VRAAS Vir­tual Re­al­ity as a Ser­vice ...is on a roll

Silicon Luxembourg - - DISCOVER -

THE DX-STU­DIO AND SIL­I­CON LUX­EM­BOURG ARE JOIN­ING FORCES TO CURATE AND RE­VIEW NEW DIG­I­TAL TECH­NOLO­GIES. THE DX-STU­DIO (DIG­I­TAL EX­PE­RI­ENCE STU­DIO) HAS BEEN LAUNCHED BY TECHNOPORT, AN IN­CU­BA­TOR SUP­PORT­ING EN­TREPRENEURS IN DE­VEL­OP­ING IN­NO­VA­TIVE DIG­I­TAL TECH­NOLO­GIES. IN THIS IS­SUE OF SIL­I­CON, WE FO­CUS ON THE USE OF VIR­TUAL RE­AL­ITY (VR) TECH­NOL­OGY. De­spite Ocu­lus Rift's ex­plo­sive Kick­starter cam­paign more than four years ago, VR has not man­aged to reach the liv­ing rooms of its main tar­get: con­sumers of new tech­nolo­gies. Even though fore­casts re­main pos­i­tive for the medium and long term, soft­ware (con­tent) and hard­ware (head­sets, VR gog­gles etc.) mar­kets are strug­gling to find buy­ers. The costs of ac­quir­ing the equip­ment and the space nec­es­sary for a room-scale ex­pe­ri­ence – where the user can move freely in an empty space for a more en­hanced 3D ex­pe­ri­ence – are the main causes. Even if the con­sumer sec­tor is still tem­po­rar­ily re­stricted in terms of po­ten­tial, we have cho­sen to put on be­half of brands and com­pa­nies all the pos­si­bil­i­ties of im­mer­sion, en­ter­tain­ment and sto­ry­telling that this sup­port brings.

UNEXPLORED PO­TEN­TIAL

Sev­eral sec­tors di­rectly ben­e­fit from the ar­rival of this new medium, which has aroused cu­rios­ity and fas­ci­na­tion: real es­tate, in­dus­try, ed­u­ca­tion, and other ar­eas where vi­su­al­iz­ing an ob­ject, a sit­u­a­tion or a place can give a clearer un­der­stand­ing of a com­plex sit­u­a­tion and en­able faster de­ci­sion-mak­ing.

Es­tab­lished in Lux­em­bourg since 2009, and with more than 58 mil­lion down­loads for smart­phone games, Stu­dio 3WG is an ex­pert in the cre­ation of video game ex­pe­ri­ences. The Stu­dio 3WG team in­stantly rec­og­nized the value and po­ten­tial of this tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion.

THE IM­PACT OF VR ON CON­SUMERS

“We re­cently at­tended the Spring­break Lux­em­bourg trade fair at Lux­expo The Box where, in part­ner­ship with Technoport's Dxs­tu­dio, we or­ga­nized a gam­ing con­test. The goal was to in­tro­duce VR to the gen­eral pub­lic by invit­ing par­tic­i­pants to play sim­ple games. More than 780 peo­ple played these games and were wowed by the ex­pe­ri­ence,” re­veals Jimmy Fis­cher, founder of Stu­dio 3WG.

As well as arous­ing cu­rios­ity among reg­u­lar gamers, other passersby were in­trigued to try out this new tech­nol­ogy. “With this kind of re­ac­tion, we can def­i­nitely say that VR has a pos­i­tive im­pact on con­sumers, and is a valu­able tool for com­mu­ni­ca­tion and en­ter­tain­ment,” adds Fis­cher.

AN IN­NO­VA­TIVE COM­MU­NI­CA­TION TOOL

De­spite its pos­i­tive im­pact, VR is a tool that is still not ex­ploited enough by tra­di­tional com­mu­ni­ca­tion agen­cies due to tech­ni­cal con­straints and a lack of knowl­edge in terms of the pos­si­bil­i­ties avail­able. This means that it is not in­te­grated into strate­gies of­fered to their clients. Fis­cher, how­ever, is op­ti­mistic: “We re­main hope­ful that they will re­act and adapt quickly, es­pe­cially since the costs of cre­at­ing ex­pe­ri­ences have be­come more af­ford­able through the de­moc­ra­ti­za­tion of tools.”

Fur­ther­more, it is now pos­si­ble to con­struct a new di­men­sion in com­mu­ni­ca­tion. By de­sign­ing play­ful and im­mer­sive en­vi­ron­ments re­volv­ing around a spe­cific ele­ment (a brand, for in­stance), there are in­no­va­tive ways to ex­pe­ri­ence VR.

