VRARA Partners with WeWork to Offer Co-Working Office Spaces to VR AR Companies Around the World

The VR/AR Association (VRARA) has partnered with WeWork to offer co-working office spaces to VR AR companies around the word. With over 40 chapters in major cities, and over 3800 companies registered (many of which are startups needing co-working office space), VRARA continues to provide value to its Members and the VR AR ecosystem. See all the benefits here.

We are excited to announce this partnership with WeWork and help our members, especially entrepreneurs and young startups. In addition to the working space, members will be able to connect with each other to find freelancers or companies, posting jobs and matching needs with skills within the same location but also around the world.
— Kris Kolo, Global Executive Director

Is it Feasible to Use VR in a Hospital?

By Brennan Spiegel, VRARA Co-Chair, Digital Health Committee

For decades, inpatient health care providers have recognized that patient management does not merely entail acute symptom management; hospitalized patients may also experience anxiety, uncertainty, and boredom exacerbated by a radical change in living environment and loss of customary rights and privileges. In order to care for the whole patient, hospitalists must consider not only the biological impact of illness, but also the psychosocial impact. However, the dynamic nature of hospital medicine, coupled with limited time to spend with individual patients, pose challenges to offering holistic inpatient care.

Recent advances in virtual reality (VR) technology offer a compelling opportunity to address inpatient biopsychosocial distress. VR devices provide immersive, realistic, three-dimensional experiences that “transport” users to novel environments. Thus, VR has potential to alleviate negative aspects of hospitalization by providing multisensory information and allowing patients to “escape” to pleasant locations and realities.

Improvements in software and hardware design, as well as associated cost reductions, have made VR promising for widespread use in health care. However, the practicality and qualitative experiences of using VR at scale in the general acute hospital setting has not been formally evaluated. Because the hospital environment poses unique challenges that outpatient clinics or rehabilitation units do not, it is important to understand the “real-world” practicality of using VR in hospitalized patients—this is a necessary first step before pursuing more extensive evaluation of VR on inpatient outcomes and resource utilization.

Thus, we assessed the eligibility, usability, and acceptability of VR equipment and software in a diverse cohort of hospitalized patients in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center: an urban, community-based, academic hospital in Los Angeles.

In our study, we found two overarching and somewhat contradictory results. First, we found that despite evaluating 510 inpatients for VR, only 30 (5.9%) were both eligible and willing to experience the technology. Strict application of exclusion criteria, including presence of motion sickness, stroke, seizure, dementia, nausea, and isolation status, rendered 82.9% of participants immediately ineligible. Of the remaining eligible patients, 66% refused to participate for a variety of reasons, including anxiety about the technology and high levels of illness severity. In short, despite seeking to apply VR to a cohort, only a small number of patients were ultimately able and willing to participate. Future research should evaluate patient knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about VR in the hospital, and enumerate specific reasons why some patients are unwilling to use VR.

Second, among participants, most patients found VR to be a positive and pleasant experience. Patients described how VR could ease anxiety, reduce pain through distraction, and provide an “escape” from the confines and boredom of the hospital room. These qualitative results were further supported by endorsement of most participants that they would use VR again if given the opportunity. Common reasons for enjoying the experience were distraction, immersion, being away from the hospital, doing something beyond their means or ability, and the novelty of the experience. In this manner, VR may support the unmet need for patients to virtually “escape” the hospital environment and achieve some degree of normalcy. 

Similar to other evolving digital technologies, we found that patients willing to try VR were significantly younger than those who refused. Older individuals can have more difficulty than younger individuals in adopting new technologies—a term described as the “digital divide” that results from variations in self-efficacy and confidence with technology. However, although older patients were more hesitant to participate in this VR study, they tended to be less critical of the technology than younger patients were, and most participants enjoyed the experience, independent of age. Based on this observation, encouraging older patients to use VR may offer benefits to some individuals even if there is initial hesitancy to use the technology.

Although most patients described benefits of using VR, there were important limitations identified as well. The goggles were frequently described as too heavy, hard to fit, uncomfortable, and difficult to focus. In addition, because the VR goggles were considered a medical device by our institutional review board, they required meticulous cleaning between patients, application of fresh liners for each use, and provision of a head cap to minimize infection risk. These technical shortcomings may limit the scalability of VR in the hospital and provide opportunities to improve the form factor of current devices. Optimally, a disposable device, such as Google Cardboard goggles or Homido clip-on goggles, could be used to minimize infection risk and logistical concerns, although the current disposable goggles do not yet provide the same immersive experience as higher-end sets.

