A Vision of the Future with Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality Demonstrations (Credit: Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas, University of Texas at Austin via Flickr CC).jpg

With the development and roll out of virtual reality in the recent past, this new medium is expanding and holds the potential for an immersive experience of customer engagement.

With the launch of Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony PlayStation VR among others in the past few years, virtual reality (VR) has certainly caught the attention of much of the general public.

Put in the simplest form possible, virtual reality is immersive software. It’s a 3D computer-generated simulation of an environment which can be interacted with in a manner which makes it feel realistic; in order to experience this phenomena, you need a VR headset, such as one of the five aforementioned pieces of equipment.

In a piece he wrote for Campaign Alive in April, DTS speaker, and MediaMonks’ Global Director of VR, Ola Björling, wrote: “Even with today’s technology, VR as a medium already holds the potential for wondrous, enthralling and exceptionally memorable experiences that were literally impossible just a couple of years ago.”

What is available to the public through VR at present transcends education, entertainment, sports viewing, marketing and much more. Take for example 3D 4 Medical’s app Essential Anatomy 5, this app uses VR to aide medical students learning about the human anatomy through visualization.

Similarly, BlindSpot, developed by University of Ulster students, which won the High Achieving Merit Award at the Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2015, is a VR training tool which allows the user to immerse themselves in a simulated driving experience and aims to “revolutionize driver training by allowing users to spend more time training providing a safe, risk-free training method that can be used in the workplace or at home”.

Even the NBA is boarding the VR bandwagon, as they now broadcast one game each week via VR as part of their NBA League Pass package. Viewers are “seated” courtside, close to the official scorer’s table, so they are in the thick of the action as the players trod up and down the court.

It is this vision and inclusion of VR in aspects of everyday life which could see it expand and grow to be as influential to people as mobile phones currently are. Tech industry heavyweights such as Google, Sony, Samsung, Oculus and HTC are already heavily involved in the VR market and have already put their products out on the market. However, it’s the vision for the future that these influential companies hold which could see boundaries being broken, and VR expanding and growing.

Earlier this year, Intel bought Irish company Movidius (whose CEO, Remi El-Ouazzane, will be speaking at DTS 2017) which manufactures computer vision hardware and software which can enable devices to have human level vision and can be used in drone and camera technology.

Senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s New Technology Group, Josh Walden, writing of the purchase in a statement on Intel’s website: “Specifically, we will look to deploy the technology across our efforts in augmented, virtual and merged reality (AR/VR/MR), drones, robotics, digital security cameras and beyond. Movidius’ market-leading family of computer vision SoCs [System on a Chip] complements Intel’s RealSense™ offerings in addition to our broader IP and product roadmap.”

Although VR and DTS are both in their infancy, it is the potential for both to offer the tech world more opportunities to be innovative and collaborative which intrinsically links them with each other.

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Matthew Colfer

@mcolfer1

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