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Category Archives: NZVRARA

1 month ago

‘VIRTUAL GETS REAL’ FORECASTS STRONG NZ CROSS REALITY SECTOR GROWTH

The NZVRARA (The New Zealand VR/AR Association Inc.) has today released the first of two reports commissioned on the New Zealand VR/AR Ecosystem.

The Report, titled ‘VIRTUAL GETS REAL: The Explosion of Cross Reality in New Zealand’ profiles a rapidly growing local industry that is predicted to contribute to New Zealand’s Digital Nation with annual revenues of NZ$324M and employ over 2,200 people in 2019.

Download the full 120-page report.

Cross Reality (XR) is increasingly being used to refer to the virtual-to-reality continuum of immersive technologies including augmented and mixed reality.

The report has calculated that over 1100 fulltime employees are currently working in the sector in New Zealand, and that this is estimated to double within two years. The Association’s members and industry participants have identified that filling these roles is a key issue facing the sector. The report recommends undertaking annual independent sector surveys for headcount, revenue and other key metrics so that actual and forecast growth can be measured and appropriate actions taken.

Authored by Michael Gregg for the New Zealand VR/AR Association, VIRTUAL GETS REAL celebrates the wider VR sector and highlights some of its domestic organisations, individuals and early achievements to date. It reports on data and developments across the globe and locally, celebrates the broad activity across the main centres, Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch and in local R&D and adoption by the architecture industry as an example of broader business benefit.

A second report is currently being prepared and will explore games & entertainment, tourism, training & education, the role of VR in Enterprises and explore offshore channels to market. It will consider New Zealand as a global testbed. Importantly it will include an independent assessment of the value of the domestic cross reality sector and its benefit to New Zealand’s economy, both as a sector in its own right, and the value of potential productivity gains from the adoption of these new immersive technologies within enterprises.

The reports are supported by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE). The first report was also sponsored by Callaghan Innovation, Jasmax, ATEED, WREDA, and ChristchurchNZ (formally CDC). Additional support was provided by Blackeye VR and NZTech.

VIRTUAL GETS REAL acknowledges the ‘gap of disappointment’ which has forced a downward revision of global analysts’ bullish predictions for virtual reality, and highlights the new technology releases and discounting that is fuelling a second wave of growth.

Sector participants who provide production and content creation services are adamant that building scale amongst members to provide an internationally competitive offshore offering is important. New Zealand has some service providers, such as Auckland-based Staples VR, who are already expanding into other markets including Australia and the United Kingdom.

The report recognised New Zealand’s strong positions in some market segments such as holographic capture led by New Zealand company 8i, local games development such as Weta Workshop’s partnership with Magic Leap, and augmented reality through companies such as M Theory and Wingnut AR who delivered the AR showcase at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) earlier this year.

New Zealand has researchers operating at the peak of the industry including Victoria University’s Taehyun Rhee who chairs SIGGRAPH Asia’s VR programme and Christchurch’s HIT Lab NZ which is a global market leader in academic education and research in AR and VR since its formation in 2002. In Auckland, the AR/VR Garage is a catalyst in driving international R&D collaboration and in Wellington, PROJECTR® is supporting collaborative R&D between universities and that city’s startup community.

The report raises issues such as the pending skills shortage stating that building national capability in the use of VR equipment and AR platforms and building expertise in immersive technologies requires assistance beyond the voluntary and ad hoc activities of the sector such as the NZVRARA’s Student Chapter which is channelling tertiary students into on-campus VR clubs and linking graduates to member companies for internships and employment to accelerate skills development.

The report makes a number of other recommendations including that the cross reality and games development communities will benefit from greater alignment; continued growth in immersive screen sector support will enhance New Zealand’s strong leadership in story-telling and content creation; and that there is a need for tailored business education, training and support for sector startups.

NZVRARA Executive Director, Courteney Lomas is excited about sharing the report. “VIRTUAL GETS REAL will help the NZVRARA to promote our amazing new technologies and solutions to the rest of New Zealand and to prospective clients of our member companies from around the world. It also sets out some challenges for us to work on collectively to make sure we succeed as best as we can in this exciting new industry,” says Ms Lomas.

The NZVRARA was formed in September 2016 to champion, support and grow innovation in the virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors throughout New Zealand. Its objectives include promoting collaboration, education, R&D and economic development for the benefit of its 100+ sector members.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

Courteney Lomas, Executive Director, NZVRARA
Mobile 027 738 9340 or courteney@nzvrara.nz

Michael Gregg (Author)
Managing Director, Blackeye VR Ltd
Mobile 021 83 85 83 or michael@blackeye.nz

1 month ago

BLACKEYE PARTNERS WITH NZVRARA TO SUPPORT THE NEW ZEALAND VR/AR COMMUNITY

 

The NZVRARA (The New Zealand VR/AR Association Inc.) and Wellington-based Blackeye VR Limited have announced a strategic partnership between the two entities to jointly promote the fast-growing New Zealand VR/AR sector and accelerate adoption of virtual and augmented reality technologies within New Zealand organisations.

Blackeye VR was founded in September 2016, the same month as the Association incorporated its organisation, and since then has focused its early efforts on educating New Zealand companies about the benefits of adopting virtual, augmented and mixed reality solutions through its consulting activities.

Since July 2017, Blackeye and the NZVRARA have been working closely together to produce an informative report on the current state of the wider cross reality sector. A second companion report is planned to be released later in 2017. As a Strategic Partner, Blackeye is providing funds and an in-kind contribution to help accelerate the growth of the industry.

Blackeye VR director and shareholder, Michael Gregg was the founding Chair of the NZVRARA Incorporated and is currently serving his second term as Chair and Executive Committee member.

The company was pivotal in the establishment of Wellington’s XR industry co-working, collaborative R&D and events space, PROJECTR and remains a cornerstone shareholder in this industry-good initiative.

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 100 sector members.

This strategic partnership formalises the roles of both organisations to work together to accelerate the education, development and evolution of this burgeoning sector.

Blackeye’s Michael Gregg is passionate about supporting collaboration between sector companies as a way of accelerating expansion. “I’m really excited about using immersive technologies to create stories and build brands. I believe we have a window of opportunity as a sector to leverage our position as an early adopting nation,” states Michael.

Blackeye is focusing on Singapore and Los Angeles as early stage locations to seek international assignments. Michael is confident this is the best way for his business to expand and acknowledges a powerful role for the NZVRARA in making this happen. “We are building a strong base of early expertise here talking to and working with a wide range of New Zealand sector companies, and I’m excited about the potential of being a part of taking this shared capability offshore to assist international brands and grow a strong export business. Being a member of the NZVRARA has introduced me to a motivated group of like-minded colleagues.”

NZVRARA Executive Director, Courteney Lomas agrees. “Having the NZVRARA as a talent aggregator and sector promoter, an educator and a networking resource for our industry represents a fantastic opportunity for all of our members to grow and having strategic partners such as Blackeye can help make all of this happen faster.”

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

Blackeye VR Ltd:
Michael Gregg
Managing Director, Blackeye VR Ltd
Mobile 021 838 583 or michael@blackeye.nz

NZVRARA:
Courteney Lomas
Executive Director, NZVRARA
Mobile 027 738 9340 or courteney@nzvrara.nz

2 months ago

M THEORY JOINS NZVRARA AS STRATEGIC PARTNER

The NZVRARA (New Zealand VR/AR Association Inc.) and M Theory have signed a strategic partnership aimed to drive greater collaboration and export growth of VR and AR solutions.

Co-Founder of M Theory and Managing Director, Sam Ramlu will join the NZVRARA Board and is pledging to advocate for greater engagement between those New Zealand VR and AR companies producing marketing communications solutions, to build the scale necessary to secure international projects.

“We need to come together to showcase our work internally, work on our compatibility and capability, and work together to present a consortium of VR/AR skills to the outside world,” enthuses Sam.

In May 2017, Auckland-based creative agency, Method, launched a specialist augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) arm, M Theory, to increase capacity and to further invest in creative solutions using these digital technologies.

