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Creating a decentralized AR platform: Interview with OVR COO Diego di Tommaso

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According to IDC, the Augmented Reality market will reach $137 billion by the end of 2024. The market has a lot of potential not only in terms of its technological benefits but also as an innovative communication channel. AR gives users an interactive real-world environment and has emerged with multiple use cases.

OVR is an aggregator platform that aims to solve the pain points in the AR market. It intends to become the first content browser where the users do not choose the content instead the world would submit experiences based on geographical positions.

In conversation with Diego di Tommaso, the COO of OVR we talked about the platform, Metaverses, the OVR token, and much more.

1. What was the vision behind creating the OVR platform?

OVR is the decentralized platform for the AR Metaverse. We started building it back in 2018 when the “Metaverse” was out of mainstream radar, and that was a very good thing since it allowed us to build out of the noise of the bull market.

The vision is to create an open infrastructure to seamlessly merge the physical and the virtual world. Geolocalized Augmented reality is the means to obtain this result. Blockchain is the infrastructure that allows for community ownership of this AR Metaverse, the alternative to the dystopian FANG-owned metaverse.

 2. Metaverses are gaining a lot of attention recently, what according to you, lies in the future with regard to metaverses and augmented reality?

We all live in the physical world, VR will be very big but we will not spend our lives seated in our homes with VR goggles on our heads. We will interact with information through AR, it will be superimposed on our field of view. There is a clear technological path in that direction, from mainframes to desktops, laptops, mobile, and in the next future smart glasses until we will have chips in our brains.

In 5-10 years seeing somebody using a smartphone will be like seeing somebody using a Nokia 3310 today. This might seem visionary but let’s remember that technology is exponential and we lack the capacity of reasoning in exponential terms since our brains have evolved in a linear world. From hindsight is very easy to see the exponential path of tech while in the present is difficult to perceive the acceleration path.

 3. How does the OVR metaverse stand out from the rest in the space? Tell us more about its utilities?

This is the classic question where startup says they are the best while the others are way behind.. I’ll try to avoid that… What I can say is that we have a very different vision, first of all, we’re mainly focused on AR (even if we also have VR capabilities) while the incumbents, in the open metaverse space, (Decentraland, Sandbox and others) are focused on VR. We do have direct competitors building open AR Metaverses but what I think set us apart is an infrastructural vision, we do have very successful vertical use-cases – like our treasure hunt, more than 1 mln physical locations explored – but our focus is different, we are focused on creating the tooling to build the AR Metaverse:

  • OVRLand ownership layer: community-owned world map powered by NFT standard
  • OVRMapping layer: crowdsourced 3D mapping of the physical world for precise geo-localization
  • OVR SDK: powerful tools to build state of the art AR/VR experiences

What I see in the execution of direct competitors is a stronger focus on vertical use cases such as gaming or Snapchat AR-like kinds of developments. For sure the path we chose is the harder one but also what we believe to be the only one for building the future of AR Metaverse.

 4. What are OVRLands? What does the process of buying or renting land look like?

OVRLands are NFTs representing geographical locations. Those have an average dimension of 300 sqm, potentially the world can be divided into 1.6 trillion OVRlands. Just like in the web if you own a web domain you can decide the content of the website, OVRlands are Spatial Domains, if you own an OVRLand you can decide what’s the AR content will be visualized on the geographical location represented by the NFT.

OVRLands are distributed with an auction, the whole world but 5000 OVRlands (reserved lands) is on sale. The base price for OVRLands is 10 $, if nobody bids fror the same land in the following 24 hours the land gets assigned. If somebody else bids on the same land, the minimum bid is 2x the former and the auction gets extended for another 24 hours. In the next future, it will also be possible to rent OVRLands, the renter will get the publishing rights on such geographic location for the agreed period of time.

