Arcona is an Augmented Reality ecosystem based in St. Petersburg, Russia. It is powered by Ethereum’s blockchain and is merging real & virtual worlds across the planet. Arcona creates a Digital Land – a layer of Augmented Reality, uniting the physical and virtual worlds into a single information environment that is perfectly linked to our real world. It is designed for interactive everyday user experience with augmented, virtual and mixed reality multimedia content in real-world locations.
The Arcona token ICO lasted 4 months and was completed on July 14, 2018. The Arcona platform is being developed by the professional team of Piligrim XXI. Since 2015, Piligrim XXI has been actively investing its own funds to research the field of Augmented reality technologies and is the first Russian IT start-up operating in the international Augmented reality market in the travel industry.
Etymology: The Metaverse is a collective virtual shared space, created by the mixing of virtually enhanced physical reality and physically persistent virtual space, including the sum of all virtual worlds, augmented reality, and the internet. The word metaverse combines the words “meta” (meaning “beyond”) and “universe” and is typically used to describe the concept of a future iteration of the internet, made up of persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces linked into a perceived virtual universe.
Since cyberspace has now, through common use, become a term that simply means the Internet, Metaverse is the preferred term for the concept of a virtual shared space that converges with actual reality.
Interesting fact for some of you that don’t know it, the famous Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox was originally a Magic the Gathering cards trading platform. Mt. Gox: Magic the Gathering Online eXchange.
Arcona Marketplace – Buy, Sell & Rent Digital Lands
Arcona has created a marketplace, where users can buy, sell or rent virtual lands, which are divided in hexagons of 100 m² size each. Players can bid on the land plots with Arcona tokens, with starting prices ranging from 100-300 tokens. For start, the AR Grid positioning system will be implemented in the 10 largest metropolitan areas of the planet.
I contacted Arcona’s CEO to talk about the project and to let him help us understand their vision of creating a digital earth.
Q: Hello, could you introduce yourself and tell us how you’ve come up with the idea to create Arcona?
A: My name is Ilya Korguzalov, I am the founder of Arcona, which merges real and virtual worlds together creating a unique layer of augmented reality all over the planet’s surface. This layer is our main asset and trademark. It is called the Digital Land and it sets the new standard of the augmented reality projects as we offer the solution to the problem that hinders the development of the augmented reality technology and prevents the creation of a mass market for AR projects production. That’s the problem of scaling such projects up. The Arcona AR Ecosystem is being developed by a professional team – Piligrim XXI. We have almost six years of experience in developing AR solutions, and Arcona is just the natural extension of our passion and experience in AR since we have an understanding of the problems of the industry in details.
Q: How can users create objects and place them in the lands they own?
A: By buying or renting a Digital Land plot, the main thing paving the way to your own AR project. Basically, this plot is a ready-to-use and earn asset since everything is ready for some interactive objects to be placed at designated coordinates. Our users do not need to have any specific skills. The special application which we are working on at the moment will have an intuitive interface making it easy to navigate, enter data and do reporting. You will just need to choose a ready-made model on the Arcona Marketplace and place it remotely from the comfort of your home. If you want to use custom-made objects you can buy or order it from qualified specialists who will be offering their services on our Marketplace too. Human traffic in real places can be converted into users of your project.
Q: What are the use-cases of Augmented Reality?
A: We see the widest range of use-cases of Augmented Reality in general, and our platform in particular. The technology can be applied for promotion of some offline businesses, including real estate, tourism, entertainment, catering, nearly whatever. Apart from advertising some existing businesses, our platform and the Digital Land plots will be the basis for launching online businesses of different kinds. For instance, educational projects, gaming, questing, navigating and many more.
Q: Does the team have experience in mapping the earth? What technologies do you use?