Despite the technology being new, Sam and her team delivered their first commercial VR experience in 2015 for Unitec and have already produced a wide range of brand experiences since, including an immersive tour of the digital advertising sites for QMS’ commuter network, and virtual and augmented reality experiences for Contact Energy, NZ Post, Panuku Development Auckland, and Torrens University Australia. They also partnered with other NZVRARA members, Staples Productions and AR/VR Garage to deliver an interactive tour of the Kumeu Film Studios.

Their AR and VR retelling of James Hurman’s ‘The Boy and the Lemon’ has been invited to exhibit at ‘The Future of Storytelling’, the world’s leading immersive storytelling event, to be held in New York in October 2017. Sam will be visiting New York and Los Angeles during October and will post field reports for NZVRARA members. We’re looking forward to a report from THE VOID (https://www.thevoid.com/) in New York, Sam!

For the NZVRARA, this strategic partnership formalises the roles of both organisations to work closer together to speed up the growth of the VR/AR sector for the benefit of New Zealand – a key objective of the Association.

NZVRARA Chair, Michael Gregg comments that the work has already begun, “With the support of M Theory, we have committed to presenting on the VR/AR sector and its members at the November Auckland ad:tech, and to hosting an Auckland summer speaker series to bring the industry closer to the sector. I encourage our members and industry participants to make the most of these opportunities to work together more closely to build the scale needed to engage meaningfully offshore.”

The New Zealand VR/AR Association is the official New Zealand chapter of the global VRARA (www.thevrara.com) and celebrated its first anniversary in September ’17. Current strategic partners of the NZVRARA include M Theory, AR/VR Garage, Blackeye VR and PROJECTR.

 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION

For more on M Theory:
Samantha Ramlu
Managing Director, M Theory
Mobile +64 21 605 510 or sam@mtheoryvr.com
www.mtheoryvr.com

For NZVRARA information, or to arrange member access to the AR/VR Garage:
Courteney Lomas
Executive Director, NZVRARA
Mobile 027 738 9340 or courteney@nzvrara.nz
www.nzvrara.nz

For more on the NZVRARA:
Michael Gregg
Chair, NZVRARA
Mobile 021 838 583 or michael@blackeye.nz

2 months ago

NZVRARA TO LAUNCH ‘VIRTUAL GETS REAL’ REPORT

UPDATE: Visit here to download a copy of the VIRTUAL GETS REAL report

The NZVRARA (The New Zealand VR/AR Association Inc.) is to release a 120-page report titled ‘VIRTUAL GETS REAL’ about the current New Zealand Cross Reality ecosystem at a launch event from 4pm, Thursday 19th October 2017, at the Industry Connect facility within the AR/VR Garage in Auckland’s Mt Eden suburb.

The first of two commissioned reports, VIRTUAL GETS REAL reviews the global sector and what’s happening in New Zealand with a deep dive into each of the three main centres: Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. It provides an oversight to some of the current research and development activity underway and takes a particular look at the role of VR in architecture. It also includes the aggregated results of the first survey undertaken by the sector. The survey enjoyed a high response rate, thanks to active contributions by Association members and industry participants, many of who are highlighted throughout the text.

This book will be available to download from the NZVRARA website from the 20th October, with a small number of hard copies available to those attending the launch function. To register for the event, please go to http://bit.ly/2wX7xZF .

The second of the two reports, GOING NEXT LEVEL, is slated for release at the end of November 2017. This book will include a comprehensive independent assessment of the potential value of the sector to New Zealand and consider the value of cross reality in delivering productivity gains to other sectors. In addition to this robust analysis, the report includes a deep dive into games & entertainment, the role of the screen sector, education, and engineering. The second report will provide insights into potential channels for securing international business for Association members, and highlight possible gaps to be addressed in order to secure the sector’s future.

VIRTUAL GETS REAL was commissioned by NZVRARA and authored by Chair, Michael Gregg, in partnership with the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE), NZTech, Jasmax, WREDA, ChristchurchNZ, ATEED and Callaghan Innovation. Produced for the Association by Blackeye VR, the report follows the style of the initial BlackpaperOne™ self-published and released by that company in March 2017.

The timing of 4pm on Thursday 19th October allows those attending the New Zealand Innovation Awards in Auckland to first enjoy a celebratory glass to toast VIRTUAL GETS REAL at the AR/VR Garage before heading down to the Awards evening.

NZVRARA Executive Director, Courteney Lomas, who has enjoyed early access to the first volume, is confident that there’s something interesting in the book for all those working or studying in the sector, or seeking services from sector organisations. “The numerous case studies about sector start-ups, research projects and local innovation should give pride to this nascent immersive technology industry,” says Courteney.

These reports represent a strategic investment into promoting the fast-growing New Zealand wider VR/AR/MR sector and accelerate adoption of virtual and augmented reality technologies within New Zealand organisations – at the heart of the objectives of the New Zealand VR/AR Association.

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 100 sector members. These reports provide a cornerstone resource to educate potential clients of sector companies, to inform local and central government agencies and department staff of the scale and potential of the cross reality sector, and to assist sector organisations to identify possible partners for project collaborations.

 UPDATE: Visit here to download a copy of the VIRTUAL GETS REAL report

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON THE LAUNCH OF VIRTUAL GETS REAL:

CONTACT:
Courteney Lomas
Executive Director, NZVRARA
Mobile 027 738 9340 or courteney@nzvrara.nz

2 months ago

NEW ZEALAND VRAR TO JOIN NZVRARA

The NZVRARA (The New Zealand VR/AR Association Inc. – that’s us!) has reached agreement with New Zealand VRAR (New Zealand Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Association Inc.) to bring New Zealand VRAR members into the NZVRARA and to combine their digital and social media assets.

The NZVRARA is the official New Zealand chapter of the global VRARA (www.thevrara.com) and formally incorporated in September 2016. The New Zealand VRAR’s incorporated society formed in November 2016 with similar objectives, which made it logical to bring the two entities together.

The NZVRARA was established to champion, support and grow innovation in the virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors throughout New Zealand. Its objectives include promoting collaboration, education, R&D and economic development for the benefit of its sector members.

“Both organisations agreed that it was not sensible to have duplicated resources, so from today, members of New Zealand VRAR are excited to join and participate in NZVRARA activities as a single organisation,” said Tom Reidy, current Chair of New Zealand VRAR, which is embarking on the process of winding up its entity.

NZVRARA Chair, Michael Gregg, is delighted to have the industry unified as a single voice. “Our Board has an ambitious plan of membership activity in place for the rest of the 2017/18 year and launches its sector report: Virtual Gets Real, in September. To be able to offer these events, workshops and opportunities to the entire local VR/AR community is pleasing.”

Members of the disbanding group will be transferred into the NZVRARA. This, and the rapid growth of the Association’s national Student Chapter, plus planning for October workshops and a summer Speaker Series, is all keeping the NZVRARA’s Executive Director, Courteney Lomas, very busy. “It’s a great time to be part of our virtual and augmented reality community,” says Courteney. Prospective members are encouraged to join the Association at www.nzvrara.nz.

 

FOR FURTHER COMMENT:

Michael Gregg
Chair, NZVRARA
Mobile 021 83 85 83 or michael@blackeye.nz

Tom Reidy
Chair, New Zealand VRAR
Mobile 021 77 92 98 or tom.reidy@tagtheagency.com

3 months ago

AR/VR GARAGE PARTNERS WITH NZVRARA

The NZVRARA (The New Zealand VR/AR Association Inc.) and Auckland-based AR/VR Garage have signed a wide-ranging strategic partnership to accelerate the growth of the virtual and augmented reality sector in New Zealand.

The AR/VR Garage, facilitated by Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) on behalf of Auckland Council, opened in September last year as a collaborative AR/VR and mixed reality, project-centric, R&D facility in Auckland, New Zealand. Within the broad digital realities sector, the Garage is designed to align tertiary talent with industry needs, develop local solutions for global challenges and connect New Zealand talent internationally.

The New Zealand VR/AR Association is the official New Zealand chapter of the global VRARA (www.thevrara.com) and formally incorporated in September last year.  Established to champion, support and grow innovation in the virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors throughout New Zealand, the NZVRARA’s objectives include promoting collaboration, education, R&D and economic development for the benefit of its sector members.

This strategic partnership formalises the roles of both organisations to work together to accelerate the education, development and evolution of this creative sector for the benefit of New Zealand. The AR/VR Garage – which has more than 20 high-growth company tenants – joins the Association as a corporate member and will facilitate access to event space and AR/VR related equipment, as well as providing a hot-desk for Association members.  The partnership allows for Association members’ innovative technology solutions to be showcased in Auckland. The NZVRARA will run its Auckland operations from the AR/VR Garage and access the venue for some of its member events.

NZVRARA Chair, Michael Gregg is enthusiastic about the arrangement saying, “The New Zealand VRARA is delighted to bring on the AR/VR Garage as a strategic partner, and as an Auckland home for our Association. I encourage our members and other strategic partners to make the most of this opportunity to build scale, create and drive innovation, and engage offshore through the facilities, networks and events that the Garage offers.”

Head of the AR/VR Garage, Brett Telfer is also excited at the opportunity: “The spirit of the partnership is to break down barriers to communication and collaboration between New Zealand’s regions and pockets of AR/VR capability, and to showcase our nation’s capability more effectively to international partners, delegations and visiting investors. The partnership provides a framework to collaborate on commercial VR and AR projects that drive economic outcomes for New Zealand companies,” he says.

NZVRARA Executive Director, Courteney Lomas is already working from the Garage to expand its Auckland student chapter and will host its first Garage event later this month. “The AR/VR Garage launched in the same month as the New Zealand VR/AR Association, so this is an exciting way for both to celebrate their respective first anniversaries ­– with a joint event,” states Courteney.

 

For more on the AR/VR Garage: www.arvrgarage.nz
Lester Thorley
Mobile 021 829 741 or Lester.Thorley@aucklandnz.com
Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development
Senior Communications Advisor, Business Attraction and Investment

 

For NZVRARA information, or to arrange member access to the AR/VR Garage:
Courteney Lomas
Executive Director, NZVRARA
Mobile 021 779 298 or courteney@nzvrara.nz
www.nzvrara.nz

 

For more on the NZVRARA:
Michael Gregg
Chair, NZVRARA
Mobile 021 838 583 or michael@blackeye.nz

3 months ago

NZVRARA STUDENT CHAPTER LAUNCHES VR UNI-CLUBS

 

(Jono Bishop (President of Looking Glass Victoria University), Courteney Lomas (NZ VRARA Executive Director and Student Chapter President), and Oscar Keys (President of VRTX Massey University)

(Jono Bishop, President of Looking Glass VR/MR Club, Victoria University, Courteney Lomas, NZ VRARA Executive Director and Student Chapter President, and Oscar Keys, President of VRTX VR/AR Collective, Massey University

 

The NZVRARA (The New Zealand VR/AR Association Inc.) Student Chapter kicked off mid-July with a series of events to inform the establishment of University Clubs on each major University campus, and plans to expand further into Polytechnics and private training organisations.

Members of the University Clubs will be offered reduced cost annual membership to the NZVRARA, with their Association membership fees covered by strategic partners of the NZVRARA.

This significant initiative is tasked with building closer links between the burgeoning VR/AR industry and students moving through the education and training system, to deliver on a wide range of benefits. These include:

  • A chance for students to attend and gain tangible benefits from NZVRARA meetups, workshops and member events;
  • A conduit for internships and workplace training via student access to employers and entrepreneur’s seeking undergraduate and postgraduate expertise;
  • More communications between industry, students and tertiary staff will influence learning pathways and continue to align skillsets with industry demand;
  • Student have access latest technology and collaborative R&D venues via the NZVRARA’s strategic partnerships;

Based on the successful VRTX model already operating on the Massey Wellington campus, and following a meeting between the NZVRARA and VRTX, the Association organised a meeting of interested Victoria University Wellington campus students who collectively agreed to form their own club.

