Spotlight on Ali Hantal: An Exclusive Feature in Türkiye’de İş Dünyası Magazine
Turkish monthly business magazine Türkiye’de İş Dünyası featured XR Masters CEO Ali Hantal on its May 2023 issue. Ali Hantal talked about the current state and the future of the Metaverse, the importance of the standards and protocols for the Metaverse to be open, interoperable and democratic, his mission at Open AR Cloud Association where he serves as a board member and Test Bed Coordinator.
You can reach the article here & the English translation of the full article is below.
THE NEW WORLD ORDER IS BUILT ON THE METAVERSE
The dynamics of technology and the digital world are constantly changing and transforming. But do we really know what Metaverse, which appears in every aspect of our lives, is? Although we hear its name frequently, Metaverse is still an undefined concept, and we don’t fully understand its meaning. We asked Ali Cumhur Hantal, CEO of XR Masters, Board Member of the International Open AR Cloud (OARC) Association, and Founding Member of Turkey’s first Metaverse Association, about it.
Metaverse, which is defined as the future of the internet, education, tourism, culture, commerce, and even human communication, where people will interact and communicate with other individuals and three-dimensional objects in three-dimensional alternate universes, will undoubtedly change many aspects of our lives. Ali Cumhur Hantal, CEO of XR Masters, Board Member of the International Open AR Cloud (OARC) Association, and Founding Member of Turkey’s first Metaverse Association, stated that Metaverse has been existing as virtual reality technology for years but gained attention with Facebook changing its name to Meta. He shared the definition of Metaverse accepted by experts in Silicon Valley as follows: “It is an environment consisting of three-dimensional universes and content that immerses the person in it, making them feel like they are there, can be experienced simultaneously by multiple individuals, has continuity, and protects the user’s ownership and identity rights. So even when users leave the Metaverse, life continues, and other users can experience the same interaction with a virtual content that another user had. While there have been many examples of virtual reality-based metaverses that fit this definition for years, augmented reality-based metaverses have only become possible in the last two to three years with the development of AR Cloud technology, due to the limitations of conventional augmented reality technology.
TURKEY IS NOT BEHIND THE REST OF THE WORLD
Hantal emphasized that Turkey has a culture that can quickly adapt to and use technologies, stating, “In terms of usage, we have always been among the top in Europe and the world. I don’t think that Turkey is lagging behind in terms of Metaverse usage. However, due to the insufficiency of investments and support provided to existing startups, many companies do not have enough financial power to develop comprehensive projects.” He also pointed out the importance of creating an open and interoperable Metaverse, mentioning the OpenAR Cloud Association of which he is also a board member, saying, “This is a crucial issue because in the coming period, we will start talking about ‘Multiverses’ instead of a single Metaverse.”
STANDARDS ENABLE LIBERATION
Hantal, who also answered the question, “Do standards give people the advantage of using free will?” said the following: “Yes, they do. Let me explain this with an example. Let’s consider the internet we use today. Regardless of the device (Macbook, PC) or operating system (iOS, Windows) we use, and even the browser (Chrome, Safari, or Edge) we use, when we enter an address in the URL bar of our browser, we can access that website. The reason we can do this is the existing standards such as URLs and HTML. As a result, the internet is open and interoperable, not under the control of one or a few companies. However, unfortunately, we cannot provide the same example for application markets. Today, a user with an iPhone can only download applications from the Apple App Store, while a user with an Android device can only download from the Google Play Store. These two application markets are not open, not in communication with each other, and owned by specific companies. On the other hand, the internet is open and has no owner. This is where standards and protocols come into play for the future of the Metaverse, even to be written as a single Metaverse with a capital ‘M.’ This is where the Open AR Cloud Association comes in. For approximately three years, we have been working with the Open Geospatial Consortium, one of the world’s largest standard-developing organizations, and introduced the KML standard to the world through Google. Together, we have successfully developed the world’s first Geopose standard. Now, we are working on new ones.”
“XR Masters team, which has been involved in many important projects in the software field for over 20 years and provides information technology strategies to global companies, has been conducting R&D studies and software developments on Metaverse technologies for the past seven years.”
WE AWAIT THE AUGMENTED HUMAN REVOLUTION IN THE FUTURE
Ali Cumhur Hantal, stating that with the widespread adoption of the Metaverse, no industry will remain untouched, mentioned that alternate universes initially began to be widely used in the entertainment and gaming sectors. Hantal believes that it already impacts many sectors and predicts that industries such as commerce, tourism, culture, art, and education will also be affected in the near future. He said, “Imagine being in a shopping mall or exploring a new city while a smart AR avatar guides you and provides information about the location you are in when productive artificial intelligence is added to our lives. Or imagine sitting at home, wearing AR glasses, and chatting with Einstein’s avatar about the theory of relativity.” He concluded by stating, “We are about to witness a whole new revolution in the future.” Hantal shared details about what we can expect in the coming period and said, “As a generation, we experienced the Internet revolution together. We experienced the mass sharing movement with Web 2.0. This sharability has taken us to incredible places. I don’t use any service because I gave it a bad rating. We have become intelligent collectively because we shared collectively, we worked cooperatively. This was the digital revolution. Now, a new revolution is coming. With the convergence of technologies such as big data, neurotechnology, robotics, productive artificial intelligence, blockchain, augmented reality, and virtual reality, we will experience a completely different and brand-new ‘Technology-Enabled Human Revolution,’ which we can also call the ‘Augmented Human Revolution.’
CULTURAL HERITAGE IN THE NEW UNIVERSE
XR Masters aims to digitally capture and add the entire territory of Turkey to the Metaverse map, and through its developed Metaverse content management platform, it plans to enable users to create AR-based Metaverse experiences and produce AR content in their daily lives, while also ensuring the transfer of historical and cultural heritage to future generations through special platforms that can be provided in the new universe. With the agreement between XR Masters and the Open AR Cloud Association, Ankara, utilizing the XR Masters infrastructure, has become the fourth test city in the world for Open AR Cloud, following Los Angeles, Bari, and Helsinki.