While COVID-19 has led to an uptick in remote inspections and virtual training, the startup Avatour (San Francisco) was working on its remote presence platform before the pandemic.
Devon Copley, CEO of the company, was the head of product, VR platform for Nokia from 2015 to 2017, where he was involved in creating a novel Nokia OZO 360° camera. “That was a $60,000 device made out of a single block of CNC-machined aluminum,” Copley recalled. “It was a beautiful piece of engineering, but a little ahead of its time, as it turned out.”
After Nokia decided to cancel the project, Copley reached out to Prasad Balasubramanian, who was in charge of the engineering team for the OZO advanced camera.
Over beers, the two concluded that the concept of enabling individuals to remotely visit a location and talk to individuals there in real-t…