The NZVRARA (The New Zealand VR/AR Association Inc.) today announced a strategic partnership with Datacom, New Zealand’s largest Information Technology service provider, to support the fast-growing New Zealand virtual and mixed reality sector and accelerate adoption of immersive technologies by the New Zealand tertiary education sector.
The local VR/AR Association has identified a looming significant skill shortage of VR-capable graduates as it seeks to fill over 1,100 fulltime vacancies forecast in the next two years (NZVRARA Industry Survey, July 2017). In 2017 this drove the formation of a Student Chapter group to recognise and support tertiary undergraduates and post-graduate researchers with an interest in virtual and mixed reality. The NZVRARA Student Chapter has already grown to over 55 members from the Wellington region and is now expanding into Auckland with a goal of 100 student members by the end of March 2018.
As part of the partnership, Datacom has committed to supporting these 100 tertiary under- and post-graduate students to be members of the NZVRARA by meeting their annual membership fee for the 2018 year.
Datacom operates across Australasia, the UK and the USA, and so provides a channel for the delivery of immersive applications produced in collaboration with other NZVRARA members. The partnership intends to build New Zealand’s capability as a global testbed for the development of cross reality (VR/MR/AR) solutions.
Datacom Director, Vernon Kay, commented that VR/AR is a rapidly growing sector in New Zealand and internationally.
“There is a real opportunity with VR/AR to help the industry transform with immersive technology, and to create value and IP for New Zealand that we can take to the rest of the globe. To do this, we need to expand the graduate pool in VR/AR, so working with the association to encourage students into this area makes sense to us.”
NZVRARA’s first Student Chapter President, Courteney Lomas agrees. “We’re excited about the breadth of potential that partnering with Datacom offers. We have quickly seen that avenues for undergraduate advancement in VR are rapidly seized upon by our tertiary students. Broadening the range of graduate opportunities and expanding our reach across all the major New Zealand tertiary institutions can only happen, thanks to the contribution and inputs of companies such as Datacom,” states Ms Lomas.
The New Zealand VR/AR Association was established to champion, support and grow innovation in the virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors throughout New Zealand with objectives of promoting collaboration, education, R&D and economic development for the benefit of its over 110 sector members.
Michael Gregg, NZVRARA Chair, welcomes Datacom into the Association. “As one of New Zealand’s most innovative companies in virtual and mixed reality, we expect to see a wide range of benefits for both partners and for the New Zealand VR community, arising from this partnership,” says Mr Gregg.
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Chair, New Zealand VR/AR Association
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