It’s great to see existing and startup companies creating their own virtual reality applications for people to try out. One of the obvious use for VR is its capacity to promote products. Instead of having to rely on two-D pics, you can enter a VR environment with a 1:1 scale version of the item of interest.
This is definitely great for consumers looking to purchase a piece of furniture, which is exactly what Wayfair has done, with their release of ‘Patio Playground.’ If you don’t know, Wayfair is one of the largest online retailers for outdoor and indoor furniture. They also leverage the latest technology , as seen by their online endeavor, to help build customer relations and brand attraction.
Hence forth their venture in virtual reality with the creation of ‘Patio Playground.’ The app places you on the lakeside, with your imagination and their catalog to build your dream patio. You have the ability to select various tables, chairs and decorations, which effectively allows you to preview furniture at full-scale, rather than traveling to a store or using your Minds Eye to imagine the dimensions.
As stated by VRFocus, “Essentially, this is the best part of Sims, but with real items in VR.” Currently Patio Playground is available for the Oculus Rift, so if you own one, go ahead and try it out. If not, then check out their extensive catalog of furniture and decor at wayfair.com.
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When Google Cardboard came along, an inexpensive way to view virtual reality content, they utilize their YouTube platform to allow content creators to take advantage of millions of users that get on YouTube everyday. Now if you own your own mobile VR headset, with exclusion to iOS users for now, you can enter the Videos that display the Google Cardboard logo. But they are not the only platform that gives people access to 360-degree videos.
This brings me to a 2014 startup by the name of Vrideo. Founded by Alex Rosenfeld and Kwangwei Hwang, Vrideo sole mission is to provide an extensive platform for 360-degree/VR video creators to publish on. To keep this endeavor powered, they have received multiple investments, coming from CEO of HuffPost, CEO of Thrillest, Vice Chair of Viacom, Co-founder of Machinima, etc.
Behind the scene, Vrideo is hauled by dedicated VR enthusiasts Sean Lawrence(Lead Web Developer), Anthony Mariani(Head of Publisher Relations), Mike Wang(Mobile Developer) and Evan Stern(Unity Developer). As quoted by them, “As a team, we believe life is the sum of your experiences. With Vrideo, we hope to make possible for people experiences at a breadth and magnitude that might otherwise be inaccessible to them.
Vrideo is now accessible to the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Gear VR and various smartphones. There are also over hundred 360/VR videos to be viewed ranging from Comedy, Educational, Films, Sports, Travel, Technology, Gaming, Experimental and so forth. On top of an extensive category of videos, they also provide a list of trending videos of the past day or all time.
In an interview at the VR Film Fest, Tony Mariani states, “Our Mission is to be the best, most fully built out, hardware agnostic immersive video platform available,” and they are doing just that. If you don’t believe me go ahead and visit their website and see for yourself. You can also connect with them via Twitter @Vrideo.
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I’ve recently wrote a post about games originally made for two-D interfaces being redesigned for virtual reality. But how about transforming a original piece of music into a full on VR experience. This is what VR developers of InnerSpace VR, one of the first dedicated VR production studios, has done.
Innerspace studio is powered by dedicated developers who have been creating VR applications, even before Facebook’s acquirement of Oculus Rift started to materialize the reality of VR to the public.
Following the release of the HTC Vive, the studio developed a experience based of a musical piece from famous French composer, Paul Abraham Dukas ‘La Peri’, into a magical VR adventure titled ‘Firebird: La Peri.’ As you enter the surreal environment, you become Iskender, an aging king who is seeking the ‘flower of immortality.’
As you, the prince, try to find the ‘flower of immortality,’ you must steal the sacred petals from the guardians who puts on a spiritual dance protecting the flower. Once you’ve surpassed each guardian, the spirit La Peri comes out to dance, afterwards you must make a very crucial decision: Sacrifice the ‘flower of immortality,’ or sacrifice La Peri.
Firebird: La Peri has received numerous awards, including Best Interactive Experience at Kaleidoscope 2016 World Tour, the VRScout Art Show, the Golden Headset at Paris Virtual Film Festival and award at Official Selection Valves Booth.
In RoadToVr’s review, Paul James praises InnerSpace VR’s creation saying “Sharing space with the beautifully motion captured dancer, who forms the centerpiece of the experience, elicited some of the most powerful sensations of presence I’ve ever had in VR.”
