Infusing Digital Twin Technology into the Built Environment.
Ben Corser is the President and Managing Director APAC Matterport. We had an opportunity to discuss his transition into Matterport and the ins-and-outs of how digital twin technology is reconstructing the built environment. Check out our interview below:
Futureplace: How would you describe your current role?
Ben Corser: It has been more than four months since I’ve joined Matterport as President and Managing Director of Asia-Pacific (APAC), and I am very honored to be leading its rapid growth and expansion across the APAC region.
As a key enabler in the ecosystem of digital twins, Matterport has been experiencing tremendous technological innovation to keep up with the demands of the modern data digital-driven world.
I am also thrilled to help accelerate the adoption of 3D digital twin technology and datafication of the built space in the APAC region as Matterport relentlessly pursues its mission of digitizing and indexing the built world.
FP: Where are you based now? Any need to move for the new position or are you able to work remotely?
BC: I am currently based in Singapore and have been based here for the past 20 years having relocated from Sydney in 2002. During this unprecedented time of the pandemic, we have been operating in a remote environment that has served us well in supporting the APAC region.
While business travel has been limited over the past 24 months, we have effectively used all available virtual tools and platforms to stay connected with our customers, partners, and business stakeholders. As the markets are starting to open again — we will now move to a position where we can begin to restart face to face client meetings across the region as needed. In fact, I recently just completed my first business trip in two years and I plan now to be visiting each APAC market unit across Q2 and Q3.
I take heart knowing that during this pandemic period and virtual way of operating our great APAC team has been working very hard to unlock new opportunities and drive net new business in the architecture, engineering, construction, commercial and retail sectors, as well as delivering immersive digital twin experiences across many sectors, including venue tours of tourist and residential properties.
FP: How was the transition from SAP to Matterport? I know you’ve done a few transitions in your time, but was there anything unique about this go-around?
BC: What made this move a unique opportunity was knowing the vast business application possibilities that the digital twin technology and datafication of the built world can open up and the role I could play in helping Matterport navigate the APAC business to bridge the gap between the physical and virtual world, especially with the Metaverse reality now on the horizon.
I am able to leverage my extensive expertise and decades of experience in software technology, market dynamics and the APAC region to build and guide the business forward as Matterport enters its next phase of growth.
I would have to say that the most unique thing is being in a company that directly creates environments in the metaverse! I really believe that Matterport has the great potential to lead in this conversation, and I have no doubt that our expertise and Matterport’s leadership position in this world-class digital twin technology will be able to support our efforts of continuing as the global spatial data leader.
FP: You’ve been globetrotting the past few decades. Any satisfying investments fall in your lap along the way?
BC: I haven’t done much globe-trotting the last two years, but prior I certainly had the opportunity to spend a lot of time extensively across APAC and the Globe in my previous roles. The biggest learning for me during this period is the diversity of businesses, people, and cultures.
In terms of investments, on a personal note I have tipped my toe in the water with a couple of very small angel investor opportunities into various new technologies. Fingers crossed they all perform well. I also discovered whilst in the US and invested in the Weber Q3200 BBQ, the best BBQ I have ever owned.
In the business enterprise software space, I have worked I have not held a function where I have been directly involved in an M&A due diligence, but I have been involved in the integration of some great new start tech firms that were acquired that have proven very successful in truly adding incremental value and synergy to that business, making 1+1 = 3.
FP: In your opinion, which locale holds the most promise for digital twin tech expansion to drive investment?
As more businesses across various industry verticals turn to digital twin technology solutions to drive better business outcomes, improve efficiency and cost-savings, strong growth and investment is certainly on the cards globally. In fact, the global market for digital twins is projected to reach a size of US$35.5 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 36.9% over the analysis period¹.
However, we should also acknowledge the immense potential for digital twin technology expansion specifically in APAC. Countries in APAC – and specifically across ANZ, Japan, Greater China, Korea, India, and Southeast Asia are seeing an amplified and rapid acceleration in digital transformation, adoption, and consumption. Internet penetration is now 75%+ in Southeast Asia alone, while over 40 million new internet users² have come online in just 2021!
I firmly believe APAC in our digital technology sector will see the largest growth globally in terms of adoption and consumption in the years ahead.
FP: What draws you to cloud applications?
BC: I have been involved specifically in cloud and SaaS Technology for over a decade now and with Matterport I find the limitless potential of cloud applications and platforms to store large volumes of spatial data particularly captivating, with this information and data being easily accessed from any location, any time in the world.
For many company operations and individuals that could not travel during the pandemic, we saw the rapid acceleration and need for accessibility to data critical for business decision-making like we have never seen before. Take for example the construction industry where projects faced delays because stakeholders could not come together to physically review a site, or the real estate industry where prospective tenants or homebuyers could not travel across the country or state to view properties. The business case for digital and virtual access to these assets is compelling and remains compelling today as the world moves to a new state of normal.
With cloud applications in Matterport’s solutions and platform, anyone can access spatial data of any physical space wherever and whenever they want – this will tremendously transform the way we interact moving into the future.
FP: What intrigues you the most when it comes to the intersection of technology and real estate?
BC: The endless business applications and the power of that intrigues me the most across so many different real estate sectors. No real estate sector is immune to the rapid adoption and consumption of emerging digital technologies to help them operate better and more efficiently in the future.
It fascinates me how digital technology like Matterport has powered and reimagined the experiences of showcasing, buying, renting, selling, managing and the building of Residential, Commercial, Tourism, and Hospitality assets.
With Matterport and its world leading best in class digital twin technology, what used to take property agents weeks or months to close deals is significantly shortened! Keen buyers or tenants can view multiple properties on the other side of the state, country, or world at their own convenience without the need to move physically, while homeowners and property agents both residential and commercial can address concerns in real-time saving time and resources on scheduling physical inspection.
FP: Is there a challenge unique to the Asia Pacific market that you’re particularly excited about?
BC: Yes, the speed of digital growth and adoption in APAC is faster than we are seeing in many other regions around the world! That is both a real opportunity but also a potential challenge. We must ensure that we balance and scale our business at the same tempo so that it is able to grow and support the rapid and amplified needs and expansion of digital transformation for our customers and partners in the APAC region.
FP: What’s your definition of a good leader?
BC: A good leader anticipates the next chapter and is agile enough to be prepared for the change management and execution needed to remain relevant in a digitally transformed world.
FP: How do you define “innovation?”
BC: At Matterport, we take our innovation very seriously; it underpins our commitment to building out our core technologies and is what drives us forward.
In this age where we experience information and data overload, we as a company feel that we have a greater responsibility to help users maximize benefits by leveraging available technology and real-time data, which is why we strive to democratize access to spaces by making our solutions affordable and widely accessible.
For me, innovation is our unrelenting drive to break the status quo and the creation of an idea in our technology where the value of that idea is realized and used.
Digital Built World Summit
Ben Corser will be speaking at the Digital Built World Summit, taking place on 23-24 May 2022. Being organised with the support of the global Digital Twin Consortium, the Digital Built World Summit is Asia-Pacific’s premier event for executives in the AEC, Smart City, Construction and Infrastructure space focused on improving digital business outcomes, including strategic innovation, connected assets, sustainable construction, user experience, and optimisation of capital planning for large assets.