While Virtual Reality, essentially, is not a new idea (examples of the concept have been around since the 1950’s), it is very apparent that, today, we are witnessing the early days of the some of the most engaging, fun, and truly groundbreaking innovations of the last two decades thanks to VR.
As portrayed in several previous publications of this blog, we should not ignore that Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality technologies are consistently drawing millions of dollars in investments and are on pace to become something close to a $150 billion market by 2020. Moreover, these immersive technologies are poised to transform entertainment and to dramatically influence industries as diverse as healthcare, tourism, sports, education and manufacturing. Ultimately, use cases of VR that will change the world fall into three major categories: health, communication, and education. While it will not completely replace traditional methods, it will improve and augment them.
It could be argued that current Virtual Reality is a truly an example of humanity mastering our senses. It is a revolutionary leap like radio to television, by which we are collectively sharpening our skills laying the groundwork for tomorrow’s reality. After all, technology giants all around the globe have, for some time, been making important and substantial investments, both financial and human, in the VR marketplace preparing for “what’s to come”.
In this quickly-evolving and dynamic market, aside of understanding where the starting point was and where it is headed, it is also critical to take a look at who is causing this technology surge and how these rapid developments are taking place. In other words, which companies and what tools are setting the standards for communication, exchanges and discussion that will ultimately push the market to question every detail, every possibility, and pursue a path distinguished by a constant desire for improvement and pushing the boundaries.
After all, these are the voices that have already put VR into the global spotlight. But who are they, and what tools serve their purpose?
The following classifications are extracted from Onalytica’s 2017 Virtual Reality report. These have been obtained based on a simple but assertive methodology, taking into account the number and quality of contextual references in social networking that have redefined information sharing, and in which VR contents have been shown to thrive, Twitter, and then carefully evaluating the user engagement, the relevance and reach of those references. For this, more than 5M posts reaching more than 50,000 users over 272 days FY 2017 were analyzed as key component of the study.
Bloggers, authors and developers like Robert Scoble or Liv Erickson, public figures like Michael D. Gallagher, entrepreneurs like Foo Conner, editors like Will Mason, podcast and radio hosts like Brian Bullard or Matt Stompz, are all in agreement that this is an exciting time of discovery. Some of these people represent the primary voices of a market whose 50 most prolific prescriptors and evangelists can be found in the following chart, along with their Twitter profiles, for those readers who wish to stay in tune with them. Some of the most notable members of this list include the following:
Ryan A. Bell: Ryan is a digital storyteller, connecter & tech lover. As Head of the Studio at VRScout, Ryan is an ambassador and connector for the community and oversees relationships bridging the gap between technology and traditional film. As Founder of Summit.Live, the world’s largest conference centered around nontraditional media, his team bridges entertainment and technology with the mentality of bringing the world together to innovate, connect and educate.
Benjamin Lang: Benjamin Lang is the Co-founder and Executive Editor of Road to VR and is recognized among the top 10 influential voices in the VR industry
Kent Bye: Ken is a well-rounded VR professional. Kent is the host of one of the highest rated podcasts, Voices of VR. He also contributes to RoadtoVR frequently.
Rick King: Rick is an avid tweeter. He most often tweets about technology, games, and most of all Virtual Reality. He’s a Technology Consultant, Graphic Designer, Musician, Composer, Software Programmer, Mobile Application programmer, Unity 3D Programmer, and Virtual Reality Developer.
Rob Crasco: Rob is a Virtual Reality, Virtual World & 360 Video Influencer, evangelist and entrepreneur. He is also a recurrent contributing author on VRScout and related promotion on Twitter.
Virtual reality is generating a great deal of interest as to its potential in commerce. Thus far, gaming has been the main avenue for exploration, but that does not mean this new technology could not be leveraged by commerce brands to engage consumers in a new way. By 2020, both mobile and static AR/VR are forecasted to coexist with products geared towards more mainstream consumers arriving to market at lower unit prices.
Many in commerce, from retailers to travel agents, are currently experimenting with these new technologies to enable consumers to visualize or experience what they are about to purchase – giving way to a new reality for commerce. In addition, the excitement from gaming, audio visual and even industrial spheres have been enough to provide the initial spark. If these mediums can indeed become the next major mode of communication and interaction, supplanting mobile interfaces as they once did for desktops, then it will be a mistake on the part of commerce players to ignore their potential for disruption.
For now, the global scene in terms of most important brands is, with little surprises, shown as below:
These are the industry players and events that compile the majority of public informational exchanges by publishing articles, reports, news and other related industry data. However, they are not the only ones. The global scenario right now is quite clear: being easy to distribute and classify different corporate participants depending on their discipline firstly, and profile secondly.
The landscape is complex, filled with players and increasingly dynamic while completely structured at the same time, each brand focusing on securing a place in their segment now, at the dawn of tomorrow’s Virtual Reality.
Premo Group, as global leader in innovative magnetics enabling technology for the 4th industrial revolution, hopes to make a difference as a manufacturer of EM Motion Tracking Sensors for VR and AR. In addition to our range of standard components and off-the-shelf products, Premo also designs custom solutions to fit customer requirements, based on the latest technologies to help system developers in the VR community involved in system creation or integration. Thanks to our technology and solid position in the market, we are a key partner for supporting those who wish to develop infrastructure in all its forms. Premo is committed to contribute with World Class Innovative components to the Key Enabling Technologies of the 4th Industrial Generation. 4 patents have been filed for VR Tracking sensors in less than 6 months.
The last source of visibility and information distribution to analyze in the Virtual Reality landscape would be publications. These adopt the shape of blogs, TV channels, magazines, and other communities such as forums or social networks.
While they may seem too heterogeneous and with a very different approach or vision for most cases, the truth is that they all share a common goal. They serve as the main tools of communication for the players that we have included in the previous pages of this article and are specialized channels that compile, filter and are used to produce information on a regular basis and that, ultimately, will lead to the generalization and global acceptance of Virtual Reality.
The 50 most important publications according to the Influencer Marketing Software Onalytica, are:
Examples of the most active and promising publications include the following:
Road to VR: An independent news publication dedicated to the consumer virtual reality industry. It explores the bleeding edge of virtual reality, augmented reality, and human-computer interaction, charting the course between today’s immersive technology and that of the distant future, capable of perfect simulations of reality.
Upload VR: Dedicated to bringing virtual reality technology to the consumer masses, they believe that VR technology is fundamentally transforming the way we learn, interact and understand the world around us. Blog posts cover Virtual Reality News, Events, and Talent.
VRFocus: VRFocus is a virtual reality specialist website covering all aspects of the technology and is primarily concerned with VR entertainment. The website is more focused on bringing you news and features from VR Rift, Vive, Cardboard, and other essential VR gear than anything else.
At Premo, our vision is that one day our 3dcoil blog will also be a referential publication for VR and AR content. We hope to achieve this by offering to the public quality content that ranges from inspirational to purely technical, compiling discussion of events, news, technologies, the market outlook, tendencies, specific field articles, and much more. All of our content is produced taking in account up to date and verified information, much of it being produced purely by the personal experiences of our experts, so it is definitely advisable to keep an eye on this publication for those who wish to remain up to date.
Having identified key individuals, brands and publications around the globe, it is time now to examine how often deep information exchanges between them occurs and what ecosystems are formed as a result of these exchanges. The below image is the epicenter of the VR ecosystem including many of the key companies and individuals discussed in this article.
This is a rich network consisting of many players interacting in every direction and creating synergies that help consolidate the pillars and fundamentals of the future VR industry. Nonetheless, the reader must keep in mind that this extraction is no more than the tip of the iceberg – the underlying fabric of relationships is far deeper and vaster involving an always increasing number of participants and contributors.
What are the motivating factors that encourage new participants to join this young but promising ecosystem? With Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality already emerging from its cocoon, and expecting to become a dominant, worldwide technology over the upcoming years, Mr. Bye has helped draw a map of most popular use cases of VR after discussions with over 400 pioneers and experts of the field. The map looked like this by the end of 2017, but almost certainly some participants and contributors will have rotated or realigned as of today.
The more Virtual Reality enters the public and private spheres and has an impact in all its areas, the easier and more natural it will be for the general public to adopt it and this will eventually lead to massive implementations and adoptions worldwide. Mr. Bye also helped identify the main use cases of Virtual Reality and it can be clearly seen that its roots will touch not only the private and public sectors but also providing new ranges of possibilities not only to individuals but also to communities. The exact order in which these domains or use cases will fall in the wave of Virtual Reality is uncertain as of now but we already have a pretty good idea, and in fact, the picture only gets clearer.
This process may be slow as currently there are still too many open fronts that need to and are, indeed, being addressed. In the meantime, The Premo Group, along with the rest of voices in the VR landscape in all their forms, will help smooth, ease and direct this evolution.