Monday, February 29, 2016

Search Utherverse's Creep3D for your virtual world, Augmented Reality heats up in Ontario





I caught up with the CEO of Utherverse, Brian Shuster, who is the Canadian creator of the 3D virtual world web.

This past summer Techvibes reported that Utherverse was holding the first virtual world conference. Shuster said the conference and World of Warcraft convention attracted a combined five thousand people and underlined it as a success and a step forward for other industries to try virtual world conferencing.

The virtual world web now has over nine million users, and consists of over 100,000 virtual worlds, searchable through Utherverse’s search engine Creep3D.

The most popular types of virtual worlds according to Shuster are education academies, classes from cooking to software development, entertainment, karaoke and reality shows.

Revenue for Utherverse has indeed exceeded expectations, yet the virtual world web is running at full capacity, so the company continues to expand to keep up with demand.

Virtual world and augmented reality enthusiasts alike love the prospect of a “third world” beyond the physical and digital landscape coming into play in a major way, but for now it’s slowly being adopted. Many Canadians are still just becoming digitally and mobile-acquainted now, so virtual reality may be too giant a step forward for the average person.

However, it is a niche that many in the industry expect to explode in the coming years, if organizations like the Ontario Augmented Reality Network launching a new website and a series of November fall workshops are any indication.

OARN, made possible by a grant from the Ontario Media Development Corporation a couple of years ago says their mission is to facilitate the long-term growth of Ontario’s Entertainment and Creative Cluster industries through a strategic collaboration of universities, private sector developers, cultural agencies, trade associations, local government and business generators dedicated to building and expanding the Augmented Reality Applications (ARA) sector.

Currently, partners of OARN include Brock University, the University of Western Ontario, Niagara College, five private sector developers including Winvolve, Digital Extremes, Morro Images, Furi Enterprises and Fourgrounds Media, and three trade associations known as Interactive Ontario, the Digital Arts and Technology Association (DATA), and Niagara Interactive Media Generator (nGen).

The Niagara Interactive Media Generator actually has a brand new $3 million facility, “The Generator at One”.

All the latter will help foster growth, innovation and new jobs in this emerging entertainment and creative sector not only with Utherverse based out of British Columbia, but in Ontario as well.

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