Virtual Reality — What you need to know!

So, What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real interactive & immersive environment. (as if you’re there)

You probably have heard about virtual reality before. If not then you don’t own a smartphone or a computer. Jokes aside, it is coming and in a big way.

Why do we care about VR, business-wise?
Good question. Industry analyst firm CCS Insight has published a report — Augmented and Virtual Reality Device Forecast, 2015–2019, stating the amount of AR and VR devices sold will rise from 2.5 million this year, to 24 million in 2018. It forecasts that the market will be worth more than $4billion.

Now that I have set the stage for this industry, lets talk about few details that as consumers, early adopters that we would like to be aware of.

Who are the major players in this space?
Few companies working their heads down to bring Virtual Reality (or VR) based technologies & experiences to market are the following:
1) Host VR Content — Google, JauntVR, 360 heroes, YouTube 360, Facebook
2) Produce VR Content — JauntVR, JUMP/Google, Milk VR, GoPro, Redbull
3) VR Devices — Oculus Rift, Samsung VR, Microsoft Hololens, Magic Leap
4) VR Games — Oculus Rift, Virtuix Omni, Sony Project Morpheus, Gear VR
5) VR Entertainment — Avegant, JauntVR, Zero Latency, VR Co, River

Of course, there are many more VR companies today, I can go on & on with their individual advancements & contributions, but that’s not the point of this paper. I would like you to understand where it helps you (rather us).

So what do customers want or understand in VR space?
Well, it’s frankly way too early to answer this. But let try anyway. I spoke to about 300+ people about VR and they consistently related that with the likes of “Games & Travel”. What I realized is that since living a virtual life is not everyone’s virtue, immediately what pops up in our heads are things that we may enjoy even being remote. For instance we already play games remotely on our playstation’s & xboxes with friends and travel/view on YouTube all the time to various parts of the planet. The same experience we expect to get elevated by a VR based interaction to get us more complacency.

Makes sense? If so, let me enlighten you a bit on VR Gaming & VR Travel.

VR Gaming: Facebook Oculus Rift, Virtuix Omni, Microsoft Hololens and other companies are developing products to take gaming experience to the next level in VR, which is mainly immersive. I personally think that this will be the next logical step after we’ve used Xbox, PS3/PS4 for years. I would like to “immerse” myself in VR gaming experience for sure if it looks good. Not because it’s new, just because it’s more engaging than on my TV.

For VR Travel: Using VR, you can get yourself theoretically teleported to your target destination and interact — OR — you can view recorded content from other places like cities, museums, theme parks, live events and a more. For instance, Google launched project “Expeditions” that uses their JUMP camera kit. Google has an initiative that would provide content publishers a perfect way to create virtual tours of cites, museums, theme parks, live events and lot more content that users may not be able to attend otherwise. Now say, 2016 Superbowl is in Levi’s Stadium, SF & you want to attend it.

Now let’s understand this simple logic:
1) Your ticket to Super-bowl is about $3000 or upwards (normally)
2) Your ticket to Super-bowl using remote VR may be $400 or less
For most people, option #2 would be great if they can experience the game in virtual reality remotely, which is much better than watching on TV. Of course watching in person is best but VR may save you few $$’s for sure.

So clearly if there are things in life that you miss because of proximity reasons OR price being too expensive, VR may let you get that experience for much better cost and that too at your convenience. Now that’s cool.

What are the next steps? For you.
Now as I always say, “He that can have patience can have what he will
Hence, I suggest to wait it out & don’t pay for expensive headsets or HMDs (head mounted displays) just yet. VR technology and content is so new that companies are bound to make mistakes & they’ll correct themselves in time. However be open to try few affordable options like Google VR Cardboard, HTC Vive, Avegant Glyph and experience some available content today.

Other than Gaming & Travel, Virtual Reality can enable us to experience new ways of human interaction and watching content. Few of them are:
1) Movies, Music, Live concerts & events — Experience like we are there
2) Drones with 360 degree cameras can show us any landscape where physically reaching out is close to impossible or super difficult.
3) Remote auditing of ports, ships, oceanic spaces, real estate & more
4) VR based voice/video calls — Meet face to face, remotely (Star Trek?)

So the possibilities are endless and we are literally just starting out in this space. We shouldn’t it and make sure we understand it’s full potential.
I hope you got a brief idea about virtual reality landscape and I’ll be going in more technical details on this topic in future posts for sure. So stay tuned.

Where do you contact me?
You can contact me at mkbhatnagar@gmail.com & +1–408–821–1806
My linkedIn profile is here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mkbhatnagar
I’ll be happy to connect with you and respond to your questions.

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