Startup Series 004 : 3D CityScapes

I believe you have imagined living in a virtual world at least once. This future is almost there. Companies like 3D CityScapes are trying to make the virtual contents or creating digital twins more easier to public. Here we have interviewed COO of 3D CityScapes, James Borst.

Speaker Profile

James Borst

3D CityScapes
About 3D CityScapes
3D CityScapes offer the most hyper realistic 3D interactive environments in the world. We operate in several different Industries including property development. We have a very good reputation in the industry, and we're doing this worldwide. We also create highly engaging interactive digital twins, everything from cities, airports to nuclear power plants. We can create a digital twin with almost anything you can imagine.
Your Strength & Unique Points
Some of the things that we are creating are a tremendous amount of city infrastructure. The procedural elements that our team uses is the foundation of our platform that allow us to scale a lot faster than normal studios. We have invested a lot of time in our ai-platform, which allows us to efficiently build cities. We also invest a lot of time in bringing on some of the best people in the world in order to create these procedural tools in our platform so we can easily roll out all cities and countries in 3D interactive environments.
One of the unique things that separates us in the industry is our partnership with our sister company, Arc Compute. . We have our own streaming platform very much like Google stadia, which can stream applications that would normally require a $4,000 computer to run. We can stream those through our servers at a fraction of the cost of other companies that offer streaming services, like AWS (Amazon Web Services) that charge up to $20,000 per month. . Using our technology, people can login on a website and go right into the applications and be fully immersed into the environment.
Mid-term Goal
One of our mid-term and long-term goals is to create interactive cities all over the world. You will be able to create an avatar and actually walk around cities and engage with people who are online. You can also go on a trip virtually. For example, if you haven't traveled to Tokyo before, you can actually walk around Tokyo and get an idea in a virtual world exactly what Tokyo is like. Same thing here in Toronto. We are currently creating the very first digital interactive 3D twin of Toronto where people are able to login from anywhere in the world, create an avatar, and start touring around the city.

Our longer-term goal is to bring this service to every major city around the world. Our team size internationally is just over 50 people, but we anticipate from 250 to 400 people by next year or two. We're growing very quickly because there's a high demand for these digital twin environments. We have some big projects that are coming up.
Does COVID-19 accelerate your business somehow?
I think it definitely has accelerated it because even before we've been going through a digital revolution, there are so many online video games that are getting more and more realistic all the time. We all have played online games, but the demand is growing . Society is demanding more immersive experiences now. With COVID-19, everybody's at home and they're trying to figure out how to do business online, or how to be more engaging with customers etc.. It is definitely pushing forward much quicker than it would have before. Now everybody's talking about digital twins. NVIDIA Just announced that they are creating a whole metaverse of the entire world. It's going to be a thousand times bigger than the actual world. There are big players out there. It's a huge industry. Pretty soon, websites are not just going to be flat web pages that you go to. It is going to be in a 3D environment, walking around meeting people, seeing different products. It's a very exciting spot in the world to be part of these 3D interactive environments.
About Global Expansion
We would like to be in every major city in the world. Let's look at the example of Singapore. The government of Singapore paid 73 million for virtual Singapore and it took a company 5-years to do that. This mission was not in a Cloud, but using a video game engine. We can do it 4 times faster than that and the quality is much better. What we have seen is that whenever we create a digital twin of a city we need to work with the local people in that area and engage with local partners to create the best experience possible. Thus, every time we create a digital twin in that city, we need an office. That would be our global expansion plan. As we make new digital twins, we set up an office in that city.
OMAKE: Founder’s Story
Why are you doing a startup?
I've been fascinated with computers since I was very young. I started programming when I was 11 years old. When I was 12 years old, I wanted to become a videogame designer and producer. I had this fascination with computer graphics and I never thought it would actually happen. Eventually I went into marketing, digital media creation. I went into a website creating graphic design after. For me, the drive was being a part of a charitable organisation. We want to do major developments to help people around the world. For me, being a part of a company that has explosive growth and expansion means that there's going to be more money available for charitable purposes. Life is about serving and helping other people. We are a global community and we have business leaders who should take the stand that our business is not just for self-promotion nor self satisfaction but to help the global family. We should change our perspective and say what can I do to help other people? How can this business be positioned to really help society? and how it can bring some positive changes in the world. We are all facing major things with covid-19 right now. You know the world is still facing a water shortage. There's people who actually walk 3 hours a day one way just to get water. There's people facing starvation in Yemen so we should know how we can use our resources to help. It's just my personal opinion for positive change in the world. Live a good life, have a positive life, but don't use it just for yourself but also to help other people.


Writer's Comments

The digital twin is expected to become a new sales channel for the retail and tourism sectors. It is also expected to be used for marketing because of the vast amount of data it can acquire. As high-spec device is more affordable to public, it will spread rapidly.

Interviewer Profile

Natsuko Mitsugi

Pivot Tokyo
Co-founder of Pivot Tokyo, the hub for CxO and startups based in Tokyo, Japan. She is also a co-founder of early childhood education school, GKCors

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