Vitaly Ponomarev is the founder of WayRay. Said company is involved in augmented reality. Specifically, WayRay is known for its AR HUDs for cars. Currently, Ponomarev is serving as both the company's CEO and the company's Chairman, so it seems safe to say that he is the one individual who will have the greatest effect on its future trajectory.
1. Is Multilingual
Ponomarev is multilingual. He is Russian, so it makes sense that he would be capable of communicating in Russian with native proficiency. Furthermore, Ponomarev is capable of communicating in English with professional proficiency. Other than these, he has some skill with German, Turkish, and Azerbaijani. The last two languages have a lot of similarities with one another, so much so that they are mutually intelligible to an extent. This is because both Turkish and Azerbaijani belong to the Oghuz branch of Turkic languages.
2. Went to Harvard Business School
In 2018 and 2019, Ponomarev spent time studying at Harvard Business School. Given the timing, interested individuals should be able to guess that he didn't do so for a master's degree. Instead, Ponomarev underwent executive education because he was already a CEO when he went to Harvard Business School.
3. Based Out of Zurich, Switzerland
Currently, Ponomarev is based out of Zurich, Switzerland. There is much that can be said about the city. However, the relevant part is that Zurich is a center of tech, economics, and education. As such, while it is far from being the biggest tech hub that can be found in Europe, it is still one of the biggest tech hubs that can be found in that part of the world. Other than its headquarters, Ponomarev's company also has offices in other countries such as China, Germany, and the United States.
4. Started Up WayRay to Solve a Problem
Often-times, people start up a company for the purpose of solving a problem that they have come upon. Ponomarev is an excellent example. In his case, he started up a company because he had a car accident, which happened because he was distracted by the GPS navigator.
5. His Company's Products Promises to Reduce Such Incidents
As mentioned earlier, Ponomarev's company is known for its AR HUDs. For those who are unfamiliar, HUD stands for head-up display, which is a display that gives data without requiring the user to look away from their standard viewpoint. As Ponomarev found out, a lot of car accidents are caused by people getting distracted when they should be focused on the road in front of them. Sometimes, this happens because they look away. Other times, this happens because they are paying attention to something else. Whatever the case, AR HUDs remove the need for the driver to look away in order to check something important. They can't help out with the causes of every single kind of distracted driving but they can definitely help out with this one.
6. His Project Has Evolved Over Time
For context, Ponomarev started up his company in 2012. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that his project have evolved over time, which is a reflection of how much technology has changed over the last decade. For example, mechanics of social networks have managed to make their way in over time. Similarly, the project didn't always assume that there would be a constant Internet connection. Even the AR is a supplement because AR didn't really start making its way towards the fore of the popular consciousness until very recent times.
7. Sees Cars As the First Place Where AR Will Go Mainstream
Speaking of which, it is interesting to note that Ponomarev thinks that it will take a bit more time for AR to go mainstream. For the time being, AR is best-known for being used in the context of toys as well as small-screen devices. However, Ponomarev and a lot of other people believe that it will eventually see more mainstream use. In his case, he thinks that cars will be the first place where this will happen, which is presumably why his company is so focused on this.
8. Believes in Cars Because of Hardware Issues
Ponomarev's reasoning for why this will happen seems to be based on hardware issues. Simply put, AR can't go mainstream until there is the hardware needed to support such uses. Unfortunately, the hardware isn't ready. Ponomarev specifically pointed out the example of wearables, which seem unpromising to him because of the immense difficulties in shoving the necessary convenience as well as the necessary performance into such small packages. Instead, he thinks that cars are the logical choice because their windshields provide enough transparent surfaces for interested parties to work with.
9. Thinks that the Adoption of AR Will Be Driven By Driverless Cars
It is interesting to note that Ponomarev thinks that the adoption of AR will be driven by the adoption of driverless cars. Essentially, consumers are going to have a hard time trusting driverless cars right away. AR could smoothen the transition by making it possible for people to see what is going on while also giving them something else to do. In this, it can be considered an extension of the preexisting trend of electronics becoming a bigger and bigger part of a car's value. Of course, none of this will be happening until driverless cars become available to consumers. No one can predict the future with certainty. Still, there are estimates that this will happen at some point in the mid 2020s.
10. Also Interested in Lifespan Expansion
Other than WayRay, Ponomarev is also known for having founded Centaura, which is a project focused on lifespan extension. Said subject has been popular since the start of the human experience. However, we are gaining a better and better understanding of our biology, with the result that a lot of people think that lifespan extension is looking less and less out of reach. Unsurprisingly, that has fueled even more interest in the subject, though it remains to be seen whether anything significant will actually come out of it anytime soon.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee