The Orlando Economic Partnership has stepped onto its digital soapbox, raised its collective fist to the sky, and declared the region as the center of the Metaverse. Press play.
The OEP (or The Partnership, as it prefers to be called), has become heavily involved in the region’s tech infrastructure over the past few years, including launching the Orlando Tech Hub as a centralized resource platform for local techies and tech businesses, and are behind Orlando getting a “digital twin” in Facebook’s new Meta platform, which is what Mark Zuckerberg is calling Facebook now, with the launch of something called the “Metaverse” which will serve as a virtual 3-D way for people to interact and connect. An extension of that is the “where” Meta users will be interacting and the idea of simulated environments and mixed/augmented reality using things like VR sets and special glasses.
The declaration of Orlando becoming the “MetaCenter” comes after the announcement of “Unbelievably Real” – a new combined branding effort with Visit Orlando that, according to their press release, “… tells the complete story of Orlando, both the fantastical and authentic elements of the metro, in both tourism and business.” And while this may seem a bit intangible, folks at Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have the move pegged as an $8 trillion growth opportunity for the region.
“After watching intently for years as the building blocks of this new frontier unfold, the metaverse is taking shape – and it is evident that Orlando’s tech companies play a big part in developing this new world,” said David Adelson, Orlando Economic Partnership Chief Innovation Officer. “There’s no other region in the world that combines creativity, technology, and innovation like we do and that’s what makes Orlando the MetaCenter.”
Orlando’s growing business ties to the Metaverse include:
AR/VR: Orlando is a modeling and simulation hub with more than
$6 billion in contract work annually according to The Partnership. AR/VR technology is at the core of creating the metaverse in Orlando with companies including Disney, Universal, Lockheed Martin, Falcon’s Creative, Brand XR, AVT Simulation, and Red 6, investing in the tech.
Gaming: The industry is fed by a local talent pool from several higher ed programs, including UCF’s graduate video game design program, ranked as the top program of its kind in the world three times in the past six years; leading companies include Electronic Arts, Iron Galaxy, 302 Interactive, Echo Interaction, Unity, and GameSim.
Artificial Intelligence: Orlando companies are driving AI innovation in everything from HR to defense to IoT and healthcare, with a lineup that includes Checkr, SoarTech, Kore.ai, Care.ai, MindSphere, and AdventHealth.
3D Reconstruction: CREOL, UCF’s College of Optics and Photonics, is a world leader in education, research, innovation, and partnerships in optics, lasers, and photonics, providing talent for companies like Luminar, NeoMetrix, Lensar, Dash, Simetri, .decimal and TrueScan.
Internet of Things: Leading companies are calling innovation hubs like NeoCity and Lake Nona home, including SkyWater, BRIDG, imec, and Micross.
But what does this all mean? It means they can start recruiting more companies that fall into the Metaverse box and attract more trade shows and conventions to the area. It means they can work to get more high-wage, highly-trained jobs in the area and it means they can flex a bit more with fancy Metaverse swag.
Also, the Bungalower Media offices formally request a “Masters of the Metaverse” theme song set to Queen’s “Princes of the Universe.”