Santiago — When the Covid-19 pandemic forced the Chilean authorities to impose the strictest lockdown measures in the world, the founders of a Chilean startup launched an alternative to exploring copper mines and training miners and technicians through the use of the metaverse.
The startup, Metaverso Limitada created Minverso, which features themed showrooms in which participants can observe mining sites, check machinery, simulate explosions in deposits, and carry out equipment repairs virtually, all while working either from their offices or remotely.
The creator of the platform and CEO of the startup, Rodrigo González, told Bloomberg Línea in a telephone interview that the purpose of the platform is to connect the mining industry and increase both productivity and labor safety, and which are achieved through the use of immersive reality, where development and training spaces are created in the metaverse.
Mining in Chile, and particularly copper mining, is the country’s most important industry, but during the pandemic it faced difficulties due to sanitary measures and other restrictions that forced the reduction of output. Gonzalez and his team, who have experience in the mining sector, focused on the process of technological adoption, which led to their platform being used to train operators in a totally controlled and safe environment.
“The current conception of the industry has to do with the use of many technologies that leverage the construction of the metaverse, in this case in 3D models, among others,” explained the entrepreneur.
The startup, which aims to expand to the United States in the first half of 2023 and raise a round of investment, has among its clients FLSmidth, an international supplier of mining equipment; and is making arrangements with state-owned copper-mining company Codelco and Pelambres, among other companies.
The metaverse is an immersive virtual reality world. Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook (now Meta), believes that in the future it could play an important role for different activities. But this idea has been costly for the tech entrepreneur, causing him to lose half his fortune, a drop of $71 billion so far this year, according to Bloomberg.
This innovation is still in its infancy, as evidenced by various studies. Some 73% of technology professionals consulted in a survey conducted by startup Globant consider that the metaverse is accessible to them, but only 26.5% said they had participated in this experience.
Buenos Aires-based unicorn Globant conducted a report by consulting around 834 technology professionals in various countries about the metaverse. Only 36% said they clearly understand what this network of virtual worlds is, while 54% indicated that they have a partial understanding, and 10% do not understand it.
The same survey revealed that the experiences that most interested respondents to develop in the metaverse are remote work (30.11%), gaming (20.44%), and travel and tourism (9.79%), among others.
Verónica Futaoka, Globant’s product manager, told Bloomberg Línea that this technology is strongly leveraged by the video game industry:
“This is just starting. There are companies investing in this, and it is something that will take time,” she said, comparing it to the emergence of the Internet in the 1990s.
Globant manufactures software and has developed technology for companies such as Google, Electronic Arts Inc. and Banco Santander, among others. Globant is also interested in cryptocurrencies and artificial intelligence.
According to an Ipsos poll, published in June, Chile is the country that is least familiar with the metaverse in Latin America. In contrast, a study by Accenture and published in local media indicates that 57% of Chilean executives are inquiring about the metaverse, which would be the highest figure in the region.