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AR, Business, Industry News, VR

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have seen a recent boom of users. When the topic of AR/VR comes up, most people link this technology with gaming. Computer and video games have been extremely popular in this century. Whether a person games by themselves or with others, it has become a popular recreational activity for people of all age groups. Global reports found that the average gamer aged 18-25 spends seven hours a week gaming. Gamers show incredible commitment and consistency within their virtual realms, an experience that is exciting and transformative. With AR and VR technology, that experience is enhanced to the point of full immersion. In 2014, less than a million users were using AR/VR technology, but the number is projected to rise to reach 171 million users by the end of 2018. Of course, on the entertainment front, AR/VR has been extremely successful; but how can corporations use this technology in a practical way to set their businesses apart from their competitors?



In 2016, global law firm Perkins Coie LLP conducted a study with a keen interest on the rise of virtual and augmented reality technology. Over 650 participants (entrepreneurs, technology executives etc.) took part in the survey that assessed the AR/VR industry and highlighted key concerns from users reported back by businesses. Additionally, the survey sought to explore from industry experts how practical of a tool AR/VR technology is, and what the foreseeable future will look like with it. The general consensus in regards to the use and area of investment for AR/VR technology was dominated by the gaming industry (78%) In March 2018, a new survey, coupled with a few questions from the 2016 questionnaire was conducted and produced rather interesting results.



“Not everyone is a gadget freak. The industry needs to appeal to those who aren’t”

– Mixed reality (MR) startup developer



The “Others” in the AR/VR Industry

Despite popular belief, the gaming industry may be evicted from their #1 spot in the coming future. Perkins Coie LLP’s 2018 survey shows that companies are increasingly using advancements in AR/VR as a practical business tool/solution in achieving their goals and overall success.



Referring to the graphic above, 39% of respondents were in the business for making AR/VR content related to video games. However, just 5% shy of first place, the second largest group, at 35%, were those in the “other” section. This group of respondents includes companies that are using this technology to target industries like architecture and engineering. Looking at this trend of tech executives and entrepreneurs investing in industries unrelated to entertainment, we are transitioning into a major shift with the utilization of AR/VR. The survey results show that the market for AR/VR technology is changing, with an increasing number of individuals realizing its value and business potential.


Collaboration to Heal Social Disconnects

A common concern brought up with the use of AR/VR technology is the increased possibility of isolation, and heightened disconnection, of individuals from society. The totally immersive experience could prompt one to spend hours upon hours in a different reality, without much appetite to return back to actual reality. However, advancements in AR/VR have introduced new features in hopes of increasing greater collaboration amongst users to combat this concern.


 

Participants in the survey expressed that in the following year (referring to 2019), technology developers would focus on creating more collaborative features and social experiences in AR/VR. 81% of all respondents voted that they strongly agreed or agreed, and more importantly, 0% of respondents strongly disagreed with this statement. With absolutely none of the respondents strongly disagreeing against this statement, the importance and demand for collaboration within projects become highlighted.

 

Respondents were also expecting that AR/VR developers would be focusing their efforts on innovating more tools and apps for smartphones, enhancing collaboration between parties through one of the most accessible modes. This way of sharing designs and ideas drastically transforms the way we visualize projects. Since AR/VR technology almost rids any miscommunication or translation errors of details within a project, businesses have been more inclined to adopt this into their business model.


Here at Yulio, we thrive to simplify the process of collaboration and make it accessible to all parties. Our Collaborate mode allows everyone to meet in the same virtual space regardless of physical location.


Barriers and Concerns about AR/VR

A key concern with using AR/VR technology is the possibility of being isolating and detaching one from society. We addressed how AR/VR businesses are addressing this issue, but what other uncertainties may potential users have before using this tech?




Tech companies have expressed that potential users have been cautious about the hardware use (48%) and the lack of experience/expertise from businesses who utilize this technology (45%). Understandably, the advancements in this industry make it unwelcoming and inaccessible to seamlessly maneuver effectively and produce better results. Although AR/VR developers are continually making advancements and better adjustments to the technology, keeping up with the changes can prove to be difficult especially navigating through a completely new yet transformative platform. As such, companies must continue to invest time and effort into making their product easy to use and provide adequate support until this issue no longer is a problem. To understand more about this industry, and to receive personal support navigating through this technology, you can use our user guide and directly contact us to schedule a webinar.


AV/VR is Here to Stay

With our society heading into a more technically complex time, it is important to consistently keep up with technological advancements to stay relevant. It is time to become familiar with how the technology works, how to integrate it for your company’s needs and watch it transform the way you visualize your creations. Perkins Coie LLP conclude their findings by quoting a respondent sharing the confidence that this technology “will create significant rewards for both developers and players in the not-too-distant future”.


We would like to extend a special thank you to Perkins Coie LLP for their in-depth and informative surveys. Please click here to view their 2016 and 2018 survey.


At Yulio, we strive for excellence in performance and integrity when it comes to our programs, and customer service. To learn more about us and what we offer, please visit our page or take our product tour. To try our program for yourself, sign up for our free 30-day trial (no strings attached).
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Industry News, Lifestyle, VR

The horror genre has always been very popular. Timeless classics in the entertainment industry include the most iconic horror film the 1931 adaptation of Frankenstein. Films like The Conjuring, The Exorcist, and Get Out are some of the most watched films by horror film enthusiasts. The movie IT alone made $327.48 million dollars in the box office, making it the highest grossing horror movie of all time. But why is that? Is there a reason for this trend? Why would people pay their hard-earned money to experience a kind of entertainment designed to make them uncomfortable? We will unpack this phenomenon by looking at the psychological research conducted in this area.

 

The Psychology Behind Fear/Horror

Have you ever asked yourself why you think the horror genre is scary? Can you point out exactly what makes unrealistic characters like zombies and vampires so frightening? The reasoning behind this phenomena could be found in the field of study known as Evolutionary psychology. Evolutionary psychology theories that humans are continually adapt to their surroundings in order to survive by investigating how our intricate code of DNA is reflected in our behaviour. An example of this in action is seen in the usefulness and value of one of our primal instincts: fear. Comparatively to the state we live in, our ancestors were under constant danger from predators, diseases, or other humans. Gradually, our ancestors developed a fear system that would keep them vigilant to immediate dangers, keeping them alive.

According to Mathias Clasen, an associate professor in Aarhus University, the horror genre masterfully “exploit[s] [our] evolved ancient biological defence mechanisms” by intentionally transporting the users into imaginary virtual worlds of danger. Clasen points out that our heightened level of fear is not new, and our hyper-vigilance and hyper fearfulness is what kept our ancestors alive. Now taking Clasen’s example of zombies, why can they make us feel uncomfortable to look at them? The character premise of a zombie is that an infectious disease has taken over which causes the individual to decay, and to prey on other living humans. Clasen points out that this character represents targets our fear system through contagion and predation. Incorporating Evolutionary psychology, our constant fight for survival also projects our fear of death. Not only are zombies are visibly decomposing, but the fear of being infected or being preyed on revolve around our primal fear of mortality.

Now knowing all of this, why on earth do humans enjoy the horror genre so much that haunted houses or video games are enticing?


The Popularity of Horror Games – Explained

Teresa Lynch and Nicole Martins from Indiana University conducted a study in 2014 looking to observe undergraduate students’ fright experiences caused by horror video games. Students were tasked with playing survival horror games and to later answer questions like how sound influenced the fear they felt. The researchers found that over half of their study population reported the video games caused fear, and an incredible 40% of participants said they enjoyed this fear. What is the reason behind such a high statistic? Clasen states that his research “suggests that humans evolved to find pleasure in situations that allow us to experience negative emotions in a safe context”. These horror games give us the opportunity to be truly afraid, yet also allows us to evaluate our responses in a safe environment (at home or in a gaming cafe). As we evaluate our reactions to negative stimuli, we are able to maintain or refine our coping skills and strategies which could be later applied into real life. By continuing to practice, we can build a sense of “mastery” and expand our limits of what we can handle.

Why Play Horror Games in VR Then?

Taking what we have learned from Clasen, Lynch and Martin’s study, and the evolutionary framework, why would an individual choose to play these games in virtual reality? With further advancements in technology, video game designers and developers continuously push the boundaries in hopes of making the experience as real and immersive as possible. When in a fearful situation, everyone has their own defence mechanisms that may include covering their eyes or plugging their ears. However, when putting on the headsets and headphones playing horror games in VR, your ability to hide is taken away from you. Additionally, video game designers ingeniously psychologically convince you that you are physically in the game. Personalization of your character (skin colour, gender etc.), and speaking to the characters are a few minute ways of creating a deeper connection between user and game. With added hardware like a biometric monitor and eye-tracking technology, users can have a more personal and catered experience. The monitor measures a person’s heart rate as they are playing the game, and if it is too low, the game will intensify in hopes to scare the user more. With eye-tracking, not only does it provide a more accurate experience for the user, but it also helps with the development side of it. Traditionally, a developer may spend a long time choreographing a scripted sequence. However, developers run the risk of the user missing their “money shot” scare if the user was not looking at the right corner at the right time. Now with eye-tracking, this technology could be used to “trigger the event only at the precise moment … for the maximum scare”. Thanks to the constant innovation of video game designers, horror games are now more immersive and real, allowing individuals to push their limits on coping with negative stimuli.

 

Horror VR Games Are Here to Stay

There seems to be no slowing down for the horror genre in the virtual reality industry. So now that you know the allure of horror video games and how it can promote a positive change in you, give yourself a fear system a good workout this Halloween season. Perhaps you may be able to handle your fear better with a little bit of practice. A good start could be something more mild and tame, however, if you’re interested in something more hardcore, here is a list of 10 VR games to play this Halloween. Happy Halloween from all of us at Yulio!


Here at Yulio, we strive for excellence in performance and integrity when it comes to our product, and customer service. To learn more about how VR can enhance your business workflow, sign up for our FREE 5-day email course. To try our program for yourself, sign up for our free 30-day trial (no strings attached).

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AR, Industry News, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Last year, Japanese company FOVE released the world’s first VR headset with built-in eye tracking — the technology showed a lot of promise, and in the months that followed, Facebook, Apple & Google all acquired eye-tracking startups to incorporate the technology into their respective XR devices.

So what’s the big deal with eye-tracking, and how can it impact the VR/AR industry?


Better Performance & Natural Focus

Eye tracking allows developers to optimize the performance of VR/AR experiences by focusing system resources specifically where the user is currently looking. This not only lowers VR’s high barrier to entry but also gives creators the ability to create breathtaking visuals by using their processing resources wisely.

 

Another major visual improvement comes from the fact that eye-tracking technology can simulate natural focus realistically — a feature that has remained thoroughly absent from VR headsets so far.

 

A New Way to Design User Interfaces and UX

With the screen-based devices we use today, whenever we want to perform any action we need to tell our device what we want it to do. Usually, we do this by touching a certain area of the screen (touch screen interactions), or by pointing at things with a cursor (using a mouse).

Before doing any of those things, however, we always look at what we’re about to interact with, and this is where eye-tracking comes in.

 

It cuts out the middleman, allowing us to engage with content by simply looking at it. This will give rise to new ways of building User Interfaces that feel natural and are incredibly accurate, completely replacing the need for cursors and most touch based interactions altogether. Eye-tracking interactivity is also discrete by nature, and may allow us to use immersive computers in small public spaces — possibly answering one of the biggest design questions in VR/AR today.

 

An Analytics Oasis

Eye-tracking will allow VR/MR creators to have access to an unprecedented level of usage analytics — not only they’ll know exactly what users have looked at or ignored throughout an experience, they’ll also be able to accurately measure engagement through pupil tracking.

You may have heard that human pupils dilate on physical attraction: but it goes much further than that. Pupil expansion betrays not only physical attraction

but also mental strain and emotional engagement. It can even go as far as to predict the actions of a user seconds before they do it (explored and explained in detail in my article about the future of immersive education).

 

All of this will be immensely powerful for developers and will allow them to combine these bits of data to create immersive software that’s 100% reactive to a user’s emotions and truly understands what’s going through their mind as they go further into the experience.

 

New Gameplay Mechanics and Interactions

Eye-tracking will also give way to a number of new interactions and game-play mechanics that were never possible before — virtual characters will now be aware of when you’re looking at them, even going as far as to cross-examine what you’re looking at and why.

 

Users will be able to aim with their eyes, make narrative choices by simply gazing at an object, and meaningfully change the world around them with almost subconscious gestures, opening up a number of new opportunities for creative storytelling and interaction design.

 



We’d like to thank Lucas Rizzotto for his contribution to our blog from his collection of work. See more of his articles here!

 

Here at Yulio, we take advantage of our heatmap feature to track our user’s gaze duration, and where their attention truly lies on within a scene. Want to try this feature out? Sign up for a free Yulio account and get full access to our feature set for your first 30 days!

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AR, Architecture, Business, Design, Industry News, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

We know that when it comes to choosing VR solutions that your firm is going to use and heavily rely on in the future, that it’s more than just looking at the product as it is today.



 


When you’re buying software, there’s always an option that offers you the sun and the moon today, but how do you know that this one is going to be the best option in the long-run? It’s important that when you’re looking into the specifics of VR solutions, that you’re choosing the option that is going to work best for your firm now AND that it continues to be the best option in the future.  Dan Monaghan, Co-founder and sought-after speaker on business strategy says, “Being aware of the digital horizon – even if it’s way off in the distance – is one of the best things a business can do for its future”.




Today we’re seeing more and more businesses begin to integrate VR solutions into their existing operations, and it’s really easy to get caught into a trap of which company is offering the most flashy technology now, even though it may not be completely ready for the prime time for business just yet.


To keep up with how quickly technology advances, companies typically complete strategic tech audits to ensure that they’re being agile and keeping up with the rest of the world. According to the 2016 Trends vs. Technologies Report, 78% of decision-makers across all industries agree that keeping up with tech trends is vital or important, and 86% agree that it gives their business competitive advantage. It’s critical, now more than ever with how reliant we are with technology and how integrated technology is becoming in our everyday working routine, that businesses take their time and are selective with what kind of VR solutions they’re implementing into their firms. Being selective and investing time to investigate the best solution can be a huge benefit in the long-run. It will most definitely save you from headaches in the future, but you’ll also be on track to continue staying ahead of your competition because your solution will be dedicated to growing and improving over time in the best interests of your firm.




According to WSI, some key considerations you need to have when you’re choosing a tech solution are:

  1. Scalability: So this means that the solution should be able to withstand demands that are specific to your company. This could be how well it integrates with your current workflows, how it can grow alongside your company and proactively solve business requests in the future. Your solution should show that it’s ready to take on and adapt with your business.
  2. Complexity: This is more surrounding how user-friendly the tech solution is. If it’s not intuitive, has a lot of complicated set-up, or requires a user-manual to be in-hand at all times, then it’s just a slow-sinking ship – this will just frustrate your team who are actually the ones using it, potentially, everyday. Focus on the most important features and requirements and have more frequent release cycles as you expand across functional teams and regions. Solutions that are cloud-based typically support agile methodologies and configurations in order to provide enhanced functionality on an ongoing basis.
  3. ROI: Everyone wants to see that their money is being spent efficiently – that they’re getting consistent positive results, and that the solution can grow and bend toward your business needs over time.

So in the end, you should be seeking something that works with what you already have. This could mean for content you already have, programs you already use, and that it integrates seamlessly to streamline and simplify your workflow, to save valuable time and resources.





Here at Yulio, we’ve always tried to keep things simple and business-ready. Ian Hall, our Chief Product Officer here at Yulio chimed in and said, “There’s always been that temptation to kind of go down and do the next sexy thing in the space… like ‘Hey, we’re gonna do AR before it’s really ready for business’, and we’ve resisted that… ‘Let’s do tethered, let’s do complex HTC Vive full room breaks, because it’s really sexy when you video it’… It is sexy when you video it, but you can maybe do one of those every few months because it’s so cost-prohibitive, whereas our approach has been very pragmatic.”



We maintain a focus on the end-goal for our users without becoming too distracted by fashionable trends and industry developments along the way. Ian adds, “I think what that’s done, is it’s positioned us as a partner that delivers value not hype. So yes, there are a lot of competitors coming in and they’re going down similar paths that we went down in the early stages. They’re kind of focusing on the ‘big shiny bauble’. Whereas we’ve paid our dues, we’ve done the field research, and we’ve spent upwards of a thousand hours of usability testing, in terms of human factors designed for both the content creation and the consumption of this stuff.” And what is the byproduct of those hours spent refining the platform? Getting it simple enough that a 50-year-old CEO of a major corporation deciding whether to spend a few million dollars on this floor plate can go in there, without feeling intimidated, and not feel cut off from their peers when they’re looking at this stuff in this technology.



The other challenge with new technology, of course, is the constant changes and refinements to hardware. From cumbersome tethered devices through cardboards and new self-contained headsets like Oculus Go, the viewing hardware is changing constantly and we still don’t know who will win the race. One of the most important founding principles at Yulio was remaining device-agnostic. While we are mobile VR for now, you don’t need to worry about which device or app store you’ve invested in – we will. In fact, we were the first commercial app for architecture and design in the Oculus Go store, within days of the device launch, because we knew that device’s ability to remove friction would be a game changer as business VR solutions.

Our promise is that as long as you’re a client, we’ll worry about – and install – all required tech updates. Sign up once; remain at the head of VR technology forever.



Want to learn more about one aspect of Yulio’s effort for future-proof VR? Check out this Slideshare where we guide you to ask the right questions to implement VR in a way that’s fast, affordable and ready for business. Want to ease your employees into using Yulio? Get some useful tips and tricks for successful business-VR from our Client Success Manager – learn how to adopt the technology to wow your clients and feel confident in every client interaction here.

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AR, Business, Industry News, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
We sat down with Ian Hall, Chief Product Officer and resident expert at Yulio Technologies about his experience with VR, his work within the industry, and where he predicts the digital reality market will lead in the future, and here are his top 9 major takeaways! 


1. Stop calling it VR!
This first thing that I want to note about the future of VR is a bit ironic – and that is to stop calling it VR – or at least recognize that that is a bit of a bucket term for a number of technologies. We’re starting to combine the terms VR, AR, and MR, into this kind of overreaching descriptor of digital reality (DR) – some people call it XR to fill in the gaps, but digital reality seems to be resonating a little bit better. So, we start projecting out 6-12 months.. even a year and we look at it as that collection of visualization technology blending, merging, and working fluidly together in digital reality.




2. Hardware is always going to get better.

As anyone who has tried VR today can attest, it’s powerful, but there are still challenges. Even people who have had an experience in a professional tethered rig, like an HTC Vive, or something like an Oculus Rift – you’ve got this cable running from the back of your head, it gets sweaty, it’s clunky, it can be a little bit off-putting. The mobile devices, while they’re getting more and more powerful – everyone wants it to be higher resolution, lower latency, bigger field of view, longer battery life, less overheating to solve the convergence problem because there are a bunch of things that are all understood and I point to the Oculus Go – it moves forward on five of those things I just mentioned, in a substantive way, while absolutely plummeting the price. Two years ago I would’ve killed for an Oculus GO, and now future of VR is here with it. It’s self-contained, has a long-lasting battery life, great tracking, excellent visuals – that DIDN’T exist two years ago, and now it’s available $200 street – for the cost of a music subscription, you’ve got this powerful new communication medium. To do what the Oculus Go does today by combining a phone with an enclosure, you’re looking at about $1000 street to have something reasonable – meanwhile, the Oculus Go is $200 for exactly the same thing.. I mean, that’s a staggering drop in pricing.


You’ve also got a major player in the space Leap technology. They’re promising full-blown, functional mixed-reality headset with hand-tracking as a reference design for roughly $100 street price. So, that’s what I mean about VR, AR, and MR all kind of blending.. As that hardware comes forward, we will exploit it. So, if $100 AR headset is out there, our AR pipeline (which is obviously in-the-making) will be able to exploit it.





3. We’ve got so much to look forward to for DR technology 

So, we’re seeing the evolution of technology – if anything, we’re actually seeing the technology outstripping everything else. We’re seeing the software ecosystem is getting better, richer, so standards are starting to evolve, things like GLTF which is a 3D data format, optimized for delivering this type of experience, WebVR, and we’ve got the big players working on things like ARKit and ARCore to give you dial tone for doing basic mixed reality behaviours, and you’ve got just MASSIVE research going into data compression, 5G data transport, and we can go on and on. We’ve actually got an entire, what we call, “TechRadar”, where, Yulio as a company – all of our mad scientists and product people are looking at the major trends in all of these relevant areas in software, hardware, standards, in the UX/best practices, and we update that frequently and we use it to inform our thinking – that’s how we skate towards where the puck is going. We’re projecting these things forward, we’re looking at the scientific papers recognizing that those papers are gonna be turned into functionality, and open source, and things that we can use and then we’re figuring out where our opportunities lie through all of that. So a lot of it is having that insight into what those variables are, who the players are, and how rapidly things are adapting.





4. We’re going to see DR technology being used more and more as a standard in the construction industry

That is happening in other industries as well. That’s happening in construction now. Construction is already adopting augmented reality so you’ve got a pipefitter who puts on an augmented reality headset, and they will see, because of the plan, that there’s supposed to be pipes running along the wall – they’ll see where they’re exactly supposed to go in real-time, at-scale, where it’s supposed to be cut-in and cut-out – they can do the work and check their work. Then the inspector comes around – he can put on the same headset – looks at the original drawings and be able to compare workers efforts against the original design -and THAT is utterly transformative for the entire industry for bottom-line costs, maintaining clarity for regulations, quality working effort, at a level of fidelity that we’ve never seen before.





5. VR doesn’t always have to be flashy

Have you ever tried watching something in a headset? For instance, watching Netflix with your peers or something like that. It’s small and simple, and if you’re living in an apartment and you don’t have space for a 60” television, then you can sit there and have an IMAX size theatre screen in front of you in your very own living room and you can watch whatever you want! Entertainment executions like this will continue to help drive the future of VR.





6. DR is the next major gaming platform

So, we’re ahead of the game. The adoption of VR as a way of consuming traditional media in a new way is, frankly, disruptive stuff. If you take a VR mount into a gaming room, (and there are some really good titles out there that are breathtaking and forefront stuff in virtual reality) and you come out with this emotional high that you just don’t get sitting there with other mediums. That’s what’s transformative about future of VR – it’s an evolution of a storytelling medium and it’s the emotional connection that drives it that’s so exciting. You see more and more of these big studios when they do these big quality AAA games with  – and they ain’t doing it unless they can get their money back. So you’ve got the Sony’s and Samsung’s of the world pushing consumer VR but frankly, it’s in the very early days – for instance, instead of 100 hours of play, we’ve got 5 hours of play but it’s a REALLY cool 5 hours. Things like the Oculus Go suddenly become an install base of millions upon millions of content will follow. So, the big leagues for consumer VR are going to be content production – content that has a little bit more awareness, a little more accessible hardware.





7. Consumer adoption of VR will come as fast as we invite it

Technology moves fast, moves strategically, and it’s moving to address fairly well-understood problems… the bigger challenge is when you move into the human side of things –   which is the consumer consumption of digital reality. Now, obviously, Yulio as a company, we’re primarily focused on the business applications of this… that said, the business applications don’t exist in a vacuum. As consumers get exposed to DR and AR, kind of like first harbingers, they will lay the foundation for further investment in the space. Business or not they’ll build the future of VR because as consumers use it, more people will build hardware, more people will build software, so the building blocks that we use to create our products will branch from user adoption of the tech.





8. Digital reality training is coming full force – and it’s working! 

Education is another big one. The best example is Walmart who started dabbling with virtual reality as a way of training employees. They have this massive training program; whether you’re the one greeting at the door, or you’re the one stocking shelves or at the cash, you go through this very rigorous training program that introduces you to the “Walmart way” of doing things – and they will celebrate improving those outcomes all day long. If you can improve testing outcomes and improve customer feedback through that training program it has a huge impact. They introduced VR – and they saw double-digit improvements OVERNIGHT. So, they went from doing this as a trial to rolling out a full training program to every Walmart training center around the world and that was in the course of 12 months. So, again, this is a BIG IMPACT of DR transforming businesses.


So imagine that the same person is stocking the shelves wearing an MR headset and it gives them reinforcement of that training because they’re seeing it  in real-time, and the social stigma of looking funny with a big headset on doesn’t apply if you’re stocking shelves – So, business applications, some of those constraints that are going to slow down consumer adoption, don’t exist in business. If I’m going and doing a ‘pick and place’ in a warehouse – Putting a load into a box to mail to you, I don’t care what I look like. To put on a DR headset to be better at my job to improve efficiency is just something you’re going to do. That is becoming deliberate – this kind of idea where you wear these headsets in warehouses and remote diagnostics is already picking up traction. Microsoft jumping all over the whole platform. They literally just announced that the entire framework that allows you to use their HoloLens platform to do exactly what I just described. Have an expert come in, look virtually over your shoulder, and point to something and say “noo don’t turn that gear turn that gear” and they’ve come up with an entire platform for building applications like this.





9. The A&D community was perfectly primed to use DR technology

Today, in the architectural community in particular and more so the design community, we’re starting to see DR as table stakes – it’s not just a nice to have, but it’s becoming a must-have. When we started doing this over two years ago, we had to explain to our early adopters, “what IS VR?”, and they really just had no frame of reference… but in the last 6 months, I don’t remember the last architectural firm who didn’t have some sort of active VR initiative, and some of the more sophisticated ones have already started dabbling in AR and mixed reality – so that is an entire industry, and we just so happen to be perfectly primed for taking advantage of this. Speaking directly to Yulio, our clients use visualizations to convey design ideas, so visualization is definitely key. So these businesses are primed to use this technology and in a matter of 24 months, we went from getting reactions like, “what the hell is VR” to “we can’t live without VR” and that is absolutely transformative.


So, the implications for business make sense in the areas with the greatest ROI – where you see a ten-fold improvement overnight as opposed to traditional means. But as time establishes, more people try things and they find that it works… it’s substantially better than the alternative – you’re going to continue to grow in the business environment and this is absolutely the center of where Yulio exists. We are addressing those problems, we are working with our customers and trying those scenarios, we’re eliminating the ones that don’t work all that well, we’re focusing on the ones that really do, and we’ve already seen those successes in a repeating pattern. Using Yulio / a VR platform to convey your design ideas – early stage / late stage is correct. And we know that today because we have architects backing us saying, “we’re trying for a year to communicate to a customer why this thing needed to be this big and we finally had the epiphany – we were already using VR for our designers, and we decided to turn it around and put it in front of the customer, and they looked at it and had an ‘Aha’ moment. They looked at it and went ooooh I FINALLY get why it had to be so big .. we didn’t believe you and now we trust you and they finally became a partner in that dialogue.”


Until that moment – using the best methods available to architects today – models, floor plans, renderings, and all that kind of stuff – they weren’t able to convey that in a year, and VR was able to convey it in a split second. And that is transformative.




So what’s coming? 

It’s more of that. It’s finding those niches. It’s finding those applications and it’s just transforming how people do business. I think winning business patterns will drive the future of VR.





Ian Hall is Yulio’s Chief Product Officer and has been working in the industry for an eternity in VR terms. He recently attended VRX 2018 and recorded the top trends that he saw. Read about them here. To learn more about VR best practices for business, sign up for our 5-day email course, presented by Ian with daily 5-7 minute video courses.

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AR, Architecture, Business, Culture, Design, Industry News, News and Updates, Resource, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Yulio Chief Product Officer Ian Hall recently attended VRX 2018 and brought back some key VR trends and winning patterns from the conference. While we’ve expanded on them a bit below, the overwhelming theme is that VR adoption is being led by business adoption and not consumers. As we’ve predicted, waiting for consumer VR headset sales is the wrong adoption indicator – and will leave you flat-footed when it comes to sharing your vision in VR.


VR Trends in Hardware

There have been a number of analyst predictions around headset adoption, which consistently indicated that beginning in 2018 and through 2020 standalone headsets like Oculus Go, HTC Vive Focus etc. will dominate over a console or premium mobile headsets like Samsung’s Gear VR. The Oculus Go has been a game changer in the area, removing much of the friction we’ve seen for our clients of awkwardly trying to put their phone inside a headset etc. Look for the Microsoft Hololens and continue innovation from Oculus to lead in this area, with shipments expected to double between now and 2020.




Globally, standalone vr headset shipments are expected to move from 5 million in 2018 to 15 million by 2023. Standalones will lead VR trends.


Yulio tip:

Like our Yulio Clients, Perkins+Will noted during their panel at the conference that Oculus Go is a slam dunk, and that their sales team love it. We bet they love it because it removes so much friction from installing an app on your phone, putting your phone in a headset etc. etc. You can get Oculus Go from any electronics retailer, or right from the Oculus store – download our Yulio app and you’ll be all set. Removing friction is the most important of the VR trends, as we’ve learned from our 1000+ hours of user testing.


VR Trends by Business Vertical

We’ve looked at a number of verticals using VR successfully, and we’ve always agreed with the comment made by Iffat Mai of Perkins + Will architecture -that “VR ROI (in architecture) is a no-brainer, our job is to sell you something that doesn’t exist”. But the opportunities in some other sectors are interesting too. Showrooms and Retail sectors are slightly ahead of A&D in terms of demand, with the major players all figuring out how to use digital reality to create meaningful retail experiences.

Beyond retail and architecture, experts see significant potential in Education and Healthcare – but both are challenging to services due to extensive regulation and barriers to changing the current process (whether rolling out a new curriculum in education or extensive health testing).

Likely the biggest ‘bet’ will be in the training field, with experiential learning, fewer physical meetings, and more self-guided learning all being keys to the value of VR.



Yulio tip:

Our clients who work in commercial furniture have found that early adoption of VR has allowed them to differentiate from their competitors by offering an immersive experience. Moreover, the experience helps people make faster decisions with a better sense of size and scale – and gives clients the tools they need to ‘sell’ upward in their organizations and achieve final sign off. Read more in our client showcase with HBI in Calgary.


 

VR Trends from Early Adopters   

One of the most valuable elements from any conference is hearing and learning from those who have really set the VR trends and are repeating useful patterns. You can leap-frog some learning by keeping key adoption learnings in mind:

  • If you’re responsible for rolling technology out to your sales or dealership/showroom teams, you need to look for something that’s as fail-proof as possible and operationalize the learning. Your benchmark should be that if it’s harder than powerpoint, or web-ex, you need a training webinar or session around resolving and scripting the issue
  • As the presenter, it can be challenging to manage the technology, tell your story, and ensure people don’t become isolated in VR. That’s why we recommend having no more than 2-3 headsets even in large presentations. If your software allows you to project what’s being seen in the headsets on a screen, you can see what people are looking at and create a social experience around it
  • The script is still critical to a VR supported presentation – VR trends in tech and even content don’t hide good design – so be sure you have the content, and the story you want to tell before immersing your clients in your scene


Yulio tip:

The most important VR trends aren’t about technology or complicated gadgets – they’re about storytelling. We recommend to all our clients who are looking to get started that they pick a target project – a pitch or presentation that’s upcoming, and use it as an area of focus to implement VR. One Oculus Go headset and a few software seats on Yulio will have you up and running for your presentation in no time. The key is to quit waiting for perfection….but rather to pick something simple and start your learning process.   




Our advice? Don’t be alarmed. Fortunately, it’s not too late to get in on the VR game. It is, however, high time to get started. For the perfect way to get yourself up to speed on VR trends, try our Yulio 5-day course and wow your colleagues with this pre-packed presentation full of our VR research on the state of the industry.

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Architecture, Business, Design, Industry News, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Last week, Yulio attended the fiftieth anniversary of NeoCon, the most important event of the year for the commercial design industry. Here, we got the pleasure to speak to some amazing industry leaders and see some spectacular showrooms in the process.


NeoCon 50 was all about the up-and-coming trends to hit the commercial design industry for 2018 and 2019 – and now, we want to share the major design trends that we saw there with you!



Comfort and Durability were Key Players

The main trend that seemed consistent throughout NeoCon was the push towards how aspects of a home can be shared with commercial and hospitality spaces as well. This concept invites a more warm and welcoming atmosphere by inviting comfortability and durability within the same space.




 


 


To give you an idea of what we’re talking about, think about how offices are beginning to have a more comfortable collaborative-type feel such as including a plush sofa made of a light but durable material to stand the test of time but also being able to facilitate strong conversation. This would make what was intended for relaxation and comfort to transition into a more functional and social space for ideas and productivity to spark.




Bringing the Outdoors in

Another huge trend we saw is the idea of bringing elements of nature and organic materials into indoor spaces. You’ll see the incorporation of plants, greens, wood grain, furs, stones, and similar materials being used in a way that enhances the contrast within textures in opposing materials, while also adding a more acoustic experience for the room.




 


 


You’ll not only see this with materials used for furniture, but in wall coverings, room embellishments, and accents for a sense of freshness and life, and to bring our human instincts back to their roots wherever we may be.


 


The addition of natural embellishments within space design adds a luxurious feeling towards what used to be stagnant materials used in commercial and hospitality all around the world. The natural and polished look appears much more contemporary and visually interesting. Who wouldn’t want to brainstorm around this kind of boardroom table?!




Rich Layered Textures

Textured layers are another large trend that were fairly consistent throughout NeoCon. Following the use of natural materials, by incorporating contrasting textures allows for a lot more visual stimulation within a space.



 

 


You can focus a lot more on the detail of individual pieces with contrasting textures, but you’re also able to see comfort regardless of what materials you favor over others.



 


Again, here you see designers using wood, a natural material as an inspiration for many looks. These chairs look almost hand-carved, the partitioned wall has an appearance of a deteriorated birch, and the plaques on the wall appear like they’re tree rings, but in fact, are made of a brushed metal.


Think about complementary colors – if you want a color to pop, you’re going to put it against the opposing color to make the largest contrast. Having rich layered textures not only makes a space more visually appealing, but it allows for a combination of sleek materials to shine their brightest.




Repurposed Materials and Concepts Shine Bright

This one might not be a brand new concept for commercial design, but reviving the old and turning it back into something new is always a breath of fresh air when it comes to designing a space. Again, it’s the contrast of materials and what technology can do with the materials now that makes this look so stunning.




 



Notice the different textures from leather to iron to metal to plush to woodgrain to velvet – this room has it all. Even the candlesticks on either end table – an older concept that has been revived to be something new with light bulbs inserted into the base of the design. This design is a refreshed look on an old country living room but in the modern era.





 


Here we see one more example of how NeoCon was reviving the old and turning it into something completely new and different. These rugs were inspired by the beauty in imperfections – They embrace a rustic, old, and deteriorating look and feel, while also being natural, organic and with an unstructured pattern to complete the design.




Let’s talk patterns

In terms of colours and patterns that were popular, we see a lot of this rose gold colour that has erupted in the last few years make an appearance in the commercial design industry, as well as deep green colours to pair with the natural accents around the spaces, and we also see a lot of warm greys in many of the spaces.




 


The patterns that made a forefront at NeoCon are driving from what used to be more neutral and conservative trend back to a more mid-century modern and vibrant look and feel. These designs have a blocked pattern, but you’ll notice that they don’t have any sort of vertical pattern or design repetition, which makes it have more of a natural effect because there is no distinct line where a pattern repeats.




Unique Wall Coverings

Now, diving into wallcovering trends that were spotted at NeoCon, we’re embracing this same natural organic texture and pattern but throwing it on the walls. Again, as we saw with the color and patterns this year, we see this same concept again in wall coverings. The designs have no distinct line or clear repetition which creates a more natural look and feel which is just so visually stunning in a space.


 


They seem to be playing with the organic patterns and metallic embellishments which creates this interesting and reflective look that appears very naturalistic but modernistic as well.




 


You’ll also notice small details like what look to be kitchen or bathroom tiles but in a completely inflated and deconstructed pattern. This is an interesting design choice to be an accent towards specific pieces in the room, for instance, in the image above, the wall tiles are accenting the stainless steel lamp shade with a woven metal base. This wall covering design seems to be coming from an older design trend of ‘ombre’, or the transition from one stark colour or texture to the next (so this would be the transition from protruding and metallic to a more matte finish) and also creates this balance on this wall with how the furniture is placed.



There you have it! Some of the stunning design trends that we took away from the one and only NeoCon! We look forward to what NeoCon has in store for us for next year, but in the meantime,  we’d love to share some of our fun experiences with you. Check out some of our memories from the show here.



VR is a great tool for showing off your products, which includes furniture, wall and floor coverings and much much more. Interested in virtual reality? Learn more about VR for business through our fast 5-day email course here and kickstart your learning today!

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Architecture, Business, Design, Industry News, News and Updates, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

We are so excited and so proud to announce that our app, the Yulio Viewer, is the first Business VR Viewer app to be released in the Oculus Go Store as of yesterday afternoon (May 9, 2018)!


The very much anticipated Oculus Go headset (OGO) hit the shelves on May 1st, and you better believe that we jumped at the opportunity to get our hands on it!


Not only is the OGO the first stand-alone headset to hit the market (ever!), but this is a HUGE step towards democratizing VR – in fact, this headsets launch is being sprouted as the first true consumer-focused VR system – and for good reasons. This headset is the best option on the market for anyone that wants to start exploring mobile VR without relying on your smartphone. There’s no phone required, no awkwardly fitting your phone inside the goggles and hoping it’s secure, no worrying about the headset draining your phone’s battery, no cables to entangle you. Just…..go. It’s that easy.



The release of this headset means that the barriers that were causing friction with mobile VR in the past – are virtually gone!


OGO embodies everything that Yulio has been built from the ground up to support, which is Fast VR. Having the ability to be mobile, simple, and affordable can transform how VR is used for your business. Fast VR is a principle, a habit, a way of bringing virtual reality into business situations and workflows at precise moments when it can do what it does best – quickly communicate the complex and without obstacles to get you there. This completely self-contained headset will make it easy for anyone to preload their designs, then simply pop in-and-out for a seamless, stunning and compelling virtual reality presentation.





Are you one of the first to get an Oculus Go headset? You can download our app in the Oculus Go Store to start exploring your stunning VR designs here. Our app is also available in the App Store, Google Play and Samsung’s Oculus Store for Cardboard and Gear VR. And if you haven’t already, hop on the train to experience Fast VR for yourself! Sign up for a free Yulio account to start impressing your clients.

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AR, Architecture, Business, Design, Industry News, News and Updates, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

If you follow the VR space at all, you’ve probably heard about Oculus Go VR – the much anticipated ‘all-in-one’ headset set to revolutionize mobile VR. No phone required, no awkwardly fitting your phone inside the goggles and hoping it’s secure, no cables to entangle you. Just…..go.


And that’s the intended magic of VR, isn’t it? Put on this headset and go anywhere. The Oculus Go is started being available to order  May 1 2018, (many of us at Yulio just bought one) so probably in our hands and hitting retailers soon for about  $200. That’s pretty exciting when you consider that a Gear VR from Samsung, the current best in class mobile experience is around $100 but requires a high-end smartphone to make the magic happen.


There have been plenty of articles discussing the consumer benefits but what about the benefits for those who can see immediate ROI? Let’s look at the four reasons why Oculus Go VR  is going to be the key to making your business a VR success.




You get the emotional connection of VR without all the hassle of preloading

VR’s power to forge emotional connections has always been why it is so interesting. The problem to date has been that it sometimes gets lost in cumbersome technology – what I would call ‘friction’. In the past several years of experimenting with VR technology, and more than 1000 hours of user testing, we’ve seen small things like an unwillingness to mess up hair and makeup with headsets, concern about looking foolish and concern about feeling nauseous all limit VR’s reach. And we’ve seen the current multi-step process –  download an app, put content on your phone, put the phone in a headset – impede business adoption.




The headset is powerful enough to stand on its own (and not draining your own phone battery)

The ‘smartphone as engine’ model has some inherent problems in current mobile VR that Oculus Go VR takes care of nicely. Right now, if your sales team is using VR in the field with their own phones, the experience can be interrupted by incoming calls or text alerts. And if their phone battery is at low because of this morning’s conference call, is an interior designer going to risk using it in VR at a client presentation? Standalone, purpose-built devices not only take away the friction of loading the right app and getting it going before placing it in a headset, but also take care of these small but very real inconveniences.




It makes fast VR, even faster –  and more personal

For VR to be a practical, everyday tool, I maintain that it has to be fast. It’s a tool to facilitate discussion, and I advocate a ‘pop in and out’ experience. Look inside the headset at a design problem or issue to be resolved with your client or prospect, and then have a discussion. Oculus Go is going to contribute to that ‘fast VR’ use case that I think is critical to business-ready VR. Simpler, pre-loaded VR experiences on the headset make the designer, marketer or even retailer the narrator of a story, and not someone facilitating technology like phones and apps. It helps you get into VR faster, and I’ve seen, many times, how transformative that is. It’s the difference between seeing something and being immersed inside it.



You don’t need to blow the rest of your pay cheque on the device that powers your headset

Another obstacle to business VR is perceived cost. You’ll see articles all the time explaining that the Gear VR or the Google Daydream is just $100. But they need phones which are $550+ to power them. As a business owner trying to arm salespeople with VR portfolios or installing these devices in retail environments, there’s a lot of risk for breakage, damage, and loss. But with Oculus GO VR, marketers and sales manager will be able to get 3-4 devices for the same budget.




It’s a cornerstone of our approach to VR for business that the technology should never be a burden to a business user. You should be able to use the tools and processes you’re already using to bring your story into the VR medium. Oculus GO VR is another step toward making that seamless and has the potential to propel VR storytelling for business in late 2018.





Interested in learning about virtual reality? Sign up for our FREE 5-day email course, or sign up for a free Yulio account and take part in our free bi-weekly training webinars where we can walk you through getting started with your account to set you up for success!

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AR, Business, Industry News, VR

We talk with architects, designers, construction planners, BIM executives and many more, every day who know VR is going to be disruptive to their industry. But they are sometimes uncertain about whether VR is more than a tech novelty – they want to know how to spot a trend vs. a fad.  That makes sense to us! If businesses are going to invest in implementing VR, or the wider category of digital reality they want to know if it’s a passing fad, or if it’s here for good. And how to get the best ROI from it.


The first thing to understand about the VR market is the significant difference between consumer and business markets. The less than juggernaut sales of headsets for consumers led some analysts to call VR a disappointment. But there is a difference in personal investment for things like gaming and entertainment, vs business needs for designers to communicate their vision where the costs are amortized over many users, and the potential to win business.


Digital Reality?

Digital reality is a term that IDC has coined, and is meant to be used as an umbrella term that virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR) (a mixture of augmented and virtual reality) 360 degree, and immersive technologies can all fall under. It’s a recognition that new immersive visual technologies all have different uses, and the specific mechanics aren’t important in the larger trend of Digital Reality. A lot of people anticipate mixed reality being the big winner in the space because it makes use of physical and virtual space to create captivating scenes for any industry-use, but for now, VR and AR are the primary focus in the market. We anticipate those labels falling away as we adopt a larger view of Digital Reality, with the different categories becoming tools in the toolbox with different strengths.