 5. How is OVR ensuring community and user engagement with the platform?

OVR allows for several engagements and earning opportunities: create AR/VR experiences and games, meet people in the metaverse interacting between photorealistic avatars, participate to live virtual concerts and events, visit AR/VR art galleries, participate in “PokemonGo” style treasure hunts to earn tokens and NFTs, participate to map2earn.

 6. Tell us more about the OVR token and its distribution?

OVR token has been distributed through and IBCO. The IBCO is both a primary and a secondary market that allows for liquidity accumulation and provision to markets. The IBCO is made up of 2 components, a DAO and an AMM based on the Bancor formula. The IBCO issues tokens when somebody buys tokens and burns those when somebody sells.

The issuance of tokens grows linearly while the price of each new token sold grows exponentially. This allows to market forces to practically cap the supply. Our IBCO collateral is DAI and OVR cannot withdraw such collateral from the AMM (all except 50K/month) this ensures liquidity to the market, at the time of writing the IBCO has accumulated over 14 Mln in DAI. Finally, the IBCO can be controlled by token holders that can vote to change the parameters.

To know more about the advantages of such a token distribution system please refer to this blog ( https://hackernoon.com/understanding-ibco-can-another-crypto-funding-mechanism-yield-accountable-results-qb4a3zi5).

7. How do OVR nodes function? Tell us more about the staking opportunities it offers its users?

IPFS nodes will be launched in the coming months and will allow for OVR infrastructure to be even more unstoppable. Currently, the hosting of the AR/VR assets is a centralization vector since is managed with traditional databases.

Once IPFS nodes are active also the storage and the distribution of such assets will be decentralized. It will be possible to stake to vote for the best nodes in terms of performance/latency, stakers will be rewarded with a share of the hosting fees that will be channeled to the nodes.

 8. Tell us more about the OVRExperience? How does it engage the community?

OVRExperiences basically is all of the use-cases that you can build on OVR. Those can range from play2earn gaming experiences, like our treasure hunt where you can collect tokens and NFTs, to live events with avatars of DJs that create virtual concerts, virtual galleries where not only you can see the art in AR/VR but you can also meet the artist through his avatar.

AR chats to teleport your friends in your room. Avatars selling products and services. Tourist experiences where you reconstruct and augment monuments to see those how they were in the past.. Interact with AI Avatars with of famous characters…Your imagination is the only real limit.

 9. What lies ahead on the OVRLand roadmap? Tell us more about any collaboration or partnerships that we can look forward to?

We have several developments in the pipeline with a team of 26 devs constantly building, yet the ones that have an imminent release and I’m more excited about are map2earn and AI NFTs. 

Map2earn is a technology that will allow for high precision geolocation of AR assets in space: currently geolocated AR is based on GPS but such technology has a big limitation, 6 mt in accuracy outdoor and basically it does not work indoors. We built a technology that allows users with the simple 2d cameras of their phones to create a 3D map of OVRLands. Such a mapping system will allow for very precise localization of assets in space (20 cm) both indoor and outdoor. It will be a game-changer for the AR Metaverse and it will create a new economy for OVR users that will have a new way to earn by mapping physical locations. 

AI NFTs are avatars powered by cutting-edge Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology. It will be possible to have a conversational avatar impersonating characters like Plato, Julius Caesar, Elon Musk, and many others! You’ll also be able to train your own avatar with any character you decide to give him/her, it could be a salesperson, a storyteller, your girlfriend…

With respect to partnerships we have several upcoming, Polygon where we’re moving in the next 2 months, Threedium a startup specialized in building 3D assets from pictures, and weekly, new collaborations with NFT projects creating geolocalized treasure hunt on our platform, just to name a few: Doge Pound, SolChicks, Rario, RektRacoons, XI Panters, imToken.

For more information on OVR , please check out their official website.

Disclaimer: This is a paid post and should not be treated as news/advice.

With Masters in Mass communication and journalism, Anjali's interests lie in blockchain technology adoption across emerging economies.

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