VR & AR in Retail - Examples of Use Cases & Solutions

VR experts Spinview follow the mantra 'don't do VR for VR's sake' and focus on providing great business results for retailers looking to transform the consumer experience. Their in-situ environments and cutting-edge eye-tracking research gives deep analysis in a cost-effective way that has already won awards. 

‘Our VR and AR technology uses visual insights to enable brands to understand how their customers make decisions and how to influence them.  We drive results that are both more accurate and cost-effective than real-world research - and we are really only at the start of the journey.’
— Linda Wade, CEO, Spinview

Co-Authors: Kris Kolo, Nathan Pettyjohn, Jordan Bloomingdale, Barry Hoffman, Danny Gordon, John Wright


IKEA application developed by TakeLeap 


Participate in our Retail Committee

Retail is making shopping and buying easier and more fun again. For some shoppers and products alike, the full product view is really needed. Below are examples of what our Members are up to. 

For the in-store experience, retailers can now leverage InContext Solutions VR simulations that let executives test store campaigns and displays with analysis and feedback from the program. This could be a game changer for high volume stores, potentially making every customer a conversion.  In one example, the results showed improved KPIs: 7% increase in category sales 14% increase in private label sales; 5% increase in units per buyer; Customer ROI: $920K in incremental sales and $275K in category margin for the retailer.

In another InContext example, by referencing the sales and shopper impact data collected from Indicators, the executive team made a speedy decision about which signage strategy would meet their goals. The results showed Units per buyer and sales for key center of store categories increased within the first 12 weeks following the signage campaign implementation. Over time, the client attributed a Y1 topline increase of $1m to this campaign.

On the product side, Aisle411 3D product cloud enables 3D scanning of consumer products tailored with brand information for the full turnkey needs of a product. The 3D Product Cloud system reduces the time of creating 3D models by an average of 65-70%.  Brands can easily give access to their 3D product models to app developer partners, marketing agency partners, and retail partners;  for use in VR/AR commerce apps and websites. 90% of users prefer augmented reality navigation and experiences over 2D mobile app experiences.   

In another example of aislle level AR, Blue Visual Effects, have been working with the Good Neighbor Pharmacy Franchise to create a fully integrated augmented store package. This includes building deeper messages via AR in all in-store signage, having AR pharmacy hosts that direct consumers to specific departments within the store, co-branded Augmented products with shelf talker callouts and instant coupon delivery based on AR actuation.  

On the lighter side, Strata’s Nu Skin’s Lumi Spa app lets users use a facial massager via AR to see how the product would work. The goal of being to engage customers and provide some entertainment for social sharing.

For Audi, ZeroLight undertakes a range of projects using cutting edge display devices and techniques; it’s virtual reality experience allows users to walk around to explore the car, utilising the large "play area" of the HTC Vive. The user digitally interacts with a fully configurable 5 million polygon car with advanced lighting and effects at 90Hz with sub 20ms latency. Such high performance from the hardware is made possible by ZeroLight's highly optimised visualization solution and means a sickness-free experience for the customer.

With UrCommerce AR solution, users can view products in 3D from their mobile device. For example, they are working with the company ColorMods LLC ; using Augmented Reality to revamp their advertising initiatives, both in print and on their website. They are building out 3D models of the computers that they sell so that customers can visualize them on their phones or tablets. The company also creates posters that enable AR to showcase a product; and even allows users who like the product to purchase via in app link.

Rounding out the promising marriage between retail and AR is Auredi, an augmented reality dining platform, which combines both an in-restaurant and social experience for restaurants and patrons to utilize 3D models of dishes on mobile devices. The company has already signed up several Los Angeles restaurants in a private beta, with customers currently exploring and enjoying all the innovative features the platform offers.

See more use case and case studies here 

Participate in our Retail Committee

This Tuesday, attend our all-star online panel on Haptics in Location Based Entertainment Jan 23 3pm EST

The VR/AR Association LBE Committee is proud to present an all-star online panel on Haptics in Location Based Entertainment from 3PM-5PM EST Tuesday 23rd of January 2018. Attend for free by registering here  

The sensation of Touch, or Haptics, is being experimented with widely across LBE businesses to make the experience more real and memorable. By adding features like Haptics, users engage with content in new ways, transporting them deeper into levels of immersion unavailable to home users.

At first, haptic feedback was limited to vibrating chairs and floors, and then soon after, hand-held peripherals entered with plastic guns that recoil when fired and haptic sticks that react like lit torches or baseball bats when used. New entrants into the Haptic Market are going all in, with full-body haptic suits, promising realistic touch sensations from head-to-toe, no matter what virtual world you inhabit. New haptic capabilities are being implemented into the walls of LBE Arcades and Amusement Parks, such as ultrasound speakers that broadcast touch to bare skin; like surround sound, this approach offers a wide range of sensations, at a distance, without needing to wear or hold anything.

The LBE World is evolving quickly, with haptics being a reliable, powerful way to bring content to new levels. Each person uses touch, to validate that the objects we see are real; in virtual reality, haptics bridge and blend the virtual and real into a seamless, meaningful experience.

Please join the VRARA LBE Haptics Panel for a lively discussion with our Haptics experts:

  • Dimitri Mikhalchuk, CEO of Teslasuit, bringing a leading full-body tactile haptic suit with motion capture and climate control for virtual reality;

  • Robin Alter, VP Strategic Partnerships at Ultrahaptics, the company offering midair, haptics using ultrasound;

  • Martin Holly from Striker VR, which combines a revolutionary haptic engine, the Arena Infinity™), with VR Peripherals to deliver powerful and precise tactile feedback.

  • Stafford Michahial from Kaaya Tech which develops the HoloSuit, a Full Body Analytics Wearable Platform with motion tracking and other features for VR LBE worlds.

And moderated by Kevin Williams with KWP, a leading consultancy in the emergence of the new entertainment market and prolific writer including his own news service The Stinger Report

The VR/AR Global Summit to take place in Vancouver in Sept, hosted by the VR/AR Association

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Jan 16, 2018 -  Today the VR/AR Association (VRARA) announced their first annual Global Summit, to be held in Vancouver Canada in September 2018.  The VR/AR Global Summit brings together world leaders in the space of VR/AR/MR to discuss the present and future of immersive technologies.  

The VR/AR Global Summit will take place from Sept 21-22, 2018 at the newly launched Parq Vancouver, a casino and entertainment complex in Vancouver Canada.  The event will feature dynamic keynotes, industry tracks, workshops, creative hubs, demos, exhibits, breakouts and amazing VIP events.  It will showcase the best that the industry has to offer.

“The VR/AR Global Summit continues the mission of the VR/AR Association of facilitating growth, knowledge and connections across the globe, and across industry verticals for virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. The growing VRARA member base and thousands of registered companies have been asking for this type of interactive and innovative conference,” said Nathan Pettyjohn, Founder and President of the VR/AR Association.  

Vancouver is one of the most vibrant Chapters of the Association, and a hub for tech innovation; It’s the #1 Startup Ecosystem in Canada and #15 Startup Ecosystem Globally. With its strong history in film, gaming and VFX (it’s a #1 Global VFX & Animation Cluster), Vancouver's VR/AR/MR scene is on a trajectory to rival other world class tech hubs.  Vancouver boasts amazing talent in the VR/AR/MR space across the verticals. It’s the #2 Best City for Asia Pacific Business.

