Paris, SIAL & Virtual Reality…

The next 4 days are bound to be exciting. I’m curious. I’ll be participating in the largest food innovation exhibition of the world called SIAL starting tomorrow in Paris. My luggage has an Oculus CV, Oculus DK2, the most powerful (and heavy) computer I’ve ever bought and a few clothes too. And I can bet that most exhibitors and attendees to the event have different luggage items.

So, here’s the context.

My company Solutionario builds Virtual Reality software for businesses. Essentially, we help them showcase their products/spaces immersively using VR. The most fulfilling yet challenging project we’ve worked on in VR is with ProChile, the government organisation that promotes Chilean businesses globally. SIAL is probably the biggest global event for food business, and just like Chile, more than 100 countries would be trying to grab more attention, hence more business.

And that is where Virtual Reality becomes an interesting player.

My personal thought that is that in such an event, people have less and less time to understand more and more complex things. Where is Chile ? How does it feel ? What’s the infrastructure like ? How do the people look ? Is it the same as Argentina ? What food products do you have ? How is it different from other countries in the region ?

The questions never end. Virtual Reality could change the way you answer them though. By putting an Oculus Rift or by handing over Google Cardboard with a URL, the audience can almost feel transported to Chile. From wine production, to salmon fishing to pisco generation to 9 more food experiences- all told via a medium of immersive storytelling. While showing these VR experiences at events in Brussels, Brazil & China during 2016, independent of the cultural & language barriers, you are guaranteed to get a smile first, followed by amazement and then the people start getting immersed and comfortable with this virtual world.

Virtual reality has created all sorts of reactions & predictions from people. From extreme hype to extreme skepticism. Beyond the hype and beyond the skepticism lies the plain simple fact — that the technology is a breakthrough and most people enjoy and feel amazed when they experience it.

So, if countries, businesses and people can start expressing their stories much better, it’s hard to stop it from adoption. The future of the technology is beyond just gaming as most people tend to believe. I won’t be surprised if at SIAL 2018, more exhibitors pack their bags with VR/AR devices instead of brochures and flyers !