Rene – Hi! Welcome back to Meta Minutes, your bite-sized pieces of the metaverse. My name is Rene from Valorem Reply and today we're going to talk about boosting sales through metaversal customer Journey design. What a mouthful! And I'm honored to have a special expert guest to talk about this today, Fabian Quosdorf. Hi Fabian and welcome to the show. How are you today?
Fabian - Hi Rene! It's such a pleasure to see you and I'm very happy to be part of your Meta Minutes. I'm very honored to be a guest today. Yeah, so my name is Fabian. I am co-founder of Mixed World and also the CTO of Island Labs, 42 years old, was born and raised here in Berlin in the capital of Germany and I've been working in the games industry quite a lot and have also been working in the film industry where we leveraged some technologies from the gaming side for real-time pre-visualization in some of the older Hollywood movies and have also developed some immersive storytelling tools very early on. It was a bit too early, to be honest back then but we did quite some interesting stuff also in early VR devices like the Oculus Dk1 DK2 and then also going in the mobile devices very early on where we also experimented a lot with automated animation generation for virtual avatars and that was quite interesting.
Rene – Awesome. That's quite a lot of stuff and folks you have to know Fabian, also there's a lot of great experimentations and a lot of, like you know Innovation and POC prototyping and challenges that with the world. So you gotta connect with him on various social platforms to stay updated there. I remember for example when the latest Matrix movie came out he also made a Matrix app for the HoloLens that transformed your room or your world you're in, so all of these fantastic experiments besides the amazing other stuff which we're going to talk about today. But let's start with a first very simple but well it's also a complex question in a sense, what is the metaverse for you and where do you see the potential?
Fabian – Yes, it's a very nice question. So the metaverse in general and for everyone who's watching today I have a big recommendation. Please watch The Meta minutes 1.1 where Rene gives a very good overview of what the metaverse is in general. So for me personally the metaverse didn't start just yet, it now just got into this kind of hype cycle and awareness of, let's say, industry experts but also for the general public because the whole buzz also around blockchain, NFT, and Web3 in connection with the term metaverse just peaked in the last couple of months, in the last year I would say, which is as well a good and a bad thing. So the good thing about this is that we actually get awareness for the whole topic of multi-user experiences and this is what the metaverse for me is especially about. So we have a connection of let's say smaller ecosystems that normally only exist let's say in a self-contained manner like for example multiplayer games that just exist within themselves but also let's say outside of entertainment what we see and what I love about also the metaverse and the development here is that we get what you really I think call the real world metaverse which means we are now at a point in time where technology has evolved so far that the the connection between physical objects in the real world and let's say the overlay with different virtual objects is now possible in a way that has not been possible before and what matters to me and for also, for example, for mixed world is that we have now the possibility to enrich everyone's lives out there with new components. For example, let's say in everyday life problems like how to use your coffee machine or how to repair your printer all of that stuff can now be solved by utilizing components that we can integrate into smaller useful metaverse applications where you get shared experiences where you connect with experts that can actually help you and yeah that's what I love about the current situation and the current development and I'm really happy to be part of this let's say movement and we always focus and try to focus on the smaller very contextual and useful kind of micrometer versus that we then combine together to new useful experiences and products.
Rene - Well I love what you said about the real world metaverse and not just because I use the term but actually also Niantic and a lot of other companies are using similar technology terms to describe similar things you could also call it the AR Cloud or the mirror world or whatever in fact I was recently recording also an episode for Meta Minutes with Matt Miesnieks you can actually watch it by now, who's working at Living cities and worked on 60 AI before it became Niantic's visual positioning system, long story short, what we see is a lot of signals in the world that a lot of folks are eager to work in that space and I think it's really exciting where we can bring into physical work together with the virtual world and not just have these you know pure virtual plays. But let's go back to the title of the episode which like I said is quite a mouthful so tell us about the metaversal customer Journey design and what you have done in that space.
Fabian – Yes, so Robert and I, Robert is my co-founder at mixed world, we have been working in this sphere for quite some time especially in the mixed reality design and one of the things that we always put in the first place was how to improve customer experiences. Customer experiences means a lot to us and to every product so what we always try to put first is actually the user experience before the actual technology. So to create let's say products and experiences that utilize new technology like for example the Microsoft Hololens 2 with its awesome sensors and everything you can do with it but not put that in front because the general user does not care about it right? They just wanted to use it as a tool to solve a problem but to actually put the user in front and one of the things we built in that space which is a very successful product is in the interior design space what we did there is. So the topic here is Kitchen sales, so to be able to sell a kitchen to a let's say general audience customer out there in a new way in a way where we leverage all the components that are also relevant for the metaverse in general like persistence, shared experiences which is really important in that space but also merging the physical world with virtual we call it and Microsoft calls them Holograms and what we did there is we first analyzed the whole current existing process that has been in place there and made sure to understand what the actual problems are. So we analyzed the current workflow of how selling kitchen works and then put, let's say, a little bit of magic on top of it to improve the customer experience to give them the ability to see their kitchen inside of their own living room by utilizing what the Microsoft tolerance can offer but also give a new kind of sales tool to the actual sales expert who is selling your kitchen in the end to overcome a specific communication problems that they had before which we identified and to make the customer experience in this space a very new and positive experience. So for the first time with our tool the sales expert together with the customer are in the same shared experience they see the same thing at the same time and they can actually walk through the kitchen in context of their apartments. So you have to imagine we are blending realities here making it in a way that it is a multi-user experiences and that the customer in the end will be able to try out what he could never try out before, that you could only see renderings of a kitchen and then you would have to decide if you spent that big amount of money on buying a kitchen based on just an image you had and now you suddenly can use this technology to also show them what they are going to get interactively change everything and discuss what they are about to see this is one of the aspects that are important here and what we saw as a result. That's why I said it's very successful that we now generated about 20 000 contacts with this new technology in a way where the technology is not in the focus but the experience itself is in the focus and that actually seems to be a very positive experience to most of the customers so that the actual sales can go up. We also utilize this kind of experience in different products where we connect experts together with customers in a let's say mixed shared experience where we have some of the customers on site and some of the customers off-site to bring in, for example, for maintenance to bring in experts that are just at a different place on the earth or in the country together with a maintenance worker for example on-site in the home of people to help them understand what issue they are currently facing and what they have to solve.
