Editor’s note: In the second part of this UpTech interview with Gabriel René, executive director at VERSES, Alexander Ferguson of YourLocalStudio.com pursues in detail possible real-life applications for the Spatial Web.

  • What are the prime industries or companies that can benefit right now from what you’re describing as the Spatial Web—this next layer that people could utilize?

So, different industries have different motivations and different concerns. The ones that are very interested in using blockchain, for example, tend to be the supply chain and logistics folks. So, there’s sort of almost a split there.

On the outside, tracking objects from point A to point B, which is really spatial tracking of objects—they’re very interested in blockchain. And there are massive initiatives, and there’s organizations like BiTA (Blockchain in Transportation Alliance) that have FedEX, UPS, DHL, BP, and hundreds of companies all trying to figure out “how do we come up with standards for traceability?” Because often these companies are working together, and they’re handing things off to each other.

So, standards around that are important. Inside of those buildings and giant warehouses are millions of square feet or ports—they have operational activities. “Where do I find this box?” Literally, a warehouse picker walking around a million square feet trying to locate a box by looking at a number—this nine-digit code—on a little screen and then trying to find that in the space.

[Note: See the graphic included with this post from VERSES.]

We’re able to create AR applications that route them specifically to those things. When they move box A to location B, a spatial transaction occurs. A spatial contract then is completed. You can easily see how the insides of things, and the outsides of things, and the traceability between those—both blockchain and an augmented reality in that case—are a perfect combination.

When the web is no longer flat – Building the Spatial Web for the Tony Stark in all of us

At the moment, those are thought of as discreetly unrelated technologies, but immediately you can see that the traceability at both a macro and a microscale are important, and being able to do that digital thread that then creates that provenance all the way through is critical to all future supply chain and logistics companies because people want to know: “Is this a fair trade product? Is it organic? What kind of labor was used with it?”

And as those values become more and more important and the trust around the products that we get these days—especially millennial-focused values I would say have risen to the surface—the industries are chasing those solutions now.

  • I see the vision of where you’re trying, where you’re heading, and what you’re painting. How far along are we? Have you actually done an implementation of this Spatial Web? Do you have a client that’s already using it in their warehouse for logistics?

Yeah actually, we just deployed that this month. It’s pretty mind-boggling to experience. We’ve done it on iPhone where you’re looking through the phone instead of at the phone, and you’re following the arrow right to the box. Then you follow the next one.

We received a grant from Magic Leap as part of their creator program. They saw what we were doing and said, “Hey, can you guys do a version of this that works in the headsets?” So, we have two implementations of that. One’s more practical for today. The other is, I think, an indication of what the future is.

It’s actually pretty staggering to see that—how much faster you can perform by looking through the screen rather than at the screen and following the arrow to the box, how much faster you can perform, and how much more confident we watch these guys walk when their hands are free and they’re just following an arrow.

I mean, I expect to do a test pretty soon where we can take someone off the street, put them into the warehouse with someone who’s been working there for two years, and let the normal warehouse worker compete with the other person who’s basically augmented with the glasses. And I’m quite confident that the person off the street will out pick the veteran.

Next: The Tony Stark effect

Note: For previous stories in this series, search UpTech at WRALTechWire.com