On Aug.18th (GMT+8), InnoKOL had a fascinating conversation with Mr.Amir Bozorgzadeh, the Co-Founder & CEO at Virtuleap,talking about his unique work experience and profound insights on the opportunities and challenges facing the development of spatial computing.
Jokia: How would you describe yourself in three words? What’s your motto?
"Always be present" is a motto I try to live by as best as I can.
Jokia: Can you please share more about your educational and professional background? And we’d love to hear what brought you to spatial computing.
My background is as a quantitative market researcher in my early career in Vancouver, then I transitioned into mobile games publishing during my time in Dubai. During my move to Europe, in 2015, I began writing increasingly for tech blogs like VentureBeat and TechCrunch, specialized in the topic of VR and AR. I also ran during this time two global VR hackathons in partnership with major VR OEMs like Meta, Samsung (at the time), Microsoft, and Mozilla. It was in 2018 that I realized that the most critical application and most fascinating intersection was in how VR could enable the neurosciences to help us transcend psychological, physical, and even physiological challenges.
It was in January of that year that I founded Virtuleap.
Jokia: From your experience and perspective, why cool technologies sometimes flop?
1. It doesn't introduce any critical features. It's a nice-to-have. For example, VR for entertainment, in my opinion, is a nice-to-have, and doesn't really (yet) introduce anything into our daily lives that makes it appealing to the masses in a way that will convince them to change from their current incumbent devices to the new technology.
2. The founders are too technical in backgrounds, often as researchers and ventures that are connected to universities that are too rooted in academic ways of doing things, and so the founders themselves don't have the "Rocky Balboa" mentality of burning the bridge behind them in order to ensure that the startup, which is their baby, succeeds "no matter what".
3. The ecosystem of parallel technologies is too premature. For example, AR is too early at this stage because it needs the hardware to catchup, as well as the connectivity access to 5G to be readily available.
We should keep in mind that VR has had at least 4 cycles in which it came into the market as an emerging technology and "flopped" because the ecosystem wasn't ready, so for VR it's been until now a question of the ecosystem of parallel technologies that it needs to evolve along with it.
Jokia: The metaverse is one of the most significant trends in the technological landscape for the next several decades, what technologies will be extremely important in its future?
My opinion because for the metaverse to manifest to its highest potential, we need edge computing servers to become the norm in how we design the devices. That is to say, we need much of the processed not in the phone, but in the edge servers, which enables to make the devices smaller and smaller, more and more comfortable.
Edge computing means that words like "download" and "install" will become archaic. Our kids will wonder how we lived in a time in which volumetric content didn't play instantly, seamlessly.
The Metaverse is ultimately a spatialized upgrade to the internet, and it entails volumetric dataflow, and all of that needs to be facilitated in a way that generates a seamless experience in which there are no disruptions.
Right now, people are using the term "Metaverse" in a premature way, because we only have little walled gardens at the moment.
A true Metaverse, like the internet, requires gateways between the walled gardens. We need to create shared standards that allow us to introduce, as a community, things like "backpacks" that allow our identity, our items, our currencies, to stay with us as we move from one experience to another.
Jokia: Brands are increasingly partnering with metaverse platforms to provide digital clothing and creating their own virtual spaces and customizable avatars. How to prepare for immersive CX from your perspective?
I view some of these early instances of brand partnerships as test beds for them to try it out and see how popular these types of campaigns or investments are, but more importantly, how sticky they are, how long they last, will they withstand the test of time, because many of the platforms they run on are new, they can be disrupted, and make way for something new. One of the major challenges with these types of spatialized computing experiences at the moment is that the hardware iteration is very rapid, all sorts of new capabilities are coming out that will enhance the CX, for example with the upcoming Meta Cambria, it will have face tracking and other biosensors that can provide insights about the user's comfort levels. Brands need to anticipate the upcoming roadmap of new features that are coming their way which can spend whatever way they currently approach these types of content partnerships. Immersive CX is all about the human experience, and in this case, they need to tailor content according to accessibility design, ensuring maximum comfort and customization is made available with not only the current capabilities, but what's coming up.
Jokia: Apple’s mixed reality headset will reportedly come with an M2 chip, how do you foresee mixed reality will augment our virtual world?
The game engines, Unity and UE, are used both for creating VR and AR. Ultimately the most pervasive form in which the metaverse will manifest is in augmented reality and mixed reality experiences that allows digital twins, and digital beings/avatars, to interpenetrate into the real world in order to enhance both by their coalescence. Apple's initial device, if it ever does arrive, will be about enhancing our daily lives, not so much about getting lost in virtual worlds. They will provide an ecosystem of experiences that allow us to do magical things like incautiously translate conversations in foreign lands, enable digital repairmen to appear in front of your car in the highway and navigate you visually through the process of fixing your broken engine, and allow for seamless access to the highest level of medical care in real-time. Mixed reality will improve our lives in remarkable ways.