Overall, if you own an HTC Vive, this is one of those experiences that’ll utilize the full capabilities of your space and touch controllers. In the relaunched title, you now gain access to a magic book, which provides more depth to the story and get to hear the story narrated in John Rhys-Davies voice. Firebird: La Peri can be purchased on SteamVR for $10, so go ahead and try it out.
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It is great to see various companies come up with ideas, products and services to aid in the growth of the virtual reality marketplace. Getting in the VR scene as soon as possible, is only beneficial for companies, keeping them ahead of the game. With this said, there definitely needs to be praise for start-ups who have an invested interest in creating VR applications to help other industries.
This brings me to a VR development company, known as Middle VR. Middle VR was founded in 2012 by Sébastien Kuntz, who has over 15 years of experience in creating mixed reality applications and tools. His founded company’s sole vision: Changing the world with VR. In order to do just that, his team has been engineering multiple services for companies looking to invest in VR.
One such service is Improov. Improov allows a company’s team to collaborate with each other within a virtual environment or office. This is very useful, especially when working on computer-aided designs(CAD), which tends to be heavily used in engineering projects or designing architecture. It supports many files, including Catia V6, Solidworks, OBJ and VRML, as well as various VR systems, such as HTC Vive, CAVEs, Power walls and Oculus Rift.
Another one of their services they offer is custom development of VR applications, suited for companies of any size, for any needs, on any VR interface. On top of creating the apps, they also will help install it on-site and train employees on how to utilize it.
With Middle VR powered by experts in VR field, C++ programming and Unity Engine, it is no doubt the work they produce is worth any businesses money. The team has won a Lava Virtual Award in the ‘Engineering, Assembly and Maintenance’ category and two prizes at the Idenergie innovative startup contest, proving their leadership in the VR marketplace.
Of course they are always looking for businesses to help with their in-house collaboration solutions and VR applications, so if you are that business, go ahead and visit their website for the full list of services Middle VR offers. You can also connect with them via Twitter @MiddleVR.
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It is great to see what developers are adding to the virtual reality space. There have been multiple games, films and promotional content. Now you can add another VR, as well as augmented reality development studio to this list, who are creating 360 videos exploring and showcasing tragedies from around the world.
Empathetic Media is a mixed reality development & consultant studio based in New York, USA, powered by three individuals, who include Dan Archer (Founder), Katharina Finger (Highly experienced in project management /strategic marketing) and Pierre Depaz (Highly skilled sound and visual programmer).
Since it’s founding, they have worked with European Journalism Centre, The New School, Mckinsey & Company, Maynard Institute, Associated Press, The Washington Post, Samsung Global Innovation Center and the list keeps growing. This is definitely an impressive list, but what is more impressive is the VR/AR experiences they have created.
Included in the portfolio is a VR experience titled ‘The Peace Process.’ It is an story-driven animated documentary, placing you within a small community outside of Medellin, Colombia, detailing years of constant violence and it’s healing process. As an first-hand experience, you are able to interact with the story and choose the path the community takes towards restoration.
On the AR side of Empathetic Media’s portfolio, comes a reality-altering experience to help stop human-trafficking across the world #StopTrafficking2016. In partnership with Red Cross Pancevo ATTeam, people are able to pull out their smartphone, point it at a stop-sign and learn about the horrors surrounded by human trafficking through three stories told by individuals intimately affected by this crisis.
Through their portfolio of experiences, they have received much recognition as leaders in immersive storytelling at conferences, including Newsgeist Unconference, Boston University Power of Narrative conference, Woodstock Digital Media Conference, MIT’s Media Lab and of course the list go on.
Overall, they are utilizing virtual/augmented reality to inspire people to become better and become the solution in the inhuman events that transpire across the world, from community crippling violence and human-trafficking to police brutality and human refugees. You can learn more about their direction as a VR/AR news studio on their blog. Also connect with them on Twitter @EmpatheticMedia.
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Many businesses have yet to utilize the leverage next-level interface virtual reality has to offer. One reason maybe because they have yet to realize it’s potential or maybe they do not have a high budget to hire VR developers. Though this shouldn’t deter any business from utilizing streamlined VR development platforms, such as Viar360 or Thinglink.
This brings me to InstaVR, another virtual reality content-creation app businesses can use to leverage virtual reality to promote their brands products and services. InstaVR is a web-based platform that implements a drag-and-drop method to place stereoscopic images, 4K 360-degree videos, relevant links, etc. in your VR environment.
