Blake Dowling: Dipping our toes in the Florida metaverse

Bust of Apollo equipped with VR headset. Metaverse concept with
Feeling as if the world has passed you by? Fear not; this column is for you.

I saw an Instagram post this week for the rock group Motorhead and their performance at Ozzfest 2022.

It seemed a bit odd to me, as lead singer Lemmy Kilmister passed away in recent years.

After reading the details, this Ozzfest Music Festival performance was a digital hologram/avatar performance from the metaverse; hosted in Decentraland.

The event was full of Web3 innovation (like Motorhead playing with their deceased lead singer), NFTs, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. It was also free, as happened this past weekend.

If you attended, you could run around the stage clapping for the artists as your virtual avatar form with no fear of getting injured in the mosh pit since you are not really there.

Some of the show footage reminded me of Wii Bowling (goth version); you can form your own opinions from this video:

Need clarification on these terms? Feeling as if the world has passed you by?

Fear not; this column is for you. Let’s dive into the metaverse.

Decentraland, which hosted the concert, is a 3D world on the internet, where visitors to the site can buy virtual plots of land, socialize and many other things.

The money used there is a cryptocurrency called MANA, built from, and using, the Ethereum blockchain.

This world has been open to the public since 2020.

Sounds like someone had time on their hands during the pandemic.

Short version — the metaverse is a digital playground where users own digital land and can help govern its existence. You can also play games, collect art (NFTs), and socially interact with other users.

There are about 300,000 active monthly users on this site.

What is an NFT? That is an acronym for “non-fungible token,” meaning proof of ownership of all that digital art you bought in Decentraland. By now, you are either following along or wondering if this is really a thing.

Yes, it is, and the everyday applications are here now. Taco Bell jumped into the NFT space with the sale of some images, and they sold out fast.

Plus, the purchaser gets a large gift card.

Other high-profile NFTs include Glenfiddich whiskey, singer Grimes, and William Shatner. Shatner sold 125,00 units in 9 minutes including an X-ray of his teeth.

Sound unreal? It is very real with very real dollars (sort of) in NFT transactions (cryptocurrency, not dollars).

Now to the metaverse.

The metaverse is the internet on speed, having a connection or immersion in the 3D world via a virtual reality headset or other VR device.

Some very cool and very practical things going on in the metaverse.

In Florida, the city of Miami Gardens launched the Miami Gardens “Virtual City” Metaverse Experience.

You can dive into a virtual version of the city with a social aspect. It is visible via VR headset or without one (smartphone, PC, etc.) to ensure it’s inclusive for all.

Users can explore events and landmarks, feeling like they are actually there.

It does not matter what you do for a living: run a city, manage a campaign, a tour, a TV show, museum or news publication; you could start diving into this world now.

Imagine sharing your vision with anyone around the world and having them get to experience it in a new way. Why not check out Miami Gardens first by downloading the Ceek VR app to see what I am speaking about.

There is a lot more going on here than touring a city, as the Orlando Economic Partnership claims that they are the center (the metacenter) of the metaverse with over $1 billion invested in the space this year, according to WESH2 News. They describe what is going on as a gold rush including the tech sector, video game companies and more.

I reached out to their team (thank you Jennifer) for their perspective:

“At the Orlando Economic Partnership (the Partnership) we have catalyzed this momentum and we have taken ownership of making Orlando the MetaCenter, a region like no other in the world that combines creativity, technology, and innovation like we do,” said David Adelson, Orlando Economic Partnership Chief Innovation Officer.

“Metaverse-related industries have had roots in Orlando for decades, this is not something we’re inventing; we are just catalyzing and taking full advantage of our potential as a tech hub and growing our footprint bringing companies to either relocate or expand to our region. We have the talent, the workforce, and everything anyone needs to be successful in the Metaverse,” Adelson said.

They are doing something special in Orlando all over the tech space with the CEO of the OEP office, Tim Giuliani, bringing home some prestigious awards this year, including being named a GIS WebTech Award for Technology Leadership.

If you are looking for a competitive advantage, an edge over an opponent, or a differentiator from everyone else in your line of work, maybe you have just stumbled upon one.

Perhaps it is time to join the metaverse in Florida.

Or do you think that with this column, I have only scratched the meta-surface?

Both would be on the money.

There are applications galore to be dreamed up and, yes, I have only dipped my virtual toes into the deep ocean of these subjects.

As we boldly go into the future, look for an NFT pic of me writing this column for sale soon. I am sure it will fly off the shelf like Shatner’s teeth.

Cheers to all the innovators in this space, as it isn’t often you get to use Shatner, Ozzy, Taco Bell and Miami Gardens in the same column; the stars have truly aligned.

See you out there in the Florida metaverse soon.


Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. He can be reached at [email protected].

Blake Dowling

Blake Dowling is CEO of Aegis Business Technologies. His technology columns are published by several organizations. Contact him at [email protected] or at


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