The notion of a “Virtualist Consult Service” that offers tailored VR experiences for hospitalized patient is appealing. However, to realize this vision, several intermediate steps will be necessary. Based on our study, we believe that next steps should be to test different goggle sets and form factors, evaluate longer video experiences, offer VR directly through primary providers, and evaluate the impact of VR on both patient reported outcomes (eg, pain, satisfaction scores) and objective outcomes (eg, vital signs). If VR is shown to be pragmatic, scalable, and effective, then we should evaluate its cost-effectiveness and budget impact by monitoring resource utilization (eg, pain medication), length of stay, and readmissions. Our group at Cedars-Sinai is undertaking this research now and will report more results as they become available.

You can read the full open-access paper, published in JMIR Mental Health, at this site

VR/AR Opportunity Spotting is All About Knowledge

AR and VR are poised to become the next transformational platform shifts, reaching nearly all aspects of our lives and work. And that vision holds business opportunities accross several verticals -- everything from gaming to retail.

But the opportunity is counterbalanced by substantial challenges, such as detecting the right gaps in the value chain. As always, it's a matter of optimal timing and go-to-market execution. And that process is all about being empowered through a knowledge position.

Against that backdrop, we announce ARtillry Insights, a research and intelligence subscription. Through a partnership with the SF-based Intelligence firm ARtillry, we'll deliver a monthly package consisting of original and curated intelligence. 

Its main goal: to equip subscribers in AR and VR sectors -- or those entering from other industries -- to make informed business decisions. To find out more, see sample work or subscribe, go to the ARtillry Insights main page, or contact us.

VRARA Members receive a subscription discount.

Transforming Digital & Marketing Agencies with VR and AR | Q&A Series #3 featuring Pound&Grain

This is the third feature in the series showcasing Vancouver digital and marketing agencies (non-traditional VR/AR companies) 

Our own Laura Ryu (Marketing and Communications Manager at VRARA Vancouver) sat down with Michelle Knight of Pound&Grain based in Vancouver. They've worked with a number of clients on their interactive digital and brand strategy including SAP, Arc'Teryx and Lululemon.

Tell us about your agency & what you've been working on.

At Pound & Grain we work hard to add value to the brand by creating something useful for the user. We found creating a VR experience is an all-round win. It’s a tool with immersive qualities that are unparalleled. We’ve used VR as a demo tool for SAP and to show off CFL’s new Adidas gear. We also love the odd passion project.

Tell us about a VR or AR campaign that you've enjoyed or were inspired by.

We are huge horror fans (sisters), but when it comes to VR storytelling we first fell in love with loVR. Who knew a data led love story could be so beautiful? It was the game changer for us, or as some would say our ‘Jesus moment.’ That being said, cowzVR is a pretty fun and an incredibly random experience.

We are starting to see competition build up in advertising, especially with big players such as Saatchi & Saatchi building on-site VR labs. What are your thoughts on competition and what do you think will set apart the strong agencies from the rest?

We’re in such an exciting time right now! For us, a VR experience should only be created if it makes sense for our client and the concept is VR first. Today, like any new platform, there are gimmicky experiences that don’t add as much value. The difference between the ‘strong’ and the ‘weak’ VR agencies will come down to content and of course context.

How do you think the structure of agencies and its landscape will change in the next 5 years given anticipated rapid growth in VR/AR technology?

There will be an AR team and a VR team and the two technologies will exist independently of each other, with the odd overlap during integrated campaigns. It will also become a more specialized and integrated role throughout the agency at a deeper level. We hope AR will become a tool people rely on to get from A-B, to cook, to shop etc. While VR will allow the user to escape into a new role – hopefully interacting at a greater level with the possible addition of haptic responses and more attention to sound.

What is currently your biggest challenge (or as the industry) in regards to integrating VR/AR?

Getting headsets onto faces is still a pill the smaller brands are battling to swallow.

We know that VR/AR will be disruptive in many different industries, how will this affect your company and clients?

VR will allow us to share our client’s emotional and intellectual being in a space of presence. AR will allow us to communicate and create ways that make brands more useful and integrate them into everyday life.

Why is it important for agencies to be onboard now and join the VR/AR Association?

VR is the coming together of many, many skills and mindsets. And we are all in a learning stage, we want to harness all failures and celebrate all successes together. This combined knowledge will allow us all to experiment and learn at a much greater pace.

What benefits do you see in being a member?

Collaboration and insight. We are part of two committees with professionals that are open to share and learn from each other. Being part of the VRARA means being part of an inclusive group of professionals playing with one of the most powerful storytelling tools that’s ever existed.