“VR/AR Global Summit is designed to bring together both industry leading solution providers as well as the brands and companies looking to deploy these types of technologies to improve and enhance their business. In addition to enterprise, we also have an exciting gaming and entertainment program at Global Summit“ says Kris Kolo, Global Executive Director, VRARA.

Vancouver is consistently voted as one of the world's Most Liveable cities, it’s rich with natural beauty, surrounded by ocean, mountains and rainforest.  It is easily accessible by flight - only 2.5 hours from San Francisco.

“Vancouver is a global hub for immersive technologies that boasts over 160 companies working directly in the VR/AR/MR space, plus is a dynamic part of Cascadia, that encompasses the Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland communities. I am very excited  to work with such an amazing organization as the VRARA to produce this event.  This will be the largest, and best show of its kind in Canada,” says Anne-Marie Enns, Executive Producer of the VR/AR Global Summit.

The VR/AR Global Summit fills an opportunity to continue the momentum of the CVR/Vu conference formerly held in Vancouver. “Archiact started CVR in 2016, and recently rebranded to Vu: Defy Reality. We had a big vision for CVR/Vu and we knew its mission was broader and grander than Archiact. Now the event has reached this point, and we are happy to hand it off to VRARA, who have renamed it VR/AR Global Summit. We know that the VRARA can take it to the next level, which is bringing together people who are passionate about VR & AR, and accelerating global adoption across many business sectors. Best of luck to the VR/AR Global Summit in 2018 and all the coming years!”, says Derek Chen, President of Archiact.

The VR/AR Global Summit will take place September 21-22, 2018 in Vancouver Canada.  

For press inquiries or for more information please visit the website at http://www.thevrara.com/vr-ar-global-summit  



Kris Kolo, Global Executive Director

VR/AR Global Summit
Anne-Marie Enns, Executive Producer

About the VR/AR Association (VRARA)

The VRARA is an international is an international organization designed to foster collaboration between innovative companies and people in the VR and AR ecosystem that accelerates growth, fosters research and education, helps develop industry standards, connects member organizations and promotes the services of member companies. VRARA has over 4,000 companies registered, over 50 chapters globally, and 20 industry committees.

TAG Talent Garden Partners with the VR/AR Association in Europe

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Dec 21, Milan Italy - TAG Talent Garden is excited to introduce a new partnership with VR/AR Association (VRARA) to offer VRARA members a dedicated 15% discount on TAG campuses throughout Europe. If interested, email info@thevrara.com

What is VR/AR Association?

The VR/AR Association (VRARA) is an international organization designed to foster collaboration between innovative companies and people in the virtual reality and augmented reality ecosystem that accelerates growth, fosters research and education, helps develop industry standards, connects member organizations and promotes the services of member companies. The VRARA has 4000 companies and 15000 professionals registered and over 50 global chapters, 20 of which are throughout Europe. VRARA’s programs are designed to help anyone accelerate their growth, knowledge, and connections.

Why Talent Garden

Talent Garden operates every day to create local, vibrant campuses that empower digital tech communities and connect them globally. Through its coworking spaces, its training programmes and a variety of different events, TAG helps the community of explorers and innovators to flourish and grow.

Dedicated to tech and digital professionals, our coworking spaces features a number of unique concepts designed to support innovation, including smart workspaces, “fab-labs”, relaxation areas, TAG Cafés, event spaces, meeting rooms and classrooms.

TAG Innovation School is an educational institute aimed at supporting individuals and businesses to grow and lead in an increasingly digital world. It offers a variety of courses, bootcamps, Masters Programmes and executive training programmes.

At Talent Garden we moreover organize a series of networking activities and events, ranging from  community meetups to corporate gatherings, with the common objective of promoting and celebrating innovation.

Learn more: talentgarden.org

Virtual Reality: The Next Generation Of Education, Learning and Training

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When people hear about virtual reality (VR), images of a person wearing a headset and holding a gaming console usually come to mind. However, for the education sector, VR is an opportunity to finally connect with both learners and teachers in a novel and meaningful way. For example, EON Reality collaborated with Oral Roberts University to create the Global Learning Center, a dedicated facility for augmented and virtual learning. 

As the global executive director of the global VR/AR Association, I've watched our 3,900-plus registered companies and our Education Committee and Training Committee work on best practices, guidelines and standards to accelerate the VR/AR industry for all, one committee in particular being devoted to education and training.

Today, VR can enable experiential learning by simulating real-world environments. Students can test their skills, record their work and interact with experts all within VR. Students have responded overwhelmingly positively to active learner engagement. A recent study shows that "93 percent of teachers say their students would be excited to use virtual reality and 83 percent say that virtual reality might help improve learning outcomes." This points to a universal trend as these students will soon enter universities and then the workforce, where job training scenarios will become the new classroom.

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For visual learners and individuals with learning challenges, VR provides an alternative medium to meet their needs. Likewise, educators see increased engagement levels and improved test scores across the board with VR education programs. Hands-on learning techniques like VR education directly contribute to increased cognitive memory.

The benefits of incorporating VR/AR tech into educational experiences include better, more immediate engagement and the opportunity for learners to "feel" the experiences and better remember and express what they learned. A student can experience what was not possible to experience before and become better prepared for when such experiences occur in the real world.

The basic functionality of VR in education is to bring learning to life via a virtual environment. The more a learner is able to participate in life-like engagement, the easier it is to personally feel a connection to the subject material, making it easier for application and retention of the subject matter.

The most popular trends in VR learning include enterprise and education. In enterprise, Walmart is using VR to help train its employees on topics like management and customer service. Soon, all 200 of the company's U.S. training centers will use VR instruction to educate the estimated 150,000 employees going through the program annually.

In education, there's Star Chart, an iOS and Android app with over 20 million users that brings the universe a little closer. Users learn about astronomy by pointing their phones to the sky at night and utilize other features to learn about planets and space discovery.

It’s important to pay attention to this trend and adopt VR solutions in your organization to educate employees in new and better ways and teach students with more engaging and effective tools. However, like many new technologies before it, awareness is the first barrier to entry followed by cost and content.

Many are still not aware of VR training solutions that are proving to be effective. At The VR/AR Association we are doing our part to promote the industry and help organizations locate the best VR solutions for their use case. Meanwhile, quality VR headsets come at around $399 (already down from $599 ore more just a few months ago). Cost is steadily declining our research points to $199 being the sweet spot price point for “mass adoption.” Finally, better content — specific for each use case — is needed and is being created for enterprise use cases and educational curriculums.

In 2018 we will see the costs decrease, better content emerge and more awareness spread, which will propel the VR/AR education market to high growth.

Ultimately, VR in education will revolutionize not only how people learn but how they interact with real-world applications of what they have been taught. Imagine medical students performing an operation or geography students really seeing where and what Kathmandu is. The world just opens up to a rich abundance of possibilities.


Checkout what our Storytelling Committee will Present during our Online Conference in Jan

Preview of what our Storytelling speakers will be presenting in January as part of our VR/AR Association Online Conference with 1000+ people attending and 50+ speakers. 

