Mesmerise connects businesses to the metaverse
Mesmerise, a British company that helps businesses integrate virtual reality into their operations, has opened its first US office in Santa Monica. Mesmerise said the new office will allow the company to deepen its support for US customers and enable expansion.
Founded in 2016, the company’s team has grown sixfold over the past two years. Santa Monica was selected so the company could tap into the city’s growing tech market and talent pool, according to the Mesmerise.
Companies such as Morningstar, Wells Fargo and Allianz all use Mesmerise’s software platform called Gatherings to host virtual meetings, conferences and training sessions.
According to the company, Gatherings is designed to provide the benefits of co-presence and in-person collaboration while eliminating travel costs and reducing the company’s carbon footprint.
“We were pretty early in the metaverse game. It wasn’t called a metaverse when the company was created by our co-founders, but we had seen the potential that immersive technologies like virtual reality or augmented reality would have for businesses,” Sean West, president of the advisory board at Mesmerise, said. “We wanted to ride the wave of adoption as companies started to explore this technology, even though we knew it would take a few years. And that future has now arrived, with Facebook becoming Meta. Now is the time for these types of immersive technologies.
The Metaverse is a virtual world similar to the physical world that is created using virtual and augmented realities, artificial intelligence, and cryptocurrencies. With the help of VR headsets, users can insert themselves into this world and play games, socialize, shop, and do most things they can do in the real world.
As hybrid work and learning environments become the status quo, the need for dynamic solutions that establish co-presence, the feeling of being in the same room as someone, also increases, West said.
In the metaverse
Last June, West hosted a reunion of 90 alumni of the class of 2017 from Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program. Attendees were able to listen to their former teacher talk about his new book and then network. The place? The metaverse.
“All those students who couldn’t have gone to a place if they wanted to because of visas, Covid, cost and conflict, got to meet their ex-teacher (Ranjay Gulati) to hear about the new this person’s book and are now working with each other,” West said.
While virtual reality has long been a topic of discussion in gaming, entrepreneurs are finding ways to improve their business operations.
Santa Monica-based venture capital firm Bold Capital Partners worked with Mesmerise, using its gatherings platform to set up meetings with entrepreneurs and investors.
“Virtual reality has been around as a concept for a while,” said Bold Capital partner Maxx Bricklin. “The tools make it more impactful in the enterprise. We are working with (Mesmerise) to understand how virtual reality can improve experiences in the financial services industry.”
Bricklin said that over the next five years, he predicts there will be more education around virtual reality in several industries, especially in the education sector.
Earlier this month, for example, Microsoft announced its partnership with Meta to make Microsoft 365 and Mesh apps for Microsoft Teams available on Meta Quest devices. Mesh is designed to help people come together virtually.
“I think as this becomes more and more integrated into typical enterprise tools and platforms like Microsoft, you’re naturally going to start seeing more and more of this happening (elsewhere),” said Brickline. “It’s a hardware system that requires different power, compute, bandwidth, and Wi-Fi, and it’s not just going to roll out horizontally and go immediately to the mass market. He has to find his place and I think the greatest need is in education.
Bricklin explained that bringing virtual reality into traditional workspaces isn’t as simple as putting glasses on people, but the opportunities for collaboration are far more valuable than other conferencing platforms such as Zoom.
“That means the value is going to have to be worth it,” Bricklin said. “We saw during Covid that Zoom is not engaging. It’s not easy to have a large group of people there. There are some challenges. I think that’s why it has to be very important to have a very specific creation with high added value.
West expects a majority of businesses to be in the metaverse, but will have difficulty understanding it.
“We continue to grow as more and more companies want to use these products. They want to experience virtual reality first, and then when they see the benefits, they want to use it,” West explained.
Pricing for Mesmerise’s services varies depending on whether a company purchases VR headsets through the company or elsewhere and how the customer chooses to customize the product. Mesmerise strives to connect its customers with different helmet manufacturers but has no official partnership with any brand. When onboarding a business, Mesmerise provides training resources and works with the business to customize their virtual world to match their brand.
During a meeting or conference, participants will be in a virtual reality setting that mimics a physical setting. As in the real world, the sound also adjusts depending on where the speakers are seated. For example, West said that if a group of three people were in a virtual meeting and the person in the middle had to turn to speak with the person on the right, the person on the left would hear a quieter voice because they’re not facing away. the person speaking.
From a typical office to a conference room, the environment is also adjusted according to the type of location desired by the Mesmerise customer.
“So the company can say, ‘I don’t want to be in a futuristic conference room with a view of Hong Kong. I want to meet in an office that is more like my office with a view of my downtown Los Angeles view. So we’re going to personalize that,” West said.
“A company will likely spend a bit of money to make sure the feeling is also their brand and culture in VR. We will then work with the company to onboard as many people as they want into the space. S If they’re hosting a one-time event or if they’re hosting a series of events, they may pay us to host the events, but they’re more likely to pay to keep their VR ecosystem live.