Sometimes it seems like the word ‘Wow’ just can’t describe that certain something that you feel after seeing or experiencing something new…
But it’s an almost automatic response from those having just had their very first ‘VR’ experience.
“Holy $#!^!”, is a close second.
VR by the way, is ‘geekspeak’ for ‘virtual reality’.
If the concept of “VR” is unfamiliar to you, it won’t be for long. Many media outlets and technology pundits have touted 2016 as the year of Virtual Reality, and 2017 when it starts to work its way into everyday life. A lot of attention was focused on start-up Oculus Rift, (see below) HTC, (they make smartphones) and Samsung, (they make everything) with their Gear VR headsets. and of course you can’t forget Google.
Apple? not so much…
Virtual reality headsets have been around in various forms, (and successes) for number of years while they worked out the many technical hurdles in providing an ‘immersive virtual experience’. But alas, they are now coming to a forehead near you.
For the uninitiated, (or, those over 30 years old) here’s a primer on what VR and AR actually means:
Virtual Reality, or “VR”.. is a computer technology that replicates an environment, real or imagined, and simulates a user’s physical presence and environment in a way that allows the user to interact with it.
Virtual realities artificially create sensory experience, which can include sight, touch, hearing, and smell”
(source – Wikipedia)
When screen opens click small color image to launch.
Use your mouse or finger to look all around you – arrows to move to next VR scene.
To put it differently…
This video just posted on Fast Company April 6,2016, is by far the best way we’ve seen anyone describe – and most importantly show – what VR is, and where it can go. (Disclaimer – The video is actually promoting HTC’s own headset and apps, but it definitely gets the point across – I want one).
Augmented Reality, or “AR” is…
“An enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (as a smartphone camera); also: the technology used to create augmented reality” (Source: Merriam-Webster)
So, the big difference between AR and VR, (in my layman’s mind…) is that what you see (and experience) in VR is completely artificial, where AR is a mixture of your real world, with the digital parts being added in as a layer. Both have their benefits and limitations.
(P.S. I know there are many technical variances that I’ve not given credit to, , and these will converge in a very short
The Oculus Factor
In 2014, Facebook helped fuel the fire for the best virtual reality experience by buying start-up Oculus Rift for 2 billion dollars. This brought instant and world-wide attention to the concept of VR, and helped seed a brand-new new industry of VR/AR headsets, sensors, VR content (and jobs).
This was very evident at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in January, where there was a 2 hour wait to try the Oculus rig.
(Note: this author does not do 2 hour line-ups for anything…)
Touted as one of the best VR platforms to date, Oculus is now shipping their consumer version of the headset, ($599+ as of March 2016).
In order to actually use the headset you need to connect it to a pretty decent ‘gaming pc’, which could cost you another grand (plus).
Personally, (aside high ‘gearing up’ costs) the fact that you are ‘tethered’ or leashed to the actual computer serving up the VR experience is a bit of a detractor for me.
Democratization of VR
Although the concept of VR has been evolving over the years, the critical pieces to the VR ‘puzzle’ are now in place.
– High speed internet
– Cloud-based computing
– A huge demographic of consumers with powerful smartphones
All you need is the “HMD”, or head mounted display to complete the picture.
Download an app, place your phone in a headset, place said headset over your eyes, then prepare to be amazed.
This is huge. It takes what many consumers already have (a smartphone), and with a simple, fairly in-expensive headset (ie. the Samsung GearVR is only $99)
In a few seconds your new virtual 360 degree degree world opens up in front of you where you can look up, down and fully around you. In fact, you are placed into the world, in a ‘first-person perspective’…sort of like a John Woo action shot.
Think of being able to not just look at pictures of the Eiffel Tower, but be virtually be ‘standing on the observation deck looking all around. A panoramic image on steroids…Or, you’re at a concert…right between the drummer and the guitar player…which is better than a backstage pass!
It seems that with anything techie and cool nowadays, Google has their hand (or head) in it.
VR is no different.
Google Cardboard is Google’s answer to making VR accessible to the masses through affordability. Cardboard is not only a VR format, but also a simple smartphone holder that positions the phone over the eyes.
I bet you can’t guess what it’s made of…
So I have a head set…Now what?
AR/VR content currently comes in the form of downloadable or streaming apps sent to your phone or other viewing device, and can be 360 degree images or videos, 3D animated or CGI worlds, or a mixture of these. A simple Google Play search will provide a growing number of VR and 360 apps available, many of which are free, but expect the best experiences to cost a few sheckles.
The cloud of VR and AR content is expected to balloon over the next few years as the concept of VR and AR get closer to mainstream and adoption rates permeate through the consumer demographics. Not surprisingly, the younger generations are jumping on as the VR concept bounces their gaming experiences over the top. But VR/AR is not just for gaming geeks.
Interesting, but ‘what’s in it for me’?
VR is just one of those things that have to try and experience first-hand to understand what it is, and how amazing it is.
The experience is likened to being part Star Trek, part Disney, part Harry Potter…and in Viewit’s case, part ‘Property Brothers’.
And ViewIt / 3Dream is bringing it to the home decor industries…
3Dream has always been ‘virtual’, but we called it ‘3D’ to make it easier to understand by our creative – but non-technical users.
3Dreamers have easily differentiated themselves by offering a service that is both unique and exciting.
The biggest benefit offering 3D design visuals is in getting the customer instantly engaged, where they can make faster, more confident decisions.
It’s time to notch it up a bit
Viewit’s plan is to elevate the design and sales process by enabling 3Dreamers to view and share their own VR scenes with just a few clicks.
The following images are from an early-test 3Dream VR scene and how it looks on a phone. The image is split (for left and right eye), but when you place it in a headset your brain sees the two separate 3D views as one immersive environment, to look freely all around.
Think of it: With 3Dream VR they’re not just looking at a 3D picture, they are experiencing their new space. They are in it!
The one you’ve created for them.
How cool is that?? Can your competitors provide this?
Think of it as a way for Home Decor professionals to directly compete for the elusive discretionary dollar, right up there with jewelry, boats, sports cars and vacations.
Instead of your customers going to Disney World for a week of ‘fun and excitement’, (more like fights and indigestion…) you create and share with them their own personal ‘Fantasy Land’, featuring their own new living room or bedroom furniture.
How exciting it that?
Hang on. It’s going to get weird.
Live long and prosper,
Please contact me at [email protected] – I will be happy to answer any questions on how 3DreamVR can fit into your design or furnishings business!