Well what a year it’s been! When I joined WRLD as Head of Software Development at the start of January, none of us knew that within a few short months we’d be plunged into a COVID crisis, with lockdowns and remote working becoming the norm for most of our team. While there’s no doubt it’s been a challenging time, at this time of the year it’s good to reflect on what we’ve been able to achieve as a team. Of course there’s lots of work that goes on behind the scenes operating and maintaining our platform, supporting customers, and delivering our building services, but here are some of my highlights:
Version 2.2 of WRLD App for iOS was launched adding the whole of Western Europe to our map coverage and supporting iOS 13 and 14.
With our whole engineering team now working remotely, we launched our new developer subscription plans. If you’re looking at WRLD for the first time, or if you have an account from longer ago you’ll find that you can start a free trial to give you time to evaluate our SDKs - no credit card needed!
We’ve had our Map Designer, Places Designer and Indoor Maps tools available for a few years (they’re also all accessible on the free Starter plan), but new users sometimes don’t know where to start. We launched our first Quick Guide - a step-by-step tutorial that takes you through all the steps to create your very own smart building using WRLD. It’s so easy we demo’ed it live during a webinar!
Early summer was a busy time for us, as we launched this year’s major new feature - the Asset Tool. For the first time, WRLD users can start to place furniture inside your indoor maps. This is not just for decoration as each asset has its own unique ID which you can use to select and highlight. We’ve seen developers use this to build desk booking apps, or mark out desks which are unavilable due to social distancing rules. We added a second Quick Guide, this time walking through all the features of our map design tools.
Our second webinar of the year gave a short tutorial on how to use the new Asset Tool. We also added some more features to the tool, including UI gizmos for relocating orienting and elevating assets - for example mounting screens on walls, or appliances on top of desks. Some of our users have really gone the extra mile and created some really intricate digital twins of their buildings!
Another busy month for us, adding click-and-drop functionality to the Asset Tool to make it super-easy to add assets to your maps. Another major milestone for us this year was the launch of v0.8 of our Unity SDK. This adds a whole bunch of new features, but most importantly brought support for the most recent versions of the Unity Editor 2019 and 2020.
Following up on the Unity SDK release, we published a step-by-step guide to building a flight sim game in Unity with WRLD. It really only takes 10 minutes, as I showed during our Unity webinar. We also took our first steps in mapping South Asia, with a map of Lahore added to our web maps. Quite a few of the major landmarks are already mapped out, and more are still being added!
In response to feedback from the community, we put together some examples of how to use the WRLD Javassript SDK to build React and React Native apps. We also published Navigation and RouteView widgets for wrld.js, making it easy to add wayfinding to your WRLD web mapping apps. Finally, I put together an example of how to integrate WRLD maps with Unity’s ML Agents framework, so you can train AI in a real-world environment!
As the year draws to a close, I’d like to highlight two more things. Firstly, the launch of NXT, a COVID-aware smart workplace solution by our partner NetSol. If you look closely at the launch video you’ll see the WRLD digital twin at the heart of it, as well as cameo acting appearances from WRLD team members. Secondly, while a lot of the focus this year has been on indoor mapping, don’t forget that WRLD can also feature beautiful outdoor environments too. Our art team have really gone the extra mile creating a detailed indoor and outdoor map of Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill, MA complete with custom Beaver weather vane and school logos on the basketball courts. They love it and so do we - contact us if you’d like us to really put your building on the map!
As I said, what a year it’s been! I couldn’t be prouder of the whole team for adapting to the circumstances to keep supporting our customers, adding new features to the platform, and exploring new applications for WRLD maps. Can’t wait to share more new stuff with you in 2021.
From all of us at WRLD - we wish you a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year, whatever it may bring!