A Russian augmented reality startup wants the next frontier in real estate to be augmented reality estate.
Arcona, a blockchain-based augmented reality platform proposed by Piligrim XXI, maps out a grid of "Digital Land" over real locations across the world where digital content can be placed and then viewed by visitors through an app. Users will be able to buy and sell land, content, and software through an online marketplace using Arcon tokens.
The platform will launch next month with an initial coin offering. The online marketplace will open in the first quarter of 2018, followed by prototypes of the AR viewer and grid and culminating in a beta version of the viewer and placement of content in test locations by the end of the year.
The first plots of Digital Land are expected to be available by 2019 in New York, London, Paris, Tokyo, Beijing, Rome, Mexico City, St. Petersburg, Istanbul, and Barcelona. Digital lots will start at $1 per square meter, with a total of 1,500 square kilometers available.
Presales are underway, and Arcona has already netted $650,000 from investors. Initial buyers will be eligible for a drawing for a digital lot next to Eiffel Tower in Paris.
"A few real estate companies in Europe already booked Digital Land in the Arcona ecosystem and became our partners. Another advertising company in EU will launch a loyalty campaign in Arcona ecosystem using a gaming project," said Daniil Girdea, co-founder of Piligrim XXI, though he could not name the companies due to confidentiality agreements.
If all goes as planned, Arcona will expand to cover 40,000 square kilometers by 2020.
Piligrim XXI has experience in location-based content with a series of augmented reality amusement parks. Their first such venture, a reconstructed Teutonic Knights' castle in Ludza, Latvia, increased visitors by 30 percent while extending the average visit by a factor of eight. To date, the company has designed eight AR parks in France, Italy, Russia, Latvia, Estonia and Bulgaria.
"We had to create our own system for computer vision as existing technologies didn't allow us to correctly position objects in a dynamic, changing outdoor environment," said Ilia Korguzalov, CEO of Piligrim XXI and head of the Arcona project, in a news release. "We used to spend 40 percent of our budget on travel expenses for mapping, testing and adjustment, and we focused on developing algorithms for remote positioning and the management of augmented reality objects."
Digital real estate could be as valuable as its analog counterpart, enabling shared experiences and access to relevant information based on location.
"AR researchers and industry insiders have long envisioned that at some point in the future, the realtime 3D (or spatial) map of the world, The AR Cloud, will be the single most important software infrastructure in computing, far more valuable than Facebook's Social graph or Google's page rank index," wrote Ori Inbar, founder of Ogmento, Augmented World Expo, and Super Ventures, in a recent blog post.