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LOOK OUT FOR LAUNCH INVITES TO NZVRARA REPORT ONE: VIRTUAL GETS REAL

Monthly Archives: December 2016

10 months ago

AN UPDATE FROM THE NZVRARA CHAIR

Hi NZVRARA members,

As we start the Xmas wind-up, it’s timely to update on our progress over the past quarter.

Since our incorporated society, THE NEW ZEALAND VR/AR ASSOCIATION INCORPORATED, was formed on October 4, 2016, we have registered over 85 members plus added sponsors & strategic partners to our fast-swelling group.

When we convened in September to formally incorporate the first ever New Zealand VR/AR Association, it was after many conversations across the sector where people were surprised to hear of like-minded folks working and researching in this exciting new sector, often in the same suburb or building. Creating a collaborative network is at the heart of our vision and we’ve built a member directory at www.nzvrara.nz for you to use to find and connect with each other. Please make sure to keep your profile up to date so others can get in touch with you.

Your Executive Committee (16 member board) has met monthly to report on progress and advance the collective vision we have agreed. An initial focus has been to get people meeting each other – and we’ve held meet ups in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington.

The Board has also adopted a comprehensive Strategic Plan and approved an initial budget to fund our activities to allow us to meet the organisation’s objectives during 2017. Thank you for paying your initial membership fees – this is vital for us to expand our membership services.

Recently some of our members presented at Parliament and we’re continuing to be asked for speakers and for demonstrations. Please let us know if you’re keen to do this, via your membership profile.

We’re aiming for our first Annual General Meeting in March 2017 plus a big conference next year, as well as continuing our monthly chats and meetups. We’re working on access to headsets, technology, and planning to hold workshops and more hands-on sessions and demonstrations.

Being part of the global VRARA (www.thevrara.com) as their official New Zealand Chapter will grow in importance as we make closer connections with global members, sponsors and bring them down under in 2017.

The entire Executive Committee has been working tirelessly to provide a solid foundation for the collective VR/MR/AR industry to connect, grow and expand offshore and I thank each of them for their effort and considered input over the past four months.

To all our members, if I don’t get a chance to share a conversation with you on the 13th (NZVRARA Xmas Meetups are being held in Christchurch, Auckland & Wellington), I hope you’re able to have a relaxing Christmas break and return safely for a fantastic New Year of rewarding opportunities.

Michael Gregg,
Chair, New Zealand VR/AR Association Inc.

10 months ago

VR to the People

Sparkles. Smiles. Occasional expletives of awe. It takes people mere seconds to register how mind-blowing Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR) is, and their reaction signifies something life-changing – a glimpse into the future of how we can communicate more effectively and naturally.

The problem is not enough people are getting the chance to have that experience.

2016 was the year that VR & AR really came into consumer consciousness, with the release of three prominent high-end VR headsets (HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Sony Playstation VR), two major Mixed Reality (MR) headsets (Microsoft Hololens, Meta 2), two high-end mobile VR headsets (Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream) and the global geo-AR phenomenon which was Pokémon Go.  So, a lot of people were hearing a lot about the tech.

Trying it out, however, is a bit more challenging – at NZD$1000 for a high-end mobile VR experience, or $5000 for high-end VR/MR, this is beyond the financial reality of most people or small businesses.

Thank goodness then for new VR arcades, like The VR Room in Christchurch and Virtual Reality Studio in Auckland, start-up collaborations with businesses to roll out VR experiences like The Green Fairy to shopping malls around NZ, and numerous tech demo stands at conferences across a range of industries – these opportunities inspire & energise people to learn more about this technology which is changing the way we create and communicate.

I had the pleasure of doing just that at the recent SingularityU Conference in Christchurch – in partnership with Core Education, we gave attendees the chance to try out a range of digital reality tech, including educational AR games created for schools, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and a chance to try on one of the most futuristic-looking headsets – Microsoft’s Hololens.

Christchurch Mayor, Lianne Dalziel has a go on the Hololens

Christchurch Mayor, Lianne Dalziel has a go on the Hololens

I had the pleasure of doing just that at the recent SingularityU Conference in Christchurch – in partnership with Core Education, we gave attendees the chance to try out a range of digital reality tech, including educational AR games created for schools, Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR, and a chance to try on one of the most futuristic-looking headsets – Microsoft’s Hololens.

Whilst some might think three days of giving people the best Mixed Reality experience possible would get boring and repetitive, I found it constantly energising, as one-by-one, people were filled with awe, laughter, surprise, and loads and loads of questions.

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Singularity University virtual reality demonstrations

Henry Lane of Corvecto found the same thing at his tech demo, where attendees could walk around and explore lifesize vegetable processing machinery belonging to local Christchurch firm WYMA, and learn to use the latest medical equipment to take x-rays of patients – all within VR.

Digital Reality Tech was mentioned frequently during the conference, as one of the exponential technologies which will change our world over the next 10 years, so it was entirely appropriate that we were there to showcase VR & AR tech innovations from NZ and give attendees a chance to experience it, as these technologies have the unique ability to naturally connect us with all the other exponential developments.

In 2017, the number of VR & AR headsets available to consumers & businesses will grow, the price will come down for current tech as newer tech hits the market, which will enable more people to get their hands on these experiences; however there’s a long way to go before mass consumer adoption, and there will still be a need for places where people can play with the tech.

If you’d like to give attendees at your conference or customers within your network a chance to experience some of this technology, or if have an idea for getting more Digital Reality tech to the masses, please contact the NZ VR/AR Association at office@nzvrara.nz

Geoff Bentley is a speaker/educator/evangelist for all the Digital Realities, providing training & consultancy for businesses through Better World VR