Companies in Real Estate & Education have Started Using Augmented & Virtual Reality (AR & VR) to Reach their Consumers but India is Yet to Make a Big Leap into the Emerging Technologies, though Biggies Around the World are Pouring Funds into the Space

Hi Everyone Today We Will Talk About How Startups are Investing In Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality (AR & VR) & Creating a New Dimension/Experience for the User.

User Got to Walk Around an Ancient Tomb, Feel the Heat, Meet Sea Monsters, and Experience It All as If It Was Real. And that’s Virtual Reality (VR), the Technology that’s Supposed to Change the Way Humans Interact with Computers and Experience the World in the Future.

Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality (AR &VR) are the Gateways to A New World

In June 2014, Google Introduced Cardboard A DIY Kit that Resulted in A Low Cost Virtual Reality (VR) Headset. People Could Use Cardboard Along With Compatible Apps from the Play Store to Dive Right Into A Virtual World. There Were Simulations for Roller Coasters & Apps that let You Pilot A Rocket Into Deep Space. With VR, You Could Walk through Foreign Cities, Watch Adventure Sports As If You Were On A Mountain Top & Even Wander Into An eerie Egyptian Pyramid. By 2015, Market Was Flooded With Durable Plastic Headsets, & In Early 2016, Samsung, Lenovo, OnePlus and HTC Also Began Promoting VR with their Smartphones.

Around the World, Startups are Working on Virtual Reality (VR) which Transports You to Another Environment and Augmented Reality (AR)  Technology that Enriches the Real World by Overlaying Digital Information Such as Videos, Sound and Graphics are Drawing Huge Investments but the Waves are Yet to Hit Indian Shores.

Tech Of The Future

Large Corporates have Certainly Sniffed the Opportunity that AR & VR Offer with the Who’s Who of the Technology World, Including Google, Apple, Microsoft, Samsung and HTC, Pouring in Money. Apart from Developing the AR Device Google Glass, the Company has Set Up A Separate Arm Specifically for VR. Apple’s Acquisition of Metaio, Facebook’s $2 Billion Buyout of Oculus VR, Microsoft’s HoloLens and Samsung’s Rift VR are Just A Few Examples of the Big Push for VR. Finnish Telecom Company Nokia, Which Released A VR Camera OZO Last Year, is Also Investing Heavily in VR.

“Today, Every Big Company is Investing in VR. It is Seen As A Novel Medium to Engage A Target Audience for An Enhanced Marketing Experience,” said Hemanth Satyanarayana, founder, Imaginate. He has Been Working with AR/VR for the Last 10 Years Both in the US & India. His Hyderabad Based Firm, Which Was Set Up in 2011, Has Developed AR Solutions for Companies in Real Estate, E-commerce, Healthcare, Defence, Entertainment & Education. He Says the Technology is Still Evolving and People the World Over are Still Researching its Various Aspects.

How It Can Be Used

Real Estate has Already Started Experiencing the Benefits of AR/VR with Commonfloor Offering Retina Headgear to View Properties Virtually in 3D. SmartVizX, Which Recently Raised Funding from Multiple Investors, Builds Immersive Technology Solutions Using VR for Real Estate and Other Industries.

Education is Beginning to Use AR/VR. Ingage has Partnered with Ratna Sagar Publishing to Provide an AR Experience for Students in Classes 2 to 8. When Students Read Social Science Textbooks, They Will Experience the Himalayas Coming Up Next to Them.

Blippar has Partnered with Amar Chitra Katha’s Tinkle Comics. Children can Interact with Characters like Suppandi While Reading. “80% of What We Retain is Visual Content. The Idea is to Create Immersive Content for Kids & Weave New Visual Content into the Story. With AR, Learning is Intense & Fun,” says Ghosh.

80% of What We Retain is Visual Content. We Can Create Immersive Content for Kids

Arnav Ghosh

CEO, BLIPPAR INDIA

Before You Buy Into the Concept, It is Important to be Informed About the Possible Side Effects Of Virtual Reality (VR) As We Know It Today.