A: Our team has been working in the AR development market since 2013, enhancing tourism experience by providing an opportunity to time travel, to see how different historical places and events looked like in the bygone eras. In 2014, we launched the world’s first outdoor augmented reality park. 8 augmented reality parks have been sold and are operating in 6 European countries. We are currently testing our computer vision prototype as an independent platform for AR. Since 2015, we have made significant investments in the research of distributed GIS, Augmented Reality technologies, 3D simulation, computer vision, artificial intelligence, neural networks and SLAM (simultaneous localization & mapping).
Q: How do you expect AR/VR to evolve in the future and will 5G internet affect the AR/VR industry?
A: 5G performance targets higher data rate, reduced latency, energy saving, cost reduction, and massive device connectivity, so, it will effect the whole IT sphere immensely. The launch and wide usage of the fifth generation of cellular mobile communications is expected to affect the productive innovation processes involving this cutting-edge technology and will contribute to the improvement of high-quality system capacity. This massive shift will trigger significant action in the support of the development and deployment of AR and VR platforms of course! The higher data rate is the more technology projects.
Q: How many land plots will be available and how does the blockchain technology help in your project?
A: The surface area of the planet is approximately 510 million square kilometers, the size of a plot is about 100 m². Thus, the maximum quantity of the Digital land plots is about 5 trillion. But these figures have nothing to do with the real amount of the land plots for sale, since we will exclude most of water bodies, woods, buildings, carriage ways and many more other territories inappropriate for running some online business. The digitized territories of Arcona are located only in those places that are convenient for locating AR projects. These are open squares and streets with good visibility and high foot traffic. Obviously, there is no need to digitize the places with no human traffic. It’s a huge mathematical task in front of our GIS-specialists, so we can hardly count, even approximately, the total amount of parcels by far. By 2023 we are planning to create a Worldwide Augmented Reality Grid and increase the size of geo-referenced AR territory to 100,000 km².
As for the blockchain, it is supposed to serve as a ledger to identify who owns the land, content, software, etc., as well as who has the right to make and register transfers. Blockchain technology can guarantee equal conditions and additional protection of the property rights of the owners of Digital Land in the Arcona Ecosystem, and protection of copyright for developers and artists living anywhere in the world and ensure automated payment for the use of their intellectual property. All this information will be enshrined and securely stored in the smart contract.
Q: Arcona is creating its own AR viewer. Will it be available on all devices and what can we expect from it?
A: Yes, it will be available on all the devices with different operational systems, as the application is meant to be cross-platform and to be performing equally well on tablets, smartphones, headsets etc. The development will be step-by-step though, and first we will launch the iOS version. Having this application installed will be enough to have access to all the activities of the system. Put simply, the users will be able to see and interact with objects placed by other people and run their projects remotely. We are already testing the iOS version and we’re getting ready for the open beta testing, after which an application for Android will be developed as well, and then we will work on adapting the software to various augmented reality headsets.
Q: That sounds awesome! When will the final version of the Arcona marketplace be released?
A: Our nearest plans include significant expansion of the user functionality of the Arcona Marketplace. There will be the opportunity to trade various digital assets among users – land, content and ARCONA tokens.
Q: What are the team’s goals for 2019?
A: We are focusing on the most exciting development of the year – the launch of our proprietary AR Viewer. All main algorithms have already been successfully ported and are undergoing final testing. The user application includes maximum positioning accuracy and high-quality content display.
Overall, the coming year for Arcona will be a time of large-scale development of partnership programs with projects that are close to us in spirit and business goals. We already have agreements with a number of real estate, digital advertising, and interactive content companies. Now there are active negotiations with manufacturers of mobile devices and 5G communication operators, including Huawei, HTC and Samsung.
A new era of the Arcona Ecosystem development is upon us. We are completing the launch of the main platform components and are taking steps towards the global expansion of the project. The Arcona brand is already registered in the EU, China and Russia. In the near future, we plan to launch various AR projects, introduce affiliate programs, and we will continue working towards increasing our user base significantly.
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