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Business, Employee Highlight, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Welcome to our Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel where we introduce to you to an on the team – and the people whose ideas and sense of how VR and AR should work have shaped Yulio from the ground up.


The Yulio VR employees are working in roles that for the most part didn’t exist 5+ years ago, the VR job market was pretty minuscule. So the variety of experiences that led people here have created both expertise and variety in our team. And our history may lead you to the perfect VR job.


In this week’s Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel, we’re chatting with our go-to demo and training guy, Steven Humphries! Steven is our Account Executive and is an absolute essential to our Yulio family. Chances are, if you’re an avid Yulio user, you would have had at least one conversation with Steven. His role consists of helping people get excited about VR, introducing Yulio, and guiding potential clients on how they can easily integrate our program into their workflow. With his client-focused mindset, Steven is successful in providing our users with the support they need for a smooth and easy VR experience.


 

So, Steven, tell me a bit about yourself.

A majority of my work experience is governmental in the US Army and Department of Defense. I started with field work, then worked in supply chain management, and finally as an intelligence analyst. It really shaped who I am today, and I learned a lot from the experience. While stationed in San Diego I attended San Diego State University and majored in Business Administration with a minor in International Business.


How did you find Yulio?

After I left the Department of Defence, I took some time off from work and ended up doing some part-time consulting for Steelcase. That’s how I met Gabe Szriftgiser, who is a managing partner at KiSP, a partner company of Yulio. Back then, he asked me if I wanted to be a part of the back end systems for Yulio and KiSP. At the time, I was living in Brazil and helped out part-time — this was my first introduction to Yulio. After that, when I moved back to the US, I was able to join the team full time.


Tell me a bit about your role at Yulio

My role at Yulio is Account Executive, which basically means my core focus is the client. The biggest part of my job is helping our new clients with the onboarding process to integrate VR into their workflow, as well as maintaining the relationships with our current Yulio users. My area of focus is the contract furniture dealer networks that are associated with a larger manufacturer group. I work closely with our sales & marketing team to strategize how to best support our clients. To support our clients well, I present demonstrations as well as host training sessions to help people realize that VR isn’t scary and our program is really easy to use. It’s a consistent relationship between us and the client – any issues our clients need help with, I’m the person they come to.


I’ve also been in charge of heading special projects like coordinating 360 photo shoots of our client’s spaces and creating a full walkthrough of their shoow rooms. We have even hosted a CEU accredited course at a conference — we definitely like to keep busy!


Tell me a bit about your first experience with VR?

My first VR experience was at a video game arcade. I remember the equipment was really clunky, heavy, but super cool. At the time, VR was still considered the “technology of the future”. Although the graphics were quite underwhelming, the concept itself was amazing. It was a little strange playing with the rig though since you needed to have a specific area to play with it. Lots of people would be staring at you as you’re strapped in.


If you got to dream up any VR experience and immerse yourself into it, what would you choose?

I would like to see something like a VR Google Maps street view but everywhere in the world – and I mean everywhere. Jungles, inside public buildings, icebergs, the whole world. It would be super cool to be able to walk the entire Earth but in VR.


Our world is such a big place, and I think it’s an important experience as much of it as you can. Unfortunately, so many people don’t have the time or money to do it, and VR allows you to get as close to the actual experience in the comfort of your own home.


Outside of your VR job, what are your hobbies?

My main hobby is woodworking, I absolutely love it. I have a little workshop attached to my house where I can build my own furniture or gifts for friends and family. My favourite thing to make is anything with live edge wood. This type of wood still has bark on the sides, and it’s really fun to work with. Plus, I really like the idea that I can make anything that will fit perfectly into my house. Woodworking is usually quite calming for me as well. Outside of woodworking, I really enjoy hiking and camping. And if I have the time, I like playing video games.


What’s your favorite Friday afternoon office game that we’ve played?

There’s a ping pong table in the office, and I enjoyed playing a game or two. Also, we have a few hoverboards in our office, and I like to hook it up to the go-kart and ride around.


We’d like to say a big thanks to Steven for taking the time to sit with us for a little Q&A about himself! Stay tuned for some more interviews with the staff that power Yulio, and discover how we’re all learning more every day about our VR job!


If you want to learn more about the VR/AR industry, and things to consider when you’re looking into VR solutions, then sign up for our FREE 5-day email course to get up-to-speed with VR. Want to try Yulio for yourself? Sign up for a free 30-day trial with full access to our feature set!

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Business, Lifestyle, VR

If you have been following our monthly Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel, you would know our team is made up of many bright and talented VR experts. This week, we were curious to know when everyone’s first experience with VR was. We went around the office and asked everyone these questions:


When was your first VR experience?

What was the experience?

What is the most notable change/improvements the industry has made thus far?


Let’s explore who in our team had the most recent experience with VR.



2018 – Rachel

I first experienced VR when I joined our Yulio team. I remember Dana passed me the Oculus Go to view one of our sample VR projects, and I was completely shocked – it truly felt I was in a room bigger than the small meeting room we were in. It definitely reminded me of the TARDIS (for all my Dr. Who fans out there) phenomenon.


Although I’ve only been recently introduced to VR, there have already been significant improvements. For one, the hardware upgrades like the Oculus Quest will have huge implications, especially for business. We played around with the headset two days ago, and I must say the experience is really impressive. In addition, it’s really exciting seeing all the businesses arming their workflow with VR.


2018 – Elena

My first VR experience was strapping into the station at the back of the office, and shooting down zombies! It was a really cool experience, but I remember the first thing I tried to do was look down. I couldn’t see my legs which made me scared and numb for a minute, but it was fine afterwards. I thought it was really interesting how seeing something in VR could have an outward effect on your body.


I’m not a gamer, but in a year, I’ve seen how the business sector has changed. Many industries like retail and medicine have been transformed by VR. It’s a great cost-effective way to train people, especially medical staff. Plus, consumers are now expecting more experiences than just the product itself. People are getting tired of traditional marketing methods, and this is a new way to bring a new and memorable experience to your customers.


2017 – Jim

Ian walked me through my first VR experience, and it was absolutely incredible. He showed me the full extent of VR and the different experiences you can have with just one piece of technology. Part of the presentation was a hotspot walkthrough, which is what we do at Yulio, of a VR project and looking around the space. The other was experiencing and manipulating an environment through a video game.


I’d say the most notable changes to VR are happening right now, and it’s happening in two phases. One part of it is the fact that VR now has mobile capabilities, allowing for easier access to the technology. All I need to do is simply attach a Homido to my phone, not to mention the transformational release of the Oculus Quest. The second aspect is that now you have the ability to have a better understanding of where you are relative to a space. It’s absolutely incredible.


 

2017 – Steven

I first experienced VR when Ian brought the rig into the office. I believe we were walking around in a virtual world, something similar to Mario. Back then, the graphics weren’t great and it was quite pixelated. Plus, you needed to hold controllers that didn’t have great tracking. Now, the movement is much more accurate and captures your hand movement very well. The overall quality of the VR experience is much better and more immersive, especially with the emergence of advanced eye and head tracking.


2017 – Oussama

I remember my first VR experience was playing Arizona Sunshine in the office, and I definitely noted that the illusion wasn’t great, especially compared to what we have now. I would say the most notable change since the first time I used VR is the portability of the headset. VR hardware is getting smaller and more accessible for anyone to use. As well, the next evolution of the headsets will include six degrees of freedom, which will make the VR experience even more awesome.


2016 – Dana

I went to school for architecture, and when I started at Yulio, I used our Sketchup Plugin to see my own model in VR. I got chills when I saw it in VR. When you’re in architecture school, and when you’re working on a project for so long, since you’re a student, it will never get build. Now, being able to stand inside of something you worked on for months and months is really cool and rewarding.


Although VR still has a ways to go, the biggest change is the accessibility to the VR headsets. Anyone can now go to Best Buy and purchase a VR headset when previously this would never happen. Plus the overall attitude towards VR has been a huge change. Most people are confronting their fear of trying something new and unfamiliar with to combat being left behind.


2016 – Rob

I was at a tech foncerence when they strapped me into a 20lb+ headset with heavy-duty gloves. Suddenly, I was hanging on for my life about 100 meters up a sheer rock face. I’ve done quite a bit of rock climbing in a previous life, and even though the graphics quality wasn’t great, I felt instantly connected to the experience. It felt real enough to convince me that this technology was going to go beyond gaming and entertainment.


I think the release of the Oculus Quest may be a step into being the big “ground shifting” improvement. The headsets have seen many improvements, however, they have been incremental in nature. To name a few, better head and eye tracking, improved navigation, and greater processing power have all contributed to making the VR experience more immersive. Plus, we have entered an era where there is no longer a dependence on phones for a standalone VR headset. I am also quite excited to see how the introduction of 5G and greater availability of cloud-based, low-cost rendering services could provide the catalyst for the next round of exponential improvements in the VR user’s experience.

2015 – Ilan

I believe my first VR experience was using the Samsung Gear VR looking around a hotel. I definitely liked the stereo effects because it’s not flat, and you can clearly see distance and depth — it’s more than a picture. It’s using real-world units to judge how to scale something that would look real in our reality whereas a normal picture gives no sense of scale.


I never expected the industry to blow up like this. We mostly work with 3 degrees of freedom, and since our platform is mostly made for mobile VR, the quality of the experience only goes as far as your phone’s performance. Now, headsets are supporting 6 degrees of freedom, giving a greater and more immersive VR experience.


2014 – Dani

It was at the SIGGRAPH conference in 2014 where they set up a contraption that would simulate flying like a bird. The experience was absolutely incredible. I literally felt like I was flying, especially with the added fan blowing in my hair giving a greater immersive effect. I’m amazed at how far VR has come. I knew that VR wasn’t a new thing, but I didn’t know how the industry was going to progress. I really thought VR would only be used in gaming, not training, visualizations, and what we do at Yulio.



The headsets are getting smaller and smaller. Previously, the cables were so heavy that the VR experience required an extra person holding a cable behind the person in the headset. Plus, the headset required a lot of space, often taking up a whole room for the experience. With the headsets available now, the industry has really improved the accessibility of the headsets as well as what is required of the person wanting to use the technology.


2014 – Geoffrey

I first experienced VR at a student showcase at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Students would show off their projects in VR, and I was walking through the booths trying the headsets out. I believe the headset was the Oculus Rift DK1. Although it was really cool, it was a nauseating experience.


