Step into (Virtual) Reality

Julianne Brands - Oct 2016

Step into (Virtual) Reality – Workshop on Emerging Trends in Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality

Centrl Office East - October 28, 2016  

Hosts: CBRE and OAF

Attendees: Local AR/VR firms, OAF investors

In October, we suspended disbelief and took a deep dive into the emerging worlds of Virtual and Augmented Reality with a workshop featuring industry leaders in the field. In a wide-ranging discussion, we explored the foundational technologies needed to realize the full potential of augmented and virtual reality, the evolution and importance of content on this this new medium, and the business models that will emerge to monetize this emerging technology.

Goals & Key Questions:

·         Explore the foundational technologies needing to be built to realize the full potential of augmented and virtual reality, and who is doing it today.

·         What types of content will likely be produced and how will content change because of this emerging platform?

·         How will business models adapt to monetize the technology and content of virtual and emerging technology?  

Speakers: 

Paul Reynolds, Vertex Labs & Former SDK & Platform Lead

Thomas Gewecke, Chief Digital Officer, Warner Brothers

Key Takeaways:

-          The ‘platform wars’ are just beginning as augmented and virtual matures across mobile, desktop, and consoles, and different platforms are required for different experiences (e.g., HTC vs Sony, Oculus, HoloLens, Samsung, Google Daydream, and others). To win the platform wars, scale matters for distribution with key supply and delivery chains already in place. These platform wars will take time, as will creating industry standards for development and content.

-          The “ease” of wearing headsets needs to improve. Headsets need to become more comfortable, less tethered, and more socially acceptable, particularly as the industry moves from virtual reality (limited use) into augment reality (unlimited use).

-          The nature of storytelling will change substantially on this new medium as stories can move from linear to non-linear perspectives. While there’s opportunity to integrate 3D into existing stories, the larger opportunity arises when storytellers begin to let consumers roam around in entirely new 3D world, either in their or another person’s perspective. However, it’s early days for new forms of content as no real examples of truly believable, compelling experiences exist today – just “bite sized” offerings.

-          Past technologies can provide insights on pain points and adoption cycles – 3D technology (do people want to wear those glasses? Will it make them sick?) and smartphone proliferation (how many platforms can a new ecosystem support? How much will distribution be determined by large players) can offer guidelines.

Investible Opportunities:  

-          Given shift in storytelling, opportunities exist to develop more full content experiences for interactive and non-linear storytelling studios.  

-          To streamline this new content development, there is a huge opportunity to build workflow tools and content library’s for reusable 3D objects. These will significantly speed up product development in the industry.  

-          The technology itself has clear pain points. In particular, processing and wireless technologies to make VR & AR cordless, and allowing smaller, more user-friendly “headsets” to enable the user to wear more frequently, for longer periods of time.

-          Adopting new technologies often take full stack solutions to come to market – as the technology matures, specialized applications for enterprises (think construction, design, engineering, training, and healthcare down the road) will enable more verticals to access the market beyond consumer adoption.

Resources:

VR, AR, MR…WTF? Paul Reynolds, Vertex Labs

Portland AR/VR Ecosystem Paul Reynolds, Vertex Labs

Pokémon. So? CBRE

My afternoon of virtual reality with Warner Bros digital chief Malia Spencer, Portland Business Journal.

A huge thanks to our sponsor, CBRE, for hosting this event and our workshop series.