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20 May 2016, 16:46

"What does Virtual Reality mean for Digital Innovation in 2016?" - pslondon go VR

The other week a few of us from pslondon attended the MINT network event ‘What does Virtual Reality mean for Digital Innovation in 2016?’ with talks from Dominic Collins at Jaunt VR and Mária Rakušanová at Samsung for Mobile. Personally I’m no VR expert, but you have to pay attention to these things when someone like Mark Zuckerberg splashes out a cool $2billion on Oculus Rift and giants such as Sony launching VR headsets and games for the Playstation later this year.

The only previous experience I’ve had with VR was sitting with a large Oculus Rift attached to my face at Facebook a couple of years ago and the experience was OK, but did not feel ground breaking. However, not to sound pessimistic I understood why the tech has been invested in and the amazing and all engrossing experiences that could be created as the techcapability grows.

From the evening there were two clear themes from the two speakers; Jaunt VR discussing the amazing tech that they have built and how they collaborate with artists and brands to make amazing VR content for theirplatform (their app is needed in order to view, it’s like Netflix for VR), with Samsung for Mobile discussing the history of VR, their product offering and howyou can make and engage with 360 and VR via your mobile device.

It was very interesting to hear from Dominic Collins at Jaunt VR as he explained their immersive cinematic VR offering with titles suchas Escape The Living Dead, Teleportaled and A Violent Morning, all short films thatyou watch through the phone app for VR experience or online for 360. There arealso VR films made with brands such as Zoolander for the launch of the second movie. Interestingly though, Jaunt created a film with Sir Paul McCartney playing ‘Live and Let Die’ live, it didn’t cost them anything to do the film, however McCartney wanted to take an investment in Jaunt (ever the visionary from the ex-Beatle). I find it very interesting that Jaunt essentially have their own content platform and are taking on the big boys such as YouTube andFacebook when it comes to the VR game, but kudos to them as they have created amazing tech and great content and seem to be leading in the public space forthis free content.

When it comes to tech, they have created their own platform, headset and camera, the Jaunt One. Jaunt One looks like the robot crawlers in The Matrix and officially had in it’s design brief to “look bad-ass”, and it certainly does with two years worth of technology research and full 360 degree cameras.

One thing to note is that Jaunt don’t just rent their kit out, you need to partner with them to create amazing VR films. I’m very excited to keep tabs on them and see where they end up, but I recommend downloading the app for free and playing around with the content either as a 360 video or through Google Cardboard.

Mária from Samsung followed Dominic and gave a brief background of VR, from Stereoscopic viewers in the 1800s, Morton Heilig’s Sensorama in the 1950s, Nintendo’s short lived venture with Virtual Boy to the Oculus Rift and of course Samsung’s products that are ready and available now. I’m a big fan of Samsung products and can 100% see why they have moved into the VR realm with content and probably communication likely to happen through mobile devices. Mária showcased the Gear 360 camera that allows you to take 360 degree images on your Samsung. It doesn’t allow video, but it’s pretty much certain that this will be available in the near future. Unlike Jaunt, Samsung were focussing the discussion around communication with friends and family via VR, which promises to be a very exciting experience when it eventually becomesthe norm across all mobile devices and accessible to all.

It was an interesting evening hearing Dominic and Maria talk all things VR and to try out some of the technology and games you can play. It was also a good thought starter to think about VR and where it is going, and I can certainly see the likes of YouTube and Netflix buying into VR and 360 films more in the very near future, along with Facebook communication moving towards a VR experience. It is a very exciting space, and for us at pslondon a wonderful opportunity to think about how we can use this type of passive engagement and communication technology for our clients.

Watch (not in virtual reality) this space!

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