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Category Archives: National virtual reality

3 years 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

3 years ago

NZVRARA launches in Wellington, New Zealand

The Wellington launch of the New Zealand VR/AR Association Incorporated was attended by 140 industry people together with associated government and sector representatives. Auckland and Christchurch launches are planned to follow shortly.

On the day of the Wellington event, our #NZVRARA hashtag trended to 6th most popular in New Zealand and the event received significant media attention.  Here’s a selection of articles about the New Zealand VR/AR Association Incorporated.

Idealog looked “Inside the New Zealand VR/AR Association’s plan for virtual world domination.

Stuff.co.nz reported that “New Zealand virtual and augmented reality innovators set up association.

The New Zealand Herald interviewed our Executive Committee Member, Jessica Manins and reported “Virtual and augmented reality on the rise in New Zealand.

Over in the US, the VRARA blog covered the “New Zealand VR/AR Association Launch

You can listen to the Access Granted podcast – we were the lucky Episode No. 100.

The NZVRARA would like to thank everyone involved in bringing our first event to reality (the only time we’ll use this quip!).

Thanks to Michael Gregg and Martha Loe for hosting this event and providing the refreshments.

 

 

3 years ago

NZ’S TOP VIRTUAL AND AUGMENTED REALITY INNOVATORS JOIN FORCES

Some of New Zealand’s top innovators in the booming virtual and augmented reality sector have joined forces in the newly-formed New Zealand VR/AR Association (NZVRARA).

Foundation members include Wellington-based virtual and augmented technology company 8i, Massey and Victoria Universities, along with a number of emerging New Zealand companies, such as Auckland-based Imersia, Blackeye VR and recently opened Christchurch HTC room-scale virtual reality experience space, The VR Room. Its 16-strong executive committee hark from Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington.

“We’re all amazed at the potential of this emergent industry, which is predicted to be worth NZ$205 billion globally in five years. Spring-boarding off the game and entertainment industry could see the sector rivalling wine as a NZ$2.5 billon export industry for New Zealand within a decade”, New Zealand VR/AR Association Executive Committee Member Jessica Manins, says.

The association will represent and promote New Zealand’s virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors nationally and internationally, and will launch its first industry event in mid-October. It has secured the rights as New Zealand’s chapter of the global VR/AR Association, which has chapters in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and Asia, and aims to accelerate growth, foster research and education, develop industry standards, connect member organisations and promote services of member companies.

“It’s vital that we connect nationally and build a robust platform for collective offshore representation. Being connected to the rapidly expanding global VR/AR Association is a great springboard to the US and other markets,” Manins says.

Global VR/AR Association president Nathan Pettyjohn says he is thrilled to see the launch of the New Zealand VR/AR Association and is excited to have the organisation join the VR/AR Association, the industry’s global trade association with 12 chapters worldwide.

“The global connectivity created by the two organisations working together will help accelerate efficient growth and knowledge-sharing for companies across the world, and will help the world to tap into the innovation taking place in New Zealand,” he says.

The association, which held its first meeting on September 28, was launched with support and leadership from advertising executive, Michael Gregg, who has taken on the role of founding Chair.

Manins says the association plans to host an international virtual, augmented and mixed reality conference in March 2017 in Wellington.

She says the association is keen to welcome new members, including virtual and augmented reality innovators and those working or interested in the industry.

For more information, go to http://www.nzvrara.nz