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[Herald Interview] KT's cloud streaming tech brings art gallery into metaverse

Jan. 19, 2023 - 14:29 By Jie Ye-eun
From left: KT’s cloud gaming service TF senior manager Kim Su-hyun, TCAG CEO Cho Sung-shin, Gallery Stan CEO Song In-ji, and artists Kim Se-dong (aka Sambypen) and Ma Sung-ho (aka Mawz) speak about their latest digital twin gallery service to a group of local reporters in Seoul on Wednesday. (KT Corp.)

South Korea’s telecom giant KT Corp. is undergoing digital transformation and making business opportunities out of it with its advanced cloud streaming technology. The company created a virtual art gallery placed in the metaverse with fast-evolving technology, allowing art lovers to explore various artworks regardless of time and place.

KT joined hands with local startup TCAG to create a cloud-based streaming digital twin gallery, which realized 12 contemporary artists’ works displayed at Gallery Stan’s exhibition during the Miami Art Week last year accessible in a hyper-realistic space. Without traveling to Miami, some 20,000 local visitors were able to enjoy the artwork for three days starting Nov. 29.

“Local exhibition-goers could explore the overseas exhibition easily by entering a website on their phones. Visitors appreciated the high-definition art pieces presented by artists including Kim Se-dong (aka Sambypen) and Ma Sung-ho (aka Mawz) as moving around uniquely designed avatars in the space,” Kim Su-hyun, senior manager of KT’s cloud gaming service task force said, in an interview with a group of local reporters Wednesday.

The web-based virtual gallery also provided the same high-capacity and high-quality content based on ultra-low latency to visitors, regardless of the user devices’ specifications, thanks to TCAG’s Unreal Engine 5’s 3D-based hyper-realism technology and KT’s high-end graphics processing unit on our cloud, TCAG’s CEO Cho Sung-shin said.

Visitors explore artwork through a digital twin gallery demonstrated by KT's digital streaming technology in Seoul on Wednesday. (KT Corp.)

Because the metaverse space was hyper-realistic and interesting, some of the online visitors came to see the real artwork once again offline in Miami, according to Gallery Stan CEO Song In-ji. Artists Sambypen and Mawz also appreciated the digital twin technology for having no time and space restrictions, as well as the advantage of having another creative shelf online.

“I decided to participate in the project since I’ve often received messages from my fans who live outside of Seoul that they want to come to see my work but exhibitions are being held too far. I was able to fulfill one of my goals,” Sambypen said.

Experts said the global digital twin market was valued at $6.3 billion in 2021 and projected the market size to reach $143.2 billion by 2030. The future of metaverse art galleries is also bright. Gallery Stan’s CEO expected that a gallery will be able to trade about 5 billion won ($4.1 million) worth of art pieces through the virtual reality space annually.

As KT has seen the metaverse art market would continue to expand, it aims to showcase more metaverse art spaces to the world from the comfort of users’ homes. In addition to the art industry, the company is planning to utilize its self-developed cloud streaming technology in various areas such as construction, architecture and heavy industry.

In line with its drive for digital transformation, it recently realized a digital twin model house for a local construction firm as well. KT further saw the digital twin market would continue to expand, becoming a leveled playing field between B2B and B2C soon.

"Based on our advanced technology and experience of providing the digital twin streaming service to construction and art industries last year, we'll continue to make our best efforts to expand the service industry-wide," Lim Hyo-yeol, vice president of KT's new service department customer group, separately told The Korea Herald.