 
 

We'd like to thank Michelle Knight from Pound&Grain, please visit them at www.poundandgrain.com

Join the VRARA Marketing Committee and others, here

Augmented Reality is Growing Up

Disney, Crayola and student targeted AR Campaigns lead Augmented Reality growth in brand adoption. Disney Research just shared a walk up AR experience for its animations; using nothing more than a bench, cameras and a screen. ‘Magic Bench’ uses depth and RGB color sensors of a Kinect to create a scene in which 3-D animated characters ‘interact’ and sit on the bench with users. The Disney team is able to modify the 3-D construction to 2-D and use that as a ‘flat’ backdrop. The entire experience runs on a game engine. But what is exciting is that multiple people can sit on the bench and see the animations on the screen at once for a fun Disney moment. If you're interested in AR for brands, join our Marketing Industry Committee

Likewise, Crayola partnered with DAQRI to bring coloring books to life. The user (kids) colors and customizes the character, and then uses a smartphone or tablet camera to hover over the page using the Crayola Color Alive App to animate the characters on the page. Originally released in early 2015, Color Alive (2.0) now has 8 new versions that were released in 2016; including Disney’s popular Frozen. If you're interested in AR and Publishing, Books, and Media, join our Committee on this topic here! 

Finally, teens and students alike are engaging with AR via targeted AR advertising campaigns. The English Brand, New Look, with over 700 stores in the UK, Europe and Asia; launched an AR Campaign in the UAE. The brand hired Engine Creative, to create an experience which enabled students to scan their New Look Student Card and reveal special offers and ‘create their own look’ by overlaying New Look products using their phones. For Brand engagement, users spent an average of 6 minutes 53 seconds inside the app and had over 10,000 interactions in one month. And icing on the cake, the entire experience was integrated for social sharing and contextual metrics for the brand. If you're interested in Advertising, join our Committee on this topic here! 

With Apple's ARKit, expect to see more of AR experiences in traditional/existing apps, as well as new apps centered completely around experiences enabled with AR. 

380M iPhones are ARKit-ready

This article originally appeared in Upload by VRARA SF's Mike Boland. It highlights data that is available through VRARA's new research subscription. More information can be found here

We’ve all heard the story: Apple’s ARKit will accelerate augmented reality’s market penetration by creating the world’s biggest developer platform overnight. The premise is based on the platform’s software-centric approach that makes it compatible with a whole lot of existing iPhones.

But how many is it? We’ve heard “tens of millions,” “hundreds of millions,” and of course “a crap ton.” So to ease the suspense, we at ARtillry did the math. The verdict: there are 381M ARKit-compatible iPhones active today, 505M projected by the end of 2017 and about 850M by 2020 (chart below).

Not including iPads (more on that in a second), this is essentially the installed base of iPhones that have A9 or A10 chips. That translates to the iPhone 6s and 6s+, or greater. Taking into account its September 2015 launch and the 2.5 year replacement cycle for iPhones, number crunching ensued (more here).

But perhaps more interesting than the current snapshot is the future projection. As noted, we project about a half billion units by end of year, or 65 percent of total iPhones at the time.  This will be driven by holiday-quarter sales that tend to move 75M+ units, not to mention a shiny new AR-centric body.

By the end of 2018, replacement cycles will wipe out all but 48 million non-ARKit-compatible phones in active use. Moving toward 2020, almost all 850M iPhones we project as an installed base will be ARKit-compatible, considering a very small portion of (second-hand) active devices older than 4 years.

But the takeaway isn’t just AR-compatible devices’ share of the iPhone universe. It’s also the degree to which that universe itself will grow. Year-over-year iPhone sales have waned; an AR-packing unit could give it the sales resuscitation it needs (though a rumored $1k price point could temper this).

As for iPad, we project 32M ARKit-compatible units by the end of the year. The smaller total has a lot to do with components like processing and optics. AR apps on the iPad could also be narrower, based on range of motion and portability, but we’ll certainly see at least some bigger-screen use cases develop.

Market-sizing credentials can be seen here. 

Market-sizing credentials can be seen here

ARtillry INSIGHTS: Gain a VR/AR Knowledge Position

VRARA Members receive a subscription discount.

In any emerging area of technology, history has taught us that the name of the game is detecting openings for business opportunity and gaps in the value chain. And that process is all about being empowered through a knowledge position.

With that backdrop, we announce ARtillry Insights, a research and intelligence subscription. Through a partnership with San Francisco-based analyst firm ARtillry, it will deliver a monthly package consisting of original and curated intelligence (sample report below).

Its main goal: to equip subscribers in AR and VR sectors -- or those entering from other industries -- to make informed business decisions. To find out more or subscribe, click the button below or go to the ARtillry Insights main page.