VR for Social Good - Davar Ardalan and Ben Kreimer, SecondMuse

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Presentation: From the United Nations, to the World Bank and the Australian Aid program, development agencies are among the first out of the gate that have been experimenting with immersive VR/AR technologies. The purpose has been to build empathy and educate local communities as they work to improve the challenging environments surrounding them. Veteran NPR News journalist Davar Ardalan of SecondMuse and storytelling technologist Ben Kreimer talk about ways emerging technologies can be accessed and leveraged by individuals in developing nations to inspire positive change, and help create bridges between otherwise disconnected human experiences.

Davar Ardalan is director of Storytelling and Engagement at SecondMuse with extensive expertise in social engagement and new technologies. In 2017, she designed and implemented an immersive storytelling project around healthy eating in Tonga and Fiji funded by the innovationXchange of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The pilots will launch in 2018 and are geared towards tackling malnutrition and bringing back pride to traditional diets via VR, gamification and the future integration of AI. As an award-winning journalist for over two decades at NPR News, Ardalan’s real-time storytelling campaigns cultivated thought leaders across platforms and reached millions on Twitter and Facebook. Ardalan is a contributor to HuffPost, co-chairs the Stories and Audiences Committee of the VR/AR Association, and has been recognized with a 2017 NASA Team Leadership award for Space Apps, a Gracie Award from the American Women in Radio and Television and a shout-out in the popular comic strip Zippy.

Ben Kreimer is a Storytelling Technologist specializing in storytelling with drones, virtual reality, 360o° video, 3D reconstructions, and open source hardware sensor platforms. Ben introduced 360o video to BuzzFeed as the first fellow in their San Francisco based Open Lab, a media R&D space. He is also an adviser for the Drone Journalism Lab and African skyCAM, and has worked with academic institutions and organizations including Columbia’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism, Times of India, CCTV Africa, the African Wildlife Foundation, M.S. University of Baroda, and Antiochia ad Cragum Archaeological Research Project in Turkey.

Branching Narratives in VR AR - Jeanne Kelly, A+E Networks

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Presentation: Jeanne will discuss branching narratives and how they might be leveraged in VR and AR to give the viewer a sense of agency within the story experience. Jeanne will make an appeal for the use of design strategies and tactics in narrative development and present on the importance of clarifying decision points to offer affordances within story experiences.

Jeanne Kelly is the Director of Product Design and Experience for A+E Networks’ TechLab. An award winning designer and creative executive, Jeanne is a passionate creative technologist and communicator with over 25 years experience in visual storytelling.


Cinematic VR Documentary - Michael Owen, MediaCombo

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Presentation: Michael Owen will discuss his firm, MediaCombo’s, recent AR and VR projects. These include an AR Tour for the Morgan Library and Museum in New York and a cinematic VR documentary about Lake Baikal in Siberia, the oldest, deepest, most voluminous body of liquid fresh water on earth.

Michael Owen is a principal at MediaCombo and producer of virtual and augmented reality experiences. Michael has been making documentaries, music videos, TV commercials and programs for digital platforms for over 30 years. Clients include the U.S. State Department, the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Google Expeditions, the American Museum of Natural History, Amnesty International, the Museum of Modern Art, Prudential, Pfizer among many other clients and agencies.

Using AR as a Communication Tool for Climate Change - Micah Taylor, University of Georgia

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Presentation: Micah Taylor, along with Brian Orland, professor of Geo-Design, and others from the University of Georgia are interested in using AR as part of a mobile application to communicate historical, cultural, and Environmental elements on the Coastal Georgia landscape to visitors and residents. AR will be used for visualizing largely unseen environmental effects of climate change based on historical and predicted data. This visualization is one component of a larger application that also provides narration to drivers and gathers feedback on what the individual 'values' in the landscape given the new information.

Micah Taylor is a first year PhD student at the University of Georgia's College of Environmental Design. His research interest are emerging technologies in environmental design and citizen engagement in planning. Past projects include using VR and AR for visualization of planning scenarios in Nashville, Tennessee. He comes from a strong GIS and Geo-Design background, and hopes to pursue this proposed project in the following semesters. 

How to Create Engaging 360 Video VR Experiences - George Egbuonu, VR eCards

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Presentation Topic: How to Create Engaging 360 Video VR Experiences. As we enter into the VR age with 360 videos, those that discover how to create amazing 360 videos and VR experiences will be able to differentiate themselves with highly desirable content creators.

George Egbuonu is the founder of VR eCards marketplace that provides you a WebVR Editor to create and share amazing 360 video experiences without any technical skills required.  The 360 videos you create can then be shared privately or published on the marketplace as VR Ecards for other users to personalize. Prior to founding VR eCards, he was the CEO of Flat Pyramid - A marketplace for 3d model files.   He holds a Mechanical Engineering degree and Masters in Business Administration (MBA).

State of the Storytelling in Cinematic VR - Alina Mikhaleva, SPHERICA

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Presentation: Alina Mikhaleva will share Spherica studio’s assessment on the state and current limitations for storytellers in cinematic VR, and discuss her studio’s recent projects that have experimented with making the 360 VR environment a more compelling space for creators. Spherica has been an innovator in the VR space for more than two years, constantly pushing the limits of what’s possible in VR filmmaking. In 2015, Spherica was the first studio to introduce fully stabilized camera movement that provides absolute comfort for the viewers. Alina will share the latest developments in the field as well as practical advice on how the freedom to move the camera can enhance VR storytelling techniques and make 360 experiences more compelling. Alina will also showcase some of the latest experiments in using camera movement in POV experiences to enhance the feeling of immersion and the sense of presence for viewers.  

After ten years of successful career in broadcast media, Alina Mikhaleva moved to lead a VR startup Spherica. Spherica is an independent VR production studio based in Los Angeles. Founded by a small team of VR enthusiasts, Spherica aims to create truly engaging cinematic VR experiences for viewers worldwide. Spherica's proprietary technology demonstrates to the industry professionals the potential of virtual reality filmmaking when it is freed from the limitations of a static camera. Spherica has been working in VR industry with clients including HBO, CBS, RYOT, and many others on both fiction and non-fiction content, as well as developing and creating original VR content. 


Storytelling Beyond the First-Person Perspective in VR - Christian Haniszewski, Hack and Paint

Presentation: As it stands, storytelling in VR is still in its infancy.  What often happens when a new medium emerges is content creators initially try to bridge the gap between the new and familiar by applying existing techniques towards the new.  Examining how filmmakers point cameras on stage to film the action of scenes, we are now applying the same existing techniques to photos and videos hoping to find relevance in the early stages of VR  However, as time and technologies progress, we will discover new innovative ways of storytelling unique to the medium of VR.  VR offers a groundbreaking level of immersion, choice, and viewer control that sets it apart from any medium before it- opening doors to vast uncharted potential in the future of storytelling.  I’m excited to explore storytelling beyond the obvious first-person perspective in VR.  At Hack and Paint, we are currently experimenting with putting VR viewers in the director’s seat, giving them the potential to switch between cameras themselves and empowering them to move through our story from new unique perspectives.

Christian Haniszewski is currently one of the founding partners at Hack and Paint, but prior to that, he has been working for over a decade, prominently in the Feature Animation and VFX industry including; Pixar, Blue Sky Studios, Framestore, Aardman Nathan Love, and 4mm Games. He’s credited for his incredible work on globally recognized films: “Brave”, “Monsters University”, “Epic”, “Rio 2", “Peanuts”, “Ice Age 5", “Ferdinand”, and “Salt” -just to name a few. In 2009, Christian graduated from the School of Visual Arts with a BFA in Computer Animation and Visual Effects.


