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Mytaverse wants to make executive travel obsolete with its business metaverse for people who would ordinarily be jetting around the world.
The Miami-based company is the latest to create a 3D platform where business people can create their own avatars and stage meetings, events, showrooms, and training sessions in a virtual space.
The company is using the Unreal Engine to craft high-quality graphics to create more realistic virtual experiences with people, products, and environments. It can show off those environments in a web-based world, without requiring users to wear virtual reality or augmented reality gear.
The idea is to make annoying jet lag, airport security screenings, and other hassles go away, without requiring people to invest a lot in headsets or expensive computers. It’s one more example of a company creating its version of the metaverse to give people something else to do with the remote working conditions caused by the pandemic.
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Platforms like Zoom are woefully inadequate, while virtual platforms still fail to deliver high-quality graphics, and actual product interaction, said Kenneth Landau, CEO of Mytaverse, in an interview with GamesBeat.
“Because of COVID, we were forced to rethink what the world needed. And that’s how we arrived at an immersive world for business,” said Landau. “Our ambition is to be a business metaverse.”
Mytaverse offers a variety of pre-built or fully customized 3D environments with as much or as little space as needed. Options include meeting rooms, conference booths, training simulations, a massive auditorium, or a fully interactive large-scale event and exhibition space filled with 3D models of products that people can pick up and examine.
Participants create personalized hologram avatars that can run, jump, wave, dance, and more. Webcams on avatars can be activated, thus allowing for live presentations or private, face-to-face conversations between small groups of people. Attendees can also download digital content and save it in a “briefcase” to view or download directly to their device, said Jaime Lopez, chief technology officer and cofounder of Mytaverse, in an interview.
The company uses its cloud streaming technology, which enables users to enter using only their browser on their PC or Mac — no need to install an app, no need for any fancy hardware, Lopez said.
The platform has already been used to power major events and is being piloted by companies including PepsiCo, Dassault Corporation, Tekni-Plex, and Zaha Hadid Architects. Mytaverse served as the 3D digital event platform for the 2021 Asia Sky Group Virtual Event conference.
Landau and Lopez started the company as GathR Virtual Studios in April 2020 with the goal of creating an immersive, true-to-life 3D world.
“It didn’t start with us looking to build a metaverse,” Landau said. “It started for us looking for ways to allow people to interact.”
Companies piloting the technology include PepsiCo, Dassault Corporation, Tekni-Plex, and Zaha Hadid. Asia Sky group used the 3D event platform for its virtual event. So far, the company has raised $2.65 million in pre-seed funding and it has 25 people.
“What inspired us originally was doing these immersive experiences in real life, where we were doing shows for the corporate world where we had these huge installations with projectors and interactive displays and things like that,” Landau said. “But with COVID, that was not possible anymore. And we were looking to find a way to emulate that same experience, but in a virtual environment where people can do it remotely. So we started exploring this.”
The company isn’t using WebVR like others in the space. Rather, it is doing the rendering in a virtual machine and it is streaming it to the browser. If it had used a 3D engine, it would have been tied to a certain kind of hardware. Instead, it used virtual machines in datacenters with minimal latency.
One of the advantages is reducing the carbon footprint compared to a physical event. The capacity for person-to-person interaction is 100 per room. After that, the room is automatically replicated, and another 100 can enter, so thousands of people can be inside at once.
Browsing the world
I created an avatar quickly, within a minute or so, and went through a tutorial for a couple of minutes. Then I joined the Mytaverse folks in a place dubbed the Boardroom inside the virtual world. I also got aboard an airplane and took a seat, and I sat in a very big theater. I turned on my camera so that the others in the room could see my head in a video, placed above my virtual character.
When you go up to a table, you can click on the seat and sit down in a chair. If you want to run through an environment, you can do so easily using a mouse and keyboard.
Landau said that a virtual trade show started conversations that led to two potential airplane sales for one of its customers. The company has analytics that it provides based on the usage the platform gets.
There are rival technologies out there, from Linden Labs’ Second Life to Nvidia’s Omniverse, but Landau said he didn’t think those companies were true competition.
Landau said that the world saves customers money by reducing travel or eliminating the need to send sales samples. It’s also a space for companies to hold internal conferences with their employees. And it can be used to train salespeople in the right way to do things.
“I think the spaces talk louder than our words,” Lopez said. “This will be part of this great ecosystem that you will be able to transfer from one place to another in a seamless way. And that’s the way we see it and that’s the architecture that we are building so that in the future.”
You can select from about 25 different environments now.
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