We connected with Hommati Franchise Network, a company working with real estate professionals to provide innovative and modern solutions. Their team are fans of the RICOH THETA X and how its capabilities can offer a more digitally interactive experience within the industry. Read more on how this camera is critical for their business! 

Thank you so much for connecting with us! Can you introduce yourself? 

My name is Joe Ciamacco, Vice President of Franchise Development at the Hommati Franchise Network. We are headquartered in Columbus, Ohio.

What services does your company, Hommati Franchise Network, provide?

Being a franchise owner of Hommati offers a wide range of innovative and essential services to real estate professionals that help maximize the marketing and advertising on their listings. This includes 3Dinteractive tours, aerial HD videos/stills, HDR photography, virtual staging, dynamic floor plans with measurements, guided tours, augmented reality services, virtual enhancements, 3D walkthroughs, and much more. Real estate agents need to provide their clients with innovative technology to stay competitive in today's real estate market. And we’re proud to offer industry-leading tools and resources to support this in the industry. 

That’s amazing! In what areas of your business do you use 360-degree photography?

There are two main services our franchisees provide with 360-degree imaging devices: 3D Interactive Tours and 2D Stills extracted from the 360 images. In 2022, over 60% of our franchisees' services included a 3D Interactive Tour. Before the RICOH THETA X, our system used the Matterport Pro2 camera.

360° shot @Greg Molzon Hommati #155

2D Snapshot @Greg Molzon Hommati #155

In what areas of your business do you use other types of cameras (SLR, iPhone, etc.)? 

We use a mirrorless camera for interior and exterior bracketed images. We use 3D cameras for 3D interactive tours and 2D still images. Then drone captures for exterior aerial videos or aerial stills. Our system does not provide any services with smartphone devices as it is unprofessional in our eyes.

Over 58% of franchisees are using a Mirrorless Camera and doing HDR 2D Stills on 75-100% of their jobs. Around 50% of our Franchisees use 2D Stills extracted from the RICOH THETA X 360 images on 25-50% of their jobs. The top cameras used are the Sony Alpha Series Mirrorless Camera and the RICOH THETA X.

What was the reason you started using RICOH THETA and which models have you used besides the RICOH THETA X? Where was it most useful? Was it easy/hard? Best features?

We discovered the RICOH THETA Z1 and RICOH THETA X when researching alternative 3D Cameras to the Matterport Pro2 camera. When Matterport purchased VHT, they became a direct competitor to all 3D Tour providers. This acquisition was the very reason that caused us to look elsewhere for a new camera.

We ended up selecting the RICOH THETA X because it was more suitable for our organization; however, for lower volume providers, the RICOH THETA Z1 could be the right camera for their needs. While we loved the RICOH THETA Z1, it didn’t have a replaceable battery and removable SD card like the RICOH THETA X does. We are a high-volume business, and our franchisees often provide multiple jobs in a day, so not having the ability to change out the battery on-site was a risk we weren’t willing to take.

A removable Micro SD Card was another factor that played into our decision since many of the contents our franchisees collect can be large in file size. Removable storage also helps for organizational reasons. Storing multiple properties on different cards makes the upload process seamless.

Have you ever tried other 360 degree cameras/technology in the market? If so, which ones?

Yes, we researched many different 3D Cameras/Platforms before implementing 3D Tours into our system. The research started back in 2017 when running the pilot location in Columbus, OH. We originally selected the Matterport Pro2 Camera and used their platform for several years. In mid to late 2022, we started the search again with plans to find an alternative 3D Camera/Platform to Matterport. We ended up testing the RICOH THETA X, RICOH THETA Z1, Insta360 1 inch 360 Edition with Leica, Pilot One EE, and the Trisio 2 Lite.

We ended up selecting the RICOH THETA X camera as it was the best fit for our organization. Now, over 140 franchisees use this camera in 40 different states. Our franchisees are the source for our information and provide helpful insight to the industry.

The RICOH THETA X is a great model, especially for high-volume businesses like your’s. How do your franchisees use RICOH THETA X for their work? 

