Wanting to preview upcoming VR and AR experiences, Douglas and I were delighted to attend Consumer VR earlier this May 2017. We wanted to see the current state of trends that would affect many aspects of our lives – whether at work, at school or play.
Panels & Speaker Highlights
What’s VR, AR, MR, and XR?
As this technology is still cutting edge for many industries, at this point in time there are different definitions depending on application. From listening to several panels, the common explanation for VR (Virtual Reality) is where the viewer can be transported and immersed in another time and space. For AR (Augmented Reality), think of Pokemon Go or other applications that rely on the user to provide data like location, then an application would project or respond with data. MR and XR are known as “Mixed” disciplines, where aspects of VR and AR technologies and applications are blended together.
Keynote: HTC Vive with Vinay Narayan
When HTC Vive closed out Industry Day with their keynote, overall the message was to remind everyone that immersive experiences drive value. The higher the immersion, the higher value the business or brand will gain.
Relating to shopping in the future, Vinay shared a car dealership example. The business issue that many car dealerships face is that it’s very challenging to have all of the models and colours available for all vehicles at one time on a showroom floor due to limited retail space. VR and AR could come into play by having the customer being able to customize the car they want virtually at the showroom, and have the car delivered from the warehouse the next day. With VR and AR, this technology can help businesses like car dealerships reduce their expenses in retail space and customers can have the ability to customize what they want on the spot.
Keynote: Media Monks with Kelly Kandle
In popular cities worldwide, especially in Metro Vancouver, the spaces that we live in are becoming smaller and smaller, so we are facing the challenge of living in a limited amount of space. As alternatives to physical gifts, trends are showing people are wanting to be part of more meaningful and thoughtful experiences.
Kelly shared a variety of case studies that showed how viewers or participants were deeply engaged and how they were impacted emotionally with VR/AR/XR experiences with certain brands.
- NBA VR
- Audi – Enter Sandbox VR Experience
- Disney – Dragon Spotting AR Game
- Intel – History Comes Alive AR Experience
Predicting the Future with the Spatial Computing Panel
Currently hardware and technology for VR is still emerging. As the industry is still in its infancy, everyone is hoping that best practices and standards will form to make immersive and memorable experiences accessible to many.
For many brands, one of the many challenges of providing remarkable experiences with VR is not being able to rely on a main platform to share content.
Though this is the case, the brand panel shared which brand experiences using AR / VR Technology that they admired:
- Häagen-Dazs: The Extraordinary Honeybee
- Disney Movies VR
- Marriott In-Room VR Experience
- Six Flags Superman Roller Coaster 360 VR
- First VR wish ever granted by the Make a Wish Foundation – Flying to Saturn on a Red Rocket
Favourite VR Demos
HTC Vive VRSportsPong and Knockout League
Douglas and I tried out HTC’s latest VR Games VRSportsPong and Knockout League. He did really well at Ping Pong where I sweated like crazy playing both games. Douglas was surprised how much I was into the “Punch Out” like VR game, swerving back and forth trying to duck my opponent. When I play Knockout League next time, I’m going to make sure I stretch because the next day I was pretty sore from being so out of shape. Not only was the game fun, but it was also physically challenging if you get into it.
Virgin Galactic and Space X are both working on providing space travel tours in the near future. However, both of these trips require intense training and an investment upwards of $100,000 per traveler. For those looking to experience space without the hefty upfront costs and training time (and I personally tend to get motion sick easily), there’s a new virtual reality game to immerse players in the journey of becoming an astronaut.
Earthlight is also working with NASA developing an advanced version to train their astronauts. At Consumer VR, we experienced the simplified demo, where we climbed outside along a space centre that hovered above Earth.
I was feeling a little light-headed from some of the VR demos, so Douglas tried his hand at Secret Location’s newest VR game, Blasters of the Universe VR Bullet Hell. With extra sensors in his hands, he took a journey to the future to shoot like crazy.
Perspective Films – Canucks VR and Travel VR
For the big Canucks fan in your life, you can provide an immersive, behind-the-scenes encounter through the Vancouver Canucks VR / 360˚ Experience. Initially this was released to their season ticket holders and now it’s available online to view through your own headset anywhere.
For those who love to travel, Perspective Films also has another virtual reality series called VR Wonders of the World. Viewers can be whisked away to Yellowknife to experience the magic of the Northern Lights while in the comfort of their homes without facing the icy cold or off to explore the Grand Canyon without enduring the hot weather.
As the use of VR/AR/XR is emerging across industries and across aspects of our lives, there are many choices to choose from in order to surprise loved ones with personalized and unique experiences.
Thanks again to all the companies featured at Consumer VR 2017 for a wonderful experience.