I would say the most notable advancement is the release of the Oculus Quest. It’s a more mainstream headset, and you can set it up anywhere just like the Nintendo Switch. The headset doesn’t require any external sensors, and it’s at a relatively affordable price.


2013 – Kan

Ian brought a VR rig to the office, and I experienced a dinosaur screaming and chasing me — it was amazing! The quality, of course, isn’t as good as what we have today. However, at the time, it was a whole new world and was really awesome. The experience made you feel like you were actually there.


I feel like the tracking technology has come a long way. We now have really advanced head and eye tracking, allowing users to have a very immersive experience. I also heard that what’s next on the tracking horizon is finger tracking! There is still a ways to go, but there are definitely a lot of improvements in VR.

2002 – Steven

I first experienced VR at a video game arcade where they had a giant rig that you got strapped into. It was definitely an amazing experience since it was a brand new concept that I’ve never seen before. The graphics at the time were pretty low quality, even by the standard back then for video games. On top of that, the headset itself was quite clunky, and since it was tethered, your movements were pretty restricted due to the cable. Plus, it was kind of a strange experience since everyone was looking at the guy strapped into a huge machine.


The biggest change in the industry has definitely got to be the tie between mobility and accessibility. You have machines like the Oculus Go and Quest where you can pick up the headset at any electronic store for a reasonable price. The feature that is especially useful for me is that you can take the headsets around anywhere. This opens so many doors in terms of how you can get your content out and share it with others. It’s definitely beneficial for sales people as you don’t need to worry about carrying a bunch of equipment like if it was a tethered experience.


1999 – Christine

My first VR experience was at Disney World in their “Technology of the Future” exhibit in EPCOT. I remember it was an hour-long lineup, but it was definitely a super cool experience, kind of like a  TRON environment. I remember the headset was like a giant helmet in a protected circle area, and the experience required 2-3 staff to support the individual user.


 

Today, VR is much more practical where you can slip on a Homido on your phone to access your VR project. It’s been getting easier to adopt VR into business. Back then, VR experiences were mostly centred around fantasy or experiencing something you never could, like visiting the moon. Now, it’s about experiencing something you can see in a picture.  VR has the potential to be a major disruptor in numerous industries like architecture, interior design, and retail to name a few.

1997 – Ian

The first experience I had with VR was the first generation of microdisplays and head tracking, most of which was the very early head mounted tracking display prototypes that never made it to the mass market. Although it was pretty rudimentary, it was indicative of direction VR will take in the future. You saw there was a lot of potential, however, it wasn’t advanced enough to convincingly and completely displace you into another environment.


Accessibility is absolutely the biggest groundbreaker. The early prototypes were millions of dollars to build, which meant that it was prohibitively for the Enterprise R&D class. The Quest and Rift S for going, what, $400? That’s a lot of people’s monthly coffee bill! However, it’s also important to note that hardware without content is nothing. There is a growing ecosystem of inexpensive and accessible camera-based capture, with a high-quality stereoscopic image starting at $420 (previously you’d be looking at $6,000). Content and hardware is absolutely the biggest aspect of blowing up the market.


1996 – Lev

My first VR experience was back in 1996, and I found it was a really awesome idea, but I also expected it to suck. At the time, the quality was at 300×200 per eye, plus you can only rotate and move your head so much. The first experience definitely made me feel nauseous and I couldn’t stay on the rig for very long.


VR has definitely come a long way, but there is still a long way to go. Previously, there was no eye adjustment, which meant you would have to place the headset on your head just right for a mediocre VR experience. Now the headsets are very advanced, and you don’t need to do any external adjustments for a high-quality experience. Although this generation of headsets (referring to the Quest an Rift S) are alright, I’m really excited for the next line of headsets to come.


Were you surprised by who first experienced VR at Yulio? Tell us when you first experienced VR and the biggest improvements you’ve seen to the technology over our social media platforms! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin! For more information on how to integrate VR into your business for maximum ROI, check out our Whitepaper.

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Business, Employee Highlight, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Welcome to our Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel where we introduce to you to an on the team – and the people whose ideas and sense of how VR and AR should work have shaped Yulio from the ground up.


The Yulio VR expert team are working in roles that for the most part didn’t exist 5+ years ago, the VR job market was pretty minuscule. So the variety of experiences that led people here have created both expertise and variety in our team. And our history may lead you to the perfect VR job.


In this week’s Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel, we are sitting down with our resident Pictionary Queen and Director of Marketing, Christine (Chris) Bellefontaine! As the head of marketing, Chris’s main role is to introduce Yulio to you in the most seamless way, and support you on your journey to being the VR champion of your firm. With her knack for creative solutions and continual commitment to putting clients first, Chris is successful in spreading the word about Yulio and its capabilities to numerous industries. She firmly believes that VR is the future of business and will take your portfolio, presentations, and partnerships to the next level. Chris is an integral pillar to Yulio and we are very fortunate to have her as one of our core leaders.


So, Chris, tell me a bit about yourself.

Well, let’s see…among the Yulio crowd I’m a bit of the ‘wise old person’. I grew up in a small 500-person village and when I graduated high school I knew I wanted to go away to school. I studied communications and media at Queen’s University in Kingston and have turned that into a 20-year career spanning traditional and digital marketing. In my different roles, I have learned that I love working with small teams and what kinds of coworkers I like to surround myself with. In my spare time, I’m a mom of two young sons and that means I use my ‘management skills’ at home a lot too, for such critical disputes as “who was sitting there first”.


How did you find Yulio?

Actually, Yulio was on my radar for quite a while before I joined. I worked with Yulio’s CPO, Ian Hall, back in the early-2000s at another company (ironically we were trying to get them to transition from print-based products to web-based). Ian had been telling me about his early user testing in VR and what was going on with Yulio for a while and I always thought it sounded really interesting. As we had gone our separate ways I went through a role at Google Toronto, then working with Search Engine People, a digital agency but I wasn’t sure agency life was for me. Then in late 2016 I got a call telling me that Yulio was ready to focus more on marketing and driving use – I signed up right away as the Director of Marketing.


Tell me a bit about your role at Yulio

I think of marketing as responsible for letting the world know about this amazing product we have – and we do that with all kinds of tools and channels. I head up a 4 person team who focus on different areas from our digital presence to customer success after people have signed up, and everything in between. But I also think of marketing as a bit of an internal consultant for the company. We have a focus on product marketing and thinking about the problems Yulio can solve for design and architecture customers, and the features they will most use in their everyday business. We also work with the business development team to come up with the right solutions, training and case studies to spark the imagination of our customers….then we get to sit back and watch them use Yulio in great new ways.


Tell me a bit about your first experience with VR?

It was at Walt Disney World in 1999 (I told you, I’m the ‘old’ person). They were demonstrating a heavy tethered helmet somewhere in Epcot – the exhibit was about technologies of the future. It was so popular I waited nearly an hour to try it out. I don’t fully remember what the experience was – basically moving around a futuristic TRON type environment – you could reach for doors and things like that. It made me a bit nauseous but I still thought it was really cool. Fast forward to my interview with Ian for the Yulio gig – he made me shoot some zombies in VR and it was terrifying – inevitably, one ate the back of my head because I forgot to turn around.


If you got to dream up any VR experience and immerse yourself into it, what would you choose?

I love the idea of VR for travel – for those who are limited by either finances or mobility – to get to be immersed in the amazing places in the world. I’d probably build a multi-stop tour of the world’s great buildings like the Eiffel Tower and the Vatican and get to explore the sites over many days, just continuing my tour whenever I have time. It’s all the more relevant with the sad news about the fire destroying the spire at Notre Dame Cathedral lately – I think VR is a way of preserving our world in a more immersive way than photos could ever achieve. And of giving access to behind the scenes areas that you can’t have thousands of tourists traipsing through.


Outside of your VR job, what are your hobbies?

I still love going to movies in theatres – I like making it more of a formal experience than watching something at home, so I do that as often as I can. I write a few articles every month for Medium to flex my creative brain. And I spend as much time as I can at my parents’ farm – I help them with gardening and get the benefit of home-grown produce later in the year. And we get pretty competitive at my place for board games with my sons.


What’s your favorite Friday afternoon office game that we’ve played?

I am the Pictionary queen (at least in my own mind) whether it’s drawing or guessing, I get very competitive on that one. I also love our STEM activities like the egg-drop challenge. I was pretty proud when marketing humiliated development on gingerbread house building. And while I have a bit of a reputation for a win streak that I’d like to maintain – I sincerely just think getting together and socializing with the whole Yulio team is really valuable and contributes a lot to our sense of team. I’ve learned over my career that it’s not so much what you’re doing every day, but who you are doing it with that makes or breaks a workplace culture.



We’d like to say a big thanks to Chris for taking the time to sit with us for a little Q&A about herself! Stay tuned for some more interviews with the staff that power Yulio, and discover how we’re all learning more every day about our VR job!


If you want to learn more about the VR/AR industry, and things to consider when you’re looking into VR solutions, then sign up for our FREE 5-day email course to get up-to-speed with VR. Want to try Yulio for yourself? Sign up for a free 30-day trial with full access to our feature set!

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Business, Culture, Industry News, Lifestyle, News and Updates, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Apple is one of the largest tech companies in our global economy and their products greatly influence how the world uses technology. This revolutionary tech giant continues to lead the charge in innovation while staying true to simple design, including heavy investments in VR. Just last year, Apple became the world’s first public company to hit the $1 trillion valuation, beating their Silicon Valley rivals like Amazon and Microsoft. Apple seems to have the Midas touch as so many of their products have generated international uproar and overwhelming success.


On March 26, Apple did it again.


Apple hosted another one of their special events announcing a whole new range of products and upgrades, including a highly anticipated product: the Apple Card. Almost immediately, news outlets and social media pages were flooded with talk about the future release of the card. Set to be available this Summer, the Apple Card is a blending of the physical and virtual world, which will create even greater comfort in digital tech in daily life.

 

Why Does this Matter?

The main point of the Apple Card is to give people a greater sense of control over their banking and finances in a way that isn’t confusing through the use of technology. Apple’s shift towards going digital is part of a trend to changing objects we interact with on a daily basis into virtual concepts. Additionally, the product meets their clients where they’re at. With a focus on clarity and keeping it concise, Apple made a system that appeals to the masses, especially the younger generation.


Before we dive into how and why the Apple Card will be revolutionary, let us first explore what the product is.

What is the Apple Card?