What’s the Market Like?

Goldman Sachs released a Profile of Innovation surrounding virtual and augmented reality, and it describes the tech as “hav[ing] the potential to become the next big computing platform”, comparing the rise of investment and market disruption of digital reality as similar to when the PC and smartphone were released.


The report notes that, “[they] believe that VR/AR has the potential to spawn a multi-billion dollar industry, and possibly be as game-changing as the advent of the PC”, and that, “[they] see qualities in VR/AR technology that can take this from niche use cases to a device as ubiquitous as the smartphone” – Pretty powerful statements, if you ask me.



In 2016, the VR software and hardware market size worldwide reached 3.7 million, and 6.4 million in 2017 – now in 2018, it’s estimated to reach 12.1 million. The market trend forecast predicts that it will continue to double until 2020, which is similar to the original rise of the PC, but it’ll take a bit more time to get there. Think about the quality of video games – we’ve moved from what used to be expensive games that were very pixelated and with significant lag time, to insanely fast and photo-realistic image quality, and reduced costs that consumers are willing to pay to play. There are certainly parallels where VR/AR consumers may find that there isn’t enough high-quality content to justify the expense for individuals, but that is poised to change in the coming months. And in the meantime, businesses are finding that their ability to amortize those costs over marketing campaigns make the technology more viable for them than the average consumer.  


We can expect some pretty big innovations being released in the next couple of years – Goldman Sachs predicts that the market should reach $80 billion by 2025.






There will be integrations into current technology that will allow for VR/AR capabilities, as well as standalone devices similar to the Daydream Standalone VR headsets, which are targeted to begin shipping spring of this year. This VR headset doesn’t require a phone, PC or cables, which makes it the first of its kind in terms of mobile digital reality power.


Another barrier for consumer VR/AR right now is that there isn’t much content, but in the future, there are huge indicators for the amount of content that will be widely available, which will make digital reality much more attractive and useful for consumers.



 

Next, Goldman Sachs provided a by-industry breakdown of the market for the forecasted 2025 market prediction, showing the various levels of use for 9 different industries.  

Here, you can see the division of the digital reality market software-use into 9 industries:

  1. Video games ($11.6B)
  2. Healthcare ($5.1B)
  3. Engineering ($4.7B)
  4. Live events ($4.1B)
  5. Video entertainment ($3.2B)
  6. Real estate ($2.6B)
  7. Retail ($1.6B)
  8. Military ($1.4B)
  9. Education ($0.7B)

With real estate, engineering, and entertainment being the large industries at-play with digital reality technology at the moment, we can see that there’s still a lot of potential for the medium that hasn’t been discovered just yet.



Who are the Major Players Investing in Digital Reality?

Companies wouldn’t be all in unless they saw something with the potential to stay a long time. You know something is here to stay when the largest consumer tech companies in the world are investing heavily in it. Let’s take a look at some of the major technology moguls, and what they’ve been up to involving digital reality:



Google

They had already released their augmented reality glasses, called ‘Google Glass’, back in 2012, but unfortunately, it didn’t take off quite as expected. The idea was revolutionary, and I’m sure it’ll come back with a vengeance, but at the time, it wasn’t something that consumers could justify needing, and felt alien and cumbersome.


Since then, Google has invested $542 million dollars in 2014 to kick-off the ‘Magic Leap’, one of the first-to-market mixed reality headsets. Google also pioneered the Cardboard, an inexpensive VR headset that really democratized access to digital reality. When Google moves to get something into the hands of tens of thousands of customers, you can anticipate they are looking to make a major play in providing content services.


Sony

In 2014, Sony launched ‘Project Morpheus’, later renamed to be the PlayStation VR. In 2017, they shipped 429,000 PSVR’s in their first quarter, giving the company a 21.5% market share, and sold a total of 700,000 PS4 consoles, so the potential for their VR segment to grow is very much a possibility… and being the most affordable tethered VR option in the market right now definitely gives them a leg-up on their competition


HP

In 2014, they bought Aurasma 3.0, an augmented reality application which they acquired through autonomy.


Facebook

Famous for buying Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at a conference in 2017 that he is setting a goal of getting 1 billion people using VR, which is about 13% of the world’s population –  that target number of VR users is estimated to be reached by 2020.


They’ve also recently shared that the Facebook platform now supports gITF2.0 file format, allowing for textures, lighting and realistic rendering through posts. Brands such as Clash of Clans, LEGO, Jurassic Park, and Wayfair are already ramping themselves up to use this feature to their advantage.






Another exciting possibility for the platform is their use as  VR social spaces for friends to interact and play games. Check out the live demo of the feature here!


Samsung

In 2014, Samsung revealed (in partnership with Oculus) their Samsung Gear VR, one of the most popular mobile VR headsets to hit the market. Selling almost 5 million headsets in 2017, they’re expecting to more than double their in 2018 to 10 million units shipped!


In 2017, they also acquired a company called VRB, who specialize in VR content creation, PLUS unveiled their 360-degree camera, which is one of the big content drivers for VR. We expect to see more developments from Samsung as the VR market grows.


Intel

In 2015, Intel had invested over $60 million in 15 VR/AR startup companies, raising to be $566 million by the end of 2017. Also, in September of 2017, Intel announced that they’ve invested over $1 billion in AI companies so we can prepare ourselves to witness some pretty cool technology coming from them sometime in the future.


Apple

Reportedly acquired Metaio, an AR software maker, and are now beginning to launch their platform, ARKit, which is an integration piece for apps that allow for augmented reality to best perform on their hardware.

Apple also got onboard with the same kind of software that made Snapchat so popular -They’ve acquired Faceshift, a facial recognition and animation company. Check out their ad here!



Disney

Led $65 million to be funded towards a VR content creating a startup called Jaunt.


Microsoft

Bought a company called Havok, which is a 3D physics engine used for video games.


Comcast and Time Warner

Participated in $30.5 million funding for NextVR, which captures live events in VR.





These companies are, as they say, “all in” on digital reality – which means that some huge developments are in the making, and coming to consumer shelves sooner than you think.

With this much activity in the market, do you still think that digital reality is just hype?




To find out more about implementing VR for your business, download our whitepaper which outlines the best implementations for ROI from digital reality – Or try VR on-for-size by signing up for a free Yulio account!

0

AR, Guest Blog, Industry News, VR

Charlie Fink is a former Disney, AOL and American Greetings executive. In the 90s, he ran VR pioneer Virtual World. Today he is a consultant, professional speaker, columnist for Forbes and author of Charlie Fink’s Metaverse, An AR Enabled Guide to VR and AR.  






The transition to head-worn mobile computing faces significant barriers. Unlike the smartphone, this requires big changes in consumer behavior. Head-mounted displays (HMDs) are a new idea. In order to get people to buy Pepsi, they have to know what soda is. For this reason, adoption may look more like personal computers, which took fifteen years, than smartphones, which took two years.





 


During the Internet explosion in the early 1990s, we often looked at a graph which showed rates of consumer technology adoption. The data suggested that the speed of adoption would continue to accelerate, which proved to be true for smartphones and tablets, but those devices took what we were already doing and made it much better.


It took fifty years to electrify the country. It took thirty years to wire landline phones. It took radio twenty years. Television, ten. The Internet took less than five years. AR and VR cannot be conflated with these technologies. Instead, it is like the personal computer, which took fifteen years to hit an inflection point. Personal computers came into our lives very slowly.





 


Throughout the 80s, personal computers were considered first adopter novelty items for nerds and rich people. It wasn’t until the end of the decade that PCs were common in most offices. They were expensive. They ran expensive CD-ROMs, which were either games or educational in nature. If the computer had a modem (it was considered a peripheral, like speakers), you had to open it with a separate program. I remember in 1993 I needed to open several programs to get onto the Internet. One for TCP/IP. One for the modem itself. One for my sleek new Netscape Navigator web browser, and yet another for IRC (chat).




 

However, once the PC met online services, the PC hit an immediate inflection point. This happened within months. The advent of online services like AOL and Prodigy, with their all-in-one discs that brought all the disparate Internet software together into one simple (sort of) plug and play program, pushed the PC to an inflection point. By 1996, everyone had to have one, because at that point, the value proposition was so clear and substantial.


In the early 2000s, many people were given their first smartphone at work, the BlackBerry, which allowed users to send email on the go. Soon, consumer cellphones had those features, and people received remarkable upgrades for free as part of their normal cellphone replacement cycle. The wireless providers and handset makers took what we were already doing and made it much, much better. Yes, please!


Mobile AR, which turns the camera into the window through which we see the world, has been available on Android phones since 2015 and on iPhones since the fall of 2017. Because of Apple’s scale, within a few days, hundreds of thousands of people could do much more with the phone. There were just two problems. The first was apps. They’re novelties and game enhancements. Second, holding one’s arm out to view the world through the camera may be the worst form factor accidentally invented by man.






 


Augmented reality works exceptionally well for enterprises (as computers did in the 80s), but they largely aren’t for consumers, although there are some nifty AR-enabled toys and books. For consumers, AR headsets are in a protean state. There are basic problems with optics and field of view. Costs are still going up, not down. Interface solutions are not obvious. Speculation swirls around the big companies and some stealthy startups (most notably Magic Leap).


Ironically, the really big utility problems are outside the smartphone. They’re in the cloud and pertain to unsolved issues of bandwidth, compression, artificial intelligence, and the lack of a geospatial social “AR Cloud” that would make the glasses contextually aware. For VR the problems are simpler and more profound. Navigating with hand controllers is extremely awkward and people still get motion sickness. The optics are terrible. At current resolutions, the pixels are visible, creating a “screen door” effect. Even advanced headsets only have a 110-degree field of view.



Rapid advances in smartphones have spoiled us. VR and AR aren’t going to be like that.


This is an excerpt from my book Charlie Fink’s Metaverse, a continuously updated, AR-enabled guide to VR & AR, published January 9, 2018, by Cool Blue Press.



 




We’d like to thank Charlie Fink for joining us as a guest author on our blog! Check out more of his work here – and if you’re ready to adopt VR for your own business, sign up for a free Yulio account!




This post was originally featured on Forbes.com on December 13, 2017

Used with permission. c. 2017 Charlie Fink, all rights reserved

Charlie Fink’s Metaverse, An AR-Enabled Guide to VR & AR

@charliefink l Charlie Fink.com l Wikipedia I LinkedIn

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AR, Architecture, Business, Industry News, News and Updates, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

If you’re feeling skeptical about whether or not 2018 is going to be the year of VR, you come by that skepticism honestly. VR has been plagued with over-hype, both from the press and headset makers. But, over the last 18 months, VR has ridden the hype cycle and we believe, come out the other side. Yulio clients have integrated VR into their practices and are on their way to it being an indispensable tool.


VR may not change your life yet – but it will change your business.


