Snap­shots of vir­tual re­al­ity with Nokia cam­era

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - ByWUYIYAO in Shang­hai wuyiyao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Nokia Tech­nolo­gies launched its state-of-the-art vir­tual re­al­ity cam­era called OZOin the Chi­nese mar­ket as a spring­board for the Fin­nish tech­nol­ogy group to grab op­por­tu­ni­ties brought by ex­pand­ing de­mand from Chi­nese con­sumers for VR hard­ware and con­tents.

OZO, an eight-lens vir­tual re­al­ity cam­era for pro­fes­sional con­tent cre­ators, will be com­mer­cially avail­able through Nokia agents in China in Septem­ber, with ship­ments ex­pected in Oc­to­ber.

Paul Melin, vice-pres­i­dent of dig­i­tal me­dia and tech­nol­ogy li­cens­ing at Nokia, said on Thurs­day he saw tremen­dous po­ten­tial for the vir­tual re­al­ity cam­era amid China’s surg­ing use of tele­cast con­tent.

OZO is priced at $45,000 in the United States and 40,000 eu­ros ($45,380) in the Euro­pean Union na­tions, with equiv­a­lent pric­ing an­tic­i­pated in China, the com­pany said. Pre­vi­ously it was priced at $60,000.

Nokia also an­nounced a part­ner­ship with LeVR, the VR di­vi­sion of LeEco, one of the big­gest on­line video com­pa­nies in China, to dis­trib­ute OZO con­tent.

LeVR said it in­tends to de­ploy OZO VR solutions on its plat­form.

Melin saidOZOwasin ef­fect part of the in­fra­struc­ture for VR con­tent cre­ation, and added that his com­pany was also look­ing at op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­able more users to un­der­stand a wide range of ap­pli­ca­tions for the VR cam­era.

Tar­get­ing pro­fes­sional users such as film pro­duc­tion teams, live-stream­ing plat­forms and sports or en­ter­tain­ment pro­gram pro­duc­tion casts, Nokia will also in­tro­duce a li­censed leas­ing model that will en­able users to “bor­row” in­stead of pur­chaseOZO in the Chi­nese mar­ket through its re­tail net­works, Melin added.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est re­search re­port re­leased­bythe China Elec­tron­ics Stan­dard­iza­tion In­sti­tute and Xin­hua News Agency, the VR mar­ket in­Chi­nawas­worth 1.54 bil­lion yuan ($236 mil­lion) in 2015 and is ex­pected to rise to more than 5 bil­lion yuan in 2016. The re­port es­ti­mated that about 1.5 mil­lion sets of VR hard­ware will be sold in China by the end of this year.

Mar­ket in­sid­ers said they see in­creas­ing com­mer­cial ap­pli­ca­tions for VR tech­nol­ogy, such as film­ing real es­tate com­mer­cials that en­able home­buy­ers to “ex­pe­ri­ence” apart­ments be­fore the prop­erty is even com­pleted.

Other ap­pli­ca­tions in­clude cre­at­ing video memos for oc­ca­sions such as open­ing cer­e­monies, which in­sid­ers believe will be pop­u­lar for use in birth­days and wed­dings once prices go down.

“It is great to see VR hard­ware be­com­ing more than just a gam­ing tool,” said Zhou Yukai, 47-year-old owner of a pho­tog­ra­phy stu­dio in Shang­hai.

“But I don’t think con­sumers who wish to ex­pe­ri­ence mak­ing films with VR cam­eras will wait too long, be­cause I believe that prod­ucts tar­get­ing mass users may soon be in­tro­duced, just like DVDs and Sin­gleLens Re­flex cam­eras in pre­vi­ous years.”

BLOOMBERG

An em­ployee uses a Sam­sung Gear VR vir­tual re­al­ity head­set to demon­strate the OZO, a vir­tual re­al­ity cam­era man­u­fac­tured by Nokia Tech­nolo­gies, at the Euro­pean launch in Lon­don,

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