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eXp World Holdings Continues to Innovate and Expand Its Metaverse Offerings | News

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ORLANDO, Fla., June 21, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — eXp World Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPI) has released several new updates to its portfolio of metaverse offerings, which includes Virbela ® and Frame ™. The company is building an ecosystem of immersive technologies and virtual worlds that are redefining the modern workplace.

“As we head into shifting markets, we anticipate companies will be even more mindful of overhead and travel costs to seek greater efficiencies,” said Glenn Sanford, Founder, Chairman and CEO of eXp World Holdings. “Metaverse platforms like Virbela and Frame have the power to help organizations fill that gap and solve today’s biggest workplace challenges, while setting them up for future sustainability and growth.”

Virbela and Frame provide organizations with a virtual environment to operate and create new workflows, extending the power of their physical operations, while building strong workplace culture and community. As an early adopter, eXp Realty has grown to over 82,000 agents and employees, expanded to 21 international markets, and is 10x more efficient than its peers1 in terms of operating costs since going fully remote and implementing Virbela back in 2016.

New from Virbela

Virbela’s enterprise metaverse platform empowers the world’s most innovative companies to create experiences that foster collaboration and build community for thousands of users – including recruiting, learning and development programs, company meetings, team offsites, industry events and more.

The Virbela team recently launched a newly designed virtual campus, which offers expansive spaces for collaboration, learning and building community. Created to look and feel like a modern city, it’s the most advanced enterprise metaverse available for remote work today. A new diverse avatar system and integration with Zoom will begin rolling out later this year.

New From Frame

Frame continues to push the limits of what can be done in virtual spaces right from a browser across desktop, mobile, and VR. Frame recently announced support for 150 simultaneous users, an integration with Ready Player Me avatars, and several new meeting environments. There’s also a new “Connections” feature that lets you make connections with other people and then easily find them in the metaverse.

To expand access to Frame from within existing enterprise collaboration tools, Frame recently launched the Frame app for the Microsoft Teams App Store, and last month, was showcased at Microsoft Build.

“The way we work has changed. We’re no longer tied to a desk or physical office, and with greater flexibility to work remotely, organizations are seeking new ways to build stronger working relationships that increase productivity, improve employee wellness, while attracting and retaining the best talent,” said Alex Howland, President and Co-founder of Virbela. “We believe the metaverse presents a tremendous opportunity to transform the workplace and we’ll continue to innovate and push the boundaries to help organizations evolve how great work gets done.”

About eXp World Holdings, Inc.

eXp World Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: EXPI) is the holding company for eXp Realty®, Virbela and SUCCESS® Enterprises.eXp Realty is the fastest-growing real estate company in the world with more than 82,000 agents in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, South Africa, India, Mexico, Portugal, France, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Italy, Hong Kong, Colombia, Spain, Israel, Panama, Germany, Dominican Republic, Greece and New Zealand and continues to scale internationally. As a publicly traded company, eXp World Holdings provides real estate professionals the unique opportunity to earn equity awards for production goals and contributions to overall company growth. eXp World Holdings and its businesses offer a full suite of brokerage and real estate tech solutions, including its innovative residential and commercial brokerage model, professional services, collaborative tools and personal development. The cloud-based brokerage is powered by Virbela, an immersive 3D platform that is deeply social and collaborative, enabling agents to be more connected and productive. SUCCESS® Enterprises, anchored by SUCCESS ® magazine and its related media properties, was established in 1897 and is a leading personal and professional development brand and publication.

For more information, visit https://expworldholdings.com.

Safe Harbor Statement

The statements contained herein may include statements of future expectations and other forward-looking statements that are based on management’s current views and assumptions and involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance or events to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. Such forward-looking statements speak only as of the date hereof, and the company undertakes no obligation to revise or update them. These statements include, but are not limited to, statements about the continued growth of our agent and broker base; expansion of our residential real estate brokerage business into foreign markets; demand for remote working and distance learning solutions and virtual events; development of our commercial brokerage and our ability to attract commercial real estate brokers; and revenue growth and financial performance. Such statements are not guarantees of future performance. Important factors that may cause actual results to differ materially and adversely from those expressed in forward-looking statements include changes in business or other market conditions; the difficulty of keeping expense growth at modest levels while increasing revenues; and other risks detailed from time to time in the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including but not limited to the most recently filed Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q and Annual Report on Form 10-K.