If you are still thinking VR is a transient fad and you can wait for it to pass…start thinking about it as a compelling technology that’s found it’s perfect time to shine. To help you get your head around the possibilities, here are a few stats we’ve rounded up from recent VR research we think you should see.



5 Years

Although in some form or other, VR has existed for several decades, the current boom in the technology was spawned by the Kickstarter campaign initiated just 5 short years ago by a little-known startup Oculus Rift. Oculus only ever sold (via Kickstarter) headsets as developer kits, but it still shifted 100,000.

A $2 billion acquisition later, and VR found its mojo, winning an ever-growing number of hearts, minds and new users across the globe.



11 Million+

Approximately 11 million virtual reality headsets were shipped in 2016, increasing to over 13 million in 2017.



51%

Over half of the U.S. population is aware of virtual reality devices and 22.4 million Americans are already VR users.



171 Million

Globally, right now, as I write, there are an estimated 171 million VR users.



$12.1 Billion

According to Statista, this very year, the virtual reality market is estimated to reach a value of 12.1 billion U.S. dollars. You think that’s a large number? You should see the next one.



$40.4 Billion

The projected VR software and hardware market is expected to reach $40.4 billion by 2020. That’s a lot of people using a lot of VR technology for a lot of different applications. By ‘a lot’, I mean …



1 Billion +

… Over one billion people will regularly access VR and AR content by 2020.
Yes, that’s a ‘billion’ people. IDC predicted last year that the compelling combination of virtual reality and augmented reality content will have a global audience that tops this crazy number by the turn of the next decade. Mental note – this must mean VR is no fad.



41%

Those still on the fence don’t plan to be for long. According to Google’s Consumer Survey conducted last year, more than a third of the adults said that they would give virtual reality a try if they had the chance to. Consumer interest is set to continue pursuing VR as one of the most emerging technologies.



44%

Who will make up the next wave of buyers? Millennials … and lots of them. According to Nielson, 44 percent of people interested in purchasing VR devices are between the ages of 18 and 34. This generation is one heavily motivated by innovative devices and will play a major role in defining what ‘sticks’.



250

To satiate that desire to get involved in VR, there are currently 250 VR headsets styles available for purchase on Amazon.com.



82 million

By all accounts, they’re selling well as, according to Statistic Brain, there are expected to be 82 million headsets in use by 2020.



90%

Of all those headsets sold worldwide, approximately 90% are mobile phone based. What does this tell you? Best to make all of your VR applications and content very mobile friendly.



So what can be garnered from all the big numbers in our VR research? VR is here to stay. It might not have always mirrored the hype, but it is unquestionably a growing force to be reckoned with.


Our advice? Don’t be alarmed. Fortunately, it’s not too late to get in on the VR game. It is, however, high time to get started. For the perfect way to get yourself up to speed, try our Yulio 5-day course and wow your colleagues with this pre-packed presentation full of our VR research on the state of the industry.

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Business, Culture, Design, How to, Industry News, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
There’s not a lot that hasn’t been tried when it comes to sales. Humans have been doing it forever, in a multitude of forms. From wide-smiled salesmen going door to door to charm their way to an impulsive purchase, all the way to personalized digital ads being delivered to shoppers at the optimal moment of weakness in their day. Delivering the right product, in the right way, at the right time, is a pot-of-gold-process that’s under constant scrutiny and being constantly disrupted and refined.    Now companies are selling with VR, throwing a virtual hat (or headset) into the ring. We’ve looked previously at the ways VR is being used brilliantly by marketers, designers, and retailers. It’s time now for those in sales to grab a headset and pay attention. We have a few tips for selling with VR that could just be worth their weight in golf clubs. Yes, golf clubs.

Make it personal & shareable
Rather than relying solely on a passive advertising campaign to influence through repetition, when promoting its PSi irons, TaylorMade used VR video to appeal to the dreams of every up and coming golf pro and get them involved. The VR campaign they created enabled people to virtually experience the world’s greatest courses in an entirely different way than they’d ever witnessed on television, as well as to stand alongside tour pros as they test and fit new products.


 

Created to appeal specifically to experienced golfers, known to have a high level of interest in the technology of the game, the campaign let viewers feel they were accessing the inner circle of the sport and being treated to an exclusive experience that they were able to participate in. TaylorMade took selling with VR to a hyper custom, nich audience place with this execution. Does it work? The answer is yes. VR research firm Greenlight analyzed the performance of 360-video content and found that this type of branded VR content generated 15-20 times the number of views on platforms such as YouTube.


 

Once people have had a great experience they want to share it, so, for great VR content, it’s wise to make sure this is as simple as possible. A lot of 360° content – including everything created with Yulio – can be shared via a simple web link or embedded directly into a website for web viewing via a snippet of code. The easier it can be shared, the bigger its audience will be, so make sure it can easily go beyond the eyes of the person wearing the headset.

Build just the world you want
Selling winter coats capable of withstanding the harsh climate of Antarctica? How about you put your buyers there on the snowy ground. Selling the latest innovation that’s going to change the future? Send customers to the future to see it. Selling with VR is about putting your products and experiences in context. Like no other medium, VR allows for environments to be created that perfectly support the values of a product. From testing football cleats in the middle of an NFL game to virtually driving performance cars on the Nurburgring, creating a rich and immersive world around a new product and allowing customers to experience it, is immensely powerful in grabbing their attention and prompting them to buy. Giving their products context while also providing experiences associated with their brands that consumers will share has served adventure brands like The North Face and Merrell well, but the concept can be easily adapted to less exciting locales. Consider letting shoppers view everything from a bedside lamp to a wedding tent in context to better paint the picture for consumers and move them along the purchase funnel by speeding up their ability to picture the item in their lives.



 
Show don’t tell
Imagine trying to explain your house to a potential buyer over the phone. Where would you even start? “It’s white and has a set of big windows at the front, near the door …” Are you ready to buy? No, of course, you aren’t. For those, such as real estate developers, who spend their time selling things which don’t yet exist or are far away from the buyer, the emergence of virtual reality won’t have come a day too soon. Highly detailed virtual environments, structures, and interiors are able to provide buyers with a clear sense of what they will eventually own. Hard to visualize elements such as size, space, light, and finish can be viewed three-dimensionally and ensure that expectations match with the eventual reality. Finishes can also be changed on the fly. Don’t like the kitchen color or the bathroom tiles? Show an alternative or two triggered via a simple, directed gaze from a user.  


 


Extrapolate this concept to showing anyone, anywhere, any item, and your list of available prospects has grown significantly. Sotheby’s real estate have experimented with VR for high-end properties so that prospects can get a better sense of the space before deciding if their level of interest warrants traveling to the property. The same could be true for rare vehicles, art, antiques, and collectibles. But also for more staid articles like timeshares, event tickets, and anything where physical space is a key element of the sale.

Take it with you
Much like the iPod did away with the need to carry around a stack of CDs, mobile VR is a game changer for those in the business of selling things that are too big or complex to easily replicate, don’t yet exist or are a long way away. For those in the A&D field, holding a portfolio in your pocket means the end of cumbersome folders full of images. With a lightweight homido or cardboard viewer and a mobile device, designers, wherever they are, can go beyond simply showing their work and instead allow a prospective client to take a virtual tour within it. For those prototyping complex new products, using VR these can be studied, shared and viewed in three dimensions, at any time and anywhere. With VR designs stored on a mobile, physical products no longer need to be transported or even, in many cases, created at all until in more advanced stages of development.

Get in early
At this point in its evolution, even beyond the creativity of a use case, VR has some inherent pulling power and crowd appeal. According to research from Sonar (J. Walter Thompson’s proprietary research unit), 80% of Generation Z are more likely to visit a store offering VR and AR technology. Although VR is popping up in an increasing number of business environments, it’s still a new and exciting technology that a relatively small number of people have actually tried. Brands can, therefore, take advantage of the extra novelty points they gain from providing people with that first ‘wow’ immersive VR experience. Time to get creative. Much has been written about the millennial generation valuing experiences over material goods, and retailers working to appeal to them like TopShop are selling with VR to lure people into the environment as a pathway into the sales funnel.


 


With the hardware and software associated with VR becoming ever cheaper, more prevalent and more accessible, the technology has now become democratized to a point where the only barriers left to businesses are how creative they can get with it. Dive in early to create customer experiences that leverage the VR medium and its ability to show off things that are far away, too large to model every permutation or don’t even exist yet. 
For some more thoughts on how selling with VR is shaping the future and impacting of all kinds of industries, download our industry overview on SlideShare.
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Business, Design, How to, Industry News, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

We recently launched a free email course that summarizes our key learnings from 1000 hours of user testing, and from partnering with our clients who have been early adopters. They’ve been through the friction of adopting VR in their businesses, and learning from them can help you get there faster.

Our course only requires you to invest about 10 minutes a day for 5 days – and you’ll get access to a bunch of great resources, too. But, if you don’t quite have enough time….or if you’re summarizing the state of VR for your colleagues later today….here are the most important things you need to know about VR this year:

      1. Stop Waiting for things to Settle. VR is here

You may have Played with VR in the 90’s, and it may have disappointed you. That’s because clearly, VR requires head tracking so the virtual images track where the user is looking and while simple in concept that technology is quite complex. But we’re there now. The advent of inexpensive gyroscopes, displays, and graphics processing in mobile phones have brought the costs down and the quality up, making it practical at scale. And the industry has responded huge investments by Facebook, Google, and Apple through 2016-2017 indicate VR is here to stay. Add to that the exponential growth in the availability of inexpensive VR headsets and the ability to run VR from any smartphone and you have a storytelling medium that has arrived.

     2. There are Established, Winning Content Patterns

Each new medium is challenged by content creation – and we typically try using old patterns in new media. When TV was first introduced, the early shows were just pointing a camera at people doing a radio show. BlackBerry was sure you needed a tactile keyboard to type emails on a smartphone. We have learned over the last few years that winning use cases for VR content typically fall into one of three categories:

  • Something that doesn’t exist yet

  • Something that exists but is a long distance away

  • Something that is too large, impractical or expensive to model


     3. Movement – Mobile vs. Tethered

When we talk about Yulio being mobile and fast VR, we often get asked about movement, and it seems to be on everyone’s mind. So, to clarify, Tethered VR, like Vive and Oculus allow you to walk around in VR, in what we call 6 degrees of freedom. Mobile VR, like Yulio, tracks only head movement, so you can look around in 3 degrees of freedom, but not walk. Yulio uses navigation hotspots to change the scene and allow the illusion of movement. Tethered and mobile each have their pros and cons, but considerations on what to choose are mostly around the trade-off of immersion for the viewer and flexibility of viewing. Tethered VR is definitely the most immersive – It takes a dedicated space of about 3m square, and some hefty computing power to make it run. And, it usually takes what we call a cable monkey – someone monitoring the user and making sure they don’t trip or get tangled. Obviously, this is the least flexible format – you have to have someone come into your office, or (but it might be great at a tradeshow booth), and you can’t share the experience remotely It also has the most barriers when it comes to being motion sick – we’ve certainly seen a lot of installs of this where there really is a ‘sick bucket’ off to the side. Additionally, we’ve heard reports from clients of ours who tried tethered VR that in spite of the increased level of immersion, their end clients aren’t engaged enough in the experience to come in repeatedly. The tradeoff hasn’t been worth it. By contrast, mobile VR can be operated on any smartphone so you can send some goggles to a client for them to experience VR anywhere – especially valuable if you work with clients at a distance. And since there are no cables or headstraps, mobile is fast VR – something you can pop in and out of while discussing design in a social experience – it’s less isolating and easier to use as the discussion calls for since you don’t have to get into a rig each time you want to check something.