The Apple Card is a credit card created by Apple in collaboration with Goldman Sachs and MasterCard, promising to give people greater sense of their banking and finances in a clear and simple way, chiefly through visualizing data and integration with daily life. Located in its Wallet app, the Apple Card will introduce clients to a new phase of going digital.


Transparency and Utilization: The Apple Card creatively utilizes their already existing apps in addition to new card features in a simple and innovative way. From showing where a particular transaction was made with Apple Maps to their newest slide feature that clearly communicates how much interest would be charged, all of the card’s features are geared towards generating greater transparency and understanding by presenting data in new more visual ways.


New Wave of Support: Instead of calling their support hotline and waiting who knows how long before an available representative picks up the phone, simply text in your question or a change you would like to make. Expect an answer to your question in a matter of minutes.


One aspect of the Apple Card that deserves an honourable mention and has garnered a lot of design attention is the physical copy of the digital card. Along with the Apple Card, you will receive a titanium laser etched physical card for places that don’t use Apple Pay. The sleek and creative design, we predict, could be just enough to convince those interested in the product to invest in it.

 

Why is the Apple Card Important to Tech Change?
  1. Reinventing the familiar in a whole new way

Rethinking a concept or design that we are perfectly acquainted with is difficult, yet Apple does it so seamlessly. Everything now will be done digitally, which includes applying for the card, making transactions, and seeking support. Some companies don’t have a 24/7 support line, and even when you try to call, you’re met with staying on hold for who knows how long. Apple has created a solution with its new system of 24/7 text support, further improving previous processes in a new and fresh way.

  1. Leaning into the Digital Transformation

The emergence of the Apple Card gives a lot of insight as to where we are heading into the next phase of digital transformation. This is a huge step made by one of the most prolific tech companies in the world to combine a physical process with a virtual one. Especially for those who are more skeptical about virtual technology, the Apple Card is a good stepping stone. Previously, banks issuing cards would hand over the physical copy first, and then provide supplementary online software to help you track your expenses and to view your eStatements. The Apple Card completely flips that process around by providing first the virtual copy then a supplementary physical version in case stores don’t have Apple Pay. Apple is becoming another player in harnessing the power of going virtual.


  1. Generational Shift

We have previously covered who the Gen Z population are and how virtual products and experiences could be key to winning this demographic. Apple has recognized that a large portion of their clientele is made up of the younger generation, like Gen Z and Millennials. Creating a product that appeals to this demographic is a brilliant step as the younger population are entering the workforce, and will soon become contributors to the wider economy.


It’s also important to note that Apple does a difficult thing really well: they listen to their audience. It’s no surprise that the Apple physical card is designed the way it is. The current style that is on trend with the younger generation is a minimalist and neutral palette, which is exactly what the card is. With following the change of design and people’s tastes, Apple’s product caters to the evergrowing population of Gen Z and Millennials. Following the same suit is key to ensuring business in the future with a demographic that will soon account for 40% of the US consumer spending.


Speculation

The Apple AR glasses are still officially just a theory, however, there is concrete evidence that they will be on the market soon. With the release of Apple’s virtual Apple Card, we’re really curious to see how Apple may tie these two ends together. Who knows, perhaps in the foreseeable future, all you would need to do to make a purchase is to simply look at an object. However, this is still just purely speculation. We are all excited to see Apple’s new Apple Card launch in the Summer, and how the release will shape people’s perception of going virtual.


Here at Yulio, we strive for excellence in performance and integrity when it comes to our product, and customer service. Check out our Whitepaper on the right way to integrate VR into your business for maximum ROI. To learn more about us and what we offer, please visit our page or take our product tour.

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Business, Employee Highlight, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Welcome to our Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel where we introduce to you to an on the team – and the people whose ideas and sense of how VR and AR should work have shaped Yulio from the ground up.


The Yulio VR expert team are working in roles that for the most part didn’t exist 5+ years ago, the VR job market was pretty minuscule. So the variety of experiences that led people here have created both expertise and variety in our team. And our history may lead you to the perfect VR job.


In this weeks’ Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel – we are sitting down with another member of our exceptional development team — Geoffrey Mok! Geoffrey is our Graphics Programmer who works tirelessly in making sure our mobile VR app works seamlessly in supporting numerous VR headsets. On top of that, Geoffrey works behind-the-scenes in exploring and prototyping the latest trends in technology, which includes AR/VR headsets and the newest in graphics. His work with the app is vital to Yulio and to our users as it ensures our promise and your convenience in having a mobile portfolio with you on your device. Although there are certain technological barriers with the development of the native VR apps, Geoffrey is skilled with navigating through the limitations without compromising quality.




 

So, Geoffrey, tell me a bit about yourself.

I went to the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology – specializing in game development and entrepreneurship; graduating with the highest distinction.

 

Prior to this I attended Seneca College for a diploma in Computer Programming and did two co-op work terms. I wasn’t exactly passionate about web or databases. Feeling a bit jaded, I did a bit of self-reflection on what course I enjoyed the most. It was game programming – which I found both fun and challenging. With this, I decide on further education at UOIT.

 

Down the road, I learned a lot about graphics programming and for my final year I was part of a capstone project involving the use of combining Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for the purpose of streamlining pre-production in filmmaking.

 

How did you find Yulio?

Fresh on the coattails of graduating and in between looking for a job, my capstone team was offered one last mission – to participate in the Oculus mobile VR jam and develop an experience for the new Gear VR headset. With only a short timeframe we were tasked with porting parts of our capstone project into a cohesive mobile experience. It was a hectic struggle that ultimately failed due to a lack of testing hardware. Overall, the experience was thrilling and kindled an interest in VR.

 

With the conclusion fresh in my mind, I wanted to leverage what I’ve learned and looked for a job involving VR. That’s when I joined KiSP were I worked on mobile VR prototypes, and with the formation of Yulio I hopped on board to develop the mobile VR viewer app.

 

Tell me a bit about your role at Yulio

My role at Yulio is focused on the development of the native VR apps; which involves supporting the popular mobile VR headsets such as Cardboard, Daydream, Gear VR and Oculus Go.  It certainly can be challenging at times; balancing quality and performance taking into consideration of mobile hardware limitations.

 

Behind the scenes, I develop various prototype features and experiment with the latest technological trends, from AR to new VR headsets, to the latest in graphics. Not everything winds ups being a viable product, but the process is a learning experience and as technology advances, old prototypes may suddenly become practical.

 

Tell me a bit about your first experience with VR?

At a convention showcasing student projects, it was on the Oculus DK1 – Which was a prototype headset intended for developers; this was well before Oculus Rift was commercially released. Let’s say it was a rough experience, it very quickly induced nausea after a few minutes of use, I was however excited about its future potential.

 

If you got to dream up any VR experience and immerse yourself into it, what would you choose?

As I’ve played through countless VR experiences, I’ve had the joy of witnessing the growth and ever-changing ideas in the industry; the birth of new innovations in design & user experience. However, there is yet to be a true “killer app” that many of us have been waiting for; an experience that would act as the flagship title that would draw in mainstream users.

 

There has been many cool demos and applications created over the years, but most end up being one-off short demos or end up being a one-trick pony with little depth. With this in mind the perfect VR experience, in my opinion, would be a fully fleshed out roleplaying game built from the ground up for VR, borrowing all the advances and innovations in locomotion, combat, and immersion, and gluing it all together with a compelling narrative.

 

Outside of your VR job, what are your hobbies?

I enjoy video games in and out of VR as well as watching TV and movies, along with listening to podcasts. When I’m feeling ambitious, I chip away on personal projects such as 3d printing, papercraft and developing a game.

 

What’s your favorite Friday afternoon office game that we’ve played?

It’s a tie between Telestrations and Pictionary. I enjoy the creative and challenging aspects of drawing and guessing. Plus it’s always fun to witness other people’s creative talents and reactions.


We’d like to say a big thanks to Geoffrey for taking the time to sit with us for a little Q&A about himself! Stay tuned for some more interviews with the staff that power Yulio, and discover how we’re all learning more every day about our VR job!


If you want to learn more about the VR/AR industry, and things to consider when you’re looking into VR solutions, then sign up for our FREE 5-day email course to get up-to-speed with VR. Want to try Yulio for yourself? Sign up for a free 30-day trial with full access to our feature set!

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Business, Employee Highlight, Lifestyle, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Welcome to our Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel where we introduce to you to an on the team – and the people whose ideas and sense of how VR and AR should work have shaped Yulio from the ground up.

 

The Yulio VR expert team are working in roles that for the most part didn’t exist 5+ years ago, the VR job market was pretty minuscule. So the variety of experiences that led people here have created both expertise and variety in our team. And our history may lead you to the perfect VR job.


This week, we’re sitting down with someone who has been with Yulio even before Yulio was a company — Dani Spiroska! As the head of Quality Assurance, Dani tests all of our new features and web updates, making sure Yulio works seamlessly with our pre-existing features and on all platforms, VR headsets, and mobile devices. Being our “last line of defense”, her work is absolutely crucial to our team and your experience with Yulio. As she digs through all our use cases and devices, Dani ensures that all of you have the best user experience possible. Thanks to her detail-oriented and patient personality, Dani is successful in executing her role to the highest degree.

 

So, Dani tell me a bit about yourself.

I have a degree in Mathematics from the University of Waterloo.  Initially, I worked in the financial sector until I figured out I really didn’t enjoy finance and then went back to school for a second degree in Computer Science from UofT.  I enjoy getting into the smallest details, which is probably why I was drawn to quality assurance. I love the outdoors, I really love to run and have competed in over 70 races from 5k to full marathon.


How did you find Yulio?

I was involved in the earliest stages even before Yulio was officially a company – I got to test the very first VR prototypes that eventually formed the basis for the Yulio platform.


Tell me a bit about your role at Yulio

As the head of QA I am responsible for testing and test strategy.  That means I get to spend A LOT of time in every type of VR headset under the sun and work with the developers and business team to make sure we are launching the best experiences possible.


Tell me a bit about your first experience with VR?

I have been lucky to have access to every type of VR and AR headset since the introduction of the first Oculus Rift DK. I remember kneeling down in terror in the Brookhaven Experiment while the zombies swarmed me, and I vividly remember ‘flying’ at SIGGRAPH in the first generation of the ‘Birdly VR’ flight simulator.  Both times I remember telling myself “That was incredible, this is going to change the world!”


If you got to dream up any VR experience and immerse yourself into it, what would you choose?