Please also note that VRARA members get a signifigant discount on the subscription. Contact us with any questions, or to become a member. 

VRARA Top 10 VR Best Practices Report

To get your copy of this report, email info@thevrara.com

This report was created by the VRARA VR Stories & Audiences Committee. This Committee is creating best practices, guidelines, and call to actions (e.g., recommendations for standards) for VR experiences in order to grow the audience (user base) for VR. The Committee is a group of technologists, journalists, business leaders, entrepreneurs, visual artists, immersive sound technicians, and storytellers. 

This report is an effort to capture into one source the rapidly evolving knowledge about VR. The Committee seeks to present the hardware, the software and to dig into the specifics of the development and content production. The Committee sees this as an opportunity for practitioners and stakeholders to add their experience and knowledge. The Committee intends to update this material every six months.

Monetizing VR is a critical question for which there is little data in understanding what will be primary drivers of revenue. Currently, tech and manufacturing companies are spending tens of millions of dollars on developing hardware and software. On the content side, marketing budgets have been an enormous source of funding for content development and production.

The industry has seen explosive growth in record breaking investments in the billions, the creation of multiple types of headsets, and a burgeoning start-up ecosystem that continues to push the boundaries of VR technology, platforms, and content. Once the mass adoption begins, that we expect, across multiple industries, we believe we will start experiencing VR as a societal norm. This will drive ROI up and subsequently fuel the industry to reach market shaping size.

Oath, a Verizon Company, become a Member of the VR/AR Association VRARA

This week, we are excited to announce Oath’s membership of the VRARA - a global industry association for Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality. 

By connecting cross vertical knowledge at a global scale, the VRARA helps members accelerate their go-to-market strategy. If you’re a brand or enterprise looking to deploy a VR or AR solution, there are now thousands of solution providers globally. The VRARA can help you learn from case studies and connect you with the best solution providers for your use case. 

David Murray, Head of Ad Creative Technology, EMEA, at Oath said: “Virtual & Augmented Reality technology provides an exciting opportunity for users, content creators & brands to create and experience the next generation of interactive content. The doors are being opened to truly immersive experiences that have the potential to shift how people consume content. At Oath, we want to lead the way. There are challenges ahead so it is important to work and help the wider industry to solve issues such as standardisation & scale. The VRARA will help us join the dots in the industry and we want to help drive towards this new frontier.”

Original post here

VR/AR Association New Zealand gets a Centre for Mixed Reality

Wellington’s virtual and mixed reality centre Projectr has officially opened with a launch event today in collaboration with MBIE.

Minister of Economic Development Simon Bridges opened the centre and released the latest New Zealand ICT Sector Report to an audience of over 160 private and public sector attendees.

Wellington City Council, foundation partners helping with the establishment of PROJECTR, see the centre as an opportunity to boost and combine the skills of our AR/VR talent in one location, enabling collaboration to increase technology and product development which can be exported to the world.

“Artificial Intelligence will drive tomorrow’s world” says Councillor Simon Marsh, Economic Development portfolio lead. “PROJECTR, is an opportunity to showcase Wellington’s creative ability on a global scale. Wellington is an intelligent city that brings innovative ideas to life and PROJECTR will drive innovation in the virtual and mixed reality space, adding to Wellington’s reputation as leader in digital enterprise. Wellington City Council are proud supporters of PROJECTR and innovation that encourages a collaborative working approach”

Victoria University of Wellington has also partnered with PROJECTR’s research and development lab to support R&D innovations. The first collaborative project, with help from Victoria researchers is underway and focuses on innovations in the health sector.

Vice-Provost (Research) Professor Kate McGrath says the university-business nexus is one that is critically important for Victoria as a global-civic university and New Zealand’s top-ranked university for research quality.

“Through this partnership, our staff and students have the opportunity to work alongside people with different skill bases and perspectives, apply their knowledge and expertise, and gain access to an extensive array of the latest commercial technology advances.

“This partnership also helps in enhancing New Zealand’s capacity and capability to support social and economic growth and change, particularly important in this heightened period of technological advancement and disruption as virtual, augmented and mixed realities become pervasive technologies.”

The ICT report shows that the computer services sector invested more in R&D than any other sector ($436m in 2016) and 34% of computer system design firms invest in R&D compared to an average of 9% across other sectors. Centre Executive Jessica Manins, who has brought the centre to life, said she is keen to see more companies investing in research to accelerate the rate of technological innovation and its associated economic benefits for New Zealand.

