One of VR’s greatest hurdles is video quality (resolution). From the Google Cardboard to the HTC Vive, 360-degree videos are frequently plagued by choppy frame rates and pixelated images. Previously, it seemed that the answer would be 4K Ultra HD (UHD) cameras that recorded in 360-degrees. After all, don’t 4K videos look brilliant on Netflix and YouTube?
However, despite 4K UHD being heralded as a next-generation recording format, it’s a common misconception that it yields similar results for 2D and 3D. This blog will explain the current limitations in viewing, recording, and streaming technology, as well as the developments that
will finally put the ‘reality’ in Virtual Reality.
Knocking on your doors: Virtual Reality for healthcare. While healthcare is no stranger to technology, it took a while before extensively embracing Virtual Reality. Recent viral articles, such as an English hospice’s use of Virtual Reality to allow the terminally ill to revisit areas, show how effective Virtual Reality for healthcare can be.
We elucidate a few of such applications that caught our eyes!
Professional Training in VR: Preliminary Steps, Look Before You Leap
VizioFly’s trainer, Irwin, is a certified adult trainer and loves teaching. Aside from passionately speaking about VR, he also teaches accounting as an adjunct university lecturer!
Using Virtual Reality for training can cost tens, if not hundreds, of thousands. Prior to making such a weighty decision, some desire to understand Virtual Reality better and see if there are baby-steps that could be made. Such steps can increase understanding and lead to better decision making.
Due to it’s positive track record with governmental VR projects, VizioFly had been invited in April to conduct workshops at the Singapore Civil Service College and the Institute of Adult Learning. The thrust of such workshops was to give participants a basic understanding of 360°, Virtual Reality hardware and production.
Virtual reality has done wonders for the field of medicine, and now it is proving to be an indispensable tool for training purposes as well. It’s no wonder that virtual reality is being used in training programs for the military, for developing virtual prototypes, and even the corporate sector. Here we are going to take a quick look at the many benefits of integrating virtual reality in corporate marketing and training purposes.
An Indispensable Training Tool
The vivid nature of virtual reality makes for an interesting training interface, allowing trainees to interact with multiple environments and objects, and also to meet and interact with other people in the virtual world. Trainers also have the advantage of using either live seminar to make training workshops more interesting or they can use recorded training sessions where the trainees have the advantage of plugging in and getting the information they seek regardless of the time or place. So far, more than 5 million Samsung Gear VR headsets have been sold according to Samsung Electronics America chief Tim Baxter. And that’s just in the US alone. Moreover, around 10 million hours of 360-degree content is viewed through Gear VR by consumers, and this is only the beginning according to industry analysts.
More and more, Virtual Reality is proving to be a technology that is bounded only by one’s creativity.
The standard MOU signing between 2 parties has always been predictable and an occasion for flashing photographs and polite applause. Can this drab event be remodeled into something refreshingly engaging? That was the problem statement from our partner.
After much collaborative brainstorming, we emerged with the idea of doing the signing in Virtual Reality using Google Tilt Brush. To prevent this from being a meaningless scrawling of signatures on a blank VR landscape, we crafted a beautiful VR environment that had our partner’s icons and pictures.
As the signatory donned on the headset, he was thus greeted with the immersive sight of the new hotel (the MOU was for the joint development of a hotel property). As he looked around, he saw an impressive 360° collage of related graphics and media! All he had to do next was to sign at the designated zone under his company’s logo.
Many Singaporeans are getting their first experience of Virtual Reality within a slightly surprising environment – serious corporate events. However, upon closer consideration, it makes abundant sense. If a company is already forking out tens of thousands of dollars for a booth, it’s objectives are clear: (1) draw heavy foot traffic to the booth and (2) expose the traffic to the company’s brand/products. Virtual Reality effectively catalyzes that.
It is a zero-sum game during a corporate event. A rival booth that draws the crowd would whittle away your booth’s traffic. Therefore, serious efforts are being expended in leveraging Virtual Reality for a competitive advantage. If you are new to the game, this article gets you quickly up to speed with the 3 common areas which clients engage VizioFly for!
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality is one of the most exciting technologies that have found it’s way into the lives of companies as a way to engage with customers. But what is Augmented Reality (AR)? Simply put, it is the combination of an actual environment plus digital information. At a Ted Talk recorded in February 2016, Alex Kipman, the man behind the Windows Holographic, described AR as a technology that works to “bring 3D holographic content right into our world, enhancing the way we experience life beyond our ordinary range of perceptions’. This enhancement of the real world creates an ‘augmented’ world. We call this Augmented Reality.
SMARTPHONE POWERED HEADSETS
The beauty of this space is its easy ubiquity. Create a VR mobile application, download it on a smartphone and place the smartphone within one of the headsets below. Voila! You are VR-ready. Marketers considering distribution would find this option as the most promising.
But wait…have you read Part 1 of this write-up? If you have, read on. If not, you will miss out on a complete picture of the hardware scene!
Samsung Gear VR
Samsung Gear VR is the benchmark for smartphone powered headsets. It popularized the idea that all one needs to enjoy virtual reality is (1) buy a VR headset and (2) slot in your smartphone to double up as the screen.
User experience: Several grades lower than the high-end headsets as the computing power of a smartphone is obviously weaker. The sharpness of the images and fluidity of the experience is dependent upon the smartphone model you use. The best compatible smartphone, S7, provides a good experience and a reasonable degree of immersion. The Samsung Gear VR still has what it takes to impress those who try VR for the first time.
Interactivity: There are no handheld controllers. While some workarounds exist, users generally interact with the environment by tapping on a track-pad which is built on the side of the Gear VR.
Head-mounted display. 90Hz refresh rate. Field of view. 2160 x 1200 / 1920×1080.
With jargons like these thrown around, it is not surprising that business executives find virtual reality headsets to be an intimidating arena. When we were young and naïve, we would aim to bedazzle executives with such high-falutin technicalities. Of course, not wanting to look like a technological caveman, they would indulge us with nods of thoughtful appreciation. (If you happened to be one of them and are reading this, allow us to take this chance to apologize!)
It didn’t take us long though, to realize that with most executives wishing to either use VR for marketing or training purposes, they just wish to know – “Which device does the job? HTC or Gear VR or Google Cardboard?”
With Conversation after conversation after conversation, we find that executives generally care about a few things for virtual reality:
- User experience (immersion, clarity)
- Ease of use / availability in Singapore
- Cost, with its related consequence to content distribution.
Daily, reports are being written on Virtual Reality (VR) global prominence. In America, adopters range from the venerable NASA to the quotidian Mall of America. China now boasts of thousands of crowded VR arcades that are proliferating faster than you can say “Are you serious?!”.
Singapore is no digital Luddite too, with the government spearheading the awareness of Virtual Reality. In fact, a casual browsing of the contracts on the tender portal will show the government to probably be the biggest local procurer of services for virtual and augmented reality. (Then again, one may argue that the government is the biggest procurer of everything & anything due to it’s sheer size – that’s something for another day)