A seasoned hotelier has joined hands with a digital technology and software creator to form a company committed to making it easier for destinations, hospitality establishments and exhibition organisers to engage their audience in the virtual world.
Established in Malaysia six months ago, Xploria Digital Solutions positions itself as a specialist in 3D immersive virtual technology and metaverse applications.
Founded by William Ong and Coreen Cheah, who helm as chief digital officer and chief business officer respectively, Xploria’s main product is the Xpora platform on which virtual properties and events can be constructed. The platform offers the choice of making content public or private, as well as free or paid.
According to Cheah, the platform’s pride lies in numerous built-from-scratch functions that support commercial objectives, such as capabilities in business speed-dating, appointment scheduling, virtual advertising and sales management.
“Because these functions are built by us, our clients will not have to budget for external subscriptions,” explained Cheah.
At press time, Xploria is working on three projects.
One is for a client that is supporting a Canadian city government looking to refresh the destination and market a new hospitality college. Combining Xploria’s 3D immersive virtual technology and Cheah’s other business – ThriveOn Consulting, which supports tourism and hospitality businesses in strategic planning, the city will present its sights in a virtual world and convey its renewed brand values to a wider audience of potential leisure, business and academic visitors.
The second project is with a hotel chain in Dubai, which is using the Xpora platform for marketplace engagement at a time when Covid concerns and travel budget constraints continue to hamper in-person site inspections by overseas clients.
The third project is in support of a Malaysian artist – a special needs child who is artistically gifted. Xploria is partially sponsoring the construction of a virtual art gallery to complement the artist’s real-life gallery, weaving in a sales function so that her passion can translate into commercial gains. To do so, 3D views of all artworks are produced alongside auction and sales management capabilities.
Cheah said engagements in the virtual world are growing because “the experience can be as real as possible, with the opportunity to bring in greater fun by harnessing illusions”.
Unlike traditional Virtual Reality (VR) content that requires the use of specialised headsets, Cheah said the Xpora platform can omit such equipment, making the solution far more cost-effective for hosts and accessible to the audience.
Cheah sees Xpora applications in tradeshows and business events, where show owners and organisers can leverage virtual engagements to deepen their marketplace reach beyond both the real world and the in-person show days.
Show owners and organisers can utilise an easy build mode to design and position sponsored content in their virtual hall areas, while exhibitors can customise the look of their virtual booth, from the style of furniture used to how branding is reflected. An avatar can be added to facilitate live interaction during operational hours, and gamification can be added for enhanced visitor engagement.
Xploria has chosen to kick off its sales mission in Dubai, where Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is leading investments in the metaverse and the emirate’s digital economy.
“When you have a firm believer right at the top, the community will better understand the functions and benefits of metaverse, which makes business conversations about virtual engagements much easier. Our sales mission has been fruitful and we are in the midst of discussing a metaverse application for an exhibition,’ shared Cheah.
Xploria’s work has attracted the attention of interested investors, revealed Cheah.
“We want to go big, of course. But, for now, we are pushing aside the possibility of an external investor so that we can continue to explore our potential as a start-up,” she said.
“With technology, you cannot stay stagnant. Because everything is crafted from ground zero, it is very easy for William and me to say, let’s try doing this or let’s build that. There is nothing to stop us, and we like this freedom to explore.”