4Q4: Four Questions For … Jon Gress, Metaverse Construction Co

What Jon Gress brings to Orlando’s tech ecosystem – and tech in general – is perspective.

He has been immersed in emerging technologies for several decades.

Now, with his company, The Metaverse Construction Company LLC, he has jumped headfirst into another technology that has already gone through a handful of life cycles.

The Metaverse.

However, Gress says seeing the Metaverse’s bubble burst in the last couple of years was actually a good thing because it allows actual innovators to move to the forefront instead of those who jump from fad to fad.

Here are four quick questions for the Orlando entrepreneur.

How have you perceived the Metaverse hype in its early days?

The Metaverse fell early victim to the common “new-technologies marketing snake oil salesmen” that always tend to appear and misinform the market when a new technology emerges. This is nothing new, but “bubbled” particularly hard with the Metaverse. The same “digital swampland sales” boom and bust happened in Web 1.0. We saw this with the internet, with Web 1.0, with digital audio & video, with HD, 3D, VR, etc. my feeling is that we haven’t really even begun to see the impact yet, but I feel the hype bubble bursting in 2023 was a very good thing for the Metaverse and will allow the true innovations to rise to the forefront in 2024.

What tech has your eye this year?

Articulated Gaussian Splatting and all of its variants are very exciting, as are the new generative AI, text to 3D (which we are already using to do amazing things)! Also, AI-enabled motion tracking, segmentation and generative motion will likely see some big moments this year. The real magic will be in the combinations of these which we are already seeing and using.

Why did your particular interest in the Metaverse move toward education?

Education has the largest latent potential for incredible wins with Metaverse technologies. For Film Education – one of our particular areas of focus – it solves decades of pain points for students and educators while at the same time allowing almost every wish-list item, that educators and students could have wished for over the past 30-plus years,to now be possible.

What tech that floored you upon debut are now commonplace?

I was one of the people who helped create “virtual production.” The day in 2009 when I got my hands on Unreal Development Kit 3, I immediately jumped ship mentally from motion picture VFX to the incredible potential of real-time. Most laughed at the concept of using a game engine for motion pictures from 2012 even up until COVID. While this is commonplace now, the tech we’re working on now (fully immersive production) will completely revolutionize production technologies as we know them. This is extraordinarily exciting to me and will democratize motion picture production in a way never before thought possible.