“R&D is at the heart of our centre and we’re encouraging as many companies to drop in, try out the latest technology and use our centre as a space for testing, playing and developing proof of concepts with our cities innovators”

Founding tenants at PROJECTR include leading AR/MR production studio Mixt, The New Zealand VR/AR Association, ShowHow VR training platform, Synty Studios, BeVR, Swibo, StaplesVR, Imersia and The New Zealand Game Developers Association.

“The New Zealand Game Developers Association is excited to partner with PROJECTR in Wellington as we see great opportunities for collaboration between game developers and the many industries exploring VR and AR,” says James Everett, Chairperson of the NZGDA, and PROJECTR mentor.

Co-working residents have access to mentors, shared work space and the ability to work on collaborative R&D projects within the centre making it a key point of difference from any other shared workspace. International mentors include the Head of VR at HTC Vive, Vinay Narayan, Partner Program Manager for Education at Microsoft, Dan Ayoub and local experts from Weta Workshop and Victoria University. Other key partners of the centre include Ernst and Young, Ricoh, AWS and Crestline.

PROJECTR has been set up on level 2 of the six-storey NEC House owned by The Wellington Company. Its newest tenant since a major refurbishment programme was undertaken on the high-profile Taranaki Street building, PROJECTR has benefited from significant support by The Wellington Company. 

Transforming Digital & Marketing Agencies with VR and AR | Q&A Series #2 featuring Domain 7

This is the second feature in the series showcasing Vancouver digital and marketing agencies (non-traditional VR/AR companies) 

Our own Laura Ryu (Marketing and Communications Manager at VRARA Vancouver) sat down with Kevan Gilbert, Director of Engagement Strategy of Domain 7 based in Vancouver. They've worked with a number of clients on their interactive digital strategy including Microsoft, Telus and UBC.


Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 2.21.40 PM.png

Tell us about your agency & what you've been working on.

Domain7! We've been working on using virtual reality as a way to inspire our partners to envision a more positive future. From in-studio demos to taking the technology to conferences, we see this as an opportunity to help people reduce their cynical barriers, and start dreaming together about the future we want to co-create. 

Tell us about a VR or AR campaign that you enjoyed or was inspired by. 

We're loving the demos coming from ARKit from Apple, including the portal-to-another-world demo: http://mobilesyrup.com/2017/06/30/new-video-of-apples-arkit-shows-off-interdimensional-portals/

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 2.30.10 PM.png

We are starting to see competition build up in advertising, especially with big players such as Saatchi & Saatchi building on-site VR labs. What are your thoughts on competition and what do you think will set apart the strong agencies from the rest? 

Rather than simply stealing attention or building on negative habits, the way our over-optimized 2D web has become, perhaps the work that will stand out in VR is work that answers this question well: "Does it help the human who is using it live the life they want to lead?" 

How do you think the structure of agencies and its landscape will change in the next 5 years given anticipated rapid growth in VR/AR technology?

I think it will remain important-as-ever to invest in healthy workplace cultures, since there will be more competition amongst agencies for smart technologists, designers, writers, creators, etc. How can we grow healthy workplaces that affirm human value even in this coming gold rush, where companies may become tempted to start taking shortcuts in hiring and culture.

 

What is currently your biggest challenge (or as the industry) in regards to integrating VR?

The chicken-and-egg-ness. What comes first: becoming an expert in the technology, or waiting for client demand? Since the technology doesn't have wide adoption in the user base, clients aren't necessarily asking for it. But in the meantime, they'll never ask if they don't see expertise and opportunity. 

We know that VR/AR will be disruptive in many different industries, how will this effect your company and your clients?

I'm curious to see how, in 10 years time, fully integrated VR/AR solutions have the opportunity to influence HOW we work, not necessarily what we work on. For instance, workspaces are very physical right now, because of the need for computer monitors, and the human desire for social proximity that has no other outlet. But if through VR/AR, the work isn't on your screen, how would we redesign the workplace? Similarly, if through VR/AR I can "feel" like I'm right beside my colleagues, even when I'm in my house, do we still need offices in the same way? And if a certain percent of the workforce can become not just "remote" workers, but "virtual" workers, how can this influence commuting, and thus, carbon emissions and air quality? (I'm not saying we'll all become hermits, but I do hope we ask ourselves more, "Why am I commuting, and is there another way?")

Why is it important for agencies to be onboard now and join the VR/AR Association?

To anticipate what's coming, to develop your imagination, and be part of a community of changemakers. 


 
 
earls-gallery-1b.jpg

We'd like to thank Kevan from Domain 7, please visit them at www.domain7.com

Join the VRARA Marketing Committee and others, here

Introducing ARtillry INSIGHTS: Gain a VR/AR Knowledge Position

VRARA Members receive a subscription discount.

