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Recapping 12 incredible months

Recapping 12 incredible months

2024-01-04

Build in a bear market. So goes the truncated mantra embraced by a web3/crypto industry, currently weathering a long, cold winter.

Of course, since 2019, when we launched the then ‘OVR’ app on the Google Play and Apple Store, we haven’t stopped building. But it’s fair to say that the past year has been one of our busiest yet, in terms of new features, updates, collaborations and innovations.

As OVER prepares for its fifth anniversary in the augmented reality space, let’s take a look through some of the biggest moments for the company in 2023.

January

Reimagining the world around us
We launched the Beta version of our mapping tool, the OVER Mapper which enables the accurate placement of digital assets—far superior to GPS—for the creation of augmented reality experiences.

The OVER community quickly set to work mapping locations around the world, producing 3D Point Cloud visualizations (viewable in the OVER Marketplace) as well as fly-through videos or ‘NeRFs’.

Less than 12 months on from launch, close to 20,000 maps have already been made by the OVER community.

Personalizing the spatial web
Every single hexagon—or ‘OVER Land’—that makes up the digital layer is named using a trio of English words. We adopted this system to make the location coordinates easier to remember.

With the launch of ENS Domains, owners of the more than 800,000 OVER Lands sold, are now able to personalize their properties with a name of their choice.

Augmenting the event space
The OVER Gate Live Console allows event planners and DJs to host and control events in the OVER digital layer.

Private users and companies can organize events such as:

  • Product presentations 
  • Meetings with remote employees
  • Conferences

But it’s with the integration of the Rokoko motion capture suits that the Console really takes off. Event hosts, like DJs, can effectively port themselves into the virtual scene—every body movement and actions replicated in the AR ecosystem.

February

Thanks a million
In February we hit one million registered users and celebrated with the launch of the 1 Million Gallery, which showcased highlights from the previous four years.

We’re immensely proud of this achievement and the work that has been done by the team and the community to bring this nascent ecosystem to life.

At time of writing the community has grown by another 200k, with no signs of slowing.

A home for creators
With more and more 3D designers, wearables creators, architects and gamemakers contributing to the OVER ecosystem, we decided to consolidate this creative talent pool into a formal community. 

The Creator Network allows OVER creatives to build a profile and add a portfolio of samples to show off their talents and potentially attract work. As part of the Marketplace, they can also use the platform to sell their assets for use by other creators. 

Realizing the dream of interoperability
Having partnered with The Sandbox to bring its assets into our ecosystem, we collaborated with Decentraland to allow the creator community to publish avatar wearables on the OVER platform.

To kick things off, we launched the Future Heritage Contest—the first-ever cross-metaverse version of our popular ‘ARwards’ creator competition. With prize money totalling $10k USD worth of OVR tokens, shared between five finalists, the competition ran in conjunction with Decentraland’s Metaverse Fashion Week.

The five finalists would also have their creations displayed in a very special showcase…

March

Taking OVER Milan
We staged our own version of Metaverse Fashion Week, occupying Milan’s iconic Piazza del Duomo for an AR catwalk. Joining us were PINKO, Balmain x Space Runners, Pet Liger and Ilona Song in collaboration with Vogue Singapore.

Catch the highlights in this video from the event: 

Mappers are winners
The first 10 earners from the OVER Mapper map2earnTM rewards program were announced, sharing in $10,000 USD worth of OVER tokens. Entries were created with each approved map submission and were drawn randomly using Chainlink extraction.

Considering what was to come in December, this was an inspiring moment, for both the community and the OVER team.

April

OVER avatars join the AI race
Using OVER’s own open-source large language model (LLM), OVER avatars got a lot smarter in 2023. The start of an initiative to be rolled out significantly next year (stay tuned for our forthcoming preview of 2024), a select group of ‘AvaStars’—Trisha, Brian and Cindy—have been appearing in living rooms, offices and other environments around the world to converse with OVER app users.

Expect big things with our AI Avatar program over the next 6-12 months. 

New era for the $OVR token
We put forward a proposal to the OVER community to end the Initial Bond Curve Offering (IBCO), outlining the obvious advantages and disadvantages of taking such an action.

Voting for the proposal ended on 26th April, with more than 96% of votes in favor of closure.

It was a timely decision considering what was to happen just a few days later…

May

SDK revamp
We introduced a ‘game-changing’ update to the SDK, making content creation far more sophisticated, engaging and accessible. 

Understanding that getting started building on Unity is a tricky and time-consuming process, we released a games templates directory for the SDK. 

This enables new creators to publish their first Unity-based AR game in just minutes.

Penny drops, $OVR rises
Despite Tim Cook’s past bullish statements about augmented reality, it took the pending announcement of Apple’s AR-capable headset for the market to suddenly realise that… wait… they’re serious about this!

Interest in our token, the currency of the OVER ecosystem, spiked with the sort of market interest reminiscent of the salad days of 2021. 

For the bros it was a feverish week of rocket emojis. For the team at OVER, it was validation of our hard work and long held belief that the future of the web is spatial. 

June

A different Vision for the world
Zero mention of the metaverse and the introduction of the term ‘spatial computing’ to the consumer lexicon. This was the mark-it-in-your-diary moment when Apple’s new ‘Vision’ line of products was born.

The naysayers may have been primed with their withering assessments, but the excitement the Apple Vision Pro generated among the general public was undeniable.

