AI-powered Metaverse Takes Over Times Square
What does the metaverse look like? How will it impact our daily lives? How will we access it? MeetKai aims to answer all of these questions with their “Phase 1 Beta” metaverse launch designed for mass adoption, with a focus on improving everyday interactions.
The MeetKai Metaverse introduces itself as “the real world in a smarter virtual space.” This up-and-coming metaverse company stands out from the crowd by offering a unique proposition: a metaverse that’s not an escape from reality but an enhancement of it. Essentially, this will be a space where users can engage in everyday activities like shopping, creating, or collaborating, while enjoying unique AI-powered features and VR perks that would be impossible to experience in real life.
An anamorphic portal in Times Square
MeetKai has given New York City residents and visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with its metaverse this July. On July 11th, MeetKai turned Times Square’s 7th Avenue and 47th Street Billboard into an anamorphic gateway that transports users to the metaversal recreation of Times Square. Once there, they’re able to explore a digital replica of New York City with the help of intelligent NPCs and even find portals to an alternate world in Paris.
This Pokemon Go-esque metaverse experience will allow users to see the enhancements that VR can offer in action. Imagine seeing the Mona Lisa at a virtual Louvre without the crowds, while engaging in friendly banter with Leonardo Davinci in smart NPC form. Or picture spending time with a friend in another country, not through a tiny phone screen, but exploring a virtual hyper-realistic beach.
In addition to getting a first look at MeetKai’s metaverse, players will be able to seek out and claim a rare “Key to the City - NYC Edition” NFT. The key can unlock special features and prizes, and one lucky holder will win the opportunity to have a metaverse street named after them and customized to fit their interests.
MeetKai previously released demos of a number of VR environments, including Beach, Forest, and Zen Garden scenarios during CES 2022, as well as their very own MeetKai NFT Museum. To demonstrate the everyday benefits the metaverse can have, MeetKai also powered AWE’s 2022 live metaverse exhibit and released an AR Restaurant Ordering App where users can order with family and friends, and see AR versions of each dish on the menu before they choose.
The Future of the Metaverse is Accessible
The Times Square experience showcases one of the unique aspects of MeetKai’s metaverse: its accessibility. Users will enter the metaverse simply by scanning a QR code, making it as easy as pulling up a restaurant menu.
“The metaverse should be a place of easy access for everyone, everywhere, without the need for a pricey headset,” said MeetKai Co-Founder James Kaplan. He notes the lack of affordable hardware as one of his key concerns about the VR industry. His other key concerns, mentioned in an interview with Authority Magazine, also have to do with different types of accessibility. He notes the limitations of metaverse content creation due to a lack of content creation tools, saying that it could pose a significant problem for the industry as a whole.
In addition to the issues of creating and consuming content in the metaverse, Kaplan also cites Web3 limitations as a potential barrier to widespread metaverse adoption. Many people do not have hardware or software crypto wallets, and metaverse platforms will require easier methods of monetization to achieve widespread adoption.
MeetKai is working to address accessibility issues by making the first browser-based metaverse that users can access from a smartphone, PC, or any other type of smart device. The MeetKai Metaverse will also be made accessible with the help of AI-powered virtual NPCs (non-player characters) who can act as instructors, tour guides, store assistants, and other service providers.
These smart NPCs are one of the other aspects that make MeetKai’s metaverse unique. The company’s roots primarily focus on developing state-of-the-art conversational AI and smart virtual concierge technologies. Unlike other voice assistant products, which use traditional command-based interactions, Kai can understand negation queries, offer multi-language support, and hold natural multi-turn conversations. This offers a more intuitive experience and allows users to engage in purposeful human-like exchanges with AI.
MeetKai’s conversational AI work has already shown its ability to make a useful product that helps businesses deliver a better customer experience, using technology to make everyday tasks easier. This is what they aim to do in their metaverse, on a larger scale, and with even more advanced tech.
Unlike most metaverses, which focus on fantastical entertainment or creating immersive sci-fi worlds, MeetKai’s metaverse is focused on improving real-life interactions. These include interactions of all kinds, from shopping for clothes to going on a date.
In the early stages of its metaverse, MeetKai is focusing on improving three main types of interactions. The first is e-commerce, which has immense potential for improved and original customer experiences with the help of VR. In the metaverse, you could visit a clothing store entirely tailored to your size and preferences, try clothing on a virtual version of you, and talk with an AI-powered assistant to get your questions answered. In a metaverse homeware store, you could see how items will look in your house before you buy them.
Also critical to the e-commerce world is MeetKai’s focus on real-world utility. In addition to letting you see your clothing choices in the metaverse, MeetKai’s platform would allow you to actually order those clothes in the VR store and receive them at your real-world doorstep.
MeetKai’s real-world utility goes beyond ordering real products. The ability to use VR-enhanced settings can also have a huge impact on real-life productivity. In the metaverse, you can instantly create 3D elements and show them to your co-workers. It will also improve job training processes by allowing workers to practice their tasks in a realistic environment before they get on the job. In addition, AR could also have a major impact on industrial settings, allowing workers to “see through walls” and visualize data overlaid in their real environment.
Virtual environments also have the ability to significantly improve the experience of socializing online. Instead of just sitting on the phone for hours, faraway friends, couples, and families can go on virtual hikes or attend virtual painting classes together in the metaverse. These examples highlight one of the key ways that the MeetKai Metaverse aims to enhance real life: by recreating situations that would otherwise be impossible in the real world, with the help of cutting-edge technology.