#Power of Businesses l 2020-10-26
Today, we’re going to introduce MECLOUDS, a provider of a non-face-to-face travel matching service based on real-time streaming and 360-degree virtual reality or VR videos. Let’s hear from company CEO Kim Seong-ryong.
MECLOUDS offers a global travel matching service through real avatars and 360-degree VR videos. Let’s suppose that you can’t go to a faraway place due to time or money constraints. Our service enables you to enjoy 360-degree images sent from a person with a VR camera in that location. That is, you can use the person as an avatar to explore remote places through VR equipment or a mobile phone. We hope to become a provider of platforms or contents that help people share good experiences and memories.
People might be rather unfamiliar with a non-contact travel service. A client applies for a service of taking a trip to a remote place, and a performer visits that place on behalf of the client and receives prearranged fees. The client’s request is reflected in real-time, so this service is different from conventional online tours and proxy services. While planning and producing broadcasting programs for 14 years, Kim saw many people give up on their plans for overseas trips, exhibitions or other events due to various problems, including time and cost.
As a solution, he came up with a travel service based on two-way matching.
Our location-based service is designed to connect a client with a performer. When a client wants to travel around a particular region, a performer in that region transmits images of the region to the client. In other words, the client can enjoy the traveling experience through the lens of a VR camera held by the performer. In online tours, people simply watch images on a 2D screen. They can’t ask the service provider to show more scenes. But through our service, the client may ask the performer in real-time to look around the area more closely or move on to other places. When the trip is over, the client gives the performer some points or payment. By accumulating points, the performer can earn money.
Clients don’t have to worry about communication with performers abroad. During broadcasting, they can communicate with each other in voice or through translated messaging in real-time. There is no language barrier. Clients are free to express their opinions about where to go and what to see. Images from live broadcasting can be used later, as they can be recorded and downloaded from a cloud server.
These days, it is difficult to travel abroad and go on business trips, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why MECLOUDS’ non-face-to-face travel platform is drawing more attention. The company’s foresight, as well as its technology, definitely merits praise.
We’ve built a 5G-based real-time VR solution. This is our key technology. Moreover, we’re developing additional features, including the automatic adjustment of image quality and the automatic blurring or pixelization of images under the 5G environment.
Features using VR, AR and AI technologies will enable service users to get more diverse visual information more easily. We try to look ahead into the future and create various innovative services preemptively. This is our strength.
MECLOUDS predicted the needs of the times precisely and planned a well-timed non-contact travel service. But it was not easy to actually provide the service. 5G services are essential for any real-time VR solution. But 5G networks are still inadequate in many countries. Also, it is hard to find users with VR equipment, such as a VR camera.
Until last year, the demand for contact-free services was not very high. But the non-contact era arrived this year, raising awareness of our products. Many countries outside of South Korea still have poor 5G infrastructure. To address this, we added a feature of sending out 2D images and built a system to allow people to share images through their mobile phones without VR equipment. We also rearranged our system in a way to be activated on both 5G and 4G LTE networks.
Another problem was the difficulty in securing users with VR cameras. We tried to resolve this issue by lending VR headsets and cameras. We also formed marketing partnerships with overseas manufacturers of VR cameras. This is so we could introduce our platform to VR camera owners and encourage them to use our service.
MECLOUDS has applied for a patent on technology of controlling a robot equipped with a VR camera to explore hard-to-reach places. It is preparing for a video-matching education service, in which people can teach each other in video format.
The company’s goal is to expand the role of the performer from a simple travel guide to a creator who contributes to enriching others’ experience.
MECLOUDS’ service can be used by downloading an app from the Google Play Store. The company says that it will continue to upgrade various services.
With the development of smartphones, it seems that people are becoming increasingly self-centered, feeling disconnected from the world around them. Our technology will not make people feel cut off from the outside world but help them meet with each other and share their memories. Our service is designed to resolve the problem of limited visual information of faraway places. We hope people will recognize it as a completely new service never used before. We also hope to create a new way of exploring the world in this non-contact era. We’ll grow into a content provider to create great memories for people the world over. We hope that you can watch us realize that goal.
Many consumers have already made new memories through MECLOUDS’ service. For instance, people were amazed by spectacular scenes of auroras at the North Pole. Some physically-challenged people were able to attend their children’s school events in real-time to enjoy such an experience for the first time.
Here is hoping that MECLOUDS will help many more people share good memories with each other, transcending time and place as well as their physical limitations.