After the VR app has been created, the app is published on different platforms, such as Oculus Home or Google Cardboard, through their content delivery network, keeping the amount of data-space the app takes up as small as possible. When published, social engagements as well as a heatmap (provides data on where and what viewers are looking at) can be obtain to tweak the VR app accordingly.
In order to make publishing to different VR distribution platforms hassle-free, InstaVR takes care of this, by adapting your app for Apple Store, Google Play, as well as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift VR headsets. Essentially this means lowering costs & time, and increasing exposure.
They have came up with several use-cases for utilizing their streamlined platform, such as for education, promoting automotive vehicles, showcasing real-estate, pre-viewing tourists locations and more.
Carlos Parada from Smithsonian American Art Museum states, “InstaVR offers a simple to use yet powerful creation tool, with many great features.” AECOM’s Visualization Manager, Stephen Paul also praises them, saying “InstaVR allowed us a fast and effective way to reach our audience across multiple platforms.
On a end-note, InstaVR is a fast and simple solution for brands to showcase their services and products on next-level media interfaces at a very low cost. So if you have a small business or major corporation, go ahead and learn more on instavr.co or connect with them on Twitter @InstaVR.
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It is no doubt various companies have been investing in developments of virtual reality to help promote their brand and shimmy their business into the future age of media interfaces. With that said, there are start-ups out there, like Thinglink who have created applications for brands to track customer’s engagement as well as streamline VR app creations.
One company that is helping in this endeavor, goes by the name Viar. Viar is a two part business, where they build both custom-made cardboard VR headsets and streamlined VR creation solutions, with ViarBox the former and Viar360 the latter.
ViarBox started when the founder started transforming pizza boxes into mobile VR headsets. His ingenuity spurred a business concept: How about create ready to use, foldable, comfortable, eco-friendly, lightweight cardboard VR headsets for businesses to put their own brands logo on and promote their own products or services by letting people enter the brands VR demo or by given away these branded headsets? Hence forth, ViarBox was created.
Viar360 is a solution a lot of companies are looking for. Instead of having to put down a chunk of change to hire developers to make Virtual Reality demos for services or products rendered, they have provided a more streamlined process. This service can be compared to companies who build their website by using WordPress verses hiring a developer to create the website from scratch.
Their virtual reality app creation is broken down into 5 stages: #1 Prototype. #2 Host. #3 Create. #4 Collaborate. #5 Measure. In Prototype Viar helps with the outline of the app to create your brands storyline to entice people. Then the app is stored on Viar’s servers where it’ll be hosted. After all designs, storypaths, action triggers and information is finalized, the app is created.
They will also continue to collaborate with you if after creation, to make revision as straightforward and hassle-free as possible. Once people enter your brands virtual reality app, you can get data on interactions within the app. This includes a heatmap which captures what they are looking at and data in what action triggers they are tapping into.
Viar is well rounded in helping businesses shimmy into using virtual reality to promote their brand’s services and products. Essentially is a one-stop shop for getting custom made mobile VR headset and custom-made VR apps. If this is something you’re looking for, visit Viar360.com or you can connect with them via Twitter @ViarBox.
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Have you ever wanted to star and direct your own alien-invasion movie? Maybe even become the super hero you’ve always wanted to see. One of the main advantages that virtual reality has to offer is that it allows people to inhabit characters and create their own action-packed or romantical stories.
This is exactly what Visionary VR, a virtual reality development studio, plans to bring to the VR marketplace. They strive to re-create the childhood experiences of imagination overdrive or as Frank He from RoadToVR puts it, “The pencil would be your sword, the laundry basket would be your ship, and your friends would be your brave allies on a harrowing adventure. You’d make up stuff as you go along.”
To make this an reality in VR, Visionary VR developed ‘MindShow.‘ Mindshow is filled with various props, characters, environments and tools for you to create your own improvisational story. What is really cool is the ability to embody each character in your scene, essentially being all the characters.
Though don’t feel so alone in your filming endeavor, as you can allow your friends to join in and fill in the missing script for you and just have some good ol’ child-like fun. After you’re done creating your motion-picture masterpiece, you can share it with your friends or social media followers. As their website puts simply: Set the Stage. Act it Out. Share Your Show.
The game is planned to be cross-platform, being supported by various headsets, such as the HTC Vive, Playstation VR and Oculus Rift. Mindshow is still in development, but you can get Early Access through Visionary VR’s website. You can also stay up-to-date on their development and connect with them through Twitter @VisionaryVR.
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