The two main services our franchisees provide with the RICOH THETA X are 3D Interactive Tours and 2D Stills extracted from the 360 images. We typically use the 360 images from the RICOH THETA X to create 3D Interactive Tours, 2D Stills from 360 images on our platform, or 360 Images for social media advertising that we provide on our clients’ behalf.

We primarily use the 360 images from the RICOH THETA X to create 3D Interactive Tours. After a franchisee uploads the 360 images into their Hommati dashboard, the images are saved and sent to our 3D Construction team. Immediately after they upload the images, they also have the ability to extract 2D Stills from the 360 images. Franchisees only extract 2D Stills if they didn’t provide HDR bracketed images at the property.

We feel that the price point of the RICOH THETA X is excellent for business use. Compared to its competitors, you won't find another camera in this price range that offers the same value and benefits.

360° shot @Greg Molzon Hommati #155

2D Snapshot @Greg Molzon Hommati #155

Is there a particular software or application that franchisees use to share the images?

We are in the process of developing a mobile application that will share the 360 images directly to our 3D Construction team. Until that is finalized, our franchisees upload the images to their personalized dashboard on our website, which initiates the construction of their 3D Tour.

360° shot @Greg Molzon Hommati #155

2D Snapshot @Greg Molzon Hommati #155

3D Tours are so important in the real estate industry! Since you’ve been using the RICOH THETA X, what part of your business has been streamlined?

In 2022, over 60% of our franchisees' services included a 3D Interactive Tour. You can’t build a 3D Tour without 360 Images. The RICOH THETA X fills this role and streamlines our on-site scanning process. Our franchisees average time on-site when using the RICOH X Camera vs. the Matterport Pro2 was significantly reduced making it a more efficient process.

We often ask franchisees for feedback on how beneficial the tools they use are toward their work. Here’s what they had to say about the RICOH THETA X:

  • 87% feel that the RICOH THETA X camera is equal to or better than the Matterport Pro2 Camera.
  • 74% of franchisees reported that the new VR Platform (with the Ricoh X) has reduced their time on-site.

We’re so glad that RICOH THETA X has had such a positive impact on your franchisees’ work. Have you ever used RICOH360 Tours or other virtual tour services?

Yes, we use RICOH360 Tours as a backup scanning app. Overall, it’s an excellent platform, but not ideal for our franchisees. The primary service that we provide with the RICOH THETA X is 3D Interactive Tours for residential real estate.

Most properties take 30 or more images to complete. We prefer scanning applications that build out a “floor plan” layout as you take the 360 images. This is helpful when referencing what rooms and areas we have already captured with the 3D Camera vs. what areas we still need to complete.

360° shot @Greg Molzon Hommati #155

It seems like RICOH THETA has been critical for your business. Do you think the use of 360-degree images will continue to grow in your industry? 

Absolutely. According to the National Association of Realtors™, "97 percent of all homebuyers used the internet in their home search". In this Digital Age, your online listing presence is GOLD! When we look at the ongoing Sellers' market that’s normalizing, the market will begin to shift in 2023 toward a buyer’s market. This will only benefit RICOH and Hommati more as homes will be listed for longer and need these services to help sell the homes. Since 3D Interactive Tours attract homebuyers, it keeps them engaged for longer periods of time on listings. The only way to create 3D Tours, is by using 360-degree images.

There are several benefits to becoming a franchisee of a National Franchise System. We have the resources to test and implement any new technology that comes to market. Your willingness to adapt is crucial in this digital age and with RICOH’s help Hommati has created itself as the premier comprehensive real estate service!

Thank you so much for taking the time to connect with us! You can learn more about Hommati on their website and follow them on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google and Instagram.

You can also see examples of virtual tour which Hommati franchisees created as below!

David Tyler Hommati#132
27 Echo Landing Road 
Main House- https://hommati.tours/tour/1420935
Guest House- https://hommati.tours/tour/1420937

Jonathan Duncan Hommati #147
12273 Manchester Pike

Randy Reyes Hommati #115
18320 Cachet Way

Brian Hellebusch Hommati #156
784 Highland Ave