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The Biggest Reveals at the Virtual Reality Symposium

Last week I covered the Virtual Reality Symposium here in Singapore. Most of the discussion hinged around the business elements of the technology and what they could mean for various sectors. All very interesting, but not directly useful for consumers to decide on whether or not it’s worth looking into VR. Thankfully, there were some highlights from the discussion that we can look forward to in the very near future.

VR Educate: Changing the way education works

Image courtesy: ACI
Image courtesy: ACI

Education has been the big talking point for VR outside of gaming and Medicine. For individual learning, it works very well indeed, but it can be a harder sell in the classroom. Lenny Huang, the director of VR Educate, explains that for parents it can be difficult to demonstrate the utility of such a device in schools. After all, most high-profile discussion of VR has been about its use for gaming. Huang says that the direction that needs to take place for VR education is to have multiple users experience the same piece of software, and although that hasn’t been achieved yet, it is on the way. Think something similar to that throwaway joke on the Simpsons years ago.

TaKanto: Travel VR

Image courtesy: Stuff Singapore
Image courtesy: Stuff Singapore

In September I looked at the VR experience that Fiji Airways promoted. While the main attraction was just astounding, the simpler mobile-based VR marketing was also very appealing. It turns out, Fiji Airways was not the only travel company that have discovered the benefits of VR in selling holidays. TaKanto Virtual Reality has done a lot of work helping to sell the concept of the journey with many companies such as AirAsia, Quantas and the Marriott chain of hotels. However, Ariel Talbi, the managing director of TaKanto, made it clear that VR would not just be used for marketing. Everything from training, direct sales and Social Media programs can be strengthened in VR. If TaKanto is anything to go by, we will see a lot of VR being used in the Travel industry over the next year.

PropertyGuru: Selling condos

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Image courtesy: ACI

When Malcolm Fitzgerald, the Chief Product and Technology Officer of PropertyGuru, was not rattling off the many achievements of his company, he spent some time looking at what’s changing in the property sector. The biggest and best development is, of course, two-fold. With VR, you can have a look around a virtual space. This means of course that you can have a look at your lovely new home before it is even built. AR, by contrast, helps you fill up an empty room with furniture and installations. Both are very appealing developments, and as a bonus, they already exist, in a limited capacity. Anyone planning to buy a new house in the next few years might well get a chance to try this out.

Atman Software: Web-based VR

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Image courtesy: ACI

So far, every VR experience requires downloading software. Not necessarily a concern, but it really limits what you can do if you have limited storage space. It also has a knock-on effect of making online VR very limited. 360 Degree videos are the easiest thing in the world, but that is stretching the meaning of VR to its breaking point. This could soon change, though. Thomas Kurikose of Atman Software demonstrated something truly incredible. His company had created a website, which when activated with the right software became fully viewable in VR. No downloads, nothing, just completely interactive VR on your browser. Of course with the approach of VR web browsing, this might end up leading nowhere. Still, it is a very exciting development, and we could easily see websites rolling out compatibility for VR web content shortly.

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