Product Brief: EnvelopVR EVE
What is it?
EnvelopVR’s Envelop Virtual Environment (EVE) is an execution environment that integrates traditional 2D computing resources into virtual reality. EVE also includes an SDK for building 3D extensions to existing 2D applications.
Who makes it?
Envelop VR, Inc.
500 108th Ave. NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
What does it do?
The extensible EVE environment allows current code, like Microsoft Office, Oracle, QuickBooks, Maya, Unity and CATIA to be run within VR. But that is only its most basic feature. With the SDK, developers can extend existing applications, allowing them to inject first class 3D objects into the virtual reality space. These objects might include virtual views of existing products, prototypes or charts. EVE also supports the development of VR applications with persistent tools overlaid on the VR environments under development. EVE, also supports native VR experience development.
Who are the competitors?
EnvelopVR currently offers a unique value proposition. There are no credible competitors on the horizon.
Why is it important?
For virtual reality to impact business, it must first offer compelling value that enhances existing experiences, and then it must offer net new experiences. EnvelopVR does both. Their unique vision includes extending 2D computing experiences, like productivity applications and development environments into the 3D space,. They also deliver an SDK that will allows partners to inject objects into 3D space in order to create domain and application-specific VR solutions. EVE platform agnostic, permitting native apps from nearly any OS, including fully native, net new VR experiences.
Where can I get?
EVE will be distributed initially via the EnvelopVR website and through other channels, like Steam.
When will it be available?
The closed beta of EVE will be available in January of 2016.
What platforms does the product support?
The beta of EVE requires Oculus Rift and HTC Vive virtual reality systems.
How much does it cost?
Although pricing isn’t yet set, it is highly likely that a basic version of EVE will be free with registration. The SDK will be licensed. EnvelopVR will also likely offer customer development and other services over time.
Where in the world is it available?
EVE will be offered in all markets where Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are available.
EVE is the first virtual reality environment that demonstrates horizontal value for virtual reality implementations beyond entertainment scenarios. EVE makes working in virtual reality a viable option that not only permits existing work to take place in VR, but also allows those with VR-enabled apps to extend the experience.
The low-hanging fruit arrives in the form of two-dimensional application projections into the 3D space. Imagine Microsoft Office inside of VR, with not just one or two monitors, but an infinite set of monitors. Work is still being done on the interface to determine how best to model the display cache and how to manage attention. They will get this worked out. Importantly, Envelop knows this UI is about awareness and making existing apps easy to reach.
Businesses will be able to potentially eliminate the costs associated with desktop real estate, monitors and power ,because rather than buying multiple monitors, the hardware to make them accessible and paying for the power to run them, a single PC with EVE will be able to do to the job of dozens of monitors. Stock traders and those monitoring data and security centers will no longer be constrained by budgets or physical space limitations when it comes to monitors.
EVE will also allow remote users to gain the productivity benefits of high-end computing environments, eliminating the productivity bottlenecks of small monitors on laptops and tablets.
Given that enterprise applications will not likely switch to VR over the short-term, EVE offers a way for businesses to gain early benefits from the technology, and for developers, including corporate IT shops, to gain experience.
The goal of EVE is to make everything that works in the “real world” work in VR, like typing and mouse movements. People using EVE can even see their hands. It takes some getting used to, but once mastered, the experiences become second nature. EnvelopVR developers haven’t yet mastered how to avoid people sneaking up on those engaged with the VR environment, but that’s on their roadmap.
Another key early market for EVE is likely VR development itself. The company has created a way to integrate VR coding and testing into the worlds being developed, thus eliminating the need to remove a headset should the world “crash,” need to be fixed or prove ready for the next enhancement. With debuggers and compilers within view, developers can write code and execute VR experiences without removing their headsets. This feature will provide a significant productivity enhancement for VR developers.
EVE is not a direct competitor to virtualization technologies like those from Citrix, VMWare or Parallels. While it will virtualize PC experiences, its ability to manage desktops is a bi-product of a development solution, and just one example of bringing 2D work into a VR space.
2D applications projected into EVE, however, misses the real value of the technology, which is to extend 2D with 3D capabilities and create new VR experiences. Imagine you are looking at a 3D representation of data, even something as simple as a few columns and rows in Microsoft Excel. In current Microsoft Windows or Apple OS X, a 3D bar chart, for instance, can appear as “3D,” but it is really just a pseudo 3D representation projected on a 2D plane. With EVE, the 3D chart would be projected into VR and become a first class 3D object that can be wandered around and leaned into. Your mind would believe the chart is a 3D object in space.
This example hints at the deep value of VR and EVE’s business ambitions, which is collaboration with multiple people working on virtual 3D objects or sharing virtual experiences, be they representations of data, building plans or engineering prototypes. (It should be noted that all VR experiences are representations of data, regardless of what the model appears to be. One of the challenges for VR in general going forward is to meld the data used to represent an object in VR, with data about that object stored in other systems of record.)
On another vector, EVE may well revolutionize advertising data collection and analytics since it provides more intimate levels of interaction to be captured, such as what people look at within a virtual environment, and how long they look at it.
Unlike other environments, EVE can also prescribe what people see. EVE will facilitate the creation of distraction-free VR environments that can help focus on educational experiences, advertisements, or particular objects from an e-commerce site.
Depending on the hardware, EVE, like many VR experiences, can suffer from the “screen door” effect, which is the result of magnification of low resolution displays (the individual pixels on the display become visible). This will be improved with evolving display technology. It is highly likely that VR, rather than mobile phones, will drive the next generation of display technology.
Remember, EVE is only in beta, but the company’s vision is strong. EVE is the first product to demonstrate the viability of VR as a horizontal business solution. EnvelopVR has hired experienced game developers and leaders with a proven track record of delivering quality realtime experiences. The product is poised to be disruptive and empowering. Organizations should take the opportunity to explore EVE when a demonstration becomes available, and to work with EnvelopVR should they have specific business ideas of their own they would like to see enhanced for virtual reality.