Fis­cher de­tailed a project his team de­vel­oped for the ICT Spring 2017 con­fer­ence in Lux­em­bourg. “In part­ner­ship with Id-ea, we cre­ated a gam­ing con­test around the theme of ‘space' (as re­quired by the or­ga­niz­ers of the event). The en­vi­ron­ment cre­ated for this game was in­spired by ‘Para­noia' (an en­ergy drink brand) which was in­te­grated into the sto­ry­line of the game and was a cen­tral part of the whole ex­pe­ri­ence. Play­ers had to con­sume the bev­er­age dur­ing var­i­ous game phases in or­der to meet the dif­fer­ent ob­jec­tives. The sys­tem of points and rank­ing was based on the con­sump­tion of our spon­sor's en­ergy drink, giv­ing more vis­i­bil­ity to the in­te­grated brand. It was pos­si­ble, there­fore, to pro­mote our client's prod­uct in an orig­i­nal and fun way for con­sumers, avoid­ing all the neg­a­tive as­pects of generic ad­ver­tise­ments that al­ready in­vade their daily lives and whose im­pact is in­creas­ingly lim­ited. This new tool opens the door to in­no­va­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion that casts aside old ad­ver­tis­ing codes.”

READ MORE ON­LINE:

- VR FOR TEAM BUILD­ING

- VR: A SOURCE OF ES­CAPE AND FREE­DOM - THE FU­TURE OF VR Ed­i­tor's Note: The Dx-stu­dio and Sil­i­con Lux­em­bourg are join­ing forces to curate and re­view new dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies. The Dx-stu­dio (Dig­i­tal Ex­pe­ri­ence Stu­dio) has been launched by Technoport, an in­cu­ba­tor sup­port­ing en­trepreneurs in de­vel­op­ing in­no­va­tive dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies. In this is­sue of Sil­i­con, we fo­cus on the use of Vir­tual Re­al­ity (VR) tech­nol­ogy.

VR FOR TEAM-BUILD­ING

VR can also be used for team build­ing in com­pa­nies, as a way to cre­ate stronger links be­tween em­ploy­ees and im­prove group co­he­sion. Fis­cher de­tails an­other project de­vel­oped ear­lier this year. “Cre­ated in 48 hours dur­ing the Global Game Jam held at Technoport in Esch-bel­val, the game ‘Cap­tain Tam-tam' al­lows three peo­ple to take con­trol of a pi­rate ship. The cap­tain wears the VR head-mounted dis­play and must, us­ing two tam-tams, lead the other two play­ers (who are on apart­ment row­ers and can­not see any­thing) down the route they must fol­low. The cap­tain must guide them in the right di­rec­tion by hit­ting the tam-tam, and each oars­man must row with all his strength to ad­vance the ship to a cave filled with trea­sure. Only good co­or­di­na­tion be­tween the row­ers and the cap­tain makes it pos­si­ble to reach the goal quickly. Thanks to a point-scor­ing sys­tem and highly skilled par­tic­i­pants, this prod­uct is ideal for team-build­ing ac­tiv­i­ties. I would like to take this op­por­tu­nity to thank all those who have made it pos­si­ble: Ger­main Lin­der, Thibaut Auri­a­combe and Jean-luc Robert from la Fabrique d'im­ages, and Jérôme Labbé from Star­breeze.”

A SOURCE OF ES­CAPE AND FREE­DOM

VR can be used as a means of es­cape for peo­ple who have lim­ited phys­i­cal mo­bil­ity or are not able to travel. Fis­cher is ex­cited by an­other project cur­rently in a test phase: “We are car­ry­ing out tests with Si­donie, a French startup that spe­cial­izes in in­no­va­tion for home sup­port for se­niors, and MAPA (Maisons d'accueil pour Per­son­nes Agées), which will al­low el­derly and dis­abled peo­ple liv­ing in EHPAD (Etab­lisse­ment d'héberge­ment pour Per­son­nes Agées Dépen­dantes) to ‘travel' with­out mov­ing thanks to im­ages of the coun­try­side or other serene set­tings.

THE FU­TURE OF VR

If you vi­su­al­ize the fu­ture, you can cer­tainly imag­ine the sec­tors that will ben­e­fit di­rectly from VR. Let's take ed­u­ca­tion, for ex­am­ple. Learn­ing math­e­mat­ics, his­tory and sci­ence will be a whole new ball game for stu­dents who will dis­cover these sub­jects in a fun, in­ter­ac­tive way. What's more, the mem­o­riza­tion fac­tor will be mul­ti­plied. Whether it is by vir­tual re­al­ity or by aug­mented re­al­ity, the fu­ture holds some ex­cit­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties that must be ex­ploited now.

VR is a bur­geon­ing new tech­nol­ogy full of pos­si­bil­i­ties. De­spite the cur­rent low rate of adop­tion, with few in­di­vid­u­als equipped with VR kits, it re­mains an op­por­tu­nity that should be seized by com­pa­nies for com­mu­ni­ca­tion, mo­ti­va­tion, es­cape...time for a (vir­tual) re­al­ity check. Just try it!

Jimmy Fis­cher, Founder of Stu­dio 3WG Jimmy Fis­cher Anna Katina

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