Kathy Bisbee

Presentation: Kathy will share her experiences creating VR/AR storytelling content for the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), partnering on immersive news stories with the Boston Globe, and building an international movement for Community VR to grow the VR/AR industry from the grassroots up, using community-based storytelling, artist residencies, partnerships with government, libraries, non-profits, schools, and storytellers to provide increased accessibility, content, and training in VR/AR.

Kathy Bisbee is the executive director of Brookline Interactive Group (BIG), a community media arts center, and the co-founder/director of the Public VR Lab, the first publicly-funded Community VR organization in the U.S. Kathy is an award-winning, multidisciplinary storyteller; producing international documentary films, collaborating on immersive news stories with the STAT journalism team at the Boston Globe, and creating customized VR global air pollution project for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Recently she presented on two panels to advocate the use of VR & Storytelling to world leaders at the third UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) event in Nairobi, Kenya on Art, Storytelling & Creating Change, and on Can Virtual Reality Help Save Reality?


Perspective is Vital to Impactful Immersive Storytelling-  Chris Bedyk, Perspective Films

Presentation: Since 2013, Chris has been developing 360˚ cameras, production gear and immersive experiences with a goal to help connect people to each other, the planet and to themselves. His focus has always been to help increase human advancement by producing experiential content for the sports, health, education and entertainment industries. Immersive technology has the potential to be the most effective and powerful story telling medium humans have ever seen. At the peak, our senses can be stimulated with such resonance, transparency and realism that our brain is tricked into believing a simulated experience is real. The level of presence we experience is relative to the quality and quantity of the stimulation. The body will provide feedback to the experience that can be felt physically, mentally, biochemically and maybe even spiritually. Camera resolution, placement, and height are some of the factors creators need to consider when inside an immersive canvas. Chris will discuss what he has learned over the years producing content for the Vancouver Canucks, BC Lions and his travel series VR Wonders of The World. Hopefully, this talk provides a deeper insight for creators to go beyond the spectacle of immersive technology and further understand how contextual perspective is the gateway to enhancing a stories impact on the viewer.

Chris Bedyk is a Cinematographer, Immersive Filmmaker, Teacher, and CEO of Perspective Films. Since 2000, he has worked on every type of TV / Film production as a traditional Camera Operator. In 2013, he started developing immersive production gear and experimenting with the technology. After attending the Oculus conference in 2014 and 2015 he started the transition from traditional to immersive storytelling. In 2016, he helped create the Vancouver Canucks first 360˚ experience and a key partner in establishing the BC Lions EXP app which captured behind the scenes moments on and off the field during the 2017 season. His immersive series VR Wonders of the World was created for the launch of the Idealens headset and received "Official Selection" at the 2017 Vancouver VR film festival. It is currently being distributed with JauntVR. In 2016 he established Mastering360 which provides workshops and courses for future 360˚ filmmakers.

More added soon. 

ETSI Premieres New Augmented Reality Group with VRARA for 5G Networks Standards

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Join our 5G Networks Industry Committee here

ETSI premieres new augmented reality group

Rolling into the augmented reality (AR) space, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) launched a new Industry Specification Group called Augmented Reality Framework (ISG ARF) yesterday. The purpose of the group is to define a framework for the interoperability of AR applications and services, thereby thwarting market fragmentation and allowing players to provide part of an overall AR solution.

ETSI is an organization responsible for developing globally-applicable standards for information and communications technologies, including radio, broadcast and web devices. AR applications like Pokemon Go provide a digitally enhanced representation of the world with texts and images graphed on. According to the 2017 Augmented/Virtual Reality Report, the AR market is expected to be worth $83 billion by 2021.

Currently, there are a plethora of standards that can be used in the development and deployment of AR applications and services. Unfortunately, interoperability gaps exist in the AR value chain. More work needs to be done to determine the best practices for using existing international standards. That is why ISG ARF was developed.

The group held its first meeting on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, electing Muriel Deschanel from b<>com as chair of the group and Ralf Schäfer from Fraunhofer HHI as vice chair. The group will begin with a systematic review of AR use case requirements and challenges, and develop a framework for the interoperability of AR applications and services.

“There are huge differences in AR applications but mapping digital information with the real world implies the use of a set of common components offering functionalities such as tracking, registration, pose estimation, localization, 3D reconstruction or data injection. The development of such a framework will allow components from different providers to interoperate through the defined interfaces,” said Deschanel. “This will in turn avoid the creation of vertical siloes and market fragmentation and enable players in the eco-system to offer parts of an overall AR solution.”

ETSI isn’t alone in developing standards for the AR industry. The organization announced last month that the Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Association (VRARA) signed a letter of intent to collaborate on interactive VR and AR technologies delivered over budding 5G networks and hosted on Multi-access Edge Computing sites. Participation in ISG ARF is open to ETSI members and non-member organizations. The next ISG ARF meeting will be held Feb. 1 and 2 next year in Berlin.


Exploring Virtual Reality as a Forensic Tool Criminal Justice

By Eduardo Neeter, Principal, FactualVR, Inc.

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Virtual reality (VR) offers unparalleled capabilities to support and facilitate forensic activities. VR and other related technologies, like augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) have been around for more than half a century, but it is only in the last few years that it has shown the potential to go mainstream.

The question if VR will successfully go through massive adoption, and if users will ever want to walk around with digital glasses that sense and display information everywhere is still not answered, and it will likely take a few years to know for sure.

What is clear at this point in time is—given the increased power and reduced cost of the VR building blocks that are required to provide a truly believable experience—this technology will be widely adopted across specific target domains. Tools supporting use-cases where spatial information is critical, like crime scene reconstruction, will be able to leapfrog current capabilities. For these specific areas, VR could prove to be the most powerful media ever invented.

Presence through immersion

The main capability offered by virtual reality is that it “tricks” the users into a sense of “presence.” The sense of presence is well defined1 as “the subjective experience of being in one place or environment even when physically situated in another.”

A VR environment can deliver the sense of presence by leveraging immersion capabilities. Immersion describes the extent to which technology is capable of delivering a vivid illusion of reality to the senses of a human participant. A well created VR environment will reproduce images and sounds of a scene from the point of view of the user, and deliver in real-time these images and sounds adjusted to each user’s eyes and ears, based on the user’s position and orientation. It will also render the digital images from the user’s perspective with enough precision and sufficient frequency that it causes the user’s brain to reconstruct a 3-D model of the scene, and place the user at the center of such model. Long story short, the VR environment makes the user “feel” that he or she is at the scene.

In addition, this idea can be extended to emphasize the fact that the VR experience is facilitated by means of a communication medium, and as such, it can take place remotely, therefore the term “presence” in the VR context is also referred to as “telepresence.”

VR/AR Association (VRARA) Criminal Justice Committee - Hands-on Encounter

With the interest to explore and study the impact of VR in policy and practices across the Criminal Justice domain, the VRARA Criminal Justice Committee was founded by co-chairs Rory Wells, Assistant Prosecutor in Ocean County, NJ, and Eduardo Neeter, Founder of FactualVR, a technology start-up providing VR services for crime scene reconstruction. The scope of the new committee includes a broad range of use-cases, such as investigations, future courtroom applications and rehabilitation.  