Media Relations Contact:

eXp World Holdings, Inc.

mediarelations@expworldholdings.com

Investor Relations Contact:

MZ Group – MZ North America

investors@expworldholdings.com

____________________

1 Mike DelPrete, “eXp’s Business Model Advantage,” June 17, 2022, https://www.mikedp.com/articles/2022/6/16/exps-business-model-advantage

An image accompanying this announcement is available at https://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/ec0e385e-c0c8-4a10-9606-4f6e1bc62170



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Metaverse features expected in HTC’s new phone

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HTC is expected to launch a new mobile phone with metaverse features on Tuesday, as the virtual reality (VR) gear and smartphone maker continues its Web3 expansion. 

See related article: Smartphone giant Huawei doubles down on blockchain technology

Fast facts

  • In a tweet earlier in June, HTC’s VR and metaverse arm Viverse teased a phone-shaped graphic without disclosing additional details or specifications.
  • HTC hasn’t responded to Forkast’s request for comment by press time.
  • The Taiwanese consumer electronics firm has shifted its focus to VR gear production, with its latest phone release dating back to January 2021.
  • Chaoying Huang, HTC’s general manager for APAC, said in March that the company intends to roll out a metaverse-related phone in 2022, clarifying HTC was not ditching the smartphone business, Taiwanese tech media Business Next reported.
  • In 2017, Google bought a US$1.1 billion slice of HTC’s smartphone hardware business.
  • HTC is among the early phone makers to experiment with blockchain technology.

See related article: Samsung joins South Korean pilot to test CBDC on Galaxy smartphone





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Developers In India Key To Metaverse: Meta India Md | Bengaluru News

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Bengaluru: Meta, the parent company of Facebook, expects a lot of the software work and applications related to the metaverse to happen out of India. Ajit Mohan, VP & MD for India at Meta, said the country will have the largest app developer ecosystem in the world in two years, so many of the metaverse applications will be built here.
In an interaction with TOI, Mohan said Meta is not building the metaverse, but is rather focussing on building toolkits for other companies and developers to build the metaverse. “This is an important point to highlight. We are helping to build what will become the metaverse, which is a combination of these connected immersive spaces that will be built by millions of other developers and creators,” he said. Meta’s ambitious metaverse plans were on full display last year when founder Mark Zuckerberg made the surprise announcement to change the company name from Facebook to Meta. The move also catapulted the concept of the metaverse into global public consciousness.
One of the crucial tools for the metaverse is the headset, which Meta is hard at work on. Its Oculus Quest is already a market leader in headsets. Last week, Zuckerberg released a video showcasing newer prototypes of the VR and AR headsets that the company has been working on over the last few years and said that they are spending at least $10 billion this year on R&D on VR/AR tech.
Many today believe that the metaverse will be the next version of the internet. “Fundamentally, it means the transition from the 2D world to the 3D world, a transition from anything that we looked at on a mobile screen, to one where you will be in it,” Mohan said. What fascinates him the most, he said, is that interactions in the metaverse can cause one to form real memories of being in a shared physical space with other people.
There are plenty of challenges still to overcome to build a metaverse that gives the feel of a physical world. More than anything else, hesaid, Meta is trying to solve the vexing problem of creating a sense of physical presence between people when they’re not in the same room. At the moment Meta’s Horizon Workrooms project, which uses the VR headset called Quest 2, can replicate certain real-life behaviours. For example, if a person on your right is speaking, the sound will come from the right. It can also capture hand movements and gestures to a certain extent.
But all of that is just the beginning. Right now, Mohan said, a lot of work is being done by Meta to capture facial expressions accurately. “A lot of the feedback that we get from people in the physical world is based on how others are responding to us. And that’s the one thing that the avatars of today limit you from doing. But imagine if you can start rendering people’s facial expressions with the help of cameras and sensors. The more you can replicate the real sense of being in a shared physical space, the more natural it will become to adopt the metaverse,” he said.
One of the company’s primary goals, Mohan said, is for a billion people to experience their version of the metaverse in 10 years from now. “If a billion people have to adopt it, it has to be affordable. So even today, the devices that we’re putting out are either at cost or below cost,” he said. Multiple companies are building similar immersive spaces. Would these spaces be interoperable? It’s a question that Mohan said Meta takes very seriously. “I think there is a belief that there are too many closed systems in the mobile world. The assumptions that we have about the physical world should translate to the metaverse as well. If I buy accessories for my avatar, like sunglasses, it shouldn’t disappear when I land in Bengaluru.”





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Cannabis Companies Try the Metaverse as a New Marketing Platform

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Cannabis companies are using the metaverse to set up shops, promote their core product, and sell real-world merchandise and nonfungible tokens.

