Hello World, Meet HOVER

A.J. Altman 4/2/2015 Exterior Contractors
An Industry Unchanged in 30 Years

A ballpoint pen freezing in the cold winter air. A project manager wasting valuable time driving 45 minutes to and from a job site. Spending hours perched on an unstable ladder stretching a tape measure to its limits. The inevitable frustration when a re-model doesn’t match the design or client’s vision. Home improvement professionals have been facing these challenges and more for as long as they’ve been in the business. Now there’s finally a solution.

Cutting edge technology, mobilized

HOVER is based on a technology platform that we originally created for U.S. military special operations. As a former Marine Infrantry Officer, I was intimately familiar with the weaknesses of our map data for mission planning. Way back in 2012 we began delivering three-dimensional maps derived from aerial photographs so our troops could get a better idea of what they were walking into. It’s taken a couple years, but we’ve now migrated that technology into a solution that works on a standard smartphone, and we’re using it to transform a market that has been notoriously difficult to change: home improvement.

For most contractors, the options available to gather measurements from a job site usually boil down to:

  1. Use their gut, shoot from the hip and hope that they don’t come up too far off.
  2. Invest hours of time and labor to gather detailed measurements by hand.

To make matters worse, most professionals end up using the first approach to estimate a job and then are forced to do the second if they win that job.

The HOVER app lets contractors get the best of both worlds by generating scaled, accurate digital 3D property reconstructions from just a few smartphone photos — meaning professionals are just a few taps away from faster, more accurate estimation and ordering for exterior home improvement projects like siding, windows and more.

Since our initial launch earlier this year, contractors across the country have used our app to measure more than 20 million square feet of siding, and we’ve launched partnerships with some of the biggest names in home renovation, including Alside, James Hardie, Norandex, Ply Gem and Valspar – with many more in the works.

How it Works

Hello World!
From smartphone photos to accurate 3D models

Ground Level Imagery

  1. The HOVER process starts with the app, which embeds critical metadata – including location information – into photos and automatically uploads them to our cloud to begin the 3D reconstruction process.
  2. Once the photos reach the HOVER cloud, we use a variety of patented and patent-pending approaches to extract three-dimensional information that forms the basis of our 3D models. This step is critically dependent on the quality of the imagery – the more full facades of a building our algorithms can detect, the faster you’ll receive your order.
  3. All 3D models are spot-checked by a human to ensure measurement scale, accuracy and model quality, and we turn around a completed, interactive 3D model within 24 hours but typically much faster.
  4. Because our models are fully segmented by material (e.g. siding, windows, fascia, soffit, etc.), end users can see what a renovation would look like with the tap of a finger.
  5. Professionals receive access to detailed property measurement data, available in-app or by email and browser, and are also exportable to common formats like PDF and XLS.
Faster, More Accurate Measurements

A HOVER virtual blueprint

HOVER Measurements

Many of the exterior contractors using HOVER have found that getting accurate measurements from something as easy as smartphone photos does a lot more for their business than they expected. Because our measurements are at least 95 percent accurate, they can now easily gather measurements from homeowners and canvassers, or other non-expert personnel – getting more time for the “real” work and even eliminating the need to re-measure siding jobs. Instead of packing up the truck and conducting a pre-construction meeting at the job site, the team can scope the job from their office to gain a better understanding of the work involved before they even begin.

What’s more, having a detailed outline of property measurements adds massive credibility in the eyes of the client, letting contractors win more jobs at higher margins!

The New Way to Design a Home

Designing a home with the HOVER app

Design a Home

Of course, measurements are just one feature available to our customers. We’re also the first platform that allows contractors to show their clients what their home renovations will look like in 3D.

Many contractors we work with find there is often a gap between their vision for a home construction or renovation project and the homeowners’ understanding of what the final outcome will look like and cost. Detailed descriptions, sketches and examples of other properties just don’t cut it in today’s world, and sometimes the misunderstanding results in bad reviews or lost business.

Since HOVER designs are done directly on a 3D rendering of the actual property, there’s very little doubt what a new renovation will look like – from siding to windows to trim and more. By improving their communication (and polish!) with their customers, contractors are finding ways to close more business and keep their customers happier.

Bringing Home Improvement Into the 21st Century

We’re just getting started, but we’re very encouraged by the feedback we’ve gotten from our early customers. If you’re in the home improvement industry (or simply work with property exteriors on a daily basis), sign up for a free trial of HOVER Pro over at www.hover.to and drop us a line – we’d love to hear from you!

A.J. Altman
A.J. is the founder of HOVER. He began his career as an engineer at Intel Corporation. From 2007-2010, he served as an Infantry Officer in the United States Marine Corps.

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