The VRARA Criminal Justice Committee held its first hands-on meeting September 22, 2017.  Multiple law enforcement agencies, academics, non-profits and providers from the United States and Canada met for a first of its kind seminar and discussion on the impact of VR and AR on the criminal justice system. The meeting covered demonstrations of the latest technology, including VR applications from event co-sponsors FARO Technologies and FactualVR. The topics ranged from training and investigations, to the use of VR at trial, and the use of VR for rehabilitation/reentry after serving time in prison.   

Participants included forensic professionals and officers from multiple crime scene units, including NYPD, Toronto PD, Westchester County, NY and Hudson County, NJ.

Discussions centered around or focused on the benefits and potential of VR technologies, compared with current tools and practices. One of the attendees said, “The person in charge of the case sometimes doesn’t go to the crime scene for days or weeks, and in some cases doesn’t go at all. With this technology, they could walk into the scene right away, whenever they want.”

Collaboration and communication between investigators and prosecutors appears to be an area of interest and could offer significant value. This area could demonstrate the potential of VR as a productivity tool, as it has the potential to allow people do things they couldn’t do before, and at the same time, be able to do it more efficiently and with less friction than ever.

Detective Donald Palmer from Westchester County (NY) attended the VRARA event in September. We met again at the IAFSM conference in Atlanta about six weeks later. At the IAFSM conference, Palmer mentioned they had already started to test the VR capabilities in-house.

“Based on the VRARA presentation we bought a VR headset," he said. "We have been testing the VR software and showing our bosses how the scans look in VR. Everyone is beyond impressed with it. We are going to work with the Forensic Coordinator ADA from our DA’s office to determine if or how this could be shown in court.”

Looking forward, we are witnessing the emerging of a medium that could change the way we communicate, especially how we communicate about places and scenes, and anything related to spatial and 3-D information. It’s not a matter of if but "when," as the technology continues to mature and becomes mainstream, people will eventually demand that VR be used in every courtroom.

1. Witmer, B. G., & Singer, M. J. (1998). Measuring presence in virtual environments: A presence questionnaire. Presence: Teleoperators and virtual environments, 7(3), 225-240.


Report from "Futureland 2017" VR AR Event in Italy

By JoinPad and Kris Kolo

Last week VRARA staff and members took part at one of the most exciting VR AR events in Italy. 

The event was full of keynotes, panels and workshops from the most influent professionals of AR | VR | AI | Robotics scene, both Italian and international. This posed as a great chance to look around and put the hands on the newest technologies and approaches, as the venue was full of companies and startups showcasing their products, both Software and Hardware.

The affluence to the event was incredible, a lot of people flooded the hall costantly throughout all the duration of the event, there were mostly professional looking for solutions to innovate their business, as it was the event’s topic, but we also met tech-enthusiasts and developers among the crowd.

The event was a success from all the points of view, and everyone who tried our products and demos was really impressed about how Augmented Reality technology can really simplify work operations like maintenance, training and remote support.

Kris Kolo, VRARA Global Executive Director

Kris gave a keynote speaking about the ecosystem. VRARA has over 3900 companies registered and it's almost a 50/50 ratio of VR to AR companies, many of which do both, VR and AR. 

Mauro Rubin, VRARA Italy Chapter, describing the Future Smart Factory

Among the vast number of speakers, Mauro Rubin, JoinPad CEO, went onstage to describe the Smart Factory of the Future, from the perspective of a company actively working to bring enterprises in the future through Augmented Reality. He described 2017 as the year of AR, pointing out that the innovation is coming by the application of this technology in the enterprise sector, where it can provide the most tangible added values.

During the presentation Mauro explored the topic through a series of industrial use cases where Augmented Reality has been applied. Each use case explained a different approach to the implementation of AR into enterprise operations to help different industrial sectors leverage the potential of their workforce, enhancing the perception of employees in the work-field.

This exploration covered a wide range of opportunities given by AR to enable the interaction between the user and his working environment, from the interaction with IoT connected machines to Artificial Intelligence and complex systems. This served as a starting point to understand how an AR platform can transform a normal factory into a Future Smart Factory.

The italian and international AR/VR scene at Futureland

At the show were present several companies, each one with a different focus but all aimed to create new business opportunities, from training VR applications to collaborative and smart Robotics. Looking from the inside we believe that the AR/VR/AI/Robotics ecosystem in Italy is still affirming, but we’re pleased to see that a lot of new players decided to become involved in this new fields.

During the exhibition, JoinPad CTO, Giuseppe Audino, was called to join the jury of a Call for Ideas promoted by PwC Italy, the competition wasn’t focused only on Augmented Reality, but in all the four themes of the event. Lot of interesting projects from italian startups and independent developers were submitted to evaluation, but just five gained the opportunity to end up in front of the jury, that judged Metaliquid solution as the best project running for the contest. This was a good signal of how fast this ecosystem is evolving in our country, gaining everyday more popularity and widespread, with ever increasing attention from big companies that more now than ever recognize the value of new technologies and seek for new projects to foster under their wings.

As an expert in Augmented Reality and Interaction Design, Agnese Ragucci, JoinPad designer&developer, described the trail of Augmented Reality Games in a timeline retracing their evolution through technologies, devices and examples. Starting from the early 00’s she narrated the history of this kind of games, focusing on the most important titles and the technology involved in their usage. She also described how certain strategies and techniques were employed to encourage the mass-adoption of AR technology, and then determined the success of some of the most played AR Games.

The second part of the speech was dedicated to forecasts and insights about the future of both AR and Gaming, describing how they are evolving in parallel to deliver ever more immersive experiences to the player, using technologies as Context Computing, Artificial Intelligence and new devices available on the market. The speaking session received a lot of attention, especially because is a fact that gaming is one of the driver of AR massification.

Partners, Meetups & Side Events

Our business partner, Ginwa, joined the event as speaker. Ivan Cui, president of iGinwa, the technological division of the corporate, discussed about the AR/VR scene in the eastern market, exploring topics such as hardware production, startups and investments. He also pointed out that the ecosystem in China is in its early stage, encouraging western startups to jump in and blend with the local ecosystem of investors and accelerators.

Peggy Yuan, Senior Investment and Program Manager of HTC Vive X Accelerator in Beijing, met the local VR and AR developers in a closed-door meetup, seeking for interesting startups to begin a conversation with, but also giving advices about the HTC acceleration program. She went in contact with several enterpreneurs and enthusiast, giving hints and insights about HTC latest products and platforms, and showcasing different startups under the Vive X Accelerator.

As supporting partners we were in charge of different internal meetups and side events. Through the VRARA, Google Engineer Piotr Praczyk, from the ARCore development team, were invited for an in-depth analysis of Google newest AR technology, generating a lot of interest in the more technical audience of the event, with a lot of developers participating to test demos and ask questions to the professional.

We also held a meetup with the VRARA to create a conversation among different Chapter Presidents, with Mauro Rubin representing the Milan’s Chapter of the Association, helping both newborn companies and well-established ones to understand the possibilities of the VRARA to leverage their businesses.

