Why can't I host my own Spaces?

Over time we’ve had many customers express interest in downloading their Matterport Space so they can self-host it or upload it to their site for hosting as opposed to embedding.  It's been a hot topic for quite some time and, although one can download their Space to the 3D Showcase app on their iPad, that's just not quite the same and doesn't meet some customer requirements.

Before you get excited and think this post is to announce the wait is over, I should say up front, this post is to better explain why it might make more sense to have Matterport host your space for the following reasons.

Performance

For starters, Matterport uses Amazon Web Services as our host for your Spaces. This is very important for a number of reasons, but mainly performance.  Amazon prides themselves on their processing and delivery speeds.  Many businesses use AWS for this reason.  However, unlike GoDaddy, AWS doesn’t provide the customer support one may require if anything should go wrong.  Which is why very few individuals use AWS.  

While some web hosts are great for US based content, what happens when someone from Australia wants to look at your Space.  Another service Matterport uses is Fastly.  Not a company many people have heard of, but what they do is very important to servers delivering global content.  Meaning, unless a server located in Australia has a copy of your Space, the user experience will be very slow and painful since the content has to get halfway around the world.  Fastly supports a global network of servers to maximize streaming efficiency and enhance the end user experience no matter where your visitors may be around the world.

New Features

Matterport is committed to continually updating and upgrading 3D Showcase to provide the end user with the best experience possible.  Before you say that sounds like a bunch of marketing nonsense, let me give you an example.  You may have noticed we made an update recently to both Workshop and 3D Showcase.  Now in 3D Showcase your visitors can zoom in to get a closer look at various objects in the scene.  Had anyone been self-hosting their Spaces, they would not have been a part of that upgrade and their visitors would not have that functionality.  I personally feel it’s very important the end user’s experience is as consistent as possible regardless of whose Space they may be looking at.  Without updates to 3D Showcase, self-hosted Space visitors would have an outdated experience.

Reliability

Finally, what happens when your visitors start updating their browsers to the latest version?  A self-hosted version of 3D Showcase would be outdated and require new bug fixes or potentially a complete update itself.  Keep in mind a Matterport Space is not like the ubiquitous and self contained video file.  A lot of effort is put into maintaining the integrity of 3D Showcase so that it works with as many systems as possible.  

I completely understand the concern some may have and why they may want to self-host their Spaces.  However, I just wanted to point out that proper self-hosting is not be as simple as one may think.  It’s also certainly not as inexpensive when you start adding up the costs of a high performing host, the web engineer required to maintain the high performing host and reliability, as well as a caching service such as Fastly to provide proper performance world wide.  

What do you think?  Would the benefits of self-hosting your Space outweigh these potential pitfalls and how would you combat these pitfalls if you had to?

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Comments

9 comments
  • I believe you have made very valid points, from a cloud-provider perspective.

    Your centralized-decentralized model (meaning content is accessed through a single point - matterport.com, but delivered globally through the CDN) allows you to optimize access and delivery.  You can add, change or remove functions more easily.  You can monitor and maintain reliability more easily.

    In the end, people just want to own their stuff.  This is the biggest hurdle to the cloud.

    While Joe MSP serving local realtors may not be able to replicate those benefits, larger organizations can, or at least can to a level that they determine.  By disallowing them the option, you're speaking for them - essentially forcing them into an business operation that might not be in their best interest.

    When features are added, changed, or removed, it affects the content owner and the end user.  Matterport can and does regularly alter function without notice.  Matterport users have very little say in that process, and must simply accept it when it happens.  Those changes have a direct impact on many small businesses.  The solution is a regular function implementation schedule with proper notification.  In a self-hosting scenario, the solution is regular non-manadatory (when possible) software updates just like the good old days before the cloud.

    Self-hosting would reduce recurring revenue from hosting.  It very likely would result in a degraded end-user experience for some, and that would reflect negatively on Matterport.  In those situations, Matterport would end up taking the heat for those experiences, which could also impact revenue.

  • I do photography for high-end hotels and when they pay $1,000's for a photographer to come out, film and pay for full usage rights, they don't want to have "Matterport" all over their videos.

    While AWS is nice, many large businesses have VPS hosting more than capable. Cloud hosting is getting really cheap.

    Let's just say what we all really know, that the subscription model is one of the most successful business models there is. Same reason cell phone carriers give away phones, because they make it all back on the back-end with monthly plans.

    The tech looks amazing but this is really a deal-breaker. The fact that this company is obviously more concerned with their $$$ and having their branding forced upon users is a real turn off.

  • The points @Matterport-Amir makes are all valid and for most cases outweigh the positives of self-hosting except where there are strong security/IP requirements. In those cases I'd even question if Matterport spaces are appropriate.

    Of course Matterport are making money from the hosting, they're a business not a charity and if we want them to be around to support our investment in the long term then they need to have recurring revenue.

    In my opinion the argument for White Labeling spaces is stronger than self hosting and I'd be willing to pay an extra fee to remove the Matterport branding and replace it with a logo of my own choice on my spaces. i suspect that a very large number of MSPs would pay, say $10 as a one off charge, and add to Matterport's bottom line.

    It may be that they need to have a small copyright logo somewhere but that could be hidden in the expanded details somewhere.

  • Yes, I support the idea of white labelling. 

  • Not being able to white label is a deal breaker for me also - it might work for the realtor market where they want to inspire other realtors to buy the camera, but there needs to be some appreciation that there are other use cases.

  • I fully agree with @Adam Bear. I also think that the model data should be fully documented so as to let third party companies develop new ways of exploiting the models, like the ability to visualize them somewhere else than in the sole web player, among many others.

  • I fully support the concept of white labeling or simply removing the main Matterport logo from the tour but the last comment shows a certain naivety as to how business works. 

    A business does not share one of its core USPs unless it wants to be wiped out by competitors copying one of their key technologies and deploying it elsewhere.

    Companies who do share core data and source code are usually so huge that it becomes beneficial for others to support their format such as Microsoft and Autodesk, Even Apple (the biggest company on the planet) still restricts access to core areas of its OS so unless Matterport wants to commit business suicide you won't be seeing such data being shared any time soon.

  • I have a question, can I use Matterport camera without scanned data being shared within company managed cloud? I mean I understand your focus on the business, but I don't want scans being transported over public wire neither stored on endpoint out of my control...

    Thx.

  • Due to the way the system works it has to be processed in the cloud there is no avoiding that.
    You could however once the space has been processed download the finished space to your iPad, buy the Matterpak for the .obj (simple 3D model) and .xyz (point cloud) and then delete the space from your account.

    I'm not sure if the data is 100% deleted but it will no longer be available to view online.

    Should anything be that important or secret that it cannot/should not be on the web then I'd suggest you look at alternative off-line methods of 3D scanning.

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