With the advent of COVID-19, the adoption of technology has relatively surged. If we inspect closely, alongside other tech innovations, AR-VR has dramatically impacted the global pandemic. With companies, employees, schools, and students all going remote and business travel, tourism, and entertainment venues shut down, there is an unprecedented opportunity for AR-VR solutions to provide alternatives to in-person meetings and experiences. Though the potential of emerging VR solutions had been envisioned before the pandemic, the urgency to adopt these solutions was lacking.
Presently, due to the ongoing pandemic, companies are embracing virtual meetings, offices, events, and collaboration as vibrant alternatives to Zoom fatigues and postage-stamp video windows. All this contributing to a dramatic acceleration of AR-VR adoption.
Paracosma, a San-Francisco-based AR-VR solutions provider that offers application development and content creation is making the most of these opportunities. In 2016, the company started its journey with a vision to make Augmented and Virtual realities better than Reality and a mission to make Reality better through Virtual and Augmented Reality. The three goals encompassed in Paracosma’s mission statement that guides its focus is—creating authentic & photorealistic virtual worlds, creating training and entertainment experiences that are not possible in real life, and improving human health and experience using AR-VR.
In a candid talk with Ken Ehrhart (Founder and CEO at Paracosma), he walked us through the challenges of the pandemic and how the team turned the crisis into opportunity.
What are your roles and responsibilities at Paracosma, has your prior experience aided to these responsibilities?
As Founder of Paracosma, I was motivated by the vision I have of the opportunity for AR-VR to positively transform our lives, businesses, and society. As CEO, I am responsible for fulfilling the promise of that vision. Operationally, we have to grow the company, increase our capabilities, and inspire our clients. My 21-year career in venture capital and global business expansion prepared me for these roles. I’ve had the pleasure of both learning what it takes for startups to survive and thrive but also how to meet the requirements of large enterprise companies for a high return on investment.
What are the different challenges the company is presently facing? How are you dealing with these challenges?
Like all businesses these days, we have had to respond to the disruptions caused by the global pandemic. Fortunately, we had the tools to create our own virtual offices, meeting and event venues, and collaboration spaces that have replaced in-person meetings. We subsequently have been productizing our internal best practices for adoption by our clients. It is exciting to see other companies and employees benefit from the solutions we worked hard to develop.
What are the different innovations Paracosma has implemented throughout the years?
The AR-VR industries evolve incredibly quickly, and Paracosma needs to absorb and iterate on those innovations to be successful. At first, with AR-VR, we were just trying to develop believable virtual worlds. Then we added increased interactivity to those worlds. Next was the creation of multi-user experiences. We have now advanced to large-scale, sophisticated, remote collaboration using AR-VR. Each level of advancement builds upon what was achieved previously. The next phase is increasingly realistic artificial intelligence within the systems, to allow believable interactions between human users and computer companions.
What are the unique offerings covered by Paracosma?
Paracosma has a large, diverse team able to embrace all the many platforms and innovations found in AR-VR. That allows us to always bring our clients the optimal solutions for their needs. In addition to experts in AR-VR application development, we have a highly specialized and deeply talented team of artists. The ability to create photorealistic 3d objects, entire scenes of objects, so-called Digital Twins, and even entire virtual worlds by hand is one of our strengths. Most of our modeling is being used to replace studio photography with renderings of 3d scenes. We are also creating tens of thousands of synthetic images for training machine-vision AI systems. These are areas that go beyond AR-VR to the broader transition we see from 2d to 3d computing.
How would you describe Paracosma’s clientele base, how has their demand changed over the years?
Based upon repeat business, we have extremely satisfied and loyal customers. In 2018, 37% of our revenues came from repeat business from existing clients. That percentage increased to 79% in 2019. And, last year, fully 97% of our revenues came from repeat customers. Our current clients’ biggest request is that we scale our capacity as rapidly as possible to meet their increasing demand. Our challenge is to grow even faster, to onboard new clients.
What new additions can we expect from Paracosma beyond the pandemic?
A lot of our focus during the pandemic has been standing up virtual worlds for remote meetings, events, and entertainment. A lot of these venues have been hosted on other companies’ platforms. This month we have launched our in-house platform with improved functionality over what we could achieve on others’ platforms. We have also launched services to create synthetic images within virtual worlds to train machine-vision-based artificial intelligence systems. This is a critical service to expand the capability and reliability of deep learning systems.
The year 2020 has significantly changed the world. What are your expectations for the year 2021?
We see the remote working trends of 2020 continuing in 2021. The difference is that the pandemic forced remote working in 2020, whereas remote AR-VR collaboration is facilitating remote working in 2021. We are moving from a period of forced business transformation to a period of sought-after business improvements. The AR-VR industries are now at the forefront of positive changes and increased productivity.
Read Full Magazine: The 10 Most Reliable AR-VR Solution Providers, 2021