Holoride goes back a few years now. But, as a company bringing XR technology into moving vehicles, they’re uniquely positioned today to leverage the convergence of XR, 5G, blockchain, and other emerging technologies.
After the company passed a $12M funding round and announced that they would be teaming up with Elrond to employ non-fungible tokens in their content production plans, ARPost had a chat with Holoride CEO and Co-founder Nils Wollny.
Catching Up With Holoride
Holoride, which developed from within special projects at Audi, exploded onto the scene with location-based events and special exhibits at trade shows just before the pandemic. If location-based events and special exhibits at trade shows were the entire roadmap, it would have been an incredibly tough year. However, their gaze falls a bit further than that.
The folks at Holoride hope to bring XR experiences into consumer vehicles by pairing devices with location and movement data from the car itself. This does two incredible things: it reduces motion sickness for people who struggle with that kind of thing and it revolutionizes transportation.
In productivity terms, Holoride could help us capitalize on what some call “the 25th hour” – the productivity time that you lose moving to and from meetings. However, the company is more interested in consumer applications. Wollny specifically mentioned shifting back from commutes to journeys. According to Wollny, “A journey is inspirational. A Commute is not.”
So, where do $12M and blockchain fit into that inspiration?
“Focusing on That Highly Creative Tribe Out There”
Holoride’s announcement of their funding round clearance specifically mentions talent acquisition and expanding offerings for a creator community. Their blockchain announcement also addressed the ability to “fairly compensate developers.”
“Now is a good time to engage with the creative community… really focusing on that highly creative tribe out there,” said Wollny. “We’re a tech company, we’re not building content ourselves.”
Let’s break it down further. One of the big players in the funding round was Schell Games. The company is behind some lesser-known but important educational titles, as well as blockbuster games that achieved mainstream popularity, including Until You Fall and the I Expect You to Die series. It’s clear that their investment means good things for upcoming Holoride content.
The blockchain announcement has less to do with what content we can expect and more to do with how we can expect to get it. Specifically, the announcement mentions using NFTs and the Elrond blockchain to manage data – which, in case you forgot, is what blockchain is all about. This will allow Holoride “to build this very fair and transparent platform from the very beginning.”
Blockchain data insights will allow developers to be paid for their experiences based on the amount of time that users spend interacting with those experiences. NFTs can allow users to own items within those experiences, for developers to continually see returns on popular and highly collectible creations, and potential for users to buy, sell, and trade items with each other.
“In-app purchases are a massive market already… the whole NFT topic has its place in that market,” said Wollny. “That’s where we thought this might be another area where our creative community can benefit from this.”
The Transportation Company of the Metaverse
In case there wasn’t enough to talk about, the idea of blockchain and XR coming together had us at ARPost wondering about other technologies. So we asked about 5G. This next generation of wireless internet is already available in some cities. While this faster internet may not change the way that most people use most devices most of the time, it will revolutionize XR.
It will also revolutionize the Internet of Things – connections between smart devices that speak to one another. As we move toward self-driving cars, our vehicles are becoming part of this system, sharing location data with one another and taking in location data from the environment to avoid collisions. Wollny said that Holoride is exploring any and all possibilities.
“We talk about extended realities a lot,” said Wollny. “It’s every kind of technology that helps you as a passenger extend your experience.”
Wollny talked about the 5G-enabled edge and cloud computing allowing for wirelessly streaming VR experiences to fast-moving vehicles. He also talked about potential multiplayer experiences shared between users in different vehicles. He even talked about the machine learning technology behind some of Holoride’s tech and experiences.
“We are the transportation company of the metaverse,” said Wollny. “I strongly believe in a future where people will get into vehicles to experience something, not just to get from A to B… A physical journey through a parallel digital reality.”
Get In and Buckle Up
The last few months have been a wild ride. And, with Holoride leading the charge, it’s definitely going to stay wild. Although, it doesn’t all have to be as abrupt and uncertain going forward.
“We need more people that think progressively about where this space will be,” said Wollny. “Feeling physical presence creates a sort of energy. Technology can augment this energy or destroy it, and we should always move toward helping it.”