Metaverse Expands in Mini Steps with Immersive AR Experience Made in Canada

By: Lee Rickwood

November 12, 2021

From the historic centre of London, England to the campus of Ryerson U in Toronto and beyond, the metaverse is expanding.

looking at an office through the outline of a pair of VR goggles

A college campus office space serves an entry-point to a ‘mini-metaverse’ created using Canadian-made software tools.

And it is going ‘mini-metaverse’, in the Nextech AR sense of the word. Nextech AR Solutions Corp, the Vancouver-based provider of augmented reality (AR) technologies and services, develops augmented reality experiences fuelled by artificial intelligence, spatial mapping technology, and audio/visual interactivity.

One of its newest mini-metaverse experiences is Harmony at London Wall Place, set in London. Using their smartphone with the loaded app, visitors can interact with a series of spatially mapped, location-anchored augmented reality artworks, with visuals and music from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama and the London Symphony Orchestra.

It serves up a flowery example of possible mini-metaverse offerings and a glimpse into the potential of the metaverse vision overall.  In the broadest sense, the metaverse is a next-gen Internet: a leading-edge combination of online 3-D virtual environments; computer-based interactivity; machine learning & AI programs; product, service & data exchange, as well as virtual and augmented reality headsets. Education, e-commerce, finance & cyber-currency, health care, product promotion & advertising, design & construction, and more are expected to be part of the metaverse.

Industry players such as Facebook (now known as Meta), Epic Games, Microsoft, and others have all identified the metaverse as the future of the Internet and computing itself.

Nextech, an early-stage tech company founded in 2018, has developed scalable AR-based e-commerce and advertising solutions. Now, the company feels it is well positioned for the future with recent corporate acquisitions and the announcement this month it is launching its web-based software development kit so customers can create their own metaverses.

smartphone and AR development software

Spatial mapping technology and augmented reality application development tools are available from Canadian tech company Nextech AR.

Nextech’s acquisition of ARway, a London-based developer of interactive mapping technologies, led to the release of the City of London mini-meta experience, powered by combining spatial mapping technology and the AR software development kit.

“Our Metaverse Solution is just one example of how our technology is being used in real-world, revenue-generating activities for Nextech,” said company CEO Evan Gappelberg. “We are continuing to execute on our business plan of building out our AR Solutions for scale. The potential is tremendous for the mini-metaverse to unify human-machine understanding and connect the digital and physical worlds in order to advance education and all interactive environments.”

Virtually advancing education is key to another mini-metaverse landmark, as Nextech technology, ARway mapping capabilities, and the Microsoft Hololens headset have been integrated to deliver an augmented tour of Ryerson University.

3D development software user interface

3D model building and AR app development tools are available in a web-based SaaS platform from Nextech AR.

ARway spatially mapped by the campus in downtown Toronto, a human hologram was created using the Nextech HoloX program, and additional content was created to populate the metaverse using 3D and AR tools in the ARitize Metaverse Studio, Nextech’s new web-based SaaS platform for AR content creation, including a 3D model builder program from Threedy.ai, another Nextech acquisition.

As Nima Sarshar, Nextech AR’s CTO, noted: “Since the ARway and Threedy.ai acquisitions, Nextech’s engineering team has been hard at work to ensure a seamless, end-to-end SaaS solution for our customers. We have reached a milestone by integrating multiple solutions in [our] tech stack, including ARway, Threedy.ai, HoloX, AR Lab Builder and more.”

Baran Korkmaz, founder of ARway (and a resident of London), encapsulated the local thrill and universal potential the metaverse presents: “The City of London’s adoption of ARway’s and Nextech’s mini-metaverse technology, implemented at large scale, is a real validation and proof of concept. This is a unique use case involving major players − Guildhall and the London Symphony Orchestra − and our technology is allowing thousands of users to experience this artwork through augmented reality. This is just the beginning and I have no doubt this … will generate interest about the metaverse from around the world.”

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hand holds smartphone in outdoor garden; garden image and graphic overlay is reproduced on smartphone screen

The City of London mini-metaverse app is a unique proof of concept use case combining the London Symphony Orchestra and Canadian-developed augmented reality technology.

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1 comment

  1. lee@whatsyourtech.ca' Lee says:

    Never meta a new name that wasn’t liked by someone.
    Nextech has renamed and rebranded itself, following some of the developments described above. Nextech AR Solutions, A Metaverse Company is the new name, and its AR products will be branded with the ARitize naming convention. In a press announcement, the company said its website and marketing materials will progressively roll-out these branding and logo changes.

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