Editor’s note: YourLocalStudio.com CEO Alexander Ferguson talks about the emerging Spatial Web – a new dimension for the Web, from flat to immersive experience. – Gabriel René, executive director at VERSES, a revolutionary organization applying the underlying concepts of the World Wide Web to the real world around us—laying the foundation in which, everyone can be Tony Stark. This is the third part of the interview. Parts one and two are available online with links embedded in this story.

So what do we mean by spatial? Here’s how the Singularity Hub defines it: “The boundaries between digital and physical space are disappearing at a breakneck pace. This magical future ahead is called the Spatial Web and will transform every aspect of our lives, from retail and advertising, to work and education, to entertainment and social interaction.”


  • You gave a great example of business use case—distribution and logistics—but what about a consumer? We’re a little ways away from that. Describe again, the use case of the Spatial Web and the importance of interacting and communicating.

Right, so, this is what I call the Starkification of reality. What that means is when we watch Marvel movies—and in Iron Man we get to see Tony Stark—one of the great things that they visualize for us is the relationship between all these different technologies working in a beautiful and seamless way for a very compelling billionaire.

So, we think, “Oh well. One, it’s scifi. Two, he’s rich. Of course he has this stuff.” But everyone’s going to have that. This is going to be as common as a smartphone today. Everyone will have this sort of combination of AI, which can be in your home and see you through multiple cameras in the house—so computer vision.

It’s got its own personality, and it can run through different filters. Robots that will be in the home—I know we’re fast-forwarding here a little bit—can be communicating with the AI. Until then, you’ve got Iots devices, sensors, computer vision, and AI. And then within any sort of space—what we call a Spatial domain, which is like a Web domain but it can be your house. A subdomain is a room.

So, you know, I’m in the library right now at my house, and I might have a favorite pen. Now, I can tell the house AI, “Hey, can you get my pen?” Well let’s say I’m in the den. I want to sign something, and I always do it with my special signing pen. Well, computer vision and AI have been tracking which pen he uses for that kind of thing because you can do behavioral tracking, and Gabe always signs his important contracts with his favorite signature pen.

So, I basically go like, “Hey Jarvis, can you tell Dum-Dum,” the robot with the arm, “to go and get my favorite pen—my signing pen—and bring it to me in the den?” So, the den has its own spatial domain address. It still has an ID, this room. The library has its own Spatial domain and its own ID. The pen has its own ID. Dum-Dum the robot has its own ID because I don’t want the other robot to do it because she’s on probation. She’s relegated to the garage.

And so, I told Jarvis, “Jarvis, please go get my pen.” Dum-Dum comes in here, picks up this pen, which is located with 20 other pens. Computer vision can see it. It grabs it andnavigates using the dimensions of the environment, computer vision, and point cloud data inside of the environment. It knows where everything’s been moved and brings it to me without dropping it because if he drops it, it’s time out for you, right?

  • So, it’s almost understanding the tools that are coming up and the convergence, as you say, of how it’ll all work together. So, when you start to look at when a business owner or a business starts to look at the problems they’re trying to solve and say, “Okay, how could we solve this problem,” especially when it comes to integrating something physical in the world and then the visual side, what you’re saying is this is something that technology needs to be aware of—how it can converge together.

Yeah, because right now, the number one problem every physical business has—and if you’re just running…you’re just pixel pushing or moving stuff from spreadsheet A to spreadsheet B, like if it’s banking, this is not the solution for you. Keep using HTTP and do whatever you’re doing. If you have physical operations in the world at scale, I guarantee your administration is on a piece of paper or on a screen.

So, the idea is that operations and administration have to be in the same reality in order to get the exponential benefits of whatever modular tools or technologies you put on. You want to put on AI to go faster. Well, is it looking at this stuff or is it looking at this stuff? That translation between those two—that’s where your core cost is. It’s the number one cost in the world—translating information—and the world and instructions back and forth.

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

So that’s really the key. Start to think about, “What is the concept of spatial operations?” Number two, pick up our book. Our book The Spatial Web’s coming out on Amazon this weekend, September 2nd, and the book outlines the applications and implications for businesses, individuals, governments, and cities. It talks about the risks and the issues we’ve had with Web 2.0 and how to try and avoid those going forward. It’s really a sort of roadmap for any business to be able to get a really good sense of how these powerful, exponential technologies are going to impact their business and what happens when you drop in something like a Spatial Web Protocol that starts to connect those and give you even more power. So, there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with power. We all know this from Spider-Man.

  • Love the quote.

It’s true. This Spatial Web book really tries to provide that roadmap. It also articulates in detail the technical implementation at sort of a business reader’s level as opposed to a highly technical level of exactly how this solution is architected and designed.

And ultimately, it isn’t about VERSES or isn’t about us. Most people don’t know about The World Wide Web Foundation. They don’t know anything about Tim Berners-Lee. You know, 50 years from now, no one should know anything about me or VERSES specifically, but they should all be very familiar with the Spatial Web. They should be able to use these technologies for themselves and even ultimately the development, working groups, and refinement of these technologies become a public utility. That’s what the Web is today. We want to maintain that. We don’t want corporations and governments to control it. So, this is an important step, but ultimately it’s not about us; it’s about you.

  • With the hard launch, or the main launch, happening in 2020, what do you see five years from now? What do you think is realistic for both the Spatial Web and then for your own business—for VERSES Lab. Where do you want to be?

So, five years from now, let’s recognize that there’s an interface change that’s coming and that the largest companies in the world are spending billions of dollars on a new interface, and it’s not a phone. It’s not a tablet. It’s not a little black mirror you hold in your hand. It’s a pair of glasses that you look through.

Whether it’s tethered to the phone, at the fidelity of those, the field of vision—all that stuff is being worked on, but I think we all, many of us, remember flip phones before there was any screen at all, and now the whole thing is a screen. So, you know, in a period of 10 to 15 years, you will have an entire transition to glasses.

Using the Spatial Web to make warehouses truly smart with Augmented Reality

So, let’s say 12 years. So, five years from now, you’re going to have a version 2 or version 3 of an Apple headset. So, consumers will be using this technology in the tens of millions. At the industrial level and at the government level of the smart city scale, this will probably be adopted by the majority of Fortune 1000 companies. If not in five years, by 10 years from now, you’ll be out of business.

Someone will have—and we’ve seen this before—we didn’t predict Google. Google didn’t predict Facebook. Facebook didn’t predict Uber and Postmates. And every time there’s a new sort of core set of technologies. Entire new companies come and go from zero to a trillion dollars, right? We’re going to continue to see that trend. That’s not going to stop now. Somebody watching this talk today will be in a position to be the next Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk.

That concludes this interview. Be sure to watch our other videos on disruptive technologies and the companies working to apply them today. If you know an innovative company we should interview, go to uptechreport.com and let us know.