Walmart looking to bring VR to stores

Walmart’s technology incubator, Store No 8, has announced that it has purchased VR startup Spatialand. The acquisition is part of the retail giant’s strategy to bring VR experiences to its stores.

Spatialand is a software platform that helps developers create virtual experiences. The company will now design and build products for Walmart’s stores and website.

In a blog post on its website, Store No 8 said that its principal Katie Finnegan will serve as Spatialand’s interim chief...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 06 February 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Brands.

ABI Research: Hardware differentiation to become increasingly difficult

Differentiation between VR/AR headsets will begin to become more challenging for hardware developers as standards mature, according to ABI Research.

While early VR leaders like Google, Samsung, Oculus and HTC will continue to drive innovation over the coming years, but innovation between untethered or mobile-based headsets will begin to slow down.  

Standards (such as cross-platform support) are already beginning to emerge with organisations like the Khronos group and IEEE lending their support to a more...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 25 January 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Ecosystems, Hardware, Platforms.

HTC and Oculus unveil new headsets at CES

Both HTC and their arch rivals Oculus have both unveiled new VR headsets at CES 2018.

HTC showed off its updated Pro version of its Vive headset while Oculus announced a new partnership with China’s Xiaomi that will result in a standalone headset.

The Vive Pro increase the total resolution to 2880 by 1600 pixels, with equates to a 78% increase on previous models. This will be provided by two OLED screens. The other headline feature is the integration of high-performance headphones with a built-in...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 09 January 2018, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Hardware.

Facebook opens up Spaces for HTC Vive

Facebook has implemented a major change of strategy with regard to its VR Spaces app. The social media giant has surprised many by announcing that its VR chat app, which is still in beta and free, will support its biggest rivals: HTC Vive and SteamVR.

The announcement, made by a Facebook VR exec on 19 December, is a reverse of the message that Oculus has been giving out for over a year. The company had solidly maintained that all of its major games and apps would remain as exclusives to Oculus hardware.

There...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 20 December 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Platforms.

Airbnb developing a VR property viewing solution

Airbnb is in the process of developing a VR/AR feature that will let users get a feel for rental properties.

The company wrote in a recent blog post that it wants to add 3D scans and 360 photos to its website, in order to allow people to get a better sense of the actual scale and layout of a property. VR has been on the company’s radar for at least year, with VP of engineering Mike Curtis saying in 2016 that the technology could be used to forge a closer connection between the company and its...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 13 December 2017, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Brands.

BBC launches VR Hub

The BBC has announced the launch of a VR department, called VR Hub, that is going to invest in the creation of virtual content.

The BBC has been experimenting with the medium for a number of years. Among the experiences already released include putting users in the shoes of refuges in We Wait, and taking them back to the Easter Rising of 1916. These experiences have all been made available on Oculus Rift, Google Daydream and Samsung Gear VR.

The BBC’s first experience on HTC Vive,

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 04 December 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Platforms.

VIVE announces investments in 26 new VR/AR startups

HTC VIVE has announced the latest round of VR/AR tech startups to be added to its VIVE X accelerator programme. The companies that will be receiving investment and support from VIVE as part of the programme include a company building a brain control system and those developing content tools and behaviourial engines.

Through their selection into the VIVE X programme, the startups gain unparalleled access to expertise, resources, planning and network resources. The aim is to get these companies mature enough to...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 30 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Developers.

Amazon moves into VR with Sumerian

The VR market just got a lot more crowded with the entry of one of the largest companies in the world.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud platform of the ubiquitous ecommerce giant, has launched a new service called Sumerian. The new service aims to provide a platform that makes the process of developing VR, AR and 3D applications easier.

Sumerian gives developers an editor that they can use to build virtual environments and populate them with 3D objects and characters. Developers can also script how these...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 27 November 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Developers.

Nokia halts VR camera activities citing slow market growth

Nokia has taken the decision to discontinue its OZO VR camera and hardware production line, due to what it perceives as slow market growth.

In a press release, the company stated that:

“In digital media, the slower-than-expected development of the VR market means that Nokia Technologies plans to reduce investments and focus more on technology licensing opportunities. The unit aims to halt development of further versions of the OZO VR camera and hardware, while maintaining commitments to existing...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 10 October 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Hardware.

Why So Many Doubters? Riding the VR Hype Cycle

From the moment Mark Zuckerberg handed over $2billion for Oculus Rift, the starting gun sounded for the latest trip around the VR hype cycle.

VR is not a new technology. The earliest incarnations have been traced all the way back to around 1860 in the form of panoramic paintings. By 1930, the first flight simulator using a version of the technology was sold to the US military to improve pilot skills. The first head mounted display was developed in 1960, first VR goggles hit the...

By Robert Kendal, 11 September 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Enterprise, Hardware.