In any emerging area of technology, history has taught us that the name of the game is detecting openings for business opportunity and gaps in the value chain. And that process is all about being empowered through a knowledge position.

With that backdrop, we announce ARtillry Insights, a research and intelligence subscription. Through a partnership with San Francisco-based analyst firm ARtillry, it will deliver a monthly package consisting of original and curated intelligence (sample report below).

Its main goal: to equip subscribers in AR and VR sectors -- or those entering from other industries -- to make informed business decisions. To find out more or subscribe, click the button below or go to the ARtillry Insights main page.

Please also note that VRARA members get a signifigant discount on the subscription. Contact us with any questions, or to become a member. 

Stanford Medicine VR Conference on Virtual and Augmented Reality and Behavior Change

image001 (1).png

Stanford, October 6-7, 2017
 

Please join Stanford's conference and interact with all stakeholders in this VR/AR and behavioral change space, including psychiatrists, psychologists, behavioral scientists, neuroscientists, engineers, developers, designers, entrepreneurs, etc.  We will explore the application of immersive technologies for treating and researching addictions, ADHD, anxiety, PTSD, psychosis, pain, depression, psychosomatic illness and more. In addition to lectures with time for questions and answers, the conference will feature a “shark-tank” style innovation lab, demonstrations, and scientific posters.

For information and to register visit here

Call for VR Poster Abstracts (due August 1, 2017) and Brainstorm VR Innovation Lab Entries (due September 1, 2017) at our VR conference.

Instructions available here

Speakers (subject to change):  Jeremy Bailenson, Walter Greenleaf, Giuseppe Riva, “Skip” Rizzo, Pat Bordnick, JoAnn Difede, Diane Gromala, Hunter Hoffman, David Thomas, Jacob Balon, Kim Bullock, Tom Caruso, Anne Dubin, Kate Hardy, Hadi Hosseini, Alan Louie, Sean Mackey, Laura Roberts, Sam Rodriguez, Nina Vasan, Leanne Williams, and others.

Walmart’s Store No 8: Call for all VR Developers Who Want to Shape the Future of Commerce

innov8 V Commerce event.png

Walmart’s Store No 8, Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global and Accenture have announced Innov8: V-Commerce, an open invitation to the virtual reality community to submit ideas that have the potential to shape the way we shop and live. 

The program invites companies and individuals from around the world that are developing disruptive technologies and experiences that could help shape the future of commerce in virtual reality. A variety of applicants in the virtual reality ecosystem are welcome to apply to the open invitation. Technology and content companies can apply with current offerings or pitch a new product or concept.

Interested companies or individuals contact us.

Finalists will present winning concepts at an invite-only gala in Los Angeles in October.

Virtual Reality in Healthcare

By Vanessa Radd, Singapore Chapter President

Virtual reality has most often been associated with gaming while other sectors such as healthcare and education where VR can play a major role, has been overlooked.

In our recent VR in Healthcare session with Samsung, the XR Alliance and VR AR Association shared VRARA's findings from the latter's Digital Healthcare Committee in the U.S.A.

Understandably, funding is ranked as the top challenge.

In the next group of challenges, workflows of clinical organizations are cited - they need to change and adapt. Circumventing through organizational challenges to implement a new workflow for VR is a major barrier. Of course, the lack of VR/AR knowledge and VR/AR research is where we are at now. And the lack of data and research for VR in the APAC markets is even more so stark.

Each region would have different cultural barriers in terms of acceptance of new technology. Something to bear in mind when implementing new tech in new markets.

Use cases

MindMaze uses VR and AR to treat Parkinsons patients, amputees and stroke victims. Their VR solutions seek to help these patients to train their brain to stimulate limb movements.

Applied VR embarked on a VR trial that looks into alleviating pain management via interactive games and relaxing landscapes in 150 clinical organizations.

Cambridge University's research lab is working on rendering 3D VR treatment for cancer. With VR, they are able to study cancer tumors in 3D to come up with better treatments.

Birmingham University's VR research team, led by Bob Stone (a founding member of the XR Alliance), is looking into the use of VR for restorative therapy and, more recently, for lower limb rehabilitation and lung/diaphragm recovery support for patients in intensive care.  

In Singapore, Side Effects Asia Pacific Pte Ltd is working on VR technology systems for advanced clinical training. It simulates medical emergency scenarios in 3D to train medical students in highly stressful, decision-making scenarios.

Other examples of VR for healthcare are treating PTSD patients, ticking off bucket lists(!), pain alleviation while in the dentist chair...we are in an experimental age indeed.

We continue the discussion and maintain these questions as we work with industry players and partners.

  • How can healthcare leap into VR?
  • How can the company's technology be integrated into and optimized for clinical workflows?