The call has gone out to VR students and staff from other University campuses to contact the NZVRARA if there is sufficient support for forming an on-campus club at other locations.

Masterminded by NZVRARA Student Chapter President, Courteney Lomas, who is also employed by the NZVRARA as their Executive Director, the idea of the various campus clubs’ meeting, competing, and celebrating the VR/AR sector resonated with both NZVRARA members and students.

“We’re really excited about working collaboratively from multiple locations, across the various Uni clubs,” said Courteney Lomas, NZVRARA Student Chapter President. “We’ve got some fun events already in the pipeline, and a VR challenge that will benefit an important charity planned for early 2018.”

Professor Brian Lucid, Head of Massey University’s School of Design and NZVRARA Board Member, is confident this initiative will deliver positive and exciting results. “The VRTX concept created at Massey is already delivering benefits through meaningful engagement between students, faculty researchers and the wider VR sector,” said Brian, “Forming other campus clubs will only make this initiative stronger”.

The NZVRARA is the official New Zealand chapter of the global VRARA (www.thevrara.com) and formally incorporated in September 2016, and was established to champion, support and grow innovation in the virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors throughout New Zealand. Its objectives include promoting collaboration, education, R&D and economic development for the benefit of its sector members.

Students or staff from New Zealand’s tertiary institutions are encouraged to contact Courteney at the NZVRARA via courteney@nzvrara.nz.


GET A CLUB UNDERWAY ON YOUR CAMPUS:

For Student Chapter information:
Courteney Lomas,
Executive Director & Student Chapter President, NZVRARA
Mobile 027 738 9340 or courteney@nzvrara.nz

For more on the NZVRARA:
Michael Gregg
Chair, NZVRARA
Mobile 021 83 85 83 or michael@blackeye.nz

3 months ago

VIRTUAL SKIES EVENT SERIES LAUNCH – VR: WHO OWNS THE FUTURE?

The NZ VRARA launched their new event series, Virtual Skies, on August 8th. The first event of the series,VR: Who owns the future?, saw a diverse mix of people gather together to discuss the utopian and dystopian possibilities of the VR/AR future.

42 people came together to spend an evening debating questions of ethics, ownership and sexuality, within a futuristic VR/AR context . From students to content creators, educators, and business women/men, there was a healthy representation of the Wellington VR/AR community, with a balanced ratio of young, old, male, and female.

A brief presentation on the future predictions for VR/AR was followed by facilitated group conversations set around a series of questions that ranged from the ownership of virtual “tags” to debating the ethics and ramifications of dangerous sexual practises being enacted in a virtual world.

NZ VRARA Executive Director, Courteney Lomas, says “I think that it is really important for the association to be leading this type of conversation alongside promoting, supporting and advocating for our NZ members working in VR and AR. By debating the hard questions and sharing viewpoints amongst the community we are in a better position to build a healthy VRAR future, that harnesses and champions the best of human nature.”

Virtual Skies will be an ongoing event series that deep dives into the hard questions, focusing on different themes each month.

To find out when the next one will be near you, head over to the FB page, NZ VRARA, and stay in the loop!

5 months ago

ELECTION RESULTS: 2017 NZVRARA AGM

The first NZVRARA annual general meeting was held on Thursday 29th June 2017, at Wellington’s new PROJECTR venue and chaired by Michael Gregg.

Thanks to retiring foundation committee members: Nigel Corbett, Tom Horder and Matthew Simmonds for their work in the first term of the Association.

The members unanimously agreed all resolutions as described in the Notice of AGM sent out to all members in early June. The following members were voted onto the 16-person 2017/18 Executive Committee in accordance with the Society Rules, which require a quarter of the Executive to retire each year (but are eligible for reelection):
– Toni Moyes
– Jessica Manins
– Ben Knill
– Amy Nally
– Henry Lane
– Ghanum Taylor

Thanks to everyone for attending and to PROJECTR for hosting.

UPDATE: The new Executive Committee has reappointed Michael Gregg as Chair and Amy Nally as Treasurer, and, in a new role, confirmed Courteney Lomas as its Student Chapter President.