Lifestyle - May 23, 2023

Lake Nona, The Hub of the Future: Augmented Reality and the Verse Orlando Experience

Lake Nona, often called a “living lab”, is a place where new ideas and capabilities come to life. Juan Santos, Senior Vice President of Brand Experience and Innovation for Lake Nona developer Tavistock Group, sees it as an opportunity to trial technologies that could change the way we live and do business.

Lake Nona is no stranger to innovation. It’s invested in autonomous vehicles and fiber internet connectivity. Now, the community sets its sights on augmented reality (AR). “When Orlando announced itself as the ‘metacenter of the metaverse’, we asked ourselves what it means for us,” said Santos. “Augmented reality, a major component of the metaverse, is mature and ready to make an impact on our lives.”

Santos aims to make AR technology a part of Lake Nona’s “living lab”. To kick off this initiative, Lake Nona Town Center and Boxi Park will host Verse Orlando. This immersive mixed-reality experience starts on May 26.

Verse Orlando is a pop-up event featuring four distinct experiences. It’s planned to run for three months initially. The creators, Enklu, a California-based software development firm, have already seen success with similar events in Chicago and San Francisco.

The event will feature ‘The Unreal Garden’, a holographic journey, ‘Holographic Odyssey’, a trip through our solar system, and ‘Sightcraft’, a game that combines magic and holography.

Enklu CEO Ray Kallmeyer sees Verse as a natural fit for Lake Nona. “The synergy between what’s happening in Lake Nona and our work is perfect,” said Kallmeyer. He added that the success of previous activations is due to their interactive, 3D qualities, immersing participants in a video game-like experience.

“Finding the right technology at the right time allows us to meet the needs of the entertainment and art communities in a unique way. We’re a tech company, but we’re also an experience company,” said Kallmeyer.

Lake Nona is already home to companies using AR for everything from functional technologies to surgical practices. Santos sees the next step as expanding AR into entertainment and eventually making it accessible to everyone in the Lake Nona community.

Kallmeyer agrees that mixed-reality technology could have wide-ranging applications. “Compared to a screen or laptop, it encourages physical activity and awareness. It feels more natural, like you’re exploring your environment,” he explained.

Currently residing in Lake Nona, Kallmeyer contemplates making it his permanent home. If Verse Orlando succeeds, it could become a long-term fixture too.

“Just like Boxi Park, which started as a pop-up, Verse Orlando could grow into something permanent if everything goes well,” Kallmeyer hinted.

Text credits: Rodrigo Amado

Photo credits: photomontage:  Vinícius Pascoal

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