It Is Recommended That

  • You See A Doctor Before You Use A VR Headset, Especially If You Are Pregnant, Elderly, Have Any Vision Abnormalities, Or Suffer from Psychiatric Disorders, Epilepsy, Migraines, Ear Aches, or A History of Heart Disease and/or Hypertension.
  • You Should Not Use VR When You Are Tired, Need Sleep, are Drunk or Hungover, Suffer from Emotional Stress or Anxiety.
  • Children Under the Age of 13 Should Not Use VR. Excessive Use of VR Could Result in Disorientation, Dizziness, Eye Strain, Fatigue, Headaches, Light Headedness, Loss of Balance, Motion Sickness, Nausea

Disorientation & Nausea

The labyrinth, An Organ in Our Inner Ear, Plays An Important Role in the Way We Maintain Balance When Walking, Standing, Turning, etc. It Interacts with Other Systems In Our Body Such As the Eyes & Limbs to Gauge the Body’s Position At All Points of Time. But When You Wear a VR Headset, Your Eyes Suggest that Your Body is Moving, While the Labyrinth Doesn’t Register these Movements As You’re Probably Seated or Standing Stationary, & this Causes Some Disorientation. The Feeling is Similar to When You’re Reading A Book in A Moving Vehicle: Your Body Registers Some Movement As the Car Navigates the Twists & Turns On A Road, But Your Eyes are Focused On A Single Spot i.e., Your Book You Might Feel Some Dizziness. When You Wear A VR Headset & Turn Your Head, the Software Needs to Update the Graphics You See to Create an Illusion of A Real World. If there is A Time Lag or the Scene is Not Changed by the Same Degree that You Turn Your Head, It Could Cause Disorientation.

Physical Injury

When Users are Immersed In A Virtual World, It Becomes Difficult to Differentiate that the Table You See in there Or the Open Space Around You Does Not Exist in the Real World.

This Melding Of the Real & Virtual Often Results in Accidents & Injury, Especially When Users Might Try to Seek Physical Support from An Object That Does Not Exist or if they Were to Accidentally Walk Into Walls & Furniture in the Real World. It is Very Important that VR is Enjoyed While Users are Safely Seated, or Standing Stationary In An area Without Obstacles or Hindrances.

After All, You Don’t Want Flailing Arms to Break a TV Set, Knock A Vase Down from the Table, or Worse, Cause Serious Injury to the Headset User & People Around U.

Emotional Connect

Imagine Playing A Horror Game On Your PC. You are Walking Down A Narrow Dark Hallway Where the Wooden Boards Under Your Feet Creak with Every Step You Take; All Of A Sudden A Ghostly Banshee Lunges At You with A Piercing Scream. Now Imagine that Very Same Scene with A VR Headset On. Here, You Are Actually Strapped Into that Virtual Environment & things Seem Scarier.

VR is Designed in A Way that the Observer “Lives” the Experience. Threats You Feel in the Game are Heightened & So are Your Reactions to them. This Could Result in A Faster Heart Rate, & A Greater Sense of Hostility & Aggression.  The Wins & Losses you feel in VR, Will Affect you More Psychologically. It is Recommended that VR Headsets Should Not Be Worn for Over Half An Hour at A time, & In Case of Any Feeling of Nausea or Palpitations, It Should Be Taken Off At Once.

VR is Still A Young technology, & It Will take A Few More Years before Research Studies Can truly Understand its Effects On Our Physiological & Mental Wellbeing.

In any case, if enjoyed in moderation, VR can enrich the way you learn, watch movies, play games and even experience life around you.

VR Headsets You Can Buy

Before You Purchase A VR Headset, You Should First Check If Your Smartphone Supports this Platform. The Easiest Way to Find Out Is by Installing Google’s Cardboard App On Your Phone. If Your Smartphone Is Not Compatible, You Will Not Be Able to Download this App. You Can Also Double Check with Eze VR, An App that Checks to See If the Handset Has A Gyroscope & Magnetic Field Sensor. The Former is Necessary As Most VR Apps Require A Gyroscope Sensor to Detect Motion & Orientation.

Beginners Can Consider

  • Cardboard DIY: This Viewer is Made Of Laminated Cardboard & Comes with A Magnetic Trigger, Which Lets You Make Onscreen Selections. It Supports Cell Phones with A Display Size Of Up to 5.5 Inches.
  • AuraVR Headset: This kit is Fabricated Out Of Plastic With An Adjustable Head Strap & Support for Devices With A 6-inch Display.

