Answering questions on Virtual Reality

Marty rocking a VR headset in Back to the Future 2

This past week I was contacted by a journalist looking for answers to a couple questions regarding Virtual Reality. As I normally do, I asked to be sent the questions so I could properly barf my thoughts and perspectives on virtual paper. Nothing too controversial here, check it out (your thoughts welcome):

How has VR changed and evolved in recent years/months when it comes to providing more immersive content, especially on mobile?

VR has matured because of:

  • Adoption from industry leaders: Google (Cardboard), Facebook (Oculus), Samsung(Gear VR), Apple and others.
  • Better use cases and business cases resulting in content consumers and workers care about.
  • Cheaper hardware components resulting in cheaper devices.
  • Advancements in hardware design.
  • More streamlined underlying software platforms for developers.
  • Lower barrier to entry with devices like Cardboard which lets you experience VR with a mobile device.

Has VR finally “arrived” for mobile and/or PC or portable in any viable way? If so, what are the popular/mainstream VR content platforms/providers/devices? Can you cite any real world examples?

VR has the potential to become a disruptive platform within its niche. What gives VR a unique advantage to succeed today is the lower cost to deliver content for real business and entertainment use cases.

For filmmakers like Chris Milk (Ted Talk), VR has a unique way of adding more empathy to storytelling. Creative documentarists are bringing audiences into and experience a story from the perspective of the main characters.

For the enterprise, the Lowe's Home Improvement team is helping drive sales by immersing customers into the rooms they just designed.

What about offbeat/unusual VR content/applications? How, why and where is VR showing up in unexpected places — can you provide any real world examples?

Ever wanted to experience what it’s like to fly? Only a fully immersive experience like VR can deliver this. With this full body contraption from Somniacs, Birdly as the product is called brings a virtual “bird’s eye & wing” view to anyone. (http://www.somniacs.co/)

Who are the best types of content providers/publishers to explore/consider VR content? Why?

Anyone. Companies like Google (Cardboard) and Facebook (Oculus) are democratizing the once price limiting tools to publish content. In the case of Cardboard, Android & iPhone developers can extend their, 360 video and gaming experiences into the world of virtual reality.

What does the fact that VR is showing up in unexpected places say about the viability/future of VR technology as a source of content for consumers? Is this a portent of more things to come, or is VR going to have to make inroads around the edges/periphery to be more widely accepted?

The devices will evolve to be simpler, Google Cardboard for example cost close to nothing for those who want to build one and only needs a phone as an external peripheral (or brain in this case). VR is also going to satisfy a niche for consumers and businesses alike and as more demand for content is realized, the more ubiquitous the hardware becomes.

What will it take for consumers to adopt VR in larger numbers, particularly on mobile?

  • Continued price reduction of the hardware.
  • Lower barrier to entry to develop for VR platforms.
  • Better hardware performance
  • Industry investment in better safety, interoperability and experience of VR.

What is your prediction: will VR prove to be a short-lived gimmick, like 3-D TVs, or does it have legs as a technology/platform for immersive content, particularly on mobile?

VR will grow into a niche paving the way for mixed reality where virtual worlds and real world collide. Investment in this space has exploded within the last 36 months and only continues to grow.

Any other thoughts or comments you want to add?

Magic Leap, Microsoft Hololens, MetaVision and others are showing the advantages of bridging virtual artifacts with the real world. VR+AR creates the magic and truly unique experiences we seek in education, entertainment, gaming and more.

Update: Article appeared on Econtent Mag