I have tried just about every type of VR application and game out there, but the ones I really love are the ones that get me moving.  Games like BeatSaber and BoxVR are so much fun you don’t even realize you’re getting a workout until you run out of breath. I’m really looking forward to the next generation of VR exercise apps.


Outside of your VR job, what are your hobbies?

I love to make things.  A few years ago, my partner and I renovated our home from top to bottom and we did everything – design, carpentry, drywall, electrical, plumbing, even landscaping – I loved that when we were done we got to live in our creation.  Maybe that’s why I’m now an avid sewist – I love that I get to wear what I make.


What’s your favorite Friday afternoon office game that we’ve played?

I like Blind Pictionary, Yulio Feud, and pretty much  any game where I get to be on Chris’ team – her team usually wins 🙂



We’d like to say a big thanks to Dani for taking the time to sit with us for a little Q&A about herself! Stay tuned for some more interviews with Yulio VR’s employee, and discover how we’re all learning more every day about our VR job!


If you want to learn more about the VR/AR industry, and things to consider when you’re looking into VR solutions, then sign up for our FREE 5-day email course to get up-to-speed with VR. Want to try Yulio for yourself? Sign up for a free 30-day trial with full access to our feature set!

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Business, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

The past few years have welcomed a brand new wave of VR. 2016 was the start of mass widespread VR adoption, inspiring businesses to embrace the new tech and all that it offers them. Many F500 companies have turned to VR as a business solution, enhancing the efficiency and quality of their training programs and their marketing strategies. With the current trends in business and technology, a majority of consumers are expecting VR to be a part of their daily lives. From real estate to retail, VR has proven that it is a valuable business tool for all industries, fully capable of helping you achieve your goals.


Although there are many reasons why VR is a great business solution, at the end of the day, it can still seem like a really daunting piece of technology. We understand the skepticism, and it’s difficult to feel confident using what seems to be a useful tool when you aren’t all too familiar with it.


So what even is VR?

VR = Visual Storytelling

To put it simply, VR is a presentation tool that allows you the freedom and flexibility to tell your story. Any industry who is in the business of using visual storytelling can benefit greatly from using VR to do so. Whether it be showcasing a space you have curated for your client, to a potential workplace filled with your line of products, VR literally brings your concept to life and gives everyone the chance to step into your vision.


“[VR] is the first real massive leap forward in visual storytelling”
Ian Hall, CPO of Yulio Technologies (Retrieved from here)





How Can You Use VR in Furniture? 

The furniture industry, like those of A&D, rely heavily on visual storytelling, leading their clients to believe and invest in the concept painted. Besides giving the “wow” factor to a project, VR is a practical tool ridding many obstacles furniture dealers may face when trying to make a sell.

1. Say Goodbye to Translation Errors

As a furniture dealer, it can be a disappointing feeling when your clients say “I’m just not seeing it”. Sure it’s discouraging because they aren’t sold on what you’re selling them, but more importantly, there could have been a miscommunication of your vision. However, with using VR, there will no longer be a situation where your client cannot visualize your concept.


VR is the first medium to create a perfect understanding between the author and viewer, discouraging the possibility for any translation errors — what you are seeing will be exactly what they will see. Instead of showing your clients a floorplan of a room, or a possible configuration on paper or with samples, allow them to stand in your showroom and witness your vision. Not only will it be a more stimulating and memorable experience, but you can rest assured that what you envisioned for a space will be perfectly represented.

2. Showcase Your Products in Their Space in a Whole New Way

One of the many beauties of VR is the flexibility of showcasing a space that doesn’t exist yet. The gaming industry has masterfully utilized this awesome feature, immersing their audience into a whole other universe by providing an out-of-this-world experience. This same line of thinking can be applied to those in the commercial and office furniture business.


Access your virtual portfolio, and allow your clients to experience for themselves what your products would look like in their space. Using VR in furniture gives an individual the opportunity to get as close to “trying before buying” they will ever get. Immerse your clients, and give them the chance to get acquainted with your products and what you have envisioned for them. Furthering the point on flexibility, get your clients excited about the upcoming products that you will be releasing soon. Give an exciting and unforgettable sneak peek of what your newest design will look like.

3. Build an Emotional Connection

We use our senses to navigate the world we live in, and they have an integral role in emotional processing. As such, we humans build a lot of emotional associations towards certain events or objects. By translating the input we receive, we then interpret the emotional response along with the data. For example, if I hear the squeak of a rusty chair and I find it annoying or offputting, I’m less likely to use the said chair in the future. On the flip side, if I enjoy the sleekness construction of a certain sliding door, it sparks a positive response which increases how memorable the object was, and the likeliness of greater curiosity of the product.

This is definitely an area where using VR in the furniture industry can strengthen the connection.


Although logic plays a role when we make decisions, we frequently underestimate how big of a role emotions play in the process as well. By completely immersing your clients, they are now able to see as clear as day what your vision for their space can be like. VR, being a storytelling tool, gives you the freedom to simultaneously express what you would like your client to know about a particular piece and share your story. With the most realistic visual input aside from seeing it in person, VR nurtures an emotional connection between your concept and your client, giving the potential to establish a successful long-term business relationship, and for opportunities to increase commercial/office furniture sales.

4. Become More Strategic with your Resources

Building a variety of samples in different shades and colors takes time and resources, not to mention different variations of configurations in a space. What it takes to have a variety of options to show your clients can be costly, and those resources could be better allocated elsewhere.


With using VR in furniture, you have the ability to extensively build your portfolio, and easily bring it around at the convenience of your phone. Nowadays, it’s essentially the norm to carry a smartphone that has more technologically advanced capabilities than we could ever imagine. The ability to show your clients your vision in VR is easier than ever since many VR apps have gone mobile. All you need to do is open the app, slip on an inexpensive VR headpiece, and voilà! You have a portable portfolio, ready for all occasions to showcase your designs to your clients. Start carrying around your virtual showrooms to offer an extensive selection without burning a wider hole in your pocket.


5. Speed Up Your Sales Cycle

We understand that many variables and barriers arise in each sale and that the cycle can be a long and strenuous process. Clients may have a long list of questions or concerns about a certain product, and it can become time-consuming addressing each and every one of them. However, VR applications are powerful tools that you can use to help shorten that time up and get to “sold” quicker.


Here at Yulio, one of our most popular features are our variety of hotspots, allowing you to share information right within your VR presentation. Hotspots are there to enhance your project, and span from creating a more immersive ambiance, to providing specs of a product all in one place. Showcase your forward thinking to your clients by anticipating what their concerns may be, and addressing them whilst they are still in VR. Not only does this add to the overall experience, but it quickly answers any other questions your client may have that could hold up the sales cycle. Attract your clients and future potential clients to your dealership by providing an extra layer of customer service.

It’s safe to say that many features of VR will benefit furniture dealers and manufacturers, and it’s time to prepare for the future of this business. As the future continues to encroach upon us, important to continually stay relevant, and to hunger for bigger and more exciting change. We understand that it still may be daunting, but you will never know unless you have tried it out for yourself.


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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Business, Employee Highlight, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Welcome to our Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel where we introduce to you to an on the team – and the people whose ideas and sense of how VR and AR should work have shaped Yulio from the ground up.

 

The Yulio VR expert team are working in roles that for the most part didn’t exist 5+ years ago, the VR job market was pretty minuscule. So the variety of experiences that led people here have created both expertise and variety in our team. And our history may lead you to the perfect VR job.


This week, we’re sitting down with one of our members on the development team — Lev Faynshteyn! Lev is the head of research and development, ensuring we continue to incorporate the newest in technology into Yulio. His role includes looking into the technologies of the future and figuring out how we can implement it into Yulio to answer to your needs. The work Lev does is absolutely vital to Yulio, as it upholds our promise to be future-proof, and our commitment to being the best VR presentation tool for business. His dedicated hours into research is how we can continue to push the boundaries of innovation.


So, Lev tell me a bit about yourself.

I was born in Russia and attended South Russia State Technical University where I did my bachelors of computer science. When I was completing my studies there, I did my thesis work in computer graphics, which got me interested in this field of work.


In 2002, I moved to Canada and worked in the security field for a few years. After a while, I got bored of it and I quit to pursue further studies in computer science at Ryerson University, specializing in computer graphics. At first, I was in the field of medical visualizations — fossil graphics. However, when I graduated and started looking for a job, one of the first companies I found was KiSP. Personally, I don’t like really big companies because you can get sucked into politics and control. I found KiSP to be the perfect environment for me, especially since I was doing lots of experimentation, which I found really interesting.


How did you find Yulio?

I didn’t find Yulio, it found me! Before Yulio was officially formed, I started working on VR prototypes for about half a year at KiSP. In January 2018, I officially started with Yulio when it was founded as a separate VR company focused on architecture and design applications of VR.


Tell me a bit about your role at Yulio

My official title is Head of R&D — research and development. My role is a mix of everything and requires a lot of forward-looking. Part of my role is to look at technologies we can employ or prototype to bring into our pipeline. For example, one technology we looked at was Ray Tracing, which is basically generating cube maps. Our primary basic need in our pipeline is to visualize what our audience wants, and wants to see.

Back in the day, there weren’t as many tools available, or it was very underdeveloped as compared to today. Technology is now advancing at such a quick pace, which makes researching about them vital to staying up to date. All of my work is associated with developing ways of bringing content to the consuming devices (ie. mobile devices). We have gone from 2D into transitioning to a 3D pipeline.

Tell me a bit about your first experience with VR?

My first experience with VR was with the Google Cardboard — everything before that was tethered like the Oculus Rift. The Google Cardboard made VR perfect for business since you don’t need to be strapped in, and the experience is with brief exposures. It’s for a different use case than playing a game and being inside for a long time for entertainment.


If you got to dream up any VR experience and immerse yourself into it, what would you choose?

Maybe flying to Mars? But it has to be done right and developed enough to be deliverable. VR is about trying something that you may not be able to in real life because if I could do it in real life I would. It’s not worth it if it’s pixel-y, so in regards to content creation, it has to be executed at a high standard. I like Sci-Fi, and maybe something like an episode from the show Black Mirror. Hooking your brain up to completely suppress your physical world, and when it’s completely indistinguishable.


Outside of your VR job, what are your hobbies?

I really like board sports, like snowboarding, wakeboarding — I’ve been into sports my whole life. Lately, I’ve been playing more table tennis and taking that more seriously. I also used to race motorcycles, but I cut back on that now. I also really enjoy sci-fi, so I read a lot of books in that genre.


