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Rooom has raised $7 million to take 3D virtual events a step closer to the metaverse — or at least a lot more entertaining than Zoom calls.
The Jena, Germany-based company has integrated game-like 3D virtual experiences as well as other means of communication into its events platform. You can join in on a Rooom experience using a virtual reality headset, augmented reality on a smartphone or tablet, or simply in 2D on a desktop browser screen.
While it was in stealth mode last year, the company used it to host more than 200,000 virtual attendees at IFA 2020, a tech event that is normally held in Germany. The company showed off the platform in a virtual event for the press where CEO Hans Elstner explained the vision behind the company and its aim of improving communication in virtual spaces.
The lead investor in Rooom is Bm-T (Beteiligungsmanagement Thueringen) along with several business angels in Germany.
Rooom (the three o’s in the company name symbolize the 3 dimensions of space) is web-based with no downloads required. Unlike some competing solutions, Rooom environments can be used without a VR or AR headset.
Users can access digital content such as 3D models and virtual rooms, stages, and more via any browser from any device through the power of WebGL, the web 3D technology from the Khronos Group. Rooom has joined the Khronos Group.
VR and AR headset functionality is also supported for users who possess a Facebook Oculus headset (Oculus support is currently in beta) or supported AR headsets. I watched Rooom’s debut press event on a desktop browser.
“Unlike so many other competitors, we see 3D virtual events as best experienced through a standard browser – we are excited to support VR and AR HMD’s as well for those lucky enough to own them, but we believe in democratizing 3D to the widest possible audience,” said Hans Elstner, CEO of Rooom, in a press event. “Moving forward, we plan to announce a wide range of new customers, product enhancements and more in 2021.”
With Rooom, you don’t have to hire an agency to create your digital experience, he said. The company has created a self-service platform that anyone can create complex 3D experiences without special knowledge or skills.
Users can choose between best-practice templates for both showrooms and events and Rooom also provides a 3D object library with furniture, exhibition booths, decoration, and advertising space. Customers can create a custom environment with just a few clicks and reuse content easily.
In 2020 and 2021 (despite still being under wraps), a wide range of industry leaders such as Augmented World Expo 2021, Carl Zeiss, Deutsche Telekom, DHL, E.ON, Mars, PwC, and Vodafone (amongst others) came to rely on rooom to offer hybrid or fully-online 3D events and experiences during the pandemic.
The company also has its Rooom ExperienceCloud, which includes all the marketing and visualization needs of multiple industries across a diverse range of use-cases, all merged into a single platform made up of four different components.
EventCloud – Customers benefit from a flexible and comprehensive solution through which they can plan and implement all their internal and external events simply, quickly on the web.
SpaceCloud – Using it, companies can present their services in completely interactive online 3D showrooms. Customers can explore rooms, halls, or world scenes simply by using a mobile or desktop device. Also possible are 360-degree tours based on scans.
ProductCloud – Product manufacturers and sellers have the opportunity to present their products online in 3D. Customers can experience the 3D models without an app directly via the browser from all angles in 3D and bring colors, surface textures, and product details to life. Models can be created from existing 3D data, from photos or videos, or by using the Rooom 3D Scan app.
ImmerseCloud – It offers companies and organizations of any industry the possibility to use augmented reality in a simple way for new marketing strategies. Real estate agents can enhance exposés with 3D models, product manufacturers can use 3D product visualizations, cultural institutions can expand exhibitions, and publishers can bring books to life with AR.
Rooom spent three years of development on the ExperienceCloud, said Elstner.
Overall, Rooom relies upon the open 3D visualization standards promulgated by the Khronos Group and as such has joined the organization as a contributor to enable the company to participate in the future development of standards such as WebGL, glTF, and WebVR, amongst others.
Ori Inbar, cofounder of Augmented World Expo, said in an interview that his company is using Rooom for the virtual event space and welcome hall AWE 2021 from November 9 to November 11.
“It’s an intriguing product. I had a chance to use it and found it relatively easy to use and navigate,” said Kevin Krewell, an analyst at Tirias Research, in an email to GamesBeat. “The initial virtual world was a bit too Disneyland-like for a business product, but that can evolve based on customer feedback.”
He added, “I did not try it in VR, but it has the feel of a VR environment. It runs using WebGL browser standards, which allows it to run in a browser without a dedicated app. Its persistent nature makes it a good choice for commercial training and sales opportunities. The digital assets I saw were quite detailed. Overall, I think it has promise.”
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