At the Meetup there were present, beside Mauro, three other representatives of the association: Kris Kolo – VRARA Global Executive Director, Miki Levy – Tel Aviv Chapter President and Thomas Fickert – Munich Chapter President.

If you need more information about getting involved with VRARA, contact us.

The 2018 event

We’re looking forward to join the next year’s edition, as already said this year’s event has been a success in all of its parts, both from the commercial side of the exhibition to the more eye-opening side of keynotes, panels and workshops.

Eagerly waiting for the next year’s event, we want to thank anyone who joined us in this beautiful experience, with a particular thank to Talent Garden Italy, for the flawless organization and Marcello Merlo as the curator of the event.


Call for Speakers & Sponsors for the Biggest VR AR Online Event

See updated info posted here

Conference is Jan 15-25, 2018

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The Biggest VR AR Online Event

Jan 15 to 25 2018     3pm EST; 8pm GMT; 9am NZT

1200+ attending live

50+ Speakers

10 symposiums (tracks): Education, Enterprise, Training, Storytelling, Retail, AEC, Marketing, Advertising, WebVR, Arcades/LBE/Haptics

If you want to speak or sponsor email info@thevrara.com

To attend (it's free!) register here

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The VR/AR Association's Industry Committees are hosting the below online symposiums (tracks) with video presentations, demos, and live Q&A. Attend to learn about best practices, examples, and ROI.

As an example, see our last online event by playing the video below. 


VR & AR in Storytelling (Jan 15 3pm EST)

To attend this symposium, register here

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See a preview of presentations here


VR & AR in Education (Jan 16 3pm EST)

To attend this symposium, register here

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Read more about the Education Committee here


VR & AR in Training (Jan 17 3pm EST)

To attend this symposium, register here

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Read more about the Training Committee here


VR & AR in Retail (Jan 18 3pm EST)

To attend this symposium, register here

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VR  & AR in Marketing (Jan 22 3pm EST)

To attend this symposium, register here

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VR & AR in Arcades, LBS, Haptics (being scheduled) 

  1. Todd Fuchs, The Holodeck
  2. Robin Alter, Ultrahaptics


VR & AR in Enterprise (Jan 24 3pm EST)

To attend this symposium, register here 

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VR & AR in Architecture AEC (being scheduled)

  1. Anton Dy Buncio, VIATechnik
  2. Alex Coulombe, Agile Lens
  3. Polley Wong, Briana Earl VIU.SPACE


VR & AR in WebVR and WebAR (Jan 25 3pm EST) 

To attend this symposium, register here

  1. Shivang Shekhar, Mozilla
  2. Richard Petrich/Korbinian Würl, Involvr
  3. Weidong Yang, Kineviz


Visit our sponsors' websites: ThirdEyeAtheer, Kaon Interactive, YouAreHereOrder66 Labs, aisle411



ETSI, VRARA to work together on Virtual and Augmented Reality for 5G

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Join our 5G Networks Industry Committee here

European ICT standards body ETSI and the global VR/AR Association (VRARA) have signed a letter of intent to collaborate on interactive VR and AR technologies delivered over emerging 5G networks and hosted on Multi-access Edge Computing (MEC) sites. The partnership is designed to encourage common member companies to pursue VR/AR-focused use cases and requirements for ETSI MEC Phase 2 with a view to ensuring that the resulting specifications address the needs of the sector.

VRARA will also support adoption of ETSI MEC work as appropriate and highlight benefits of Edge computing to VR/AR solution developers, said the partners in a statement.

Virtual and Augmented Reality technology holds the promise to fundamentally transform how people interact with and experience the physical world, how they are entertained, and how services are delivered to them.” states Alex Reznik, ETSI MEC chairman. “We are at the cusp of this transformation, and, yet, it cannot happen unless the networks that will have to support these applications can deliver the required performance, e.g. latency on the order of several milliseconds. Edge computing is necessary to deliver such performance; while mobile networks, which today already provide pervasive global connectivity, are likely to continue occupying this central role.

The partnership between ETSI, the home of the world’s leading Multi-access Edge Computing standardization activity and VRARA, the world leading industry association representing the Virtual and Augmented reality industry recognizes the need to bring the two communities together. This cooperation will encourage common member companies to pursue VR/AR focused use cases and requirements for ETSI MEC Phase 2 so as to ensure that the resulting specifications address the needs of this key industry sector. VRARA will support adoption of ETSI MEC work as appropriate and highlight benefits of Edge computing to VR/AR solution developers.

In a recent research report we’ve published, we learnt that enterprise AR & VR have more receptive buyers than consumer markets, due to a strong ROI case.” says Kris Kolo, Executive Director of the VR/AR Association. “Working closely with ETSI which expertise lays in all ITC related sectors makes sense. We’re really excited to start this collaboration with their MEC group.

The VR/AR Association (VRARA) is an international organization designed to foster collaboration between innovative companies and people in the virtual reality and augmented reality ecosystem that accelerates growth, fosters research and education, helps develop industry standards, connects member organizations and promotes the services of member companies.

For more information please visit: www.thevrara.com

About ETSI
ETSI produces globally-applicable standards for Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including fixed, mobile, radio, aeronautical, broadcast and internet technologies and is officially recognized by the European Union as a European Standards Organization. ETSI is an independent, not-for-profit association whose more than 800 member companies and organizations, drawn from 68 countries across five continents worldwide, determine its work programme and participate directly in its work.

For more information please visit: www.etsi.org

Kris Kolo
Tel: +1 650 690 5361
Email: kris@thevrara.com

Claire Boyer
Tel: +33 (0)4 92 94 43 35
Mob: +33 (0)6 87 60 84 40
Email: claire.boyer@etsi.org

Pilot projects show how VR will revolutionize education

By Amir-Esmaeil Bozorgzadeh, VRARA Amsterdam Chapter President. Original article posted on VentureBeat

A research report recently published in China entitled “The Impact of VR on Academic Performance,” asserts that virtual reality improves student test scores and knowledge retention. VR-based learning also tends to leave no student behind since it is able to appeal to even the least responsive of users, the report states.

The study, which compared test performance of students who had learned a stubject via VR versus students who had learned by traditional means, suggests that VR could the secret sauce to learning that teachers have been dreaming about for years.

I can’t vouch for the credibility of the study. It’s unclear whether the companies that sponsored it — Beijing Bluefocus and Beijing iBokan Wisdom Mobile Internet Technology Training Institutions — have a vested interest in the VR space. But we’re hearing similar things from a couple of companies in Europe.

Last week, HTC aired the latest episode of its This is Real series, featuring a visit to the offices of Immersive VR Education, a two-year old startup based in the Viking city of Waterford, Ireland, a 90-minute drive from Dublin. The company makes Engage, a platform that changes the scope, scale, and substance of what distance learning can offer lecturers and students from all around the world when VR is brought into play.

“It’s not just something that’s a bit different. This is a new medium. It’s not what we’ve been traditionally doing,” David Whelan, CEO at Immersive VR Education, says at the start of the episode.

Engage is free, and lecturers and presenters can use it to rally up to 30 users into a single session. It can be used simply as the “PowerPoint for VR,” as a tool for conducting meetings, or for anything, really, that allows users to express and share ideas and collaborate in real time at the depth of digital experience only VR can offer. A teacher reading aloud from a textbook about prehistoric vegetation to a class of 20 can suddenly teleport everyone to a great grassy plain crowded with irate dinosaurs.

