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“You don’t live in the real world, Z. From what you’ve told me, I don’t think you ever have. You’re like me. You live inside this illusion.” — Art3mis in Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
A classic sci-fi novel featuring the VR and AR of the future, in Ready Player One, Cline draws you into the OASIS, a VR video game that looks, feels, and acts like reality. It’s astounding tech and a story that has helped define sci-fi as a genre, but, today, how much of it is really fiction? How soon will we be able to join the proverbial OASIS?
Anjney Midha is the co-founder and CEO of Ubiquity6, a startup using computer vision to create multiplayer experiences for virtual and augmented reality. Prior to founding Ubiquity6, Anjney went to Stanford University where he got bit by the entrepreneurial bug and founded his first company during his sophomore year. After college, Anjney began his career in venture capital as Founding Partner of KPCB Edge, a Kleiner Perkins fund formed to support founders in AR, VR and computer vision.
Ubiquity6 has a mission to bring people together in physical spaces by building a platform to enable persistent, massively shared augmented reality experiences. Anjney discusses the “three pillars.”
“The three pillars: The way we bring folks together is to give anybody the ability to turn any real-world location into a shared space for a shared activity across the AR and VR,” says Anjney. “Secondly, is a really fast and easy way to author in those spaces. Lastly, it is a way to launch and distribute those experiences with a URL without having to keep building these large, stand-alone mobile experiences that people don’t want to download anymore.”
On this episode of Mission Daily, Ian and Anjney sit down and discuss how his experience in VC led to the creation of Ubiquity6, the future of AR and VR experiences, and the distinction between AR and VR for developers and gamers.
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Quotes from Anjney:
“A lot of people who start companies, start with a problem that you can’t help but try and solve yourself. When I was an investor, I had started a fund to invest in AR, VR, and computer vision. A common thread I started to see amongst talented founders was that; they were really talented technical folks wanting to build AR and VR experiences, but there was a problem with distribution. You can build an immersive and engaging fun experience, but how do you get that to hundreds of millions of people? And the world of computer software has benefited from only one major type of distribution being, word of mouth and virality.”
“Basically, with AR and VR, we are still in that stage of ‘we are all in it together.’ But, the major incumbents aren’t.”
[On the interest in VR and AR amongst developers] “Because so much behavior has shifted online, a lot of these folks who are talented at creating physical spaces are suffering, and they want to understand how to enhance the experience of the physical locations. [Developers] are people who are creative, who are technically talented but just have not had a way to go from being purely online developers to putting their experiences in the physical world, affecting real-world behavior. I think games are one category of that type of developer, but I think there is a much broader type of creative developer, who is like a web developer, who understands how to build a website but just didn’t have a canvas in the real world.”
“A lot of the AR and VR software that is available to developers today (even the most accessible ones) were not built for AR and VR spatial computing applications; they were built for gamers. They were built to allow gaming studios to build games better.”
“We live our daily lives in physical spaces; more and more of our behavior is shifting online. These smartphones were supposed to bring us all closer together, but instead, we are all Netflixing way more than we ever have.”
“Google Docs is a new way for people to express themselves and interact with each other, and physical spaces are basically the same thing. We wanted to build games in them, but once you bring physical spaces online, different humans want to do different things with those spaces, and express themselves for whatever problem they are trying to solve.”
“If you design a new form of social messaging app or a communication app product in a spatial computing native world, you design it for a real-world room, a physical room, a physical building, a physical city, and you allow people to bridge the metaphor of the building in the physical world, into the digital world.”