What’s your favourite Friday afternoon office game that we’ve played?

Pumpkin carving is my favourite one. We also had ping pong tournaments, those were really fun too!


We’d like to say a big thanks to Lev for taking the time to sit with us for a little Q&A about himself! Stay tuned for some more interviews with the staff that power Yulio, and discover how we’re all learning more every day about our VR job!


If you want to learn more about the VR/AR industry, and things to consider when you’re looking into VR solutions, then sign up for our FREE 5-day email course to get up-to-speed with VR. Want to try Yulio for yourself? Sign up for a free 30-day trial with full access to our feature set!
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Business, Employee Highlight, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Welcome to our Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel where we introduce to you to an on the team – and the people whose ideas and sense of how VR and AR should work have shaped Yulio from the ground up.

 

The Yulio VR expert team are working in roles that for the most part didn’t exist 5+ years ago, the VR job market was pretty minuscule. So the variety of experiences that led people here have created both expertise and variety in our team. And our history may lead you to the perfect VR job.


This week, we’re sitting down with our Presdient, Jim Stelter! Jim is our out-of-the-box leader who effortlessly connects with our clients, and is currently paving the way for VR adoption. One aspect that Jim is passionate about is demonstrating how our Yulio software can truly transform visualizing a project. With his dedication for making VR as accessible and easy to understand, Jim’s demo of our Yulio software helps everyone in any stage understand how truly transformative VR is. Our commitment to our clients and prioritizing their needs is a testament to the quality of Jim’s outstanding leadership. 

So, Jim tell me a bit about yourself.

I went to Michigan State University, and I absolutely loved it. Paid my way through college by working as a security guard and janitor at a department store and learned a tremendous amount from that. When I was studying at Michigan State, I played soccer, also known as football for our European friends, and was their team’s captain for 3 years. With soccer, I had the opportunity to travel around the US, playing on different teams, and to also fall in love with the woman who would one day be my wife! I have three children, three grandchildren, and three grandchildren dogs.

How did you find Yulio?

So Rob Kendal is one of the co-founders of Yulio and founder of their sister company KiSP. I’ve known Rob for some time, and over the years I have been very impressed with KiSP — they have proved to be a leader in technology across the board. Since becoming friends, about a year ago, we started talking about Yulio which has led me to my role here. It was watching the company grow, and really taking the lead in technological applications in the furniture world where I became excited about Yulio.

Tell me a bit about your role at Yulio

I’m leading the charge on customer integration with the large account base that we have — Steelcase, Herman Miller etc. Being on the front line, I help dealers and manufacturers understand how VR can help achieve their business goal, ultimately benefitting their business. With our focus always being on the customer, we want to make sure the experiences we are giving to our clients are innovative and immersive. Although it’s not always clear, it’s my job to work with the dealers and manufacturers in helping them understand how VR will make a world of a difference. We need to make sure that virtual and digital reality is something they need to be pursuing, which will ultimately help their own customer experience. It’s getting easier since cost is coming down, it’s more accessible, and other applications are emerging.

One of the biggest lessons I have ever learned was that above all, you must concentrate on the customer experience. This has been reinforced over the years in terms of the success I had at Steelcase and Enscape, but also personal experiences I had and I’m sure everyone has in dealing with products that you buy.

From the standpoint of leadership, you must involve the entire team and keep it simple and understand their point of view. Empathy — or the ability to understand — how people feel about you and what your skillset is, you must understand yourself and others to achieve your goals.

Tell me a bit about your first experience with VR?

My first encounter with VR was at a museum where I got to experience the Amazon river. It was a truly transformative experience. Of course, you can read about the Amazon river and you can look at pictures, but VR took that learning experience to a whole new level. When you put on a headset and you’re paddling a canoe down a river, that learning is tremendously deeper in the immersive experience, and helped me understand the Amazon river more.  

Even before that experience, I was already interested in education and how people learn in the most effective manner. VR offers that learning experience, through experiential learning. Take, for example, tieing a shoe. If you describe the process versus going through the process with someone, they will learn much better with experiencing it. My time at the museum had a real lasting effect on me and how I view VR.

If you got to dream up any VR experience and immerse yourself into it, what would you choose?

I think it would be having a conversation with my dad who passed away around 20 years ago — that would be great. Those interactions are the most important experiences of my life and I would love to be able to go back to them when I feel lost and talk it over with my dad. I read recently you can keep people alive in your dreams, and it’s much more realistic if you do this in virtual reality. People are now using 3D videography with their loved ones, recording their memories in a more realistic way. I would love it if I could do a 3D recording of having a conversation with my grandchildren and my great-grandchildren for them to look back to in the future.

Outside of your VR job, what are your hobbies?

I love photography! One thing I love to do is photographing my family jumping off buildings and seeing our reactions. Some may call it strange, but I absolutely love it. I also love cycling, road bikes, and working out every morning. It doesn’t show but I do!

What’s your favorite Friday afternoon office game that we’ve played?

Run around ping pong! I made everyone start to run around, hit the ball and run around. Here’s a picture of it!



We’d like to say a big thanks to Jim for taking the time to sit with us for a little Q&A about himself! Stay tuned for some more interviews with the staff that power Yulio, and discover how we’re all learning more every day about our VR job!


If you want to learn more about the VR/AR industry, and things to consider when you’re looking into VR solutions, then sign up for our FREE 5-day email course to get up-to-speed with VR. Want to try Yulio for yourself? Sign up for a free 30-day trial with full access to our feature set!

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Business, Employee Highlight, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Welcome to our Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel where we introduce to you to an on the team – and the people whose ideas and sense of how VR and AR should work have shaped Yulio from the ground up.

 

The Yulio VR expert team are working in roles that for the most part didn’t exist 5+ years ago, the VR job market was pretty minuscule. So the variety of experiences that led people here have created both expertise and variety in our team. And our history may lead you to the perfect VR job.



This week, we’re going to continuing our Yulio VR Employee Highlight with ‘The CAD Man’ himself, Oussama. Oussama Belhenniche is one of the guys behind-the-scenes of Yulio on the development team, but he works on one of the major pieces that makes Yulio as business-ready as we are. CAD plugins are essential for making our business-experience as seamless and simple as possible, and it’s all because of Oussama. He works to improve this flow between Yulio and your CAD plugin so that technology doesn’t cause friction in the process of creating VR experiences. By focussing on CAD plugins, Yulio lets designers be designers and use the tools they already use.


So, Oussama tell me a bit about yourself.

So I’m an electrical engineer by training, but a software developer by choice. I went into software because the feedback loop is shorter than electrical engineering – if you don’t know what that means, basically when you make changes to your product you get instant feedback if you do it in software rather than hardware – that’s why you don’t see a lot of hardware startups. It’s very difficult to achieve that same feedback loop.

 

I went into software in my second year of university at Ryerson University in downtown Toronto. So yeah! Four years later I graduated and started looking for jobs without exactly knowing what I wanted to do, so I applied to a bunch and just went from there!



How did you find Yulio?

I found Yulio on a startup recruitment website. What struck me was the mission that Yulio was on – getting from a 3D format to a VR medium – it was something I was genuinely interested in learning. I knew what 3D was and I’ve had experience working with 3D objects and 3D schematics from university, and I knew what VR was, but I didn’t know how the two connected. So when I saw the job posting, I thought it would be a great opportunity to learn how they do it and become a Yulio VR expert.



Tell me a bit about your role at Yulio

Well, I do a little bit of everything. Sometimes I work on the website, sometimes I work on the core-side, but mainly I’m the CAD guy – which means I do a lot of the work surrounding the CAD plugins that we offer. The plugins are tools we have for our clients who use different kinds of CAD programs in their business; they make it as easy as a click of a button to bring their 3D scenes into glorious VR. So my job is to try and work on those plugins to make that transition as easy and seamless as possible for our clients.



Tell me a bit about your first experience with VR?

Before I came to Yulio I had never tried VR before, so I played a VR game where you’re shooting at zombies in a desert. When I first tried it I didn’t really like it because I wasn’t wearing my glasses – the experience was kind of blurry and pixelated, but now that I’ve been able to try it with my glasses on, it was much better! I can see why people would lose hours in it – it’s very immersive, especially if you have headphones in, it’s like you’re there. Yeah! So I spent about half an hour playing it for the first time.  



If you got to dream up any VR experience and immerse yourself into it, what would you choose?

I’d like to see more VR in education. We’ve seen it in games and we see it in enterprise software like Yulio is doing, which is awesome, but I’d like to see something like ‘The Magic School Bus’. Imagine THAT in VR – it would be super cool. Like, “Ok class, today we’re learning about biology. We’re learning about hearts and what it does and the different components” – I’ve always struggled with that kind of stuff, so yes, I understand what the teacher is saying but I can’t really visualize it. But, if every student had their own headset, then they can explore the heart together. I could definitely see the value added to education through VR.

 

Or museums, for example. If you have a painting of an artistic rendition of a war scene and a  VR headset next to the painting. You can look at the painting and when you put on the headset, you can also feel what it’s like to be inside the painting itself.



Outside of your VR job, what are your hobbies?

I like running to keep myself active. I like cooking and baking. I like watching British Bake-Off… which is a British TV show about cooking. It’s a nice show for when you just want to relax and see some British people cook. I like to relax and hang out with friends and play video games sometimes.



What’s your favorite Friday afternoon office game that we’ve played?

I like telestrations! People guess what you draw and then the next person draws what you guessed. I like to see where the disconnects happen. It also has a message that communication is very important in a workplace – If you say something wrong then it can propagate itself to being really wrong down the line, so you have to make sure that communications are clear and precise.



We’d like to say a big thanks to Oussama for taking the time to sit with us for a little Q&A about himself! Stay tuned for some more interviews with the staff that power Yulio, and discover how we’re all learning more every day about our VR job!

 


If you want to learn more about the VR/AR industry, and things to consider when you’re looking into VR solutions, then sign up for our FREE 5-day email course to get up-to-speed with VR. Want to try Yulio for yourself? Sign up for a free 30-day trial with full access to our feature set! (Have a CAD program and want to use Oussama’s plugins? Click here to download your CAD plugin!)

 

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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 VR Horror Games 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 VR games? 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 a VR game, 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.

 

VR Horror Games Are Here to Stay

There seems to be no slowing down for virtual reality horror games. 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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Business, Employee Highlight, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Welcome to our Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel where we introduce to you to an on the team – and the people whose ideas and sense of how VR and AR should work have shaped Yulio from the ground up.

