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Israeli companies eye potential across the Metaverse

OurCrowd startups aim to insert emotion, personality into virtual space.

Experts and entrepreneurs discussed the business potential of the next big step in online technology at OurCrowd's 'Investing in the Metaverse: Startups Inventing a New World.'
Experts and entrepreneurs discussed the business potential of the next big step in online technology at OurCrowd's 'Investing in the Metaverse: Startups Inventing a New World.'

Buyer’s remorse: it’s an emotion shoppers know well. That expensive sofa that looked so perfect in the showroom suddenly clashes with the rest of the décor once it’s set up in your living room, or the make-up you purchased in a brightly lit department store looks garish in natural lighting.

Virtual shops in the Metaverse, a computer-generated, interactive virtual world, might be able to solve these problems by combining a number of advanced technologies, including augmented reality, to allow customers to visualise products in their homes. The Metaverse is still in its infancy, but experts estimate annual global spending could reach five trillion dollars by 2030.

Several OurCrowd companies working on this intersection between personalising emotional connections with powerful artificial intelligence (AI) and beautiful visualisation to open the door to this new world participated in ‘Investing in the Metaverse: Startups Inventing a New World,’ an online event now available to stream.

“Today, the digital experience is not very natural,” explained Noam Levavi, CEO of ByondXR, which created virtual shopping journeys for more than 40 global brands, adding features like gamification and augmented reality.

New Journey

“We want to fuse the physical reality with the digital properties that we can bring, we call it ‘phygital’,” said Levavi, whose company helps household names like Armani, Lancôme, and L’Oréal “create a new type of user journey to establish the best emotional connection. This eventually leads to exceptional engagement that increases sales, conversion, and basket size.”

“In five to ten years, we will spend most of our time in the Metaverse like we do today on our phones,” explained Gil Perry, CEO of D-ID, the power behind the viral “Deep Nostalgia” talking photos app from MyHeritage. “But what we believe at D-ID is this will not happen unless the avatars are super realistic. We need the emotions, the reactions, the little wrinkles around your eyes when you smile.”

If people don’t feel the interactions are realistic, they won’t come back, Perry said. “Our vision is to bring life into the Metaverse, to make it fun and engaging,” Perry added. The digital avatar market is expected to reach $527 billion by 2030, he said. Companies are already using D-ID products to spice up long training sessions for their employees. With D-ID, each participant in a company’s course can choose from a variety of presenters and accents to help them relate more to the information.
“They’ve done studies that say if your teacher is your gender, ethnicity, and age, you can absorb the information more,” said Perry.

D-ID technology can revolutionize e-learning and corporate training by adding visual elements that were previously prohibitively expensive for companies. “We can make a video of a talking head with the click of a button, so with boring presentations and long documents, we can make your content much more engaging,” said Perry. “It can be personalised, with the presenter calling the student by their name, and it works in any language.” Companies can also quickly edit or update the text of a training session, rather than re-filming the entire segment.

Virtual Interactions

Many of the CEOs featured in the OurCrowd conversation agreed that one of the main roadblocks is that most virtual interactions still take place through flat, 2D screens of our computers and phones. No matter how immersive and expansive the graphics, most of the time they are still being viewed from a 2D screen.

“This is going to take time because of the huge potential, it’s a tectonic shift,” said Gilad Talmon, the CEO of TetaVi, a company that helps people insert 3D videos of themselves into virtual worlds using something as simple as their cell phone. “It’s not a landslide that happens suddenly. There’s a lot of tech going into it.”

Talmon pointed to new technology like Google Glass and Apple Headsets, saying these more immersive products will revolutionize the way people interact with virtual content, and that people haven’t even begun to grasp the potential of the Metaverse industry.

“Think about autonomous vehicles, for example: they’re not going to reduce the amount of time we spend in vehicles, we just won’t be driving them,” he said. “So now you’ll need to find entertainment for people in the autonomous vehicle, who are sitting and waiting to get from point A to point B, who are not busy driving.”

Fast-Changing

TetaVi is utilising new technology to help people place themselves into this new and fast-changing virtual space.

“We are democratising the capabilities of real human beings, whether they are professionals or consumers, to bring themselves into metaverse-type environments,” said Talmon.

Most current technology for creating 3D videos of individuals is so expensive it is only for professionals. TetaVi offers a professional unit with a mobile studio to create high-end graphics for sports teams or big names in the entertainment industry. But it is also developing technology that utilises smartphones to create quality 3D videos for regular people to use.

“Our main value is bringing an easy and scalable way to bring in human beings into the metaverse as themselves, with their own emotions,” said Talmon. That level of personalization is what will help people to return to virtual worlds, for shopping, entertainment, or education, he believes. It’s going to be a long journey, but OurCrowd companies are positioning themselves to dive into new worlds as they reveal themselves.

“There’s a lot of technology trends that are leading to more and more immersive environments,” said Talmon. “The key is focusing. The technology has the potential of doing everything video does. But if you try to do everything, you end up doing nothing. It’s about having the patience and the perseverance to work within the market, and to grow with it, until it explodes.”

OurCrowd’s ‘Investing in the Metaverse: Startups Inventing a New World’ is now available for streaming HERE.

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