An early prototype of Engage went live on Steam about three months ago and has had 35,000 downloads to date. An update in January will roll in more features and accessible content.

This kind of technology transforms distance learning into the premium mode of education. And education goes from abstract to visceral in the blink of an eye.

With the availability of tools like this, we can expect to see VR have a significant impact on how we educate. One key feature is the immersive medium’s capacity to transport us into environments that heighten engagement by making subjects alive, interactive, and therefore relatable and relevant. Another is that it transcends physical limitations that, coupled with social features, can eliminate what is in reach for anyone, anywhere.

“I’m very excited about the concept of virtual lessons, in which a teacher instructs students inside a virtual classroom and can teleport them to various locations,” says Dominic Barnard, Cofounder at VirtualSpeech. “Imagine a history lesson, where after five minutes of going through slides, the whole class is teleported to the trenches in WW2 to experience what they have just learned with 360 images and videos.”

Barnard brings us to another application in particular where VR will have an impact: language learning.

A few weeks ago, the team at UK-based VirtualSpeech released the beta version of Language VR, their initial approach of tackling what is usually considered to be the tedious task of learning a new language. It’s already developed a variety of programs that teach vocabulary, grammar, games, roleplaying, and even culture.

For example, users get to explore different parts of the UK, immersed in stunning 360-degree images while learning English as part of the ride. The roleplaying scenarios allow travelers, for instance, to practice ordering a meal at a restaurant or booking a hotel room.

“People say the best way to learn a language is to visit the country. VR in a way does just that. It can immerse you in a different language and culture as if you were there.” Barnard said. “With improvements in speech-to-text and conversation modules, soon we’ll be able to have realistic conversations with virtual avatars in various countries and situations, such as ordering a train ticket in Paris or renting an apartment in London.”

One major barrier, of course, is getting this technology into schools. The K12 system isn’t known for its sizeable budgets or its swiftness in adopting new technologies.

VR/AR Association Makes Its Los Angeles Debut With “Music + TV + Film = VR” Symposium with a Who’s Who in VR/AR One-Day Extravaganza

RSVP here

“Mobile entertainment veteran Mike Johns named President of Los Angeles Chapter”

Los Angeles, California – November 1, 2016 / The VR/AR Association, the global trade association for virtual reality and augmented reality announced its official launch in Los Angeles, CA today. The Association has named Mike Johns, noted mobile entertainment veteran and Founder of Digital Mind State as the LA chapter president to draw new members, create member value, develop best practices, and guidelines. 

Early bird registration is now open as the VR/AR Association presents “Music + TV + FILM = VR” Symposium, The largest and most influential gathering of premiere VR/AR professionals and Music Industry executives, taking placeSaturday November 19, 2016 from 3:00 pm to 8:00 pm at the beautiful Expert Dojo in Santa Monica.  Confirmed Speakers include:

·         Stephen Prendergast, Founder – Turnstile

·         Facundo Diaz, CEO – VRTFY

·         Brooks Brandon – Starbreeze/IMAX

·         John Canning – Producer Guild of America

·         Keith Clinkscales, former CEO – Revolt TV

·         Timmu Tõke, CEO – Wolfprint 3D, 

·         Eric Wexel, Founder – MyFreewebcam

·         Logan Olson, Founder – Soundstage VR

 Kevin Cornish, Founder, Moth+Flame VR

Rounding out our esteemed list of speakers is the infamous self-elected First President of VR, visionary entrepreneur Jon “NEVERDIE” Jacobs, who will keynote “VR the New Flat Screen TV." "The hype around VR in the entertainment industry encompasses emerging music, TV, film and technology to both enhance the consumer experience and further propel the entertainment business on the path of innovation and prosperity," says Johns. "Our goal is to be at the forefront, unify by establishing overall best practices for a nascent industry." Music + TV + Film =VR symposium aims to inspire, educate and create necessary dialogue. Attendees will also be able to test out cutting-edge hardware through hands-on demonstrations. The event is free to VR/AR Association members, $100 for non-members. 

SPACE IS LIMITED so be sure to sign up RIGHT AWAY! Industry professionals are encouraged to register early for “Music + TV + Film = VR”. Early Bird pricing is available through November 15th. 

More details and registration can be found here


Early Bird Rates: 

VR/AR Members - Free

Early Bird - $99

Door - $199



Founded in 2015, The VR/AR Association is an international organization designed to foster collaboration between innovative companies and people in the virtual reality and augmented reality ecosystem that accelerates growth, fosters research and education, helps develop industry standards, connects member organizations and promotes the services of member companies.  VR/AR Association will continue to bring the latest technologies, products and strategies for professionals in the VR Entertainment space.



USA TODAY NETWORK Joins the VR/AR Association

Now a member of the VRARA, the NETWORK is further committed to engaging the VR community.



The USA TODAY NETWORK has proudly joined the VR/AR Association (The VRARA) as part of the organization’s long-term commitment to build a deeper connection and further engage with the VR and AR community. The VR/AR Association is an international organization designed to foster collaboration between innovative companies and people in the virtual reality and augmented reality ecosystem that accelerates growth, fosters research and education, helps develop industry standards, connects member organizations and promotes the services of member companies.

“The VR/AR Association is excited to welcome the USA TODAY NETWORK as a member. Both of our organizations are dedicated to accelerating the growth in the virtual reality and augmented reality industry. As a member, the USA TODAY NETWORK will participate in the Association's initiatives and together with the community will accelerate the development and consumption of VR content." says Kris Kolo, President, VR/AR Association, NYC.

Being one of the first major publishers to experiment with storytelling using virtual reality, the NETWORK has been at the forefront of innovation when it comes to marrying technology with premium journalism, and has made major strides in producing award-winning VR content both editorially and for brands.

“As a network comprised of 109 local news properties as well as our flagship national brand USA TODAY, we are dedicated to creating high quality virtual reality content and deeply immersive experiences for our audiences,” says Niko Chauls, director of emerging technology at the USA TODAY NETWORK,

“However, we are all responsible for building a VR audience ecosystem and working together to drive mass adoption.  Partnering with an organization such as the VR/AR Association, a thought leader in the industry with deep roots in the VR and AR communities, helps us accomplish that goal. Our membership will allow us to create, collaborate and pioneer new media together and I’m thrilled to explore the great unknown.”

Learn more about USA TODAY NETWORK products, projects, and initiatives related to VR here

Mativision joins the VR/AR Association

With offices in New York, London, and Athens, Mativision provides truly immersive experiences for brands and businesses by giving them the ability to film and broadcast in full 360˚ vision and Virtual Reality (VR). Mativision has spent more than 10 years developing the world’s end-to-end technology that can stream live directly to VR from multiple synchronized 360-degree cameras, a technology that places Mativision in the forefront of the VR revolution.

Mativision's mission it to build the future of VR in Medical Education & Training through the VRinOR® mobile platform.  More info here

SpaceoutVR in Dominican Republic - Fostering “VR Entrepreneurs"

Below is guest blog post from VRARA NYC Chapter member SpaceoutVR about an ongoing effort in the Dominican Republic to introduce Latin American university students to Virtual Reality and inspire the next generation of VR Entrepreneurs.

