Serious Insights Virtual Reality Digest: April 22, 2016 – Just what is Virtual Reality?

Serious Insights Virtual Reality Digest: April 22, 2016 – Just what is Virtual Reality?

Just what is Virtual Reality?

Much that people experience as virtual reality isn’t, because most content is passive. VR is immersive and interactive. Those who have just seen 360 videos or virtual tours may be wowed by how cool those experiences are when compared to traditional video, but they are just the edge of VR, the easy part, in some ways, the chaff to tomorrow’s wheat.

HTC has invested in a video that, I think for the first time, gives those without direct VR experience an excellent glimpse at what they should expect when they put on a headset. If you think VR video is cool, just wait until you step into a fully realized world that you can interact with. Real VR means being in the world, not just looking at it.

Thoughts on the video from Forbes: “This HTC Vive Trailer Perfectly Expresses How Amazing Virtual Reality Is

This week’s news round-up: 

Android N will have expanded support for virtual reality, The Verge

Serious Insights Commentary: Bringing in VR capabilities to the OS will be critical to keeping the various existing OS options relevant. There is no reason that VR won’t jumpstart an examination of why current OS platforms must necessarily be the platforms supported by VR and AR. We we step back, it might be possible to imagine an OS that would deliver better performance.


Is virtual reality the next big thing in banking?, Charlotte Observer (blog)

Serious Insights Commentary: To be fair, the threat from VR is not to banks, but to retail banking locations. Mobile is probably a bigger threat overall, but VR could play a role in boutique high net worth transactions where relationships are important, but those may be better handled with video conferencing than with VR (because people want to see the real person in order to maintain trust). VR isn’t the automatic disrupter of markets where other virtual technology suffices or exceeds particular capabilities.


Ikea ponders the future of retail with virtual reality pilot app, TechCrunch

Serious Insights Commentary: This is just one touchpoint in retail, but it emphasizes some key attributes of VR that make it good for some things, and not so good for others. Being able to interact with physical objects at scale is great for furniture. For IKEA, even revealing the box in VR so people can see what they are getting into, and potentially get help should they not align side A with brace G. Color, reflectiveness and other attributes, however, will express well in VR, though providing a good sense for things like fabric or plushness are beyond VR at this point. More on IKEA and VR at Fortune, Ikea Embraces Virtual Reality With Virtual Kitchen.


Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Market in Healthcare Industry is Set to Generate 2.54 Billion …,Digital Journal

Serious Insights Commentary: As I have said, I am very skeptical of any forecast related to VR at this point, but this IndustryArc study on Healthcare is a good movement away from generalization. Rather than looking at broad markets, for business, looking at specific use cases where existing technology is not providing solutions—and where VR may well offer a new take on a solution—is important in narrowing the speculation.

More on AR & VR here: How Virtual Reality Will Change the Face of Healthcare, Big Think


Nvidia Places Its Bets on Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence, Fortune

Serious Insights Commentary: NVIDIA is driving most of the desktop VR experience, continuing to strategically define themselves against Intel and others in the high-end graphics market. The real trick is going to make VR desktops wearable, if not completely mobile, in order to decrease the awkwardness of tethers.


Samsung checking out shopping in virtual reality, CNBC

Serious Insights Commentary: This is really more about the retail experience, with pay linked to virtual retail shopping in “3D” stores. Being able to pay for something virtual shouldn’t be a big leap given the ease of setting up e-commerce capabilities. The issue is going to be how to initiate the transaction and keep the experience from becoming cluttered with agreements, confirmation and other content related to the transaction. It may make sense, given the malleability of VR, to create separate virtually physical spaces for those objects, should the consumer want to look at them. Otherwise one-click ordering, which is common on Amazon, will likely be the go-to transaction in VR.


Virtual reality in Hobson City’s future, Anniston Star

Serious Insights Commentary: An interesting AR/VR education play that isn’t going down the path of Oculus, HTC or Samsung. The market needs to watch these early divergent paths for hints about way some solutions find traction, or don’t.


Admission Letters, Now in Virtual Reality, Inside Higher Ed

Serious Insights Commentary: A nice way to surround new students with their peers right from the start. Well edited, with a bit too much base at the end. Needs more cowbell. Watch the video here on a browser or in Cardboard.


Samsung gets the green light for augmented-reality contacts video, CNET

Serious Insights Commentary: This may be the ultimate in AR all the time, but I’m putting AR contacts up there with driverless cars on my list of technology I’m probably not going to adopt quickly.


ARANZ Geo’s augmented reality app for geological models an industry-first, Voxy

Serious Insights Commentary: This is a great reminder that AR is all about data integration, not about glasses and it is already here. This Android app literally rocks. Watch the video of the Leapfrog Aspect video here.


Oculus brings real (and pervasive) data-mining to virtual reality, Ars Technica

Serious Insights Commentary: VR is going to know a lot about what people do in VR. Where they look, what they interact with, even how they interact with something. A treasure trove of data that can enhance models of individual desires and behaviors. All stuff that most people don’t really want their VR vendor to know about. It may not all be streaming back to Oculus or Valve yet, but PC performance issues are a near term issue. As processing gets even more powerful it won’t be hard to render and watch at the same time. That means legislators and lawyers will need to figure out what that means, and it isn’t just about VR.


Why Virtual Reality Will Change Design Forever, Co.Design

Serious Insights Commentary: This is going to be true. Seeing objects at scale, and being able to not just imagine, but see variations in texture, color, features and functions will save time for designers and help them rapidly go through iterations.

Daniel W. Rasmus

Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.

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