Audi deploys VR into dealerships

Audi dealers in Germany, Spain and the UK will be offering potential customers the chance to experience what an individually configured will look like using VR.

The move represents the first, fully functional VR application for customer consultations at dealerships in the automotive industry.

This application of the technology is likely to make waves across any industry where customers need to improve a product before it is actually created, such as interior design. Audi is paving the way when it comes to...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 06 September 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands.

Immersv seals $10.5 million series A funding to accelerate VR advertising

Immersv, a provider of interactive advertising virtual reality (VR) platforms, has announced the completion of a $10.5 million series A round of financing.

The company says the funding builds on a year of ‘significant product and market momentum’, with Immersv recently signing programmatic deals with a variety of demand side platform (DSP) and supply side platform (SSP) providers. Immersv also lists Mountain Drew, Nissan, and the Hawaii Tourism Bureau as brands who have executed successful...

By James Bourne, 23 August 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Advertising, Brands.

What do consumers want from virtual shopping?

Virtual reality shopping, or V-commerce, seems to rumbling ever closer on the horizon as more and more retail brands dip their toes tentatively into the waters.

Among those brands that are known to be in the early stages of planning VR strategies are The Gap and Sephora.

But what do consumers actually want from V-commerce? Do they want the technology to make the experience of shopping more exciting or engaging, or do they want it to help them make better choices and make the process more efficient?

Consulting...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 10 August 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands.

Bringing the Outside World into the Classroom with Google Expeditions

Google Expeditions is revolutionising the classroom and giving students an opportunity to explore places from around the world that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to see.

I was lucky enough to work on the Google Expeditions Programme in the UK, where I visited over 100 schools, trained over 2,000 teachers and worked with over 40,000 students.

The response from teachers and students was overwhelming; teachers found the software easy to use and relevant to their scheme of...

By Stuart Gent, 27 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands.

Pitchfork to launch VR music channel

Online music journalist site Pitchfork has announced a partnership with VR content distributor Inception.

The pair are hoping to use VR to ‘revolutionaries the market for a new generation of music fans’. The partnership wants to add a degree of interactivity and impressiveness to the music video space.  

The new channel will be found on Inception’s VR app, where users will be able to enjoy VR experiences from musicians and artists.

“Inception is a double threat — both a...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 24 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands.

AR moves by big players set stage for rapid growth in consumer and enterprise apps

The AR app market for both consumers and enterprises is set for rapid growth as big technology players like Apple begin to make substantial moves, according to The VR Fund.

The Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm thinks that Apples’ and Facebooks recent activity is set to fuel a ‘platform war’. The firm has released its industry landscape for Q2 2017, and is predicting overall growth in the industry, as well as increased investment and international impact.

“Over the past...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 24 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: AR, Brands.

Oculus price drop: what the media is saying

The price of Facebook’s flagship VR hardware, the Oculus Rift, has been reduced for the second time this year.

In a sales event dubbed the ‘Summer of Rift’ the price of the hardware and its Touch controller has been dropped to $399. This is half the price that the bundle was being sold for five months and $100 lower then then previous price drop in March.

The announcement has prompted a deluge of reaction from the...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 11 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Hardware.

Business VR use cases: travel, fashion, property and marketing

The rising popularity of VR is allowing numerous brands to benefit from its use as a business tool.

Estate agents, airlines, fashion brands and retailers alike are already using VR for marketing purposes and here are just a few examples of VR in business promotion:

See the world from home

The travel industry has made full use of VR. For example, Lufthansa has found a new way to entertain people waiting at their gate at Berlin's Schönefeld Airport.

travellers awaiting their flight could take a virtual jaunt to...

By Mariame Cisse, 10 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Case Studies.

BBC launches VR app

BBC Taster has announced the release of a free mobile VR app for Android and iOS.

The content on the BBC Taster VR app is currently made up of a trailer from the broadcasting company’s online channel, BBC Three, as well as 360 videos from its David Attenborough-led global blockbuster Planet Earth II.

The app aims to put the BBC’s early and experimental ideas regrading immersive content in the hands of its audiences.

The content set to feature on the app will include animations, VR, interactive 360...

By Colm Hebblethwaite, 06 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Applications, Brands.

When tradition meets the cutting edge:VR comes to Wimbledon

Wimbledon is a sporting event like no other, it is quintessentially British and never fails to bring the public together for two weeks in July.

The event is about so much more than tennis, it is about patriotism, strawberries, fashion and passion. It’s also an event for which tickets are almost impossible to come by and for most, it is about replicating the energy of centre court by sharing a patch of grass with strangers and watching on a big screen.

But as one of the most watched and talked about...

By Matt Phelan, 04 July 2017, 0 comments. Categories: Brands, Case Studies.