How Aerometrex (ASX:AMX) is helping lead ASX stocks into the Metaverse
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It’s equivalent to investing in internet stocks in 1995.
That’s how most pundits like to describe the opportunity in the Metaverse.
Nine months since Facebook rebranded itself to Meta, investors’ interest in this space has increased dramatically.
Although the concept is nothing more than a pipe-dream right now, the estimated potential market of half a trillion dollars by 2030 has many rubbing their hands.
The expectation is that Big Tech will make the first move…. and that race is already happening.
Mark Zuckerberg has recently thrown down the gauntlet to Apple, saying that Meta and Apple are in a “deep philosophical competition” to develop the Metaverse.
A lot of the action so far has centred on hardware developments like headsets, with little news flow in the way of software.
So here’s a quick peek at what each of these companies is doing to jostle their way into a dominant position:
Meta is in a huge investment mode when it comes to building Metaverse products. The company’s Reality Labs segment is apparently draining US$3 billion a quarter from the group’s bottom line.
Meta has released the high end Oculus Quest 2 Headset recently, and although not all Metaverse-based games require a VR headset, some say the Quest 2 allows for the full experience.
The company has also opened its first retail store, a 140sqm space in Burlingame, California.
The shop has three Metaverse related products on display: the Quest 2 headset, the Ray Ban Stories smartglasses, and Portal – a video calling device for WFH workers.
Apple is looking into a number of ways to get into the race.
There’s currently a lot of hype about its “mixed reality headset”.
With a hefty price tag of between US$2,000 and US$2,500, the headset could be launched in 2023.
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said Google will look to bring Maps and Youtube into the virtual worlds.
Google’s AR headsets, internally codenamed Project Iris, are expected to be launched in 2024.
On the software side, the company has launched Google Meet, a video conferencing platform that expands upon the popular VR background features that became popular during the pandemic as people try to obscure disorderly home offices.
In Australia, one company that’s deep into the world of Metaverse is ASX-listed Aerometrex (ASX:AMX).
CEO Steve Masters said the opportunity to be involved in the Metaverse was one of the main reasons he agreed to join the company back in February, after spending 20 years in the energy sector.
“I’m very excited by the 3D products that we have,” Masters told Stockhead.
“Aerometrex is generally recognised globally as one of the world’s leading 3D modellers in relation to using our camera imagery.”
The company has contracts with giant Alphabet and Lunaverse, a realistic 3D world built on the Terra blockchain.
Masters said there is a big opportunity for Aerometrex to become the data provider for global Metaverse companies.
“We’ve sold data sets to companies like Google, and we’re in constant discussions with Metaverse companies across the world,” Masters said.
“And what we’re starting to see is the need for ultra realistic sense of location. It’s fundamental to the Metaverse business models.”
Aerometrex provides this ultra realistic imagery by flying actual helicopters to take aerial photographs which it then converts to 3D models.
“Our 3D basically enriches the platforms that Metaverse companies are looking to build out, almost those social and economic pieces that go with with each particular Metaverse,” said Masters.
Masters says he’s seeing the emergence of an industry that wants very high resolution, and very flexible 3D data.
“What’s happening recently is that the tools used in high end gaming machines and the like are getting to the stage where they they can actually immerse all this information that we provide.”
Aerometrex also provides services and data for real estate and mining companies.
In mining, aerial surveys are a fast and non-disruptive way to measure and capture a mine site.
Aerometres uses both high-density LiDAR and aerial imagery depending on the site needs to get the most accurate baseline data to model the entire area.
Its fleet of aircraft conduct aerial surveys and capture data with sensors that use up to 2 million pulses per second.
“What this produces is a very high resolution imagery of the terrain, and above ground features that sit within the terrain,” Masters explained.
“What we also do on a regular basis is to serve LiDAR over some resource companies’ stockpiles every month, where they can then calculate the volume of the stockpiles they have.”
In real estate, agents and sellers use Aerometrex’s imagery to highlight important characteristics of their property – such as distances to key locations such as schools, health facilities, and supermarkets.
“Overall, we’ve got a very strong customer base and IP,” Masters said.
“From a growth perspective, we see growth in all of the market segments we work in, primarily due to the amount of investment that’s happening in the wider community and the need for data.”
Vection has unveiled its FrameS Metaverse release, as part of its app integration with Webex by Cisco.
The new features will enable organisations to autonomously build immersive metaverses, dynamic 3D worlds where people can participate in meetings from anywhere in the world.
Vection is one of the first ASX companies to capitalise on this opportunity, using its proven XR (Expanded Reality) capabilities.
The gaming company is making plans to build a dedicated research and development team to pursue opportunities in the Metaverse space.
Playside has said that blockchain gaming is now very much linked to the Metaverse, and the company will look to ensure it’s at the forefront of blockchain gaming globally.
iCandy launched itself into the Metaverse world by acquiring 100% of shares in Lemon Sky Studios in November.
Lemon Sky Studios has established itself as a leading studio in the Southeast Asia region, with a portfolio of AAA game titles verging on the Metaverse.