The third AR/VR Innovate conference recently took place at Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland. The Digital Skills Academy team was there to soak up the tech and find out what's coming in the future.
It was a useful event, lots of cutting edge insights, and perhaps most importantly it was possible to demo a lot of the gear discussed. The technology has improved rapidly in the last 12 months since the last conference. It may not be widely used yet, but the quality is much improved. There are also a number of big companies in the market now, bringing out lots of good headsets. Many of them for under €1,000 and some are even available for under €400 too. These products are available in the market now or coming out in the next few weeks. HTC VIVE, and Samsung had gear on display, and we were even given a set of free Google Cardboard VR glasses the next day at the MoJocon (mobile journalism) conference. It’s quite possible lots of sets could be bought as Christmas presents this year.
Gaming is also a point of entry to wider sectors of society where this technology will be used soon. By playing VR games, or even just briefly trying them out, this is making more people familiar with the technology. These people will then think about other uses for the technology across other areas of their lives, in work, and also in other helpful environments. Samsung demoed their 360 cameras which are becoming better almost weekly. All of this will combine to offer the ability to do so much more, much more easily.
The cynics may say that this has all been said before, but the great thing, having tried the latest headsets, the wow factor is now here. It looks great, it is believable, and we are only at the early stage of what the developers are trying to build on and improve. Watching other people’s faces after they took over the headsets it was clear that numerous pivotal experiences were taking place. This also happened the next day, at the MoJo conference.
Supposedly more seasoned, world weary journalists were unable to hide the excitement in their faces at what they had just experienced.