The second generation of the headset is already in planning (type ‘Apple Project Alaska’ into your search engine of choice) with other tech heavyweights scrambling to produce their own contenders to the crown.

Whichever one suits your needs and budget, OVER will be there.

July

NFTs evolve to ‘NFTrees’
We joined forces with Coorest, an organization that uses web3 technology to offset CO2 emissions.

Coorest’s ‘NFTrees’ were added to the OVER Marketplace for the community to buy and help minimize their carbon footprint. Every NFTree is linked to an actual tree that is planted by Coorest and monitored by Floodlight satellite.

Having shifted to the carbon-neutral Polygon chain, our partnership with Coorest is another positive step for OVER and the environment. Look out for more efforts on this front in 2024.

Expanding horizons
A mid-year app update came with a number of advancements for the OVER Mapper, including the ability to customize the path of fly-through videos in 3D digital maps.

Having introduced a competition for the best NeRF videos, we started to see some fantastic creations come through.

 

In addition to OVER Land and Mapper interfaces, we introduced contiguous lands or the joining together of multiple nearby lands to enable the creation of larger AR experiences.

We also integrated controllable digital assets purchased from the OVER Marketplace—like vehicles or robots—allowing creators to add greater complexity and interactivity to AR games.

August

Advancing the development of the user-owned metaverse
OVER joined the ranks of Web3’s most established metaverse platforms when it signed up to OMA3 or the Open Metaverse Alliance.

Already well advanced in its interoperability efforts, having collaborated with The Sandbox and Decentraland in bringing their assets to the platform, OVER will use its membership to seek other opportunities for collaboration.  

September

Another leap forward for the spatial web
Imagine you’ve created an amazing AR experience—a reconstruction of a gladiator fight inside the Colosseum, that can be experienced locally with AR. How do you share it with people who are not physically there?

With the submission of a patent application for the real-time exploration of 3D locations, we took a giant step towards solving this problem.

With just their smartphones users will be able to witness the gladiator fight and socialize with other spectators—both locally AND remotely—within the mapped stadium.

What this means is that AR and VR are no longer separate realms. The OVER Map of the Colosseum effectively bridges the gap between the physical and the virtual, whilst retaining the strengths of both AR and VR.

OVER x PINKO
In our second major collaboration of the year, OVER and PINKO came together at La Rinascente in Florence for an exclusive retail experience.

We supported PINKO and Miomojo’s launch of a range of sustainable bags made from apple waste, with digital versions of products, displayed inside the brand’s pop-up store, and later at an exclusive rooftop event.

To promote the collaboration we devised and crafted a suitably juicy video:

October

Taking control of the party
We added major upgrades to our OVER Gate Live Console, giving DJs, musicians and event creators a number of powerful tools to enhance experiences.

Key to the update was body tracking without the need for Rokoko motion tracking suits. Simply by activating a webcam or camera connected to their computer, users can bring their movements into the event.

The addition of speaker management and broadcasting of presentations onto screens inside virtual gatherings, upped the game for business customers.

OVR extends its reach into the top 200
Crypto market maker and intelligence firm Empirica published a liquidity report on the OVR token, placing it in the top 200 most liquid tokens—number 169 to be precise.

About the ranking, Empirica analysts said, “for OVR investors, this translates to a very good trading environment. The liquidity surrounding OVR is robust, minimizing concerns about slippage, even for substantial trades.”

November

Map the World in 3D
November was all about our global initiative to Map the World in 3D.

 

The campaign opened at the start of the month, allowing people to apply to be one of the first to start mapping with the official launch in early December.

Applicants were drawn in by the opportunity to earn OVR tokens for their efforts, with multiple ways to win:

  1. Direct payments—based on the value of the mapped location
  2. Major prize draw
  3. Monthly prize draw
  4. Treasure hunt—bonuses hidden randomly in completed maps 

We published a full breakdown of the rewards scheme here.

December

Mapping begins!
On December 11, the gates opened and those selected to be the first official OVER Mappers were released to start mapping the world in 3D.

The first wave will have access to locations with values attached to them as part of our map2earnTM rewards program. In addition to receiving direct payments for mapping, participants will also enter into prize draws and potentially find hidden $OVR tokens as part of a global treasure hunt.

We’ll be building the initiative into 2024 and beyond, with the aim to create the largest Web3-based 3D recreation of the world. Think Google Maps but as AR-enabled digital twins that are made by the community.

Jump in and… splat!
In what is a sneak preview of our patent-pending technology, we launched a browser-based real-time exploration of 3D maps.

Users can now head to the OVER Marketplace, click on the Mappings section and select a freshly mapped location. A new button 3D JUMP IN will generate an explorable version of the 3D digital location. Simply use your mouse and keyboard to move around the scene.

You’ll also notice a big change to the way the OVER Mapper renders video—and explorable 3D maps. We’ve shifted from NeRF to Gaussian Splatting, a visual rendering technique traditionally used in the medical and scientific fields to render images taken from multiple points of view.

The benefit of Gaussian Splatting is that it is typically faster and delivers the same or better quality than NeRF rendering.

And we’re just getting warmed up…

In the coming weeks we’ll be releasing Part 2 of the OVERview—our Roadmap for the coming year. Look out for further refinements, collaborations and activities that build upon our work in 2023.

Expectations for a gradual thawing for the Web3, metaverse and crypto industries should make for another compelling 12 months.

Based on the many technical features and integrations OVER has released this year, we look forward to 2024 with optimism and purpose.