SpaceoutVR donated branded headsets to the program and plans to continue to support this project, called BUSCAN2. Included is an interview with the founder of BUSCAND2, Omar Serra.



By Duncan Crary, SpaceoutVR

SpaceoutVR has teamed up with New York City-based BUSCAN2 to introduce Latin American students to virtual reality technology and motivate them to become “VR Entrepreneurs.”

This spring, SpaceoutVR donated branded virtual reality headsets to BUSCAN2 to distribute to students in the Dominican Republic who are learning hands on about VR. Founded by CEO Omar Serra, BUSCAN2 is a motivational program that introduces Latin American students and universities to the educational possibilities made possible through new technologies, while also incentivizing those students with digital currency rewards that can be used to further enhance their educational experience.

“I have been blessed as an entrepreneur, and I want to bring opportunity back to kids in the Dominican Republic and as a whole in Latin America,” said Dominican-born Serra, who now lives in New Jersey and works in New York City. “These are kids that are dreaming about things we take for granted in the United States. It’s a sad reality of Latin America.”

BUSCAN2 is a phonetic-visual substitution for the Spanish word buscando, meaning “searching” or “seeking,” with the number 2 replacing dos.  (It’s like how English speakers sometimes type the number 4 in the place of “for,” Serra explains.) The company aims to encourage students in Latin America to focus on their studies by rewarding their academic accomplishments with a digital currency called “Kunis.” Though at first it may seem to Americans like a bribe for studying, the program actually takes away the stress of not having money to pay for school that forces many students to get jobs or, worse, look to the streets for a way to earn a living.

“The sad thing in Latin America is that very little things will take someone away from the task of having a future, and BUSCAN2 wants to continue to be the company that -- in collaboration with the universities -- creates an entertaining and hopeful environment,” Serra said. “We reward kids for going to school.”

Each student in BUSCAN2 receives a Smart ID that holds personal info and a balance of Kunis they have earned. Currently the Kunis can be redeemed only at participating businesses -- such as retailers, restaurants or theaters -- or BUSCAN2 will provide a certificate that functions like a check that can be redeemed by the businesses. In the future, Serra hopes the cards will be more universally accepted and act like bankcards.

“We are still very much in beta,” Serra said. “We are now expanding so that kids can use the currency to pay for school and fund their own projects -- more than just everyday items.”

But where does virtual reality come in? Serra says that back in 2008, he set out to create a “parallel world” in which Latin American students can earn currency for learning and doing good things, as well as connecting like-minded students who are focused on doing better in life. And he wanted to create an environment that would foster a more significant dialogue than one finds on many other social media sites. With the recent marriage of virtual reality and smart phones, Serra realized the technology is now affordable and advanced enough to create that world.

“Buscan2 now has all these things that can be translated to VR. So, when the day comes you can take your course at home through VR. You can buy all your books through VR. And you can continue to earn currency that you can spend in the virtual world,” Serra said. “What’s happening now is certainly a game changer.”

Serra also hopes that a partnership between BUSCAN2, Latin American universities and VR companies will create the next generation of digital entrepreneurs who will develop apps and collaborate in the virtual world. It has the potential to be a win for all—the students, the universities, the people of the DR and other Latin American countries, BUSCAN2 and the participating virtual reality companies, he said.


This April, BUSCAN2 organized a series of VR presentations, hosted by Bracey Smith, at three universities in the Dominican Republic: Universidad Nacional Evangélica (UNEV), Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo (INTEC) and Fundación Global Democracia y Desarrollo (FUNGLODE). The talks attracted hundreds of students, including students from several additional universities. Serra used expensive VR equipment as well as more affordable SpaceoutVR-branded smart phone/cardboard viewers to demonstrate the technology and its applications.

BUSCAN2 awarded the donated SpaceoutVR cardboards based on the results of a contest so that they can continue to use them and learn about VR. Thanks to this initial presentation, Serra said a teacher and students at Instituto Politécnico Loyola (Loyola Polytechnic Institute or IPL) took the initiative to create their own “How to create VR content” class that meets on weekends outside the normal school schedule. Though not an official university course, yet, the school did donate the classroom space, Serra said.

But these students aren’t just interested in VR because of the fun and games. “It’s the dream of every kid to be another Mark Zuckerberg -- to create another Facebook,” Serra said. “They were thinking of becoming entrepreneurs but they didn’t know in what space. Now they chose VR.”

Dennis Adamo, Commercial Director and COO of SpaceoutVR, said he is interested in helping BUSCAN2 accelerate the program by supplying more corporate sponsored headsets.

“We thought it was an important opportunity for us as a company to spread VR, get students and teachers around the world to try VR now,” said Dennis Adamo, SpaceoutVR Commercial Director &amp; COO. “I think this is going to be an ongoing SpaceoutVR program that serves our company commitment to corporate social responsibility and being good global citizens.”

For more information, see SpaceoutVR on www.spaceoutvr.com

SpaceoutVR, Inc Presents at the USPS Office of Inspector General VR Awareness

On June 25, 2016 the USPS Office of Inspector General, invited VRARA NYC Chapter Member, SpaceoutVR, Inc. to present some of the challenges and opportunities for VR Hardware sellers to get engaged with the innovations program at the  USPS Office of Inspector General, in Washington D.C. The program consisted of several companies in different areas of Digital marketing and services. SpaceoutVR, Inc.'s COO Dennis Adamo delivered an exciting overview of the VR/AR industry and talked about the challenges of shipping and servicing VR consumers. See the presentation here

VR AR in the Insurance Industry

Virtual reality and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) are two sides of the same coin. They represent areas of a burgeoning technology industry with endless applications. As the technology improves, we are finding VR and AR to be useful with gaming, entertainment, and even education.

One of the most exciting parts about virtual and augmented reality technologies is that its applications are expanding into areas we never originally expected.

The insurance industry is just one example. VR is being used by risk control representatives to navigate buildings before insuring them. With the use of VR, an insurance company could simulate the building before it's built and provide a reasonable estimate of cost! For auto insurance, companies are exploring the possibility of administering virtual driving tests to ensure drivers drive safely before insuring them.

VR can even be used internally, as a training mechanism. Travelers Insurance Company created a virtual world containing a warehouse with a multitude of risks. The company used this example to train employees on how to find and mitigate these risks. This immersive experience can prove to be disruptive as the cost benefits become more and more apparent with the continued development of VR.

Insurance companies are also using VR to virtually simulate car crashes. Insurers have been leaning towards this method as a safe way to understand the nature of car crashes and it has helped with reducing accident claims and increasing driver awareness.

But this leaves a variety of areas to explore. For instance, insurers can use VR with data scientists to analyze and visualize large data sets. This scenario analysis can contribute to strategic decision making within an insurance company.

Outside of the insurance industry, virtual reality has been used as a revolutionary recruitment tool. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has developed a virtual world that places you in their innovation lab. When immersed in this world, you meet your “colleagues” who tell you about the bank’s desire to create an app that processes invoices. From there, you are introduced to your team and are asked to make decisions in regards to this application’s development. The goal of this virtual world is to introduce potential employees to the bank’s culture by putting them in a real life work situation that bank employees take on. The Commonwealth Bank of Australia is set on showing you what their work is like as opposed to telling you.

Come meet insurance companies and tech vendors at our NYC VR AR event. Details here