The Belgium-based XR technology startup, LucidWeb, recently launched a beta of a new platform. The platform allows users to easily create 3D videos and VR experiences to share on their websites or social media.
LucidWeb founder Leen Segers told ARPost all about how the platform works, why it’s special, and what its future is.
What Is LucidWeb?
LucidWeb is one of those companies that you might not have heard of but you’ve almost definitely experienced. The XR technology company helps other companies distribute AR and VR content. However, they do so “behind the scenes.” Inspecting AR and VR elements can sometimes reveal “LucidWeb” buried in the coding of a URL. However, their logo is seldom seen.
LucidWeb works with just about every XR technology operating system and all major headsets. As a result, you’ve almost certainly encountered content that they had their hands on.
However, many experience XR technology for the first time, through a web browser rather than a headset.
“The main reason that I was passionate about this role, this industry, is that people have access to media content wherever they are and I think that’s very interesting,” said Segers, who worked in 2D media distribution before founding LucidWeb. “For me, it was very clear, even for 2D videos, that the highest reach is allocated to the browser. The moment that I understood that there was this new method of storytelling, this new empathy machine, I was intrigued.”
It’s easy to be excited about VR technology consoles and headsets or new AR phone applications. However, Segers explained, “Media influences economies, politics, on so many levels,” and most people are experiencing media via a web browser.
That’s what makes their new platform so important.
The platform, called “LucidWeb Pro” launched at the Venice Film Festival. This year the festival also showcased a number of XR experiences. Experiences that many people would normally never get to experience.
“I, as a professional, went to a lot of film festivals, VR festivals, where I was exposed to unique stories. I went to Venice VR where you have, I don’t know how many works, I think there were 28 or 30 Some of them were documentaries, some of them are fiction, some of them are really like artworks. But, in a way it’s very frustrating because I come back and I want to share them with my friends but I can’t because they weren’t there and there’s no link,” said Segers. “Sometimes they’re available on an app that you have to download, or they’re supposed to be on a headset but you can’t find them. Therefore, I think making content available over URL will definitely help.”
As a matter of fact, a number of the VR experiences from this year’s festival the first experiences posted via the LucidWeb Pro closed beta. In many cases, the experiences would not have otherwise been available outside of the festival.
How It Works
Users sign onto the platform and upload their 360° videos. They then have the option to add additional assets including a logo and standard controls in 2D and 3D layout. They can then preview their content and export it. The export option provides a URL and an embed code. The embed code allows the creator to post it on their own site. The URL backs up the content on LucidWeb’s platform and helps to create a user-community within it.
The moment that I understood that there was this new method of storytelling, this new empathy machine, I was intrigued.
“The service that we provide is targeting professionals,” said Segers. “We provide this service so that they can make their content more available.”
The service is currently free but the company is exploring price tiers for when the final product launches.
“For the next couple of months, because we’re in closed beta mode, we’re more interested in people testing the platform and sharing their experiences than anything else,” said Segers. “But of course, at some point, we’re going to have to start asking for money.”
They haven’t settled on a price structure yet but one number that Segers gave was 600€ (about $660) per month. That’s less than half of the price for a similar service from other XR technology companies, according to Segers.
Segers also said that LucidWeb is better able to offer the service because they are based in browsers. Most XR technology companies offering similar services are based in applications so when they add browser service it isn’t user-friendly.
Plans for the Future
That fee will also sound lower as the platform starts to add features like interactive experiences and AR content. These services aren’t available on the platform yet but they’re being “looked into” according to Segers.
Of course, there’s also the advent of 5G internet on the horizon. This highly anticipated next generation of internet is expected to do for XR technology what 4G did for video. Many expect that it will alow XR technology to become truly ubiquitous.
“5G will be huge for us,” said Segers. “It will reduce latency and improve the quality on all devices.”
XR technology hobbyists may be a little upset that LucidWeb Pro is aimed at, well, professionals. However, the fact that it won’t become VR YouTube doesn’t mean that it won’t change the game for everyone.
LucidWeb is making it easier and more affordable for companies to produce quality XR experiences. That means more quality XR for us consumers.