After a busy several days at the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) Conference, I’ve had time to digest the many insights surrounding countless demos, product launches, speakers, and discussions.
The three day event circled around the world of VR and its future. Just like everyone else, I was excited to be at the conference. Starting with the 1 min pitch session, presenters shouted from the audience urging attendees to come to their booth to see their latest product launch. After this, keynote sessions began.
A few insights from the day are below.
Key note Speaker Series:
Road to VR: Ben Lang spoke passionately says that he feels the approach in VR of customizing the character is not highly recognized, but believes once the concept is adapted it will open new audience circle for VR goods.
Ben also expressed his interest in seeing more multimedia expression games which are still in development but have a long way to go. He wants to see VR as not a subset of gaming but the other way round.
Nvidia GM-Zvi Greenstein Talked about the CPU speed and their excited journey in VR. He talked about VRWorks SLI , a multi-resolution shading context priorities and direct mode. Zvi explained the benefits of these features and how developers can use these tools to enhance the end-user experience. The company’s vision is based on changing the core belief of what can be achieved by a semiconductor firm and its emerging technology.
AltSpaceVR CEO- Eric Romo announced the launch of VR call app for Android. He stated that communication is higher than gaming and the change in Internet has led to larger comminution structure. Eric added by saying, VR will lead to higher communication between friends and family. VR call will allow friends and family to meet virtually on their social platform for conversation, giving a closer feel virtually. While it is important to address friends & family Eric also believes there is a gap in communication among co-workers and the gap has not been addressed well. People were using VR call app to create a room in AltspaceVR for a meeting and paste it into slack, this led the idea of integrating VR call with Slack for working colleagues
Space VR CEO-Rian Homes proudly displayed their first product (Overview 1)
and talked about how they will be changing the experience in space. The pilot run on NASA has been executed. Rian went on to say that lack of prospective in space led to Space VR’s innovation. He also announced that Space VR has launched its first telepresence in Space and looks forward to enhancing the product for future projects of NASA
Nokia’s Head of Sales- Stuart English – announced the launch of OZO a camera with two lenses. Stuart also mentioned that the value for VR is all about total immersion and trust in experience. The two lenses will give clear perception and help reduce the head rotation (which is the current style) to get the full immersive experience.
High Fidelity CEO- Philip Rosedale, feels VR is also going to be disruptive and that Shared VR will be the next big step
CONCLUSION: The speaker sessions finished with the most talked about product that revolutionized the world of VR, Oculus.
Oculus CEO Palmer Luckey talked briefly about his journey with Oculus and what they enjoy the most – gaming! Palmer did not disclose much about the company’s future plans but was excited that the headsets were getting shipped this week.
DEMO FLOOR: The booth floor was packed with people waiting for an immersive experience demo and the companies were excited to showcase their new products. All of the companies I spoke to said there is a belief that VR is still evolving as an accepted theory and it was important that we wait and watch to see what the big companies will do.
By lunch we finished all the speaker sessions and I headed to the panels. These sessions ran all afternoon covering multiple topics like funding, ethics, storytelling, healthcare, podcasts, gaming world and so on. Here are the glimpse of a few that I attended:
Funding in Asia for VR: The panel focused on China, Japan, and the South Korean markets and the prospects for investment in the emerging technology of VR. Some key points the panel discussed were the long-term visions in Asia. The funding cycle has been estimated to be between approximately two and seven months. The panel also mentioned that aqua hires are on the rise and the suggestion is to wait and watch the big companies.
The Asia market is much bigger than the US market, and it is critical to understand the culture and structure to succeed in these countries. Having a local partner is key; this leads to smoother execution of operations.
Story Telling in VR: This panel was presented by Baobab and focused on traditional storytelling. The company believes that anything that can be done in reality can be replicated in VR. The concept of storytelling resonates with VR and should be done the traditional way. The presenter showed a bunny story and how the bunny’s eyes moved with the views eyes. One question that caught my attention was “Is VR an empathy engine?” And the answer was “it can be, but right now it is not there yet.”
Considering VR to be an empathy engine while the world is still mesmerized with the experience is forward looking indeed.
Biometrics in VR: is a different concept, while most of the companies are focusing on gaming and the immersive experience to make it more real, Cubical Ninja focuses on the immersive experience while still keeping the health of the individual in mind. The company believes that an individual’s heart rate varies based on the location they are placed. The demo consisted a 15-minute meditation state to monitor the fluctuations in the heart rate.
The data presented showed that increased meditation leads to a calmer heart rate and mindful thinking. Cubicles Ninja, plans on capturing the data and presenting it to the doctors to support them with patient analysis. They will be going into clinical trials in two weeks.
The CEO Josh said that the data, once collected, will be analyzed by medical centers. The centers will help people with heart rate monitoring. He said he was aware of FDA hurdles, but with the clinical trials and collaboration with doctors, they plan on achieving the approval of the FDA because the medical science sector has shown growing interest in adapting VR to their analysis.
Ethical content Creation: The panel discussed on the importance of creating ethical content and how ignoring the key factor of ethics can lead to misrepresentation of the use of technology.
From the conference it was evident that VR will go beyond gaming and will change the way people perceive VR. While VR takes a high stand, AR and AI are not far behind from catching up. It is just a matter of time before we start seeing serious blends between different technologies. I am starting a series of interviews with some of the prominent makers and shakers in AR, VR, and AI, we will be airing them soon.
While race to place is on, people are reliving the experience of VR and are looking forward towards their first headsets.