Special thanks to Funan our event partner. Follow FunanSG on Facebook and Instagram.

Transforming Digital & Marketing Agencies with VR and AR | Q&A Series with Intergalactic

This series will feature Vancouver digital and marketing agencies (non-traditional VR/AR companies) 

Our own Laura Ryu (Marketing and Communications Manager at VRARA Vancouver) sat down with Michael Farquhar, Managing Partner of Intergalactic based in Vancouver and London. They've worked with a number of clients on their interactive digital strategy including SXSW, HP and Sundance Film Festival. 

IMG_7582.JPG

Tell us about your agency & what you've been working on.

Intergalactic is a creative technology agency that specializes in the creation of amazing interactive experiences. We’re this unique blend of creative folks and business edge, a culture that we created on purpose with the goal of creating solutions that are both inspired and effective.

We’ve been busy! We have a number of projects on the go at any time in both our Vancouver and London (UK) offices. Right now in Vancouver we’re using Apple’s ARKit to develop an AR app that provides a 1000m view of a new mountainside community. You feel like you are looking down from Olympus through the clouds at the future of this development. Computer vision reads a physical topographical model of the mountain and then we display virtual renderings of the community, lifestyle, trails, transit, and amenities. This is combined with beautiful 360 photos of the entire area and interactive points of interest; It's a great way for our client to help convey the scale and quality of their development while embracing and respecting its surroundings.

Our London office is busy building a 3D retailing visualizer to help their global retail client plan the layout of their stores and associated merchandise. When the project is complete our client will be able to switch between 2D views to full 3D VR views of their stores with all their next season merchandise laid out according to their merchandising rules. These visualisations will then push critical product information into their ordering system to trigger the fulfillment of clothing and accessories through the supply chain.

In the UK, We also have a strategic partnership with Aisle411, who’s indoor mapping and production search technology is used in over 15000 locations. Aisle411 are working closely with Google’s Tango team to leverage AR in the retail environment. Of course we still have other web and mobile projects on the go for clients such as Cisco, Microsoft and BC Liquor.

VR_BIG_960_472_V2.jpg

Tell us about a VR campaign that you enjoyed or was inspired by.

There are quite a few and more coming out everyday and each is genre expanding. We actually have a dedicated internal Slack channel just to keep up on what’s new. However, one we’d mention is the Beyond Mars Experience Schoolbus by Lockheed Martin (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X5JTb_7qv78) - I like that this is a shared experience designed to inspire.

Some other mentions: Walking on Mars (hey we’re called Intergalactic so you may see a theme) - https://youtu.be/e76uBfWxD74; Haagen-Daz’s Honeybee VR Experience which combines brand, social consciousness and amazing cinematography. From a CG excellence and technological progress standpoint using real time rendering - The Better Days https://youtu.be/JThuL6Aq1Qg and from an art perspective - Microsoft’s Raven Mask using Hololens http://www.booooooom.com/2017/07/14/transformation-mask/.

We are starting to see competition build up in advertising, especially with big players such as Saatchi & Saatchi building on-site VR labs. What are your thoughts on competition and what do you think will set apart the strong agencies from the rest?

It's funny, I just finished a round of informal reviews within the Vancouver team and asked everyone the same question. We are in many ways a young organization and everyone sort of embraces competition. We look at it as a way to learn from others in the field and see how we can take ideas in new directions and use them to deliver more value. I don’t see the big agencies cornering the market on any of these technologies. In fact VR technology itself is very accessible and a great leveler; the best will be determined by what they create, not their head count. Of course some clients will play it safe and go with bigger multinational agencies, but what they don’t always know is that those same companies approach companies like Intergalactic to ideate and create the end experience. This is something we’ve been hired to help with on more than one occasion.

How do you think the structure of agencies and its landscape will change in the next 5 years given anticipated rapid growth in VR/AR technology?

I believe we will start to see roles expand or additional roles appear within agencies as they deal with 3D interface design. Up until now we’ve focused on good 2D design, now we will need to think in the third dimension and how information can be overlayed to convey priority. I also think everything will be tried through the lens of VR, which will need to be tempered by the need to make things of value, either functionally or aesthetically. As always, agencies that get this and find ways to reach broad audiences will do well.

What is currently your biggest challenge (or as the industry) in regards to integrating VR/AR?

The biggest challenge is finding ways to create multi person experiences that are truly immersive. We all know how important social is in the technology realm so we focus on using ubiquitous devices such as smart phones or enclosed environments to help us deal with shared social VR experiences.

We know that VR/AR will be disruptive in many different industries, how will this affect your company and your clients?