Major brands such as Miller Lite, Wendy’s,

Estée Lauder

and JPMorgan Chase & Co. have also experimented with using digital worlds for marketing, but cannabis marketers think the metaverse could offer some advantages of particular interest to them.

To the degree that the metaverse operates on the principles of Web3, in which decentralization replaces corporate control over the web, cannabis marketers might be able to talk up their products more freely than they can on platforms such as

Facebook,

said

Lisa Buffo,

founder and chief executive of the Cannabis Marketing Association.

“It is a wide open space in Web3…regulators haven’t wrapped their head around it yet,” Ms. Buffo said.

Some see Web 3.0 as the next generation of the internet, a decentralized version of the web based on the blockchain. Here are the key principles behind it, and why skeptics are unconvinced it could scale globally. Illustration: Amber Bragdon

Higher Life CBD Dispensary LLC in December opened a store in Voxels, a metaverse-like platform that was called Cryptovoxels until a rebrand in May. The company partnered with Saucey Farms & Extracts LLC in February to take over the store’s second floor.

Virtual visitors can’t order Higher Life’s CBD products directly within the virtual store, but they can click a mock cash register to visit Higher Life’s website and order CBD products there.

About a thousand people visit the store a day, said

Brandon Howard,

chief executive of Higher Life.

Saucey’s floor includes another cash register, which again leads to a website where visitors can shop, in this case for non-cannabis merchandise such as grinders.

Saucey hasn’t sold many items to visitors who click its cash register, said

Alex Todd,

co-founder of the company. But Saucey expects that to change when more people join the metaverse, he said.

The metaverse is perhaps within five years of actually being able to sell cannabis, Mr. Todd said, predicting U.S. federal regulations prohibiting the sale of the product could ease in that time frame.

Meanwhile, NFTs can help Saucey spread awareness of the brand, particularly as more people join the metaverse and seek clothes and accessories for their avatars, he said.

“It is going to be a great tool for the cannabis space,” he said.

Cannabis company Kandy Girl bought virtual property in Decentraland, where it sells and gives away NFTs.



Photo:

Boyce Capital LLC

Cannabis brand Kandy Girl, which is known for selling a THC-infused gummy that can ship to all 50 states, acquired land in Decentraland in December to promote the company and sell NFTs. It has sold and given away virtual wearables with accompanying NFTs, including wings that look like marijuana leaves. Its NFT sales in Decentraland have totaled about $30,000 so far, Kandy Girl said.

But there aren’t enough users currently to take the effort to the next level, said

Ben Boyce,

chief marketing officer at Kandy Girl, which is owned by Boyce Capital LLC.

“When there’s a million people logged into a metaverse at any given time, that’s when it is going to make sense to staff [a virtual] dispensary with a real live human being,” Mr. Boyce said.

For now, cannabis brands are enjoying the relative freedom of the metaverse, where they can use tactics that are often prohibited on dominant digital advertising platforms such as Meta Platforms Inc.’s Facebook and Instagram and

Alphabet Inc.’s

Google.

Meta’s community standards ban content, whether paid advertising or unpaid organic content, “that attempts to buy, sell, trade, donate or gift or asks for marijuana.” Its advertising policies say companies “must not promote the sale or use of illicit or recreational drugs.”

Metaverse platforms have varying rules around cannabis.

Roblox Corp.

says in its terms of use that it videogame platform “prohibits users from discussing, depicting, or promoting illegal or highly-regulated activities.” Sandbox says any metadata associated with a piece of the platform’s digital real estate “cannot link or contain any material or content that is…illegal.” In Meta’s Horizon Worlds platform, any content that depicts marijuana is forbidden.

But Decentraland and Voxels said they work with cannabis companies.

“We have supported various NFT cannabis communities—as long as they meet the terms and conditions,” said

Adam de Cata,

head of partnerships at Decentraland.

Cannabis companies that open in Decentraland need to observe legal regulations, including not serving users in countries where the product is prohibited, said

Sam Hamilton,

creative director of Decentraland Foundation, which builds tools for the platform and handles its marketing.

But “as a decentralized platform, it is not the Foundation’s role to curate user-generated content or police the philosophies of the community,” Mr. Hamilton said.

Voxels prohibits selling cannabis on its platform, but has no objection if its users open simulated dispensaries on its platform, said

Ben Nolan,

founder of the company.

Write to Ann-Marie Alcántara at ann-marie.alcantara@wsj.com

Copyright ©2022 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8



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