that are superior to what was put out back then. To bad it is based on the same model of “Buy our system so you can pay us to process your final product” You can pay a per item fee, or if you buy a bulk we will give you….

    I lost a few thousand with Circle Pix, …. Not again

  • I own both the iGuide system and Matterport, we also offer interactive Virtual Tours through RTV. I am new to the iGuide and if I had known about it before I got the Matterport I would not have gotten the Matterport. We started in July and have done close to 50 homes now with the iGuide system. My clients who were using the Matterport have now switched to the iGuide. They love the inactive floor plan. Not only does it provide a great marketing tool for my clients but is also allows them so show as much or as little of the home while showing the floor plan. The floor plan gives a great visual so buyers can get ideals on the flow of the homes. For me as well as my staff who are learning to use the system the ease of use, flexibility and capture time all factor into the number of homes we can photograph each day. I hope I will be looking at getting a second system before the end of the year.

    The staff are great and they make sure you have everything you need and are always available for questions or concerns.

  • Here’s a novel idea…do what I did. I sat 5 people, aged 28-67, in front of a computer screen and asked them to open a Matterport presentation and view a 3,000 sq ft home. 2 of the individuals in my “focus group” thought the software was “cool” and the other three either had trouble navigating or called the program “dumb” or “too time consuming”. One said…”if I want to play a game I’ll go to an arcade.” Three of them said they would much rather watch a 2-minute video of a home or just look at “well done photographs.” I often wonder if these companies sit down with the end-user and watch them use their product. I personally think they are gimmicky and I also understand that it doesn’t matter if a real estate agent likes them or not. It’s the consumer who matters.

  • You don’t need to make a $5000 investment or use a closed hosting system to make virtual tours. A DSLR (I use a Nikon D90) with a fisheye lens and a pano head will do the job. For making and uploading the virtual tours I use 3DVista which is a one time purchase and works as great on mobile as on desktop for viewing the virtual tour. Though it may not be as automated a process you’re not in a closed system.

    @Jay, yes a virtual tour provides more information, that’s the whole point of it. The fact that a potential buyer can already “visit” and revisit the home and can get a sense of its layout etc all from the comfort of their computer or mobile screen precisely weeds out those buyers who aren’t interested and that wouldn’t be interested in the home anyway if they had made an actual visit to it. This saves unnecessary time for the agents and homeowners to deal with those buyers who weren’t going to be all that interested in the house, to begin with. Besides the marketing advantage, it’s a way to weed out such buyers. Of course, a 360 virtual tour will show all angles of an area/room, that simply means that you need to take this into account when doing the home staging when decluttering a room, just like you do when taking normal stills, but in now in “360°”.

    @Jim, the focus group isn’t random people that you sit in front of a computer to look at a virtual tour. The focus group is potential buyers who are actively looking for a home and in the buyer’s eyes the more information on a property they have when searching for homes and prior to making an actual visit, the better.

  • Good morning,
    To address the question of whether Agents and Buyers looking for this kind of information? The answer is absolutely.
    Before engineering our iGUIDE System to suit real estate we explored the viability of the market; “would iGUIDE sell in real estate?”
    This real estate industry has a wealth of research available, including the National Association of Realtors, Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers Report, published annually.
    Chapter 3 of this report profiles the Home Search Process and each year Buyers say what tools they find most important when searching for a new home. Consistently since we began looking in 2011, these tools included:
    1. Photos
    2. Property Details: Room Measurements & Floor Area Calculations
    3. Floor Plans
    4. Virtual Tours
    5. Neighborhood Information

    iGUIDE began servicing the real estate industry as a ‘solution to a problem’ not a ‘solution in search of a problem’. And the success of our solution is supported by the number of Professional Photographers across Canada and the USA who are growing their businesses with the iGUIDE System.

  • @Jerry Miller

    Any iGUIDE can be downloaded. This means you can keep it for as long as you like and do whatever you want with it. You can view it in any browser or host it on your own server with no special coding required.

    Here is a link to download an iGUIDE if you would like to play with one:

    https://goiguide.com/wp-content/uploads/Samples/offline_iguide.zip

    Unzip the file and double click the index.html to load the iGUIDE locally in any browser. A downloaded iGUIDE includes the 3d tour, pdf floor plans, room dimensions, square footage totals, and still images.

  • What about exteriors? I’ve read that Matterport cameras don’t handle exteriors very well. Can the iGuide camera make 360 panos of the exterior?

  • @ Chris White

    Unless I am missing something… You still have to use IGUIDE proprietary software to create the the downloadable link.
    In other words, there is no software that will allow me to just purchase the hardware and not go through them to create the end product.

    That is the choke point and should that fail, you will have a system that will now be a door stop

  • Good morning Philip,
    Pro’s are able to capture great exterior Pano’s, in all lighting conditions with the iGUIDE. We are not capturing dimensional or spatial information but can offer pano’s.

  • Good morning #Jerry_Miller,
    George Eastman developed the Kodak Black Camera in 1888 to COMMERCIALIZE his patented photo processing paper and chemicals. Many of can remember dropping our rolls of film off at the lab, to have them returned to us in the form of photos. Eventually, the process was refined and it became possible for people to process their own film. Creating a finished iGUIDE is complex and our drafting team uses software we developed to finish iGUIDE’s. There may be a time in the future our software is friendly enough for consumer use but not today.
    Even with your DSLR systems, you are reliant on the manufacturers to keep the operating systems functioning and free from bugs or gotcha’s. With any new technology, whether the newest cell phone or camera system there are risks. It is up to consumers to weigh the risks against the potential rewards. When we talk with potential iGUIDE Pro’s who share your concern, we suggest they depreciate the cost of the hardware as fast as possible so they are comfortable with a ‘walk away point’. Many Pro’s will set a benchmark of 250-500 iGUIDE’s as their walk-away number. It is sound business practice to do this with any system.
    What are your considerations when investing in an upgraded camera? Do you factor the purchase price against the potential return on the investment?
    Warmest regards,
    Kevin

  • Here is an example with some exterior panos taken with the iGUIDE camera system:

    https://youriguide.com/2_eton_place_ladera_ranch_ca?floor=1&pano=18

    You can also add panoramas from any camera system (Drone, Ricoh Theta, Insta360, etc.) to any iGUIDE. Here is an example of a drone pano:

    https://youriguide.com/758_cedar_bend_dr_waterloo_on?floor=2&pano=3

    Chris

  • Chris, thanks for the additional info. Since the camera also makes the measurements for floorplans while taking the panos, can you also measure areas of the house without taking the panos or without including the panos afterwards (for example if there are cluttered areas like the garage, etc, that can’t be shown)

    Is the camera/system available to photographers worldwide?

  • @Philip

    You have total control over which panos are visible. This means you can easily hide the messy spaces and only show the good ones. From my experience it’s very effective to show the entire house on the foorplan with only the visually appealing areas having panos.

    If your goal is primarily measurement you can also turn off the HDR and shoot 5x faster. This is handy for areas where visuals are not relevant (like a messy garage).

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