If Your Budget Allows, U Can Check Thess Out

  • Procus Brat VR & AuraVR Pro: Headsets Have Individual Dials to Adjust Lens Distance, Foam Padding & An Overhead Strap for A Better Fit. It Comes with A Portable Bluetooth Game Controller, Which Can Be Used Without the Headset.
  • ENRG VR Able Studio: Headset Comes With Built-in Headphones that Cover the Ears When You Wear the Headset.
  • Samsung Gear VR: Consider this Headset If You Own A Samsung Galaxy S6, S7 or Note 5 Smartphone. The Device Comes With A Touchpad, A Set Of Buttons For Menu Navigation & Volume Control For Easy Access.

VR Apps that You Can Use

Spotlight Stories

It Comprises 9 Short Stories, Which Need to be Downloaded Individually: There’s the Rain or Shine Animation that’s Set On the Streets of London, While in Pearl You’ll Find Yourself in the Company of A Girl & Her Father Inside A Moving Car; There’s A Tribute to The Simpsons; A Night Out With Insects, & Even A Suspenseful Drama that takes Place in Los Angeles After A Meteor Shower. All these Stories Give You A First-Person View, So Feel Free to Look Around & Explore Your Virtual surroundings.

Discovery VR

Discovery Channel’s App Puts You in the Middle of A Live Action Scene. For Instance, You Can Watch A Group of Samurai Demonstrate A Fight Sequence; Follow A Sky Diver; Get Up Close with A Tiger As He Goes About His Life In the Jungle; Float Up with A Balloon to Follow it to the Edge of Space & Lots More. You Will Need A Working Data Connection for this App Because the Videos are Streamed Each Time they are Played. All the Stories are Only A Couple of Minutes Long

Expeditions

U Can take Your kids to Paris, or For A Swim Along A Coral Reef. U Will Need Multiple Cell Phones & VR Headsets With All of these Handsets Connected to the Same Wi-Fi Network. Enter the App As a Guide & Select A Destination. The Rest of the Family Joins Your Tour As “Explorers”. The App Provides Talking Points & Even Cues As to When to Hold An Interactive Q&A. When You Tap On A Point of Interest Your Group Will Be Prompted On their Screens to Look Around Them. With Over 200 Tours, there is A Lot of Exploring You Can Do: Take A Look Inside A Teepee, Visit Mount Everest, Make A Trip to the Moon & More. Visuals Are Mostly Static, 360 Degree Images to Avoid Causing Discomfort to Children.

Street View

You Can Familiarise Yourself With the Places You Plan to Visit. You Can Choose Landmarks At International Destinations, & Even “Walk” Into A Museum or Restaurant. You Can Even Add Your Own 360 Degree Snapshots Of the Places You Have Visited By Publishing them to Google Maps. Of Course, Street View Can Also Be Used Without A VR Headset, But Where’s the Fun in that?

Games

What’s VR Without A Game or 2?

  • GermBuster VR Where You Have to Destroy Germs in Your Room before they Infect You. There is Very Little Movement in this Game: You Have to Look On Either Side of the Room, Stare At A Germ to Aim Your Laser At It & Your Bubble Gun Will Fire Away. The Game Gets More Challenging As You Progress through the Stages. Then there’s
  • Lamper VR: Firefly Rescue Where You Have to Guide A Firefly through A Wooded Forest While Avoiding Spiders & Plant Monsters. Moving Your Head Lets You Guide Lamper & Pick Up Sparks & Power Boosts. This Game Involves Motion in the Virtual World & Head Movements, So Play Short Sessions to Avoid Discomfort.

Pouring Money Into The Segment

Most Indian Startups Still Work Only in the E-commerce Space. Very Few Have A Research Mindset.

Vijay Karunakaran

Founder, INGAGE

2016 has Got Off to A Flying Start When It Comes to Global Investments In AR/VR. Data from Tech Advisor Digi-Capital Show that Investments in AR/VR Touched $1.1 Billion in the First 2 Months of this Year, Far Exceeding the $700 Million Invested During 2015. While Google Backed Magic Leap Raised the Bulk of the Money ($800 Million), $300 Million Went into AR/ VR Solutions, Hardware, Marketing, Distribution, Apps and Games.

Even Without Magic Leap, Investment in the Space is Up 20% In the First Quarter of 2016 Compared to the $250 Million Invested in the Last Quarter of 2015, Says Tim Merel, Founder & CEO, Digi-Capital. Merel Expects 2016 to Be the Tipping Point for AR/VR Investment