Finally, don’t forget that goggles aren’t ubiquitous. Look for a solution where you can share VR work on social media or your website, and not assume everyone has a headset – for Yulio we call this ‘fishtank’ viewing – a browser experience you can use to get some interaction with the design. It’s obviously not a true VR experience, but it rounds out the viewing options and is great for very motion sensitive people.

    4. Budget
We can also give you a very quick primer on budget. If you’re talking about Tethered VR, Oculus Rift is around $500-$700 depending on some tracking options and you’ll need a computer of about $1000 to run it. Mobile VR headsets range from $10 for a decent quality cardboard or plastic viewer to about $100 for an experience like the Samsung Gear VR, or the Noon. But of course there’s also the need for a smartphone to display the images – and some hardware only works with certain phones, especially as new headsets enter the market. For example, At its launch, the Google DayDream only worked with 3 or 4 phones. While it will increase the cost significantly, consider dedicated phones to avoid interruption in viewing – if the presenter uses their personal phone, there is the possibility that incoming calls or text alerts will interrupt the viewer. You can certainly save some money by having a pool of devices, but if you can afford it, I recommend you give each salesperson or presenter a headset and phone That will stop disrupted viewing experiences but possibly, more importantly, it stops the potential for sharing the wrong file with a client and protects you from any issues around non-disclosure agreements. It’s absolutely possible to run VR without these things, but you will want to think through procedures to minimize any issues if you go the shared route.

    5. Implement for Success

The most successful VR implementations are the ones that choose software and hardware for the jobs they need to get done – not for the highest fidelity visuals, most immersive experiences etc. Consider how you want to use VR inside your organization, and with your clients. Do you want team members to collaborate on low fidelity versions of your design? Do you want to bring clients into the office, or to present remotely? Or do you want to share finished designs on your website or portfolio to generate leads? Thinking through your workflow from how you create designs, collaborate, present and build your portfolio will guide you in making important decisions like choosing mobile or tethered solutions, which authoring is supported and which qualities you will prioritize – like the ease of jumping in and out of VR versus more immersive experiences.

That’s a quick review of some of the key things to consider when you’re investigating VR this year.
Be sure to get up to speed quickly with our
free VR course, and download our state of the industry presentation. You’ll have a jump start on your Q1 goals in no time.

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Design, Industry News, VR

A conversation with Jonathon Anderson, Assistant Professor Interior Design, Ryerson University
For over a year, Yulio has been working with senior faculty members at Toronto’s Ryerson University. In 2016, the Yulio VR platform was introduced to all students within Ryerson’s Architectural program – a story widely covered in the Canadian media – and a few months later, was also successfully integrated into the University’s Interior Design program, led by its Assistant Professor of Interior Design, Jonathon Anderson (JA). With the Interior Design students having completed their first semester with VR as a component, we sat down with Jonathon to hear what the response had been to using the technology in the classroom and where he saw VR within the future of his industry.  


 

Thanks for talking with us Jonathon. Could you start by giving us a quick overview of exactly how VR is being used in the classroom?
JA – VR was a natural fit for our curriculum and was introduced to our second-year students that had working knowledge of 3D modeling.  The Yulio technology integrates easily with the 3D modeling tool, such as Rhino and Vray, that I already use and teach my students. It was a perfect marriage and allowed students to use the same design technology they were familiar with and easily transfer the models that they were creating into VR. By using VRAY to create a still rendering and using that same camera to produce the virtual reality experience (VRE) students were able to understand the power of looking at a 2D image in front of them and then, through turning it into a VRE, be able to appreciate the entire space in a way that’s far more closely aligned with how people really experience spaces. With this being the first year the students were introduced to VR, many are still pressing the button once at the end of a design to turn their work into a VRE and experience it that way. A portion of the students are starting to go beyond this – which is what I’d really like them to do. They are building a design, using Yulio to generate the VRE, experiencing the design in virtual reality and then going back to the computer to modify or refine their design based on that improved spatial understanding VR gives them.  

How did you come to the decision that VR wasn’t a fad but was something that would impact A&D in a significant way in both the short and long-term?
JA – I think VR and AR is the way of the future within A&D. I don’t see this as a fad that’s going to disappear anytime soon. The technology has become far more accessible and VR is something every firm can now have as part of their toolkit, without the need to hire any kind of specialist. This is especially true when platforms like Yulio have completely removed the technical complexity and made it solely about delivering the best possible user experience for designer and viewer, I think that it will soon become ‘the new normal’ in A&D. With VR, I see my students immediately ‘get’ the space. What I mean by that is that they understand scale and proportion in a completely different way through the VR experience when comparing it to the spaces they view on a screen. It allows my students to understand space far better and far more quickly. Students don’t naturally understand how to design for those who would eventually build something. With the spatial awareness that comes with seeing designs in VR, they are far better equipped to design with contractors in mind.  

Was there anything about the use of VR in the classroom that was unexpected?
JA – I didn’t expect the students to be so in awe of the experience and that was exciting to see. My students have grown up with access to incredible technology within their own lives and certainly within the university. It’s everywhere they turn and they’ve known nothing else.  It was, therefore, amazing to see them so wowed by VR. It’s hard to keep 100 students excited but I saw VR do that. I think as more of our students are exposed to the technology over the coming year, I see it becoming the natural way that the students will design and present their work.  

 

 

Where do you see VR’s place in the future of interior design?
JA – I think on a very fundamental level VR will change the way that clients or potential buyers make decisions. I think developers will use it as a sales tool and be able to demonstrate to clients a full palette of different interior finishes. The role of the interior designer will change in line with that. Rather than working with each individual client, they will be responsible for providing a catalog of options that they know will look good and work well together and that will be what is pushed into the VR experience for clients to choose from. By being able to show clients options before anything is real and have them choose their exact preference means they are then able to walk into the finished property and have it be exactly what they were expecting.  

Do you believe VR will be a critical skill for new designers to have?
JA – Yes. I believe VR will have to be a critical element of design training for careers in A&D. Several of my students are already changing the presentation of their portfolio from the physical walking through of drawings that are typically expected in the architecture and design field. They have gone into internship interviews with only their cell phone and a pair of VR glasses and asked potential employers to view their work in virtual reality. Notably, by doing this, they secured the placements they wanted and I think this is due to the fact that they set themselves apart from the hundreds of other candidates. They believed this could change something for them and it was relatively easy. They already had the 3D models and the VRAY renderings. All they had to do is click a button and they had everything they needed to be stored right there on their cell phone.


So much of what interior designers do is about connection and human experience. It is about creating living environments and there’s no other technology that can offer people a spatial experience or communicate living environments before they’re real, better than VR. Our thanks to Jonathon for sharing his insight to into the next generation of VR designers with us. Try creating your own VR experiences, or your own portfolio for free with Yulio.
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Architecture, Business, Industry News, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Since 1978, Diamond Schmitt Architects have been designing award-winning buildings across the world, consistently looking at sustainability in design and innovative new technologies to further user satisfaction and supply modern building operations.


In a recent partnership with Ingenium, Canada’s Museums of Science and Innovation, they have designed an enormous adjacent building to the  Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa called the Collection and Conservation Centre. The key problem they were solving was a way to house the Science and Technology collection in one building, with objects ranging in size from hand tools to actual trains. We sat down with Andrew Chung, (AC) an Architect at DSAI to discuss the Ottawa building.
 






I’ll start by asking you to describe the architectural problem you were working to solve for Ingenium?
AC:  Ingenium’s existing museum facilities weren’t going to meet their future needs, and there was a need to renovate the existing Science and Technology Museum. In doing so, there was an opportunity to create a secondary building to the museum to house the collections for all 3 Science and Innovation museums. The collection is currently separated from the museums, spread across multiple warehouses.  We recognized the opportunity to join the collection into one building and give an opportunity to link the collection spaces to the exhibition spaces. Our building houses these amazing historical artifacts and major parts of Canadian scientific and engineering achievements, and offers the potential to preserve and maintain this important history into the future, and offer new generations better visibility to the richness of the Canadian achievements in science and technology throughout history.

So, what role did VR play in this project?
AC: The use of VR fit very much into the architectural problem we were solving because we found out very quickly that the task of consolidating the museum collection from 3 scattered, separate spaces into one building created a unique architectural problem: the scale was hard to conceive. We’re talking about artifacts ranging from a wide range of sources; from the early agricultural hand tools,  the very first Bombardier Snowmobile, Canadian space probes, to the Governor General’s train, which itself is around 9m long. These items are really interesting aspects of Canadian history, and we really felt the need to house them properly and preserve them for the future. But because they are huge artifacts, the spaces had to be very large, and it quickly meant that the building couldn’t be person scale, and instead had to be tailored much larger. The collection exponentially increased the size of the building quickly. When you’re designing objects of this size, it drastically changes how you approach the design problem. And so to really understand the scale, we introduced VR to the project. We needed to see how big these items were for our own understanding. And then when we saw that we could get really detailed images from Yulio, it helped us propose design solutions to the client. It allowed us to talk about things in a perspectival manner that captures scale in a much better way than solely using a 2D drawing. People who see our 2D drawings or blueprints still don’t really comprehend the scale until they view the VR experience. We were trying to find solutions to help communicate that spatial understanding to the client, and VR came into play for that.  

 

 

   
 
Had DSAI worked with VR before?
AC: DSAI was using smaller VR experiences of one scene or a perspective in a performing arts center from one vantage point. What Yulio let us do was create multiple scenes and spatial cohesion by stringing together multiple scenes with hotspots. That way, someone not used to looking at our plans can understand and orient themselves much more clearly. That’s when we were able to much more efficiently communicate just how big this building would be, and how everything would coalesce together. It helped clients understand why spaces had to be designed so large, and understand how we were able to solve the organization of this massive collection, to fulfill the goal of preserving this Canadian history. This is why working on this project has been a great pleasure, as it presents many unique design and communication challenges, among of which we’re solving with products like Yulio.