 

The Yulio VR expert team are working in roles that for the most part didn’t exist 5+ years ago, the VR job market was pretty minuscule. So the variety of experiences that led people here have created both expertise and variety in our team. And our history may lead you to the perfect VR job.


On this week’s Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel, we’re going to learn more about Kan, one of the members of our Development Team. Kan Li is a Senior Developer here at Yulio and one of the original employees of Yulio! Kan works on both the front-end and back-end coding for Yulio, but he also has the responsibility of DevOps. DevOps is an important part of Yulio because it centers around our promise to be fast and future-proof. DevOps enables us to have faster release and deployment cycles, which means that we’re able to offer new and exciting products/features to our clients in a shorter period of time than some of our competitors. Keeping to our promise about being agile, business-ready and future-proof, Kan ensures that we’re constantly moving forward and that everything is operating smoothly and securely.

So Kan, tell me a bit about yourself.

I studied computer science at the University of Toronto. Programming is something that I’ve always passion for ever since I was a kid in school. I was a gamer – so I always found programming elements in those very interesting. When I first got my computer I remember being so excited so I installed a bunch of games and I’d play all day! At the time, I played a lot of popular strategy games! They were my favorite.

What’s your role here at Yulio?

So, I’m a developer like most of the guys on the development team; so I do work mainly on front-end and back-end coding. I’m also responsible for the DevOps, which is at the core of how Yulio operated. Basically, I make sure that the server is always up-and-running and ready to implement anything we’re ready to push to production. We always want to make sure that our product is operating smoothly and that our clients have the tools they need to be successful when working in VR!

How did you find Yulio?

Actually, Yulio found me. I was working at a company called KiSP before starting at Yulio. So, KiSP is essentially where Yulio took off – KiSP is a visualization software and Yulio’s sister company. Our Managing Director and CEO of KiSP, Robert Kendal, had this idea of Yulio Technologies – he wanted to use digital reality (mainly VR at the time) to better present the unpresentable. He understood the gaps in the visualization world from his work with KiSP and asked us to start working on Yulio as a project. One thing led to another, and he decided that it was time to build Yulio out as its own company! At that point, any of the programmers that were involved in Yulio projects had the opportunity to move forward and become the first employees of Yulio Technologies!

Do you find your work at Yulio more enjoyable, interesting, difficult because of the VR aspects?

So when I was at KiSP they already had this product – for one, it was massive – and secondly, it was already an established product, so most of the work that needed to be done was maintenance. The main task was understanding the app well enough so we knew how it worked when it came to investigating things like bug fixes – we needed to know where to find these issues and how to resolve them. There were also feature releases here and there, but most part we worked on understanding and tweaking the product.

 

In comparison, Yulio is brand new – and still is – and working with technology that’s hot-off-the-press. We’re building Yulio basically from scratch, so there’s plenty of opportunities to use new technologies and apply new skills that we didn’t have the chance to work with at KiSP, which as a programmer, is very exciting to do!

 

What was your first experience with virtual reality?

So before I came to Yulio, I didn’t know much about VR, and I had never tried it for myself. So of course on day 1, Ian Hall (CPO) introduced me to VR by strapping me into his first generation Oculus VR setup. It was a tethered rig that streamed from his laptop and the experience, although the name slips my mind, was essentially a dinosaur that was chasing you. In my opinion, it was mind-blowing! I thought it was really really cool.

 

If you got to dream up any VR experience and immerse yourself into it, what would you choose?

I would like to see some kind of fantasy role-playing game – I think that would be cool!

 

Outside of your VR Job, what are your hobbies?

I enjoy gardening in my spare time – I grow all kinds of vegetables! I find gardening very rewarding… Sometimes you can spend a lot of time working on something and you never get to see much or any reward, but with gardening – the more work you put into it, the more reward you reap! So I find it very satisfying. I also like watching horror movies with my wife – I think we’ve watched most horror movies together!

 

What’s your favorite Friday afternoon office game that we’ve played?

One of my favorites is called “Landmine” – where you lead your blindfolded team member through a course with obstacles – it was a very fun game! I also liked a game called “Telestrations” – it’s sort of like pictionary and telephone combined into one game!

Fun fact

Well, maybe because I’m a programmer some people might not expect this, but I used to play a lot of sports! I used to be in the basketball club… I was always the tallest kid in the class, so naturally, they wanted me to join the team – but I played for 2 or 3 years. I’m also surprisingly good at long-distance running! I was first place in my school for the marathon!


We’d like to say a big thanks for Kan for taking the time to sit with us for a little Q&A about himself! Stay tuned for some more interviews with the staff that power Yulio, and discover how we’re all learning more every day about our VR job!

 

Looking to learn more about practical VR for business? Sign up for our free 5-day email course and learn all of the key understandings and critical considerations you need to know before adopting a VR solution. Done that and want to give Yulio a try? Sign up for our free 30-day trial and we’ll give you full access to our feature set to see how you like working with Yulio!

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AR, Culture, Lifestyle, Travel, VR

Anyone who has booked a vacation has experienced that uncertainty about value for your money because there is so much ambiguity when it comes to what your amenities are, the quality of the resort, what your actual hotel room will look like, and even what some of the sights are at the destination. Enter VR Travel, and watch as VR disrupts yet another industry.

Before VR, consumers have had to trust in reviews from other travellers, what could be false or misleading ratings from travel agencies, and the authenticity of experiences, photographs, and videos of the destination to drive the decision-making vehicle when investing in a trip; however, with the power of virtual reality travel, this doesn’t have to be an issue anymore. Now, we have the power to show consumers exactly what they should expect to experience when they arrive at their destination. It’s true try-before-you-buy experience, and it’s a winning pitch for travel marketers.

VR can be used a couple different ways when it comes to traveling such as,


Marketing travel destinations

VR travel experiences can be used to promote and sell seats for travel destinations. Businesses such as resorts, airlines, travel agencies, and online travel e-commerce platforms can now show consumers popular destinations, destinations that they should consider traveling to, or destinations with deals on flights or accommodations by immersing them in VR.

By allowing consumers to have a detailed experience of the location in virtual reality, they can get a sense of presence in the destination and decide if it’s right for them, and if they should book or not.





 


Previewing destinations with VR travel allows booking agents to create an emotional connection that helps consumers see value and complete their bookings. Thomas Cook, for example, found there was a 190% uplift in New York excursions for people coming from the UK after people tried a 5 minute version of the holiday in VR.

“Thanks to working with Visualise [VR] Thomas Cook was the first travel company to deliver in-store virtual reality to customers, we’ve been nominated for numerous innovation awards, and we’ve seen a good conversion rate for bookings made after viewing the VR content.”


Lynne Slowey, Head of Digital Content, Thomas Cook

Carnival Cruises have also been early adopters of virtual reality travel marketing – their 360-video tours and VR travel experiences are designed to provide the experience of an “instant Caribbean vacation” and entice emotional connections and aspirational bookings.



 



“We know that many first time cruisers find it difficult to understand what the cruising experience will be like until they’ve experienced it firsthand, so we decided to use 360 video technology to help get consumers closer to the spaces that make Carnival special.”



Stephanie Leavitt Esposito, Director of Social Media and Branded Content for Carnival

VR Travel takes away the hesitation to book by helping consumers better understand what they’re getting into. For a relatively small one-time investment, travel marketers can leverage the emotional connections of VR both in their physical locations and online to generate interest.



Confidence in booking

VR travel also allows you to see exactly what you’d be investing in before you buy. This could mean previewing what your room will look like in real-scale, ‘touring’ the resort or living accommodations before you arrive, or experiencing some of the views in the area you’re looking to travel to. Travelers can also decide if they want to upgrade their package if they want a more premium hotel or resort, or change their travel plans based on what they see.

The consumer will be able to have a taste of the destination, explore excursions that are available, view living accommodations, amenities, and more without any of the guesswork that typically comes with booking vacations and interpreting room upgrades and tiers.  With this, travelers gain the power to change their bookings if it’s not exactly what they were looking for and travel at ease to their destination knowing exactly what they should expect when they arrive. And travel agents have an easier time explaining and selling premium experiences.



 


Drive Booking Rates with VR Travel Previews

Separately, VR travel can help promote less popular destinations. There are amazing places travel agents know about but have a hard time selling to customers who don’t know someone who has been before – again, they’re looking for some assurance that they won’t have wasted their travel budget, and won’t end up somewhere they don’t want to be. VR travel options let them preview the location and get a sense for what it will be like to travel there in a way that brochures and still images cannot. VR travel lets people experience a locale on their own – they control the exploration of the experience and end up with a greater sense that it is authentic.


And we’re primed to respond to the sense of having a true preview of the experience, according to a study by YouVisit, a VR travel company, 13% of people who experience a vacation in virtual reality go on to either book a vacation or get in contact with lodging or transportation companies.



Allowing those who can’t travel to see new things

Of course, not everyone is physically capable of traveling or has a budget to allow them to travel often or at all. But now, anyone with a smartphone can experience a travel destination in virtual reality. The beauty of mobile VR, especially, means that anyone can slip on a headset and be immersed, which means that even those who aren’t mobile anymore can experience a paradise setting in the comfort of their own home. Some findings from a study found that 80% of the people who tried VR for traveling felt they were really taken to the destination.


VR travel has been the focus of health and wellness campaigns for those unable to travel – a recent experiment in a senior’s living center in Brazil allowed residents to use headsets to visit a destination they had never been to, or revisit past favorites. Residents reported feeling excited, and often nostalgic.



 

 

VR is the closest you can get to the real deal, and with the help of ambient audio and pristine image and video quality, the consumer can feel as if they’re actually there (without investing the time or money) which makes this the best selling and experiential medium for consumers looking to travel.

Marriott hotels have taken this a step further, with VRoom Service, which creates travel within travel. Guests at some locations can borrow a VR headset and tour Marriott VR Postcards, experiences in Chile, Rwanda or Beijing.

“Travel expands our minds and helps push our imagination – VRoom combines storytelling with technology, two things that are important to next generation travelers.”


Matthew Carroll, Vice President of Marriott Hotels

Marriott is on to something here, With 65% of 18-34-year-olds seeking to buy experiences over material things, the ‘experience economy’ is booming. VR travel is the key to ‘try before you buy’ and provides enough of a demo for VR travel marketers to sell experiences with an emotional connection.