Rene - I love what you said about, you know, basically making sure that the customer goes through a very good journey and in the end it's all about having great user experience right? Sometimes we tech folks get a little bit taken away and too much focus on the amazing tech because it's so fantastic and we want to build all the features in and so on but you know mostly you might not need it all of it but focus really on the experience the customer is having and Fabian showed me actually the application. It's been a while and I'm sure it has improved a lot since then but it was already very impressive with the collaboration that you have like this, you know, expert with on a tablet and you can have the person bring a HoloLens and or other devices it doesn't have to be a HoloLens but it's really impressive how well that's worked and I'm sure you would use that company to actually buy a new kitchen if I would need one because this is just amazing in in terms of, hey, I can really see what I'm going to get in the end and it worked so well and I think the key is really also the collaboration piece right the shared experience that you can collaborate together and so what do you think could be possible in a couple of years when we will have hopefully true interoperability for the metaverse and it doesn't really matter what platform or devices we were using in order to collaborate with each other.
Fabian – Yes, right, that's a very good question. So I think what you also mentioned this is one of the key aspects for any type of metaverse experience which is especially complex when you are in this mixed kind of scenario where you have some people which are in the same location and some people we join from let's say a remote location into the same experience to create this kind of persistence locally but also in people in a way which feels seamless so and here the other aspect you mentioned comes into play, the interoperability between different devices. So what we see and now I really want to get a little bit more technical is from a developer's perspective the possibilities are now getting better and better because of the standards that currently evolve. Of them, for example, Open XR and WebEx are in that aspect are one of the key drivers of making interoperability possible, so that I as a developer do not have to develop a specific set of features for a specific type of devices but in the future, I can actually say well what do I need for example Inside out tracking I need kind of spatial understanding of the world around me and I also want to build in for example hand tracking to interact with virtual objects. So I can say I take those features in a box very simply put and every device that supports those types of features will instantly be able to run the application that I built. So that I don't have to build them a couple of times. What this means is that we get an ecosystem that enables us as developers to support a huge variety of devices and also to enable a much broader audience that can actually use the same application on whatever device they want to use, maybe even they have a different price range, maybe a different quality but I can actually bring all those people together suddenly in my shared metaverse experience and this is something I really look forward to. One of the drivers here is Qualcomm, for example, I know they are first and foremost a chip developer, so nearly every smartphone that we have, or a huge amount of smartphones that we have is powered by a Qualcomm processor. Also, most and many of the AR glasses that we have, like the Hololens 2 and the unreal and also Oculus Quest are running on Qualcomm Snapdragon devices and what Qualcomm now understood and did here is to create the Snapdragon spaces program which is a very nice initiative which utilizes what Qualcomm does best but also puts this in kind of a, let's say, meta standard which enables hardware vendors and software vendors alike to combine all those let's say powerful tools and all the components and features that you need to make such experiences interoperable over different devices. Kind of available in a unified way and we are very happy to be also part of the current Snapdragon spaces program with mixed worlds where we, well now it's very early on we have to admit, so there will be some time until this is actually measured and we can actually use it in a productive system I would say at least another year or two until we can actually use this in productive systems but this shows that whatever we do now, so we should all start right now to have all those dreams and just put them into reality and start developing on those because those early adopters that we also see today are the Pathfinders kind of right so the feedback that you give today will, in the end, enable the features that you dream of in the futures and you can today pave the way for future developers and that's a really cool thing.
Rene – Awesome. I love that final statement that is we could end the show right now but let's have a final pod though. Really great stuff and like you said I'm looking forward to learning a bit more about the Qualcomm stuff that they're doing. I think this is really interesting also the funding program supports start-ups and so on. So really good stuff. Anyhow, we could talk for much longer but we're already at the end of the show. Thank you so much, Fabian, for joining us today and sharing your insights, that was very much appreciated.
Fabian - Thank you so much Rene for having me and I look forward to the next Meta Minutes.
Rene – Yeah, well and thanks everyone for joining us for Meta Minutes, your bite-sized pieces of the metaverse. Watch our blog, follow our social media channel, subscribe to our YouTube to hear all about the next episodes, and of course, you can always watch the previous episodes at Valoremreply.com. Until then take care and see you soon in the metaverse.