Data Visualization Taken to the Next Dimension through VR

Georgi Atanasov
Mar 12, 2019 · 10 min read
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Screens from our two DataViz applications available for download

Introduction

At Progress Telerik we’ve been on the AR VR journey for more than a year now. The path has always been challenging and rewarding and it is now even more exciting. We learned a lot, made some mistakes and even shifted our initial strategy. In this post we will look retrospectively at our findings and talk about the new path that we’ve taken.

This post assumes that when we talk AR VR, we relate to Head-Mounted Devices. Smartphone AR VR is out of our scope today.

Web Presence

Before we continue, we have an important and super exciting announcement to make: a completely new and redesigned page that fully matches our current vision, strategy and short-term roadmap is now live on our company web site!

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The new page on telerik.com is now live!

Visit https://www.telerik.com/ar-vr-lab

A Retrospective Look Back

We are developers. It is in our DNA to help other developers and businesses solve their challenges in an elegant and efficient way. Our long-term mission is to democratize the AR VR business application development and reduce the entry level barrier for developers. One way to accomplish our mission was to start building what we have most experience with — a set of UI and non-UI tools, frameworks and components for Unity3D that would reduce the entry level barrier for developers and would eliminate the need for complex user experiences to be continuously reinvented for each and every application.

Early Market State of Affairs

  1. Often times businesses have this emotional barrier to use today’s AR VR hardware as it is far from being socially acceptable. They would rather stick to conventional methods for solving a problem than putting a helmet on their heads.
  2. This is a completely new technology. The development stack heavily involves 3D and game development-like expertise, therefore most of the businesses lack AR VR R&D team(s) and consider applying this technology expensive, with a steep learning curve and with significant initial investment.

What Else Could We Do?

We spent a lot of time to think what to do and how to do it. We challenged ourselves to leave our comfort zone of building what we can easily do — UI for AR VR — the truth is that the market is simply not there. Instead, we decided to tackle the first two problems first.

  1. Most, if not all, of the business verticals where AR VR adds value are occupied with various solutions, coming from small to large companies.
  2. Our company builds horizontal solutions that fit multiple business verticals — our ultimate goal is to build a horizontal solution as well.
  3. Just a use case on a Power Point presentation wouldn’t suffice, the technology needs to be experienced. Thus, a working application should be demonstrated, instead of text and images.

Top Values of AR VR for Business

When we talk about “Technology Value”, we relate to:

Immersive experiences through Stereoscopic 3D

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Image source: Futurism

Natural interactions with digital content

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Image source: VR Focus

Truly social multi-people interaction and collaboration

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Image source: Road to VR

Data Visualization

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A screen from our Sales Dashboard application with 2 people in the same experience
  • Using human-natural interactions like moving charts all around the place, zooming in-and-out, walking through the data and seeing it from different angles, improves readability and understanding of data multiple times.
  • Presenting data to other people in VR takes full advantage of the social-like collaboration experiences and contributes significantly to the collective understanding of data.

VR or AR?

After we defined our path and strategy, we needed to choose the right device that is suitable for displaying data visualizations in the most optimal way in terms of image quality, field of view and price.

  • Stand-alone. Pitching a use case that requires tethering machine would be less appealing than a stand-alone device that one may carry anywhere on the planet.
  • Affordable price. One of the barriers for businesses to embrace the technology is the investment needed. We defined a price tag of a maximum $800.

Where is AR Today

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24 Feb 2019 — HoloLens 2 was just announced. Image Source: Digital Trends
  • Full hand and eye tracking for natural interactions
  • Perfect balance for long hours of comfortable hands free work
  • Pumped up with field worker productivity software
  • Azure software sharing HoloLens, iOS and Android experiences
  • Enterprise oriented

Where is VR Today?

We have a stand-alone Oculus GO device with a price tag of $200, and we are expecting Oculus Quest any time soon: “Coming in 2019. Starting at $399”.

Oculus Quest will be at an affordable price and featuring excellent quality
  • Tracking with 6 DoF touch controllers for natural interactions
  • Shared arena-scale experiences
  • Excellent image quality

The Future of Data Visualization

Our vision about DataViz in VR in 2 minutes
  • Remote meetings will use the device in VR mode. These will share environments, avatars or video presence and will transfer micro-expressions. That would be a far better communication channel than 2D video conference calls. It will make people feel they are in the same room. And again, it will be capable to deliver report experiences far more richer than traditional 2D displays.
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HoloLens 1 DataViz — same room collaboration
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VR DataViz — virtual room remote collaboration

Wrap Up

We will take the VR Data Visualization path, aiming to help businesses find valuable use cases for AR VR and apply the technology successfully today. One of our long-term goals remains a comprehensive framework of reusable components and tools, but this will happen gradually, after the market picks up.

Visit https://www.telerik.com/ar-vr-lab

Thank you for reading this post! As usual — feedback is gladly accepted — please feel free to share it with us either on post’s comments or at our email:

vrlabs@telerik.com

Happy experimenting and we look forward to hearing from you.

Telerik AR VR

Stuff by developers from the Progress Telerik team, focused…

Georgi Atanasov

Written by

VR’s potential expands beyond gaming and entertainment. Its immersive nature can easily disrupt existing business processes. Learn more: https://www.vrlabs.tech

Telerik AR VR

Stuff by developers from the Progress Telerik team, focused on AR VR with Unity3D

Georgi Atanasov

Written by

VR’s potential expands beyond gaming and entertainment. Its immersive nature can easily disrupt existing business processes. Learn more: https://www.vrlabs.tech

Telerik AR VR

Stuff by developers from the Progress Telerik team, focused on AR VR with Unity3D

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