If you’re looking to take a trip without breaking the bank, CN traveler identified some experiences recently that was almost as good as the real thing, so check them out and escape the winter blahs with VR travel.


To find out more about creating your own VR experiences, check out our free 5-day course, or create a VR experience for free with a Yulio trial account.

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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 virtual reality 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 virtual reality to lure people into the environment as a pathway into the sales funnel.


 

Get to Selling with VR

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, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Like all great disruptive technologies, VR has begun to establish itself in a way that makes business leaders … uncomfortable. They’re hearing more about it. They’ve had clients mention it. They’ve heard their competitors are trying it. They just haven’t got around to doing anything about it … yet. If current predictions are correct, they will. And when they do, they’ll likely have questions that sound something like the ones below. So we’ve put together an outline of basics to get you up to speed with VR learning.

VR Basics: What’s the difference between AR, MR & VR?
Augmented Reality or ‘AR’ works through a smartphone or similar device simply overlaying digital information onto an existing environment. Traditionally the digital content being viewed only interacts with the real world in a superficial way, if at all. Within perhaps the most famous current example of AR, Pokemon Go, the content (i.e. the Pokemon characters) only react to a smartphone’s GPS location and direction meaning that whether a player is standing in front of a bush or in an open field, the character’s appearance on the screen remains the same. With limited functionality, AR has, up to know, found very few truly sticky business applications. In contrast, Mixed Reality or ‘MR’ is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where both physical and digital objects co-exist and interact with one another in real time. Using the Pokemon Go example, were that experience to in Mixed Reality, the characters could do things like hiding behind bushes instead of just being effectively painted on top of them. Similarly, in a retail application using Mixed Reality, a user who was looking to understand how a piece of new furniture might look in an existing room, could place it virtually where they wanted it and it would stay in position as the viewer moved around it. Virtual Reality or ‘VR’ is a fully immersive, 360-degree digital environment that users can interact within a seemingly real way with the help of an electronic headset. It is designed to fully replace anything a user will see with their own eyes and therefore, where VR could be used to virtually transport someone underwater to experience swimming amongst dolphins, AR could theoretically help them study a dolphin while standing in their kitchen and MR could have that virtual dolphin jump out of a travel advert in their favourite magazine.

How could we use it?
There are some VR basics we’ve encountered over out thousand hours of user testings, and one of the big discoveries is that most strong executions of VR fall into one of three key categories: VR is great for showing something that doesn’t exist yet – think, placing someone within a new home or condo that’s yet to be built, let them sit in a concept car before it’s hit the production line, or hey, have them experience a vacation on the moon. There are literally no limits. VR can show off something that exists but is a long way away or somehow inaccessible – think about transporting someone into the heart of a major sporting event, enabling them to visit Paris without getting on a plane, or take in the views from a remote trail they might never otherwise be able to get to. VR is perfect for modeling something that is too large, complex or expensive to model in the real world – think about allowing people to choose their perfect combination from the limitless possible permutations of features, options, and colours available in a new car and virtually experience them immediately, or, in the case of Yulio client, Diamond Schmitt Architects, allowing their client Ingenium to get a true sense of the scale of an enormous new building being designed as part of Canada’s Science and Technology Museum – feel free to read more about that here. Checking any ideas for possible business applications of VR against these categories can go some way in helping to make sure they’re going to offer customers a unique experience and inspire them into taking the action you’re looking for.

How would we create content?
The best methods of creating VR content will vary depending on the eventual application. For those in architecture, interior design, construction, etc, who are already using computer design technologies, VR authoring can be a matter of a couple of extra clicks from your CAD programs to create basic VR experiences.  These can then be easily shared via a link or embedded into websites with a simple snippet of code. Using 360-degree cameras to capture footage and software packages such as videostich to assemble it is an option but, for most business users, with a level of complexity far beyond the relative ease of traditional video capture and editing, this do-it-yourself route is commonly less popular. For more elaborate and adventurous applications of VR, it’s well worth consulting one of the growing numbers of specialist agencies who can provide expertise in, not only in the validation of an idea but in the creation of the content ensuring it hits the mark where, when and precisely how it’s meant to.   

Do we need to start using it now?
The short answer is, yes (it’s the same conclusion the long answer gets to in the end). Why? Because you’re still early enough to be an early mover in an industry that’s making major moves. Most organizations are still wrapping their heads around virtual reality basics, but they are moving. And you don’t need to take our word for it. Here are some stats; Approximately 75% of the companies on the Forbes’ World’s Most Valuable Brands list have developed or are in the process of developing virtual reality experiences for their customers or their employees, according to an October 2015 survey. There are already an estimated 43 million people using VR technology and that figure is set to double next year and double again the following. According to a Greenlight VR consumer survey, of those that try VR, 79% seek it out again and 81% claim they tell their friends about the experience. The most frequently used word about VR? “Cool!”. Enough said.

What technology do we need?
In the same way that the best method of creating content depends on the application it’s needed for, the best VR software and hardware will depend on how and where it’s going be used. Using mobile VR as we do at Yulio, the technology required to deliver an experience to a client, colleague or customer starts with a user’s smartphone and around $15 for a cardboard headset or simple plastic Homido viewer. For an impromptu demonstration of a design portfolio or to get a quick thumbs up from a client on a recent round of design iterations, this is literally all that’s needed. And they are still, for many companies the building blocks and key entry point into VR. Getting your hands on a few of these are key to your VR basics strategy. There are a rapidly growing number of technology options now available for VR content creation, publishing, and viewing. Each of these range in price, quality, practicality, and mobility. To kickstart your VR learning, feel free to read our recent post on tips for choosing the best headset. With technologies changing fast, the secret is to pick a solution capable of adapting to changing viewing habits and also able to handle the ever more ingenious applications your business will inevitably think up to throw at it. Take these quick notes a step further and wow your boss with your expertise when you take our free VR course, and download our state of the industry presentation. You’ll be a VR star in no time.
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Architecture, Business, How to, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
New Year, New Job: How to find VR jobs
It may not yet have reached the heady heights of Astronaut, Pro athlete or 1980s Apple investor, but finding VR jobs has become a major aspiration for an increasing number of career seekers. Whether it’s budding young minds entering the workforce for the first time or those looking to change career lanes mid-journey, interest in pursuing VR as a career is booming and the question of how to get a job in the industry is one we get asked a lot.


 

Having fought their collective ways from the virtual mail room to the virtual boardroom, many of the team at Yulio understand full well what it takes to build a career in VR and have recommended that the very best way to start is by answering this one simple question;  

Why VR jobs?
The obvious truth is, VR is not one big collective thing that can be studied and perfected. Within it, exist a multitude of different opportunities, some technical, some creative, some unique to VR and some not so. It’s because of this that it’s important for anyone with an interest in having a career in VR to find out what it is that really gets them excited.   It could be- A desire to create immersive stories that move people A desire to help build new platforms for a newly emerging technology A desire to combine creative mediums with analytics and strategy to help grow a business -or, it could be some other aspect of business where VR is planting its feet. But remember, you don’t necessarily want virtual reality jobs. A better career goal may that you want to be well positioned to understand and use an exciting new medium. Or you think this technology is disruptive, and that excites you. Whatever that key career goal is, it’s worth digging into it a little deeper, at least in the early stages of an investigation. Why take this broader view? “I just want a VR job!”, you may well be thinking. But many of us have been through these disruptive changes before and we promise, it’s wiser to take a step back.


 

As an example, a few years ago, emerging career opportunities were appearing in areas such as Search Engine Optimization and later, Facebook marketing (a few of our Yulio employees were part of those in their earliest iterations) . Those with a keen drive to master Google or Facebook’s complex systems found themselves having to scramble and relearn every few months as these algorithms were refined, shifted and updated to suit an evolving set of corporate objectives. Ultimately, if you built your expertise around knowing exactly what buttons to push within Facebook to be an effective marketer, you were effectively cut adrift when the button moved. And you were setting yourself up to be an order taker, not a social media leader. On the flipside, if you built your expertise around how to write compelling copy, how to leverage data to inform your creativity and how to engage customers, you could easily adapt and have a far more interesting career leading social media strategy, not merely executing on the mechanics.

VR’s buttons will move
Within an emerging and evolving technology, the playing field will change quickly and that certainly applies to VR. In time, no doubt everything about VR will change; how it’s created, how it’s applied and where it’s used. And VR jobs today will change too. Because of this, it’s especially important for those looking to ‘find VR jobs’ to reflect on what part they will be most excited to play. Once an overarching goal is clear, then one can look at how VR is aligned with it. Is it storytelling? Then it’s time to start investigating the work and talking to those people that are shooting VR films or marketers that are telling great brand stories through VR. In our experience, people working in the VR industry LOVE talking about what they’re working on, so don’t be afraid to do some research and reach out directly to those whose work inspires you. In case you thought we might wrap this up with literally no ‘practical’ advice on getting virtual reality jobs, don’t fear, we have some of that too.

Some good old ‘Practical Advice’ for finding VR jobs
There are a lot of VR resources out there already and more popping up every day. The space is changing fast, so keeping up to date with the areas that matter to you i.e. hardware, software, emerging stars, new applications, etc, is a good way to start uncovering the possibilities of VR jobs. There are some great media outlets and some great thought leaders who are out there tracking and alerting their followers of the major movements in the space. Our Chief Marketing Officer follows a few of these influential folks on Twitter; Rick King – https://twitter.com/RickKing16 Sanem Avcil – https://twitter.com/Sanemavcil Ryan Bell – https://twitter.com/ryan_a_bell Tom Emrich – https://twitter.com/tomemrich   And members of our team also like to read content from some of these great accounts; Within – https://medium.com/@Within Haptical – https://haptic.al Robert Scoble – https://medium.com/@scobleizer The Metaverse Muse – https://medium.com/the-metaverse-muse   Want to get a concise snapshot of how VR can be integrated into a business? Simple. Take our 5-day course with Chief Product Officer Ian Hall.


 
Learn the craft of storytelling and then adapt it

 

VR is beckoning in a seismic shift in storytelling. In the same way that, in earlier days, TV and film producers had to figure out a new language for telling stories using visuals as well as audio, VR means telling stories that, although created by a director, are going to be controlled by the viewer. That’s a major disruption but ultimately, the skill set remains the same. Some of the best directors say they paid close attention in English class – character, motivation, and themes will all carry through in VR. Whether you are telling fictional, gaming or product marketing stories, there’s still a narrative at play and skills honed in this area will still be an advantage.