Apple's initial device, however, will certainly be out of the price range for the average consumer, and will probably be very aligned to the corporate world in terms of productivity and collaboration apps.
Jokia: From your perspective, what’s unique and game-changing about virtual reality (VR)?
VR is the first embodied digital format. It literally hijacks the human system. The autonomic nervous system, our vestibular balance system, our proprioception all believe that the experience that you are having is real. If you are standing on a tall tower, it doesn't matter if you "know" you're in your living room. Your knees will buckle and shake.
We're not designed to live in two realities at the same time, and so when we present an alternate "visual" sense, which is often considered the master sense, the other senses fall into line with that new reality.
VR pain management solutions for example are very successful at the moment because when you are in a VR experience, we can observe in brain scans that the pain receptors have been dampened.
Ultimately, the embodiment of VR translates into higher engagement levels, better quality data, higher levels of adherence, and beyond all of that, the most amazing aspect is that it generates volumetric datasets.
Volumetric datasets that combine psychological, physical, and physiological, all into a quantifiable experience that can maximize user comfort, accessibility, and provide us with a means to democratize the cutting-edge of education and healthcare into our lives, along with all of the other enhancements it offers in other categories like travel and entertainment.
Jokia: How VR is changing architecture’s present and future？
The AEC industry as a whole has always been a fascinating application for spatial computing for obvious reasons. While still at it's infancy, VR and AR both have clear ways that upgrade the whole process of design, prototyping, coordinating the handover process to contractors, and then continually re-applying spatial computing to manage and supervise the quality assurance process.
While the design process is very interesting, what I find most remarkable is how AR can be used to take the conceptual plans and then use that model to ensure the quality and standards have been met by the contractors, which can help us avoid many of the issues that are all-too-common.
I have many architect friends who all are excited to design in VR rather than continue with current software, that is 3D but experienced still in 2D.
Designing in VR is intuitive and doesn't require imagination in the way of extrapolation, but is literally already extrapolated. It will one day become as lively as creating sim city constructs.
Jokia: How prepared is Virtuleap to play a leading role?
We are specifically addressing the huge impact that cognitive disorders have on society, both in terms of impacting quality of life as well as the cost to the economy. We are using VR and its superpowers of embodiment to allow us to assess our cognitive health performance, understand how that relates to our mental health, and provide the tools that can enable us to potentially train and treat our cognitive deficits so that we can perform in the world to our maximum potential. We believe our cognitive health and physical health are entwined and that much of the focus to-date has been on the latter. On the road ahead, in Metaversal worlds that are so much more leaning in the direction of our minds, we need to leverage this technology to maximize in parallel our cognitive health, and that is what our technology is all about.
Jokia: As a global recognized speaker, what’s your benchmark to select the top-tier conferences?
Often conference organizers follow exactly the same template, and copy and paste it, so I always tend to ask people that I know who have gone to that conference in order to really understand what the unique value offering is, how effective their matchmaking programming is, but in general I avoid conferences that lack a targeted theme, for example, themed in my case to the topic of web 3, spatial computing, or otherwise healthcare and wellness. It needs to be worth all of the time and effort required to get to the physical event versus allocating those resources and energies at home and work.
About the Guest:
Amir Bozorgzadeh is a market researcher, mobile games publisher, and tech writer who during the past 5 years has dove deep into all things emerging tech, and with a big crush for spatial computing: VR and AR.
• VentureBeat, September 7, 2019 – “VR can help meet the challenges of an aging population”
• VentureBeat, July 26, 2019 – “The future of immersive education will be live, social, and personalized”
• VentureBeat, June 18, 2019 – “Don’t believe the myths — 5G will bring AR and VR to the masses”
• VentureBeat, May 10, 2019 – “Mixed reality and the art world: an unlikely but ideal pairing”
• VentureBeat, April 4, 2019 – “Avatars will be our guides in immersive AR worlds — and brands need to be
• VentureBeat, February 26, 2019 – "AR and VR creators have an unheralded tool to make their content
shine: 3D reconstruction tech”
• VentureBeat, January 30, 2019 – “Impact investing is driving the most exciting emerging technologies”
• VentureBeat, December 18, 2018, “The AR Cloud will infuse meaning into every object in the real-world”
• VentureBeat, November 18, 2018 – “Spatial audio design is key to creating ‘presence’ in VR and AR”
About the Host:
Ms. Jokia Yin is the Founder of Innoverview and InnoKOL, the Vice Chairman of HK International Blockchain Finance Association as well as the Head of Media at United States of America-China Chamber of Commerce. Jokia has over 10 years of marketing and management experience, much of which has been in the Asia Pacific Region within events and PR industry. She has held key leadership roles executing market research and entry, developing sales channels and revenue generation, building marketing, finance and Operations related infrastructure for a more than 20 events related to retail, tourism, energy storage, blockchain, cosmetics domains.