Why did you decide to go with a mobile VR solution?
AC: We know VR is currently a hot trend, but when we were looking at available platforms, the ‘high end’ VR experience required a powerful computer and tethered experience. In addition,  you had to have the client present in our office in person, which presented a challenge as the client is located in Ottawa while we were in Toronto. The high-end approach to VR  meant that overall, the communication reach would be pretty low. Mobile VR worked better for us because it gave us the opportunity to communicate through everyday, accessible objects like smartphones. For our design and review process, we would simply send a web link through Yulio, and we were able to share the content with our client easily. The aspect of communicating effectively at a  distance as very important,  and we were able to send things quickly and update the content seamlessly, much like a web platform. Yulio became like a content management system for us.


How did your client respond to the VR experience?
AC:  That’s actually a funny story. Originally, the VR portion was actually a side project. We are of course focused on the best, most workable design first. But VR was an opportunity to explain the space better, to really get a much deeper client comprehension. Before VR, the client understood the concept but didn’t feel the visceral connection. We noticed a much more emotional response once they viewed our design in VR, in contrast to an almost clinical approach when they looked at plans. So once they had that emotional connection to the space, they bought into more of our ideas around space planning later in the project. The client’s understanding of our design just grew exponentially after exposure to VR.  

 

 

And how did that VR engagement change the project going forward?
AC: Our engagement with our client grew exponentially when we introduced VR. Now they’re getting into what we’ve proposed and are much more excited. We have found the client has engaged in a dialogue with us much more frequently. It’s not just a relationship of us describing the project to our clients, but also seeing how they’ve shared more of this material with their staff. As an example, the client asked us to add views of conservation labs so they could share their conservationist staff. The plan would show a series of rooms, which graphically would show up as boxes in these labs, but in VR they could see how tall the units are and how the spaces were stacked. It’s a greater level of excitement at many levels of the organization.  

 

 

Did working in VR change your process as well?
AC:  We actually started using VR as an internal design tool, and it has been a fantastic tool amongst our team. Since we were working with multiple designs iterations in Revit, connecting everyone on the same level was extremely important. Throwing our design into VR would quickly reveal tasks and revisions we needed to accomplish and figure it out much more quickly in the design process. It gave us better opportunities to figure out solutions to the design problems earlier on. You would get more time to play creatively and explore solutions because fundamentally, you would get to the core of the design focus earlier as a result of this added understanding and resolution. Since the depth of exploration goes further, and our design gets better because we’re able to visualize problems earlier than waiting for issues to arise.

How do you envision using Yulio on future projects?
AC: Our design process has changed for the better with VR. From our staff who have a drafting history to those who think in 3D programs, everyone is excited by the sense of scale they can see in VR. It’s generating a lot of excitement within the firm because people get to see their vision sooner. It’s changing the way we talk about things too – in internal meetings, we’ll pull up the Yulio VRE and solve a detail or design challenge and it creates better understanding among the design teams. In the future with our clients, I see VR as part of a robust feedback loop, going beyond the show and tell to getting client feedback in context, and build two-way communication in VR to increase collaboration between the team and our clients.

Anything else you’d like to share about the success of the project?
AC:  We’ve had a great dialogue with Yulio. While we’ve had a two party relationship with our client, we’ve found it has become more of a three-party relationship with the Yulio on a technology level. This whole process has proven that our feedback can help with design – whether it’s our design or the Yulio platform. So it’s not one way at all, it’s a dialogue that creates three happy parties with us, our client and the Yulio team. The building project itself is moving quickly, the first floor is being poured right now, and we’re interested to see how well the VR design that showed the intent of the building aligns with the completed building. Did we predict things accurately? VR lets us see into the future, and when construction is done we’ll see how close we were.


Our thanks to Andrew Chung of DSAI for sharing their success in deepening client engagement through VR. For more information about creating your own VR designs, download our white paper on successfully integrating VR into your workflow.
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Architecture, Business, How to, Industry News, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

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 shelves in 1987,  Lawnmower Man was released in 1992, and in 1995, Nintendo Virtual Boy. It’s a list that illustrates just how long we’ve been flirting with the emergence of virtual reality and waiting for it plant some roots, to move beyond VR hype and become part of our lives. In its most recent incarnations, both in hardware and software, VR has undoubtedly taken a major leap beyond anything that’s gone before. This momentum is due to several of the undisputed heavyweights of technology and innovation, Google, Facebook and Samsung throwing their weight behind it. From the newest, top-of-the-line headsets, which offer flawless visuals and precision motion capture, to $15 headsets such as Google cardboard which open the virtual field to anyone with a smartphone, VR has never been more accessible or its hype more pronounced.

So why does VR not yet touch the lives of every person, every day?  
Doubts about the viability of VR to be part of the consumer mainstream are based on lagging headset sales vs. projections. Data Analysts SuperData predicted more than 2.5M PlayStation VR sales, 600K Oculus Rift sales. But 2016 sales fell short:


 

There was so much VR hype 18 months ago from electronics manufacturers and retailers alike that anything less than ubiquitous headset ownership seems like a failure. But there are some extremely logical reasons for that which we’ll outline below. But bear in mind, almost none of these barriers have an impact on business use cases, where consumers or clients may use VR occasionally, and for very specific jobs. Beyond the gaming chair, VR has practical uses in healthcare, retail, architecture, design, real estate and manufacturing. Equating consumer disillusionment to a failure of the VR medium is a shortsighted error for businesses. Businesses who fail to spot the trend and the jobs they can accomplish with VR storytelling may be left behind if they only look at consumer disillusionment. The consumer barriers to VR are pretty easily overcome by businesses, and explain why the use cases may diverge.

Cost
43% of people surveyed by Thrive Analytics cited expense as the key barrier. There’s no doubt that with A-list headsets such as the Oculus Rift, starting at $5-600 (which is about $100 less than the original cost – there was a price drop as of May 2017) – before you buy and set up the high-powered computer necessary to run them – jumping into the top end of the VR market is not for the faint-hearted and is expensive enough to challenge even the most indulgent of impulse buyers. For an emerging technology that is looking to prove itself and hasn’t yet earned its place among consumer ‘must haves’, the price is undoubtedly playing a role in maintaining VR’s position as a boutique technology. But for businesses, it makes a splash at trade shows and is increasingly a fixture in the offices of architects and designers and in retail experiences. The difference is that with a single headset, businesses can reach dozens of potential clients in the office or hundreds at a trade show. At potentially $2 per user at a tradeshow booth, and less each time the rig is used, the value is easier to find in a one to many scenarios than in a single consumer’s personal monetary outlay. There are, of course, cheaper alternatives. Samsung Gear and Noon VR  headsets cost around $100, and Homido Minis and Cardboards are $15. Each relies on a smartphone for its computing power and delivers different levels of immersive experience. They can be used by businesses or consumers and offer a solid VR experience.

Mobile headsets range from $15 to $100+ and let you in on vr hype for low investment


Comfort & Practicality
VR’s propensity to cause nausea – which we looked at in detail in a previous post remains a key concern for new users -14% of users surveyed by Thrive Analytics.  Through our own extensive user testing, we found that the ability to pop in and out of the headset reduces sickness significantly – those who may not want to wear a headset for hours of gameplay because they fear illness, will find they can glance at a business application for a few minutes with no issues. But there are other factors to comfort than nausea: Isolation Although tethered headsets offer the richest visual experience, some felt a discomfort with the blindfolding sensation of full immersion and having no access to real touch points to steady themselves. Again, when you’re wearing a headset to do a specific job, like review a color scheme in your new bathroom….this isn’t as much of an issue.

Using VR to select finish options in a condo bathroom moves beyond vr hype


Appearance
Some of those testing became self-conscious, not only imagine how they might look to those around them while wearing a large (and some would say ‘brick-like’) headset but also how the apparatus would affect their personal appearance, their hair, makeup, etc. This unease was felt by both male and female users. For our business users, we combat this by removing straps and facilitating in and out experiences, which we predict is the winning pattern for business VR. While acknowledging that these barriers remain an impediment to VR gaining its mass consumer foothold, at least in the short term, the technology is undoubtedly taking root in the enterprise.

Tailored VR Applications for Business
The current state of consumer vs. business VR demonstrates the different places they are at in the hype cycle. Early business adopters have moved past inflated expectations, have worked through some solutions that don’t fit and have moved on to the next phase, finding productive uses for VR storytelling and achieving ROI. It’s because, in business applications, specific combinations of VR hardware and software can be tailored to suit different environments and address areas users are concerned about. We remove the straps and ensure navigation is simple with no controllers in all our demos. These subtle changes help users avoid feeling self-conscious and avoid nausea. And are more appealing in an office setting than in buying a new headset at home and cutting the strap off. And businesses are typically putting their clients in VR for short periods to accomplish specific goals. Not trying to entice them to wear the rig for hours of recreation time. According to Animation1 (2015) prospects who virtually engage with content become personally attached to the offering within the first thirty seconds. That’s some serious speed to sale.

Business users of VR in a design presentation


Business Leaders Moving Beyond VR Hype
  • Yulio clients are experimenting with VR to make spaces that are too complex to model more realistic. They have virtually reinvented blank warehouse spaces to show realtors the possibilities. They have modeled massive parks and public spaces in new home developments, and they are experimenting with audio and other creative plans to make VR design come to life.


 

  • Transporting customers to alternate realities is a natural fit for travel and tourism. Thomas Cook locations in the UK previewed a Manhattan vacation. They saw a 190% increase in sales of that package with people who used the VR preview.


 

  • The auto industry is innovating in both design and sales. Ford has used Virtual Reality to test design elements and solve engineering problems, while Audi is putting buyers in VR cars and letting them have virtual driving experiences. Toyota provided a public service by creating a VR experience about the dangers of distracted driving. “In our experience, new technologies that allow consumers to interact with virtual vehicles actually enhance the in-person test drive,” Cooper Ericksen, VP-vehicle and marketing communications told AdAge. “Guests arrive at a test drive more informed about the vehicle. They know the questions they want to ask, creating a much more satisfying experience.”


 

  • Retail giants are creating in-store experiences that speed time to sale. Lowes has their Holoroom, a design experience that lets people preview their design choices in-store, and take them home to share. Lowes was one of the first to use the technology from Marxent, whose CMO Sonia Schecter told PWC that waiting for fully realized ROI models can get you left behind in business: “The other edge of that sword for retailers and manufacturers is that if they wait to get started, they’ll be behind when a traditional ROI recipe does kick in. Emerging technologies are tricky that way.”


 

  • Charity:Water and other charitable foundations are starting to call VR ‘the empathy machine’ as it drives up their donation rates and amounts to be able to transport a donor to a refugee camp, or see the promised future their donation can help create. The UN has a VR film called “Clouds over Sidra”, and the donation rate for viewers is double that of people who haven’t viewed the film.


 

So while VR hype continues to do battle with the real experiences of consumers, a growing number of businesses are finding that the technology is critical to creating an immersive product and design experiences. They are successfully applying VR technology to their operations and leveraging its unique capacity to engage, to educate, to communicate and to enthrall. To find out more about adding VR to your business, download our whitepaper which outlines the best implementations for ROI from VR.
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