Video: SuperViz Vision, history, and what's next! | Video courtesy of SuperViz YouTube Channel | 30 October 2023 @marcelo

As we work on the final adjustments to release version 5, our Founder Russ Rive [@Russ_Rive] recorded a video giving a glimpse into SuperViz's story and learnings, from our beginnings to our vision for the future, and how we empower any web application in creating a complete collaboration experience.

Source: SuperViz YouTube Channel

Transcript (video above)

- Hi, I am Russ, co-founder of SuperViz. I thought I'd record this video, just give a bit of background of the origins of SuperViz and what our vision has been all along, as I'm getting a couple of questions related to this.

So SuperViz started out as an experiment, a proof of concept a couple of years ago, when the Oculus VR headset came out and there was a lot of interest, a lot of renewed interest in virtual reality. And we've come from a background doing a lot of projects of immersive experiences in physical spaces, especially for educational users, for museums and other users where it's more productive.

And so we created a little application just to see what the experience would be like to make it really easy to take spherical images from 360-degree cameras and throw it into a virtual reality environment with headsets, and put two people inside there, or two or more, and project them as avatars inside this spherical image just to see what the experiments was like.

And always the idea of creating almost a teleportation machine where you can meet people to get things done, to teach something, to solve something, to bring in an expert, much less focused on the social aspects of hanging out with friends, but more the advantages of being able to teleport somewhere into the real world or even into a designed world with the objective of teaching and learning stuff and pointing things out to each other.

So since the beginning, the avatar for us wasn't really the primary focus of the experience. It was always the environment, even though it is important to project where the other avatars were so you get a feeling of where people are, where they're looking at, and so on. And so we quickly realized that it's actually a pretty powerful tool.

It doesn't fit exactly like you were there together, but if you're there to get things done, to ask questions, just teach someone something, it was actually a very powerful tool.

And that's how SuperViz was born, first as a VR application. So once we published the first version of it, it was very popular, except that the market for virtual reality was actually growing slower than we hoped. It was still early on.

There weren't that many headsets out there. It was still pretty complicated to print into headsets. And so what we did is we created a mobile phone application with the same idea. So you could run the mobile phone application and use the gyroscope in the phone to look around through a window or even put it into those headsets we could put your phone into to have a virtual reality experience. And then that worked well.

It worked well for educational areas. We started getting a lot of feedback saying that the phone's quite limiting. You don't have all the tools at your disposal. So that's when we did a complete rewrite and did a WebXR app, which basically means taking these immersive experiences and putting them into a 3D environment that runs in a web browser.

When we did that, that really opened up a lot of doors, so being able to upload a 360-degree image or upload any address in Google Maps and send someone a meeting link as if it was Google Meet, using the webcams as well as avatars, being able to teleport into these spaces and have meetings through a simple web link. So no application to download.

It would load up the entire application. And that did really well, but we stepped in, we still got a lot of feedback saying, "Well, that's really cool. Could you make it work with our application? How about 3D models? How about AutoCAD?

We'd really like to be able to do this inside of these areas." And so we kept upgrading the software application, integrating into the most popular content platforms out there. So whether it was 3D images, whether it was an AutoCAD 3D file, a BIM file, Google Street View, panoramic photos.

But still, we were creating a system where you would create the projects and the worlds that you'd have to meet inside of, and so you'd send a link, you'd upload all your content into SuperVis, and we became a content management system as well as the meeting platform for all the people that would like to use this experience to be able to meet inside all these locations. And over time it was going really well.

We start getting more and more feedback saying, "This is great, but how about this application? How about that application?" And so one of the first applications really that we realized this would be a really big advantage to be able to do something like this was with Matterport.

And as Matterport has an open SDK, we created a Matterport extension integration so that you could create avatar meetings in your web browser, whether it's on your phone or your desktop, straight into Matterport. And this quickly became, by far, our most popular application because Matterport does a really good job of reality capture and creating this experience of walking through these spaces.

And so what we did is we turned that into a collaborative experience. And so with that, we got a lot of more people using it, and it became obvious that this was like a really, really good use case. And so then as we started evolving, we started getting people saying, "Well, we're using an application that runs on Matterport already," whether it's a project management system, whether it's a digital staging product, but that it's already integrated into Matterport, and, "We'd like to be able to get inside of those products."

And so then we started thinking, "Well, actually, how about we create a software development kit for SuperVis technology?" And a software development kit basically allows other people to programmably use SuperVis inside of their applications, so anyone then can take the multi-person meetings with avatars and plug it into their applications. So we created an SDK for Matterport.

So all Matterport partners or people that are creating applications on top of Matterport could start using SuperVis as well as a feature inside of their product.

And that was a pretty successful product of ours. And so the next obvious step was to, well, let's expand that SDK so it makes it really easy for anyone that has three-dimensional-space products to be able to add these immersive meetings to their platform, turning it in from a single-person into a multi-person application.

And again, that did really well, and we decided to take it even the next step.

We started getting people saying, "Well, we actually have a multiplication process where we do things inside of, say, a two-dimensional document management system or files as well as three-dimensional images. And this, with the success of things like Figma and Myro, where just regular two-dimensional applications become multi personal with shared mouse pointers and quick meetings.

We thought, "Okay, so let's take this to the next level and actually detach SuperVis core functionality from the meeting moment and be able to accentuate it when you need to, but create an SDK where any application on the web can become multiplayer and collaborative, whether it's synchronous or asynchronous."

That's the next release we're going to be doing pretty soon. That's going to come out in the next couple of weeks.

And so the idea is now that the SuperVis has evolved to an application where you can instantiate collaborative real-time experiences, whether it's just through chat or whether it's through video conference, whether it's through shared pointers, collaborative editing, or asynchronous, whether you're leaving contextual comments inside of 3D space, inside of documents, being able to activate any of these components individually inside of your application.

And so SuperVis now is getting to the point where we're enabling any application, whether it's two-dimensional, three-dimensional text, image, collaboration in editing, to become a multi-person collaborative application.

And the potential for this is quite large because we're going to enable platforms that are really focused on their core product, which is a single-person experience to, with a couple of lines of code, be able to turn it into a multi-person collaborative experience, whether it's synchronous or asynchronous, and this really adds a missing link for a lot of these applications, 'cause as we move forward, it's becoming obvious that the collaboration needs to happen inside of the content, inside of the application, wherever someone is.

And so that's going to enable people to add this network effect to their product, to any application, and switch between three-dimensional spaces, two-dimensional spaces, whether it's just contextual comments or just a generic SyncEngine to synchronize edits over the web while people are editing the same document or file.

So the SuperVis SDK has really evolved a lot to where now it's become a very powerful and modular software development kit for anyone to add real-time or asynchronous collaboration to their platform. We're really excited to see where this is going and what people are going to be doing with it.