Lead of the Spatial Computing Community of Practice
René Schulte is Director of Global Innovation at Valorem Reply and leader of the Spatial Computing and Metaverse practice at Reply working with teams across the globe on emerging technologies like 3D volumetric video streaming, Remote Rendering, VPS, the AR Cloud Real-World Metaverse.
He was featured on Forbes and is invited as expert to global TV stations and a frequent keynote speaker and panelist at conferences. Writes articles and is the creator of the video podcasts QuBites and Meta Minutes. He also created open source libraries like WriteableBitmapEx.
He was honored for more than 10 years for his dev community work with a double Microsoft MVP award, recognized as Microsoft Regional Director and Advisory Board member for the VR/AR Association and XR Bootcamp.
How did you get to become an expert in your key topics?
I studied media and computer science and got fascinated by real-time 3D computer graphics and coding 3D engines. I then started a job not working in the 3D field but on the side, in my free time, I kept working on 3D graphics. I’ve also leveraged browser plugins to develop real-time physical simulations, shaders and more fancy-looking real-time stuff. My contributions were recognized by Microsoft, and I became a Microsoft MVP. Shortly after I got a new job offer where I was able to do full-time what I always loved with graphics, Spatial Computing, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality with the Metaverse, AI, Quantum Computing and creative thought leadership.
What sub-topics are you most passionate about?
Spatial Computing with the Real-World Metaverse is an emerging technology that will change how we interact with computers and the physical world, using intelligent edge devices like a HoloLens and other mobile devices. Mainly driven by AI computer vision and advanced sensors, those devices can spatially sense the world around us and make the spatially aware context part of the experience. With technologies like the AR Cloud, a common spatial map can be shared between heterogeneous devices to build connected, collaborative, and cross-platform Metaverse apps where virtual objects anchored in the physical world can be shared across devices and over time with persistence.
Who influences you on these topics?
There are many influential people in the space and the other 31 thought leaders that Onalytica listed for the Metaverse are worth watching. Beside that mainly scientist and researchers working in the AI space that are constantly pushing the envelope.
What challenges are brands facing in this space?
Uncertainty and FOMO. There’s a lot of buzz around the Metaverse and many brands want to do something in the space. Often times though we see rushed efforts where the goal and vision is not clear and it seems like some brands are just establishing a Metaverse presence to be not left behind, although there’s no real brand or customer value at all. Some efforts even hurt the image and the brand with badly done implementations. These mistakes and uncertainty can be avoided when working together with well-known experts that provide targeted guidance.
What do you think the future holds in this space?
We are just at the beginning of the Metaverse. The real Metaverse will likely only happen by the end of the 2020s. It will require immense computational power for hyper-realism and most importantly open interoperability between platforms which is the opposite of what we see right now where large tech companies are building walled garden Metaverse platforms. Interop and open asset exchange will come but it will take a longer time than most people anticipate. Initiatives like the Metaverse Standards Forum will likely play an important role to establish interoperability and standards in the space. Also, head mounted devices with outstanding, realistic vision and visualization features in a socially acceptable form factor are required for mass adoption.
What brands are leading the way in this space?
Within the Metaverse are brands like Microsoft with its Mixed Reality services, Mesh and the HoloLens surely leaders together with Meta and their efforts around the Quest. Beside the big players, there are many startups to watch in particular working on decentralized Metaverse tech with blockchain like The Sandbox or Decentraland.
If a brand wanted to work with you, which activities would you be most interested in collaborating on?
I’m always open to join a podcast or video series to give an interview, to keynote a conference or internal event, be part of a panel and further activities.
What are your passions outside of work?
I care about the community and I’m a family person. My wife and I have 5 children where the youngest is a foster child. Beside that am I a cyclist riding road and mountain bike and a photographer.
What would be the best way for a brand to contact you?
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