Get educated

 

For those looking to work with VR in a particular field they’re looking to study, research schools that are using VR tools directly within their curriculums. Some of our education partners, including Ryerson University, Boston Architectural College, and East Michigan are early adopters of VR in architecture and design. Students of these types of progressive educational organizations will leave their courses and approach entry to the workforce with a key set of differentiated skills in VR likely to give them a competitive advantage. And while they are not preparing to be VR programmers, they are preparing for a world in which VR may change their chosen industry. VR jobs go far beyond the medium itself.

Lastly, use it or lose it.
If you’re applying for a job that involves VR, search for a clever way to tell your story in VR. Whether you’re showing off design work, 360° video of a project or an experimental film, telling a VR story should, wherever possible, be told in VR. In a recent interview with Ryerson Interior Design Professor Jonathon Anderson, he told us first hand that, when seeking out summer internships, a group of his own students used VR to showcase their work. In doing so they cleverly set themselves apart from other candidates and in every case came away with the position.


 

You’ve heard it here. Time to go out and make a difference. Find the career you feel passionate about and consider how VR and other game-changing influencers will change it. You can prepare your own VR experience for an interview or project for free with a Yulio account. Sign up here. Or, learn more by reading over our SlideShare presentation on the industry, here.
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Business, Design, How to, Industry News, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

We recently launched a free VR 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 free VR 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 and we’ll share examples in our free VR course:

  • 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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Architecture, Business, How to, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Not every sales situation plays squarely to VR’s strengths but, when it comes to selling VR real estate, especially off-plan properties, virtual reality is in its element. We’ve talked before about the technology coming into its own in circumstances where something doesn’t yet exist, where it’s too complex or expensive to model, or where it’s a long way away. For off-plan property, that’s three out of three. No matter whether it’s an office to scale up in or a home to grow old in, buying property is an inherently expensive and emotional process. Decisions made can have a long-term impact, both good and bad, and are infinitely more difficult to make when there is no physical structure to stand in, or community to walk through. Enter VR real estate sales.

So why do people do it?
For property buyers, purchasing off plan can have its benefits. In hot markets, securing a property before a new development has been finished (or, even in some cases, started) can mean its value has already risen by the time it’s finished. For developers, selling the bulk of new properties early in the construction phase can dramatically reduce the financial stresses inherent in any sizable building project. But those benefits are typically weighed against the risks of not actually getting to see what you are spending so much money on.

So how can VR Real Estate applications help?
The answer to this is two-fold; VR real estate previews can both streamline the mechanics of selling a property and help to create emotional connections with buyers that would be almost impossible to replicate any other way.

The Mechanics
Traditionally, off-plan sales are conducted from a sales suite near to the development site. Tools of the trade have usually included floor plans, computer-generated 2D images of various finished rooms and communal spaces and a selection of sample materials i.e. kitchen cabinets, bathroom tiles, taps, handles, carpets, flooring, lights, etc.


 

  In order to make an ‘informed’ decision, the buyer is being asked to picture the innumerable, disparate elements that make up a new property and decide if what they visualize is a place they could live, work or invest in. Sounds challenging. Just imagine if every possibility could be created virtually and viewed as if it were real, now? It can be and it already is.




Entire property layouts, created in virtual reality, are now able to demonstrate every possible configuration of a design without the need for the pile of 2D images. By stationing VR headsets in sales centers, visitors can control their own immersive tour through a proposed property, moving from room to room, understanding the depths and dimensions and taking in the environment from a multitude of vantage points. Virtual tours can be taken as easily from prospective buyers in other cities, countries or continents. A South China Morning Post article Yulio featured in last year, outlined how rapid the rise was becoming in VR real estate sales use by overseas property dealers and investors. Every permutation in finish choices can be accounted for in the VR experience meaning no need for countless samples. Potential buyers can view and switch between combinations of finishes until they find a perfect one to match their style.


 

 

 

Design or specification flourishes aimed at enhancing a property’s appeal and closing more sales can also be tested by developers at almost no upfront cost. Do buyers respond better to built-in speakers, larger showers, gas hookups on balconies or real wood floors? Easy to add them to the design in VR and find out which turns more heads. Layer in heatmap data to find out what people were looking at most closely, or what they looked at and did not ultimately purchase, and developers have the potential to better understand variations by demographic and market and build accordingly.


 

Making it Emotional
 

 

Whether to live, work or invest in, buying property off plan requires a leap of faith. The unique, virtual safety net VR is able to offer is an ability to ‘try before you buy’. Standing within a highly-detailed virtual world is as close as one can get to the real thing and being able to gain a clear sense of depth, of color and even how sunlight will affect the look and feel of the new environment, is immensely important in creating an emotional connection and bringing clarity to a decision. This is almost impossible to achieve when trying to communicate complex unbuilt spaces using mocked-up photos and floor plans and is far more effective at ensuring the eventually completed property matches a buyer’s expectations. Using imagery captured with drones, developers can incorporate the exact views buyers would experience from high rise apartments as well as provide views of streetscapes and proximity to neighboring amenities and attractions. For developments selling dreams of vibrant new communities with inviting public spaces, using virtual reality, these environments can be brought to life in an idealized way. VR real estate experiences can be created which combine rich visuals and ambient sounds, able to give prospective buyers a glimpse of the future atmosphere and help them visualize themselves as a part of it.

With a lot at stake in the business of off-plan property buying, both buyers and sellers need all the help they can get in successfully bridging gaps between design vision and client perception. And while VR wasn’t designed solely for this, it might as well have been. To learn more about VR and bringing it into your sales process, sign up for our free 5-day email course or check out our industry overview presentation.
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Architecture, Business, Design, How to, Lifestyle, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Make 2018 Your Year of VR
With the bells in full jingle and the halls almost fully decked with their boughs of holly, it’s easy to now begin the steady drift towards the holiday wind-down and assume all major accomplishments for this year are behind you. I mean, what could you possibly do now that would make you smarter, more valuable to your business, a progressive force to be reckoned with in 2018, and likely the most interesting person at the office party, all without any major time commitment or expense? Simple. You can dive into Yulio’s 5 part, VR business resources boot camp and genuinely take a free and painless crash course to learn the fundamentals of virtual reality for business. Sound interesting? The complete set of VR tips, tricks, and educational tools that have been assembled by the expert Yulio team during the last 12 months offer an amazing opportunity to get ahead of the curve in an area of business that’s tipped to see another surge in momentum in the coming year. 2018 will be the year many CEOs look back on as the one that saw VR first introduced into their organizations. Every new technology needs its internal champions and, if that’s going to be you, it’s time to put down the gingerbread cookie and the Home Alone box set for a day or two, and prepare for one last, worthy push. Take it from us, it’ll be worth your while. And you’ll be ahead of the curve this January.  


Step 1 – Find a chair, sit down and read the ‘VR Integrations that Drives ROI’ whitepaper  
Scaling the dense, often impenetrable walls of a ‘normal’ whitepaper might be a lot of people’s idea of hell, but this is no normal whitepaper. Stacked with smart, practical advice, it is able to lay an entire groundwork for the previously uninitiated, or expertly fill in the gaps for a semi-pro. The whitepaper is a visual treat with 32 pages of highly-researched guidance that clearly demonstrates how VR can, and should, be integrated into business in order to ensure it delivers returns on the investment. Download the Whitepaper here. 

Step 2 – Lie back and listen to Yulio’s ‘Business Ready VR Webinar’
Independent polls and third-party analysis are great, but nothing beats conducting your own user testing. At Yulio, this ethos is at the heart of the organization and has resulted in over 1000 hours of in-house user testing being carried out. This has uncovered unique insights into how different applications of VR can be used to perform different tasks within different industries – think sales, marketing, event production, design, retail, etc – to deliver real and tangible value. Download the Webinar recording here. 

Step 3 – Buckle up for a 5-day email course
For anyone who’s ever asked questions such as- “Isn’t VR for gaming, not business?” “Isn’t VR really expensive, hard to set up and makes people look kind of silly?” “Wouldn’t VR be really hard to integrate and give team members and the IT department heart palpitations?” “How can VR actually work in a business and what kind of results would it deliver?” ”How would I even get started putting a virtual reality design together?” -this free course is for you. Sent via email over 5 days, the course is delivered by VR Industry Elder (he’s not old, he’s clever) and Yulio Chief Product Officer, Ian Hall, and includes white papers and worksheets relevant to each day’s specific course materials. Warning: When taking the Business Ready VR email course, please be advised that users can experience becoming very clever, very quickly. Sign up for the email course here. 

Step 4 – Answers, Answers, Answers – Answer all of your VR Questions  
Not every piece of VR technology will suit the application it’s needed for. Knowing what questions to ask at the beginning of a journey into VR implementation will inevitably save major headaches down the road. Having been in the world of VR almost since the beginning, we’ve made it our business to understand the important questions new users will have when looking to introduce VR to their organizations and make sure we have answers. On occasion, our answer might even be that Yulio isn’t the best fit for a company’s specific needs and fortunately we’re big and brave enough to live with that. In the ‘Considerations for evaluating VR’ whitepaper, one of our most valuable ‘getting started’ VR business resources, readers will have their eyes opened to each of the individual elements that should be considered when choosing a Business VR solution. From how easily the chosen technology can integrate with an existing workflow, to how content is authored, viewed, shared and stored, the whitepaper will ensure no stone is unturned and no nagging question is left unanswered. Download the ‘Considerations for evaluating VR’ whitepaper here. 

Step 5 – Pat yourself on the back, download the Slideshare and prepare to look impressive
In the spirit of giving, Yulio has conveniently packaged all the most relevant and compelling information around VR for Business in a snappy and beautiful SlideShare in order to help you’re able to kick off the new year with the ultimate presentation to win company hearts and minds. Offering a comprehensive and practical guide to each element of Business VR, the presentation provides a concise snapshot on:

  • The current state of the VR market and adoption
  • Predictions on VR growth
  • Advice on choosing the most suitable VR technologies
  • Practical examples of where VR is being successfully used across various industries
  • Best practices for integration, sharing, and collaboration


Download the ‘All You Need to Know about VR for Business’ Slideshare here. With this stage of your VR education now complete, and our VR business resources at your fingertips, you’re now in the perfect position to roll out of 2017 feeling great about yourself and ensure 2018 is the year VR makes its mark on your business. From the team at Yulio, we wish you and yours a very happy holiday season. And a happy year of VR.
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