MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – A South Florida city is taking the plunge into a whole new digital world.
Local 10 News has told you about companies allowing employees to interact through the metaverse. Now, it’s an entire city’s turn to go virtual.
That city is Miami Gardens.
“We wanted to create something that was beyond belief,” Miami Gardens Mayor Rodney Harris said. “We wanted to experience a different type of world but make access to the city a little bit easier for our residents.”
Miami Gardens’ metaverse is believed to be the first of its kind for a South Florida city.
It’s crafted in partnership with South Florida marketing and advertising firm The Mosaic Group and streaming platform Ceek Metaverse, which allows users to move through virtual worlds.
“So this was an opportunity to bring a new idea of innovation, technology that Miami Gardens is not just going to talk about being in tech, we’re going to be in tech,” Mosaic Group CEO Ann Marie Sorrell said. “So that’s how this whole Metaverse was tied into the campaign: ‘It’s where you want to be.’”
That’s the statement behind the platform and the city as a whole.
Whether you’re traveling in-person or on a couch at home, the idea is to provide an avenue for information and interaction.
Getting in is simple enough: First, download the “Ceek VR” app and create an account. Then, go to “Miami Gardens” under the “venues” tab, choose your viewing mode (2D or a 360-degree view), then, finally, you’re transported into a video game-like recreation of the city, where you can arrive any any location, turn around and interact with familiar landmarks.
Those include Andover Park, City Hall, Calder Casino and Hard Rock Stadium.
“We’re an innovative city. We dream big. We’re not holding ourselves back,” Harris said. “We would love to be the pioneers to find out if this thing could actually work.”
From the recent hosting of Formula One, to Super Bowls, college football championships and the Miami Open, Miami Gardens sees itself as a global city, reinforcing the belief that this can work and is a natural next step into the digital space.
There’s also the belief that the metaverse can be a driving force for inspiration.
Harris argues that if people can experience the next generation of technology, imagine what they can build.
“Why not have the vision for a futuristic type of access to the city that everybody can access from here?” he asked. “In America, to Europe, to all over Asia, to wherever. You can access what’s going on in Miami Gardens in the metaverse.”
Sorrell describes the metaverse as a “different perspective.”
“This is not just playing (a) game,” she said. “It’s really exploring and discovering where you live in a different experience.”
Moving forward, the goal is to continue tweaking and improving on the technology in phases, making it as immersive as possible.
That includes connecting with businesses and restaurants who want to make offerings in the metaverse, plus establishing a virtual presence for things like concerts or sporting events, so, if you can’t attend in person, perhaps you could do so in the virtual world.