Lehi-based augmented reality technology company brings businesses into the world of Metaverse

Seek CEO Jon Cheney shows some of the company’s programming during an interview with Lehi on Monday. (Scott G. Winterton, Desert News)

Estimated reading time: 6-7 minutes

LEHI – It has happened to many of us: After ordering something online, the product delivered to your doorstep was not what you expected. It may be too big, too small, or not look the same online.

But there is a technology company based in Lehi that can help.

SeekXR and its augmented reality capabilities allow consumers to simply scan a QR code and that sofa you’ve been looking for or a new desk can appear in your living room through your smartphone screen.

Although much of the company’s business deals with this type of augmented reality, Seek founder and CEO John Cheney told KSL.com that the company has its sights set on another area of ​​technology and business potential: the metaverse.

Cheney said the company aims to tackle more in the metaverse as demand grows. Cheney said the Metaverse could be “as simple as just watching a product on your phone or screen to get a fully immersive full game, whether on a computer or a (virtual reality) headset.”

Metaverse – an increasingly common and fundamental term for the expansion of tech giants like Facebook and Google – can mean different things to different users. Digital services such as the video game Fortnite and virtual world sandbox can be described as metaverse platforms where users can buy and sell digital goods or attend online events like concerts, among other experiences.

As companies in technology and other industries look to enter this new technology field, Cheney said Seek is a boon for companies looking to tap into the emerging market for companies looking to expand their reach. Thanks to augmented reality or the development in the technological field metaverse. .

“We can help any brand or company embark on the metaverse… in a way that they begin to interact with their customers in a more positive and meaningful way than ever before.”

‘Seek and you will find’

Cheney said he didn’t get into augmented reality and metaverse on purpose.

Sitting in the company’s new office in Lehi, he said that Seek started as Treasure Canyon, a company that was looking for treasures as customers paid to participate in the search. Cheney points to a treasure chest on a shelf in his office, explaining that it was filled with a $10,000 prize and that dragging it up the mountain to hide it was no easy feat.

Treasure Canyon changed hands in 2016 with the release of Pokemon GO, where the hugely popular app used augmented reality so that users could catch their favorite Pokemon while in their community. Cheney saw the technology in action and wanted to apply it to Treasure Canyon, which then had an app. The change also brought a new name.

“We called Seek, like ‘search and you will find’, hence the name,” Cheney said, referring to a phrase that can be found in Bible versions of Matthew and Luke.

Soon the company added developers to its staff and started moving towards augmented reality. This transformation continues to this day, as Seek continues to emphasize Extended Reality, or XR, which Cheney says can be defined more broadly as the Metaverse.

Augmented reality as a tool for the consumer

Cheney said the bulk of Seek’s business right now is driven by its ability to take its customers’ products and allow the user to view the item in real time.

In his office in Lehi, Cheney dialed a QR code on his laptop. He scanned the black and white box with his smartphone, and moments later a 3D model of a Nespresso coffee machine appeared.

“I don’t actually drink coffee, so I don’t really know what it is, but it looks really cool,” said Cheney, a Brigham Young University graduate with a laugh.

On his phone screen using his camera, the model can be positioned and moved around the room, giving a true-to-size comparison of what the product would look like if it was actually in the room.

John Cheney, CEO of tech company Lehi Seek, talks about the company and where they hope to take it, during an interview Monday.
John Cheney, CEO of tech company Lehi Seek, talks about the company and where they hope to take it, during an interview Monday. (Photo: Scott G. Winterton, Desert News)

For Cheney, one of Seek’s favorite uses of technology is Lego, the popular children’s building toy. In Walmart stores, Seek technology powers QR codes located near Legos in the gaming aisle. Users simply scan the code, and moments later, “a Lego set will appear right before you do,” Cheney said.

The augmented reality that Seek uses can be used for a variety of products: looking at Lego sets in a store, putting a coffee maker in your kitchen, or seeing if a shelf fits your child’s room.

Using this level of technology can be hugely profitable for retailers, Cheney says, adding that Nestlé, the parent company of Nespresso and the world’s largest food company, has reported that its sales conversion rate has tripled on products featuring Seek 3D assets. .

Instead of requiring users to download an app, viewing takes place through the smartphone’s web browser, making the experience more intuitive and viewable quickly. It’s key to the user experience, Cheney said.

“I think this is really important for companies trying to offer these kinds of experiences to their customers, it should be easy,” he said.

“Don’t make them download an app, don’t force them to sign into an account, and don’t complicate the process until they learn something new. With one click, you’re ready to go.”

Metaverse-centric growth

While much of Seek’s business focuses on commerce, Cheney aims for the future and brings brands into the metaverse, specifically combining Seek’s 3D asset management with blockchain technology to enable users to use NFTs on their preferred platform.

NFT, which stands for Non-Fungible Code, are unique digital artworks that can take the form of images, videos, or audio. In contrast to more prevalent types of online NFTs that look like works of art and often sell for large sums of money, Cheney says Seek’s vision for NFTs has a more tangible use in the metaverse.

If you want your Fortnite character to wear a Utah Jazz T-shirt, you will be able to use Seek’s abilities to purchase the NFT of that T-shirt and place it on your avatar (as long as the copyright holder has allowed this item to be typed into this platform for use).

Cheney said that with blockchain technology, a user can verify a transaction and provide proof of ownership. The same NFT can also be sold using the technology.

Cheney expects Seek to continue its rapid growth, which is one reason the company has resisted being taken over by larger groups with eight-figure deals. So far, Cheney said the latest valuation for Seek that they raised capital was about $130 million.

This growth is expected to be on the NFT and blockchain side of the business, and as Cheney mentioned, these aspects are expected to grow at a significant rate. He believes the future lies in using this type of technology to revolutionize the way everyday things can be improved, such as attending a sporting event.

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Jacob Schull joined KSL.com as a reporter in 2021. He covers Northern Utah communities, federal courts, and technology.

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