The bar keeps getting raised in terms of experiences. Our clients already acknowledge this truth and have been very keen to embrace VR/AR. As a result we’re seeing a lot of our very marketing conscious sectors such as Events, Retail and Real Estate be very open to our proposals. Interestingly enough, it isn’t just for the novelty, but seems to be for the long term as there is recognition that VR/AR present more complete ways to experience products and remove barriers to a sale. For Entertainment oriented clients and other Agencies we were already there and everyone we speak to just seems to be glad that the technology is catching up with our imaginations.

 
 

Why is it important for agencies to be onboard now and join the VR/AR Association?

Easy, so you don’t get left behind. Things are evolving so quickly, it’s nice to have a way to keep up to date that doesn’t require you to do all the research first hand - no one has time for that.

What benefits do you see in being a member?

Simply, visibility, information and analysis. We want to keep our mind share for our clients, be inspired and share what we’ve learned.

We'd like to thank Michael from Intergalactic for participating and you can check them out at www.intergalactic.com

VRARA & Cisco Execs: VR and AR are Changing Retail

NEW YORK — Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are already being used by retailers to enhance customer experience and those dealers that aren’t taking advantage of these nascent technologies yet should seriously consider jumping on the bandwagon, according to Cisco executives.

Some retailers don’t allow their store sales associates to use email or tablets, or even go online to check inventory, Amit Chetal, digital solutions lead at Cisco, said during an VR/AR panel discussion at the CE Week conference July 13. He classified that as a mistake. It’s important for retailers to instead “empower” their store associates by allowing them to make use of AR, VR and other technologies, and “get rid of that legacy thinking” that may be standing in the way of companies evolving and remaining competitive, he said.

By empowering store associates with all the new technological tools available, they will be able to better serve their customers and retailers will also be able to cut down on associate turnover, Chetal said. At the same time, “security is paramount” with whatever technologies companies decide to take advantage of, so that must be factored into their plans, he said.

It’s imperative for retailers to harness new digital technologies, even if they think that something like the mobile game “Pokemon Go” – which some retailers were able to capitalize on — will be just a short-term fad, Kathryn Howe, director of Retail Industry Digital Transformation-Americas at Cisco, said. It’s important for companies to “look at the disruption” to their businesses and not necessarily just “the disruptor,” she said. Retailers that were able to harness the popularity of “Pokemon Go” quickly did so because they “were ready” and “had security in place,” as well as Wi-Fi.

VR and AR represent the “fourth major computing platform,” following PCs, the Internet and mobile devices, Nathan Pettyjohn, founder of the VR/AR Association, said. He recommended that retailers “harness” these and other new technologies to their advantage because “it’s really easy to leverage what’s out there right now.” If they don’t do it now, he warned, “you’ll be left behind.”

Pettyjohn pointed to retailers including Lowe’s and Tommy Hilfiger that have already set up VR headset stations at their stores where consumers, in those two respective cases, can use the technology to see what a new kitchen will look like or feel like they’re at a fashion event where new clothes were unveiled.

Although Google Glass failed, “the technology is getting there” for more successful AR glasses and eventually there is “going to be a very elegant pair of glasses” that are probably, at least initially, going to be powered by our smartphones and that we “won’t look ridiculous” wearing, Pettyjohn said.

Store associates will be able to use those glasses to provide extra information about the products they are selling, he said. He also predicted we’ll “all have AR glasses on” in 5-10 years, and those glasses will “be able to detect millions of data points every second” as shoppers walk through stores, allowing them to receive product recommendations.

Tony Scherba, CEO and founder of San Francisco design and application development company Yeti, also urged retailers to “embrace change.” He stressed that this change “doesn’t have to be a dramatic change and can be a “step-by-step process.”

VR was also touched on later in the day at the conference, during a session called “Get in the eSports Game,” where executives at Intel, distributor/wholesaler Ingram Micro and computer maker Micro-Star International (MSI) focused on the soaring popularity of eSports, but also pointed to the increasing popularity of VR.

“ESports has exceeded every projection” and “continues to grow,” Barry Heller, client platform specialist at Intel, said, noting that his company continues to heavily invest in eSports. In addition to sponsoring eSports competitions, Intel is “continually coming out with new technologies to really take advantage in this space,” he said, pointing to his company’s powerful new processors.

He predicted that “we’ll start to see a tipping point maybe within the next five to 10 years,” in which everybody knows about eSports and the competitors become household names. “It truly is a worldwide phenomenon” that is popular among males and females, he said.

Half a billion viewers will be watching eSports competitions live within the next three years, he predicted. Intel is also investing in VR, he said, predicting that technology will be a major factor in the gaming space as well.

Original post here