Why Virtual Reality?

Ian steps outside of the realm of virtual reality to shake hands with Bill
Ian steps outside of the realm of virtual reality to shake hands with Bill

Way back in May of 2015 Ogilvy of Hong Kong came out with a spiffy idea for Pizza Hut box with a lens in it pairing up Movies and Pizza Night. Of course they go together. My family is no stranger to movie night. We were the first on our block to get the big blow up screen and drag it out onto the State Street lawn, ordered 50 foot Hdmi cable so we could do just that. I’ll admit, even though we have a projector, I tried making a shoebox projector and I wanted one of these Pizza hut projectors when I read about it in Ad Age circa 2015. My projector won but it was fun trying. When I read about Kellog’s Nutrigrain Cereal adding Google VR glasses in their cereal the same year I wanted to buy those too – hey no luck, why is is that the foreigners get the fun stuff? Guess I’d have to move to New Zealand. We opted to just buy a pair of Google cardboard glasses. I actually downloaded a pair but truly – I really did not want to go to all that trouble. I folded (not literally in this case) and bought a pair already assembled.

Those kids in Sweden? They got the the Happy Meals that could be assembled into a VR glasses kit. But hey, I’m that mom that only goes through McDonalds for the toy and not the food, so I guess thank-you Mcdonald’s for NOT encouraging me to buy one of these for all my children because I cannot like your food. New York Times subscriber’s received free Google Cardboard glasses (one million subscribers!) which tool their delivery staff over 10 weeks to insert the devices by hand. Their app was downloaded more times in its first four days than any other time in the app ever before according the the New York Times. For the AT&T “It Can Wait” Campaign, a campaign about texting and driving, Google distributed over 100,000 devices. This was all in 2015.

So again Why Virtual Reality and Why Now?

  • According to Deloitte Global, VR is expected to be a $1 billion business with hardware sales at $700 million (content contributing to the rest)
  • According to the International Data Corp., forecasts for VR Hardware shipments ¬†will total just 9.6 million worldwide and in 2020 to 64.8 million contrast that to Smartphone forecast shipments of 1.5 billion according to the IDC.
  • According to SuperData Research, the awareness of VR today remains low with about 80% of consumers only occasionally or even never hearing about the technology.
  • According to SuperData Research, in the early stages of VR especially the touch to reach consumers demographics of 12-17 and 18-34 consumers this tech is appealing.

What did we do with our Google cardboard goggles?

We played with the Google app and that was about it. Most of the VR apps weren’t very impressive especially with an Iphone and no game controller. The apps that resonated with me were NY Times, Google cardboard app, rollercoaster and travel type apps that were then basically deleted after trying. Meeting up with my teammates who were excited about the possibilities of VR and Augmented Reality based applications was exciting to me because I knew that there had to be something more out there than just a rollercoaster ride or a trip to the Eiffel Tower. I already visited the tower and the Louvre and yeh, it was cool seeing it again but there was still something missing that they were advertising and I knew virtual reality could do so much more – just what else? My teammates saw the vision and the other side.

Looking at the statistics, realizing the training needed in maker spaces and other applications around us, the opportunities are great and we have a lot of catching up to do as well as a lot of informing and awareness to create among users. There is so much to learn and we are all up for the challenge!

At Maker Faire, teammate Bob Sopko and I picked up a VR Kix headset and was able to speak briefly with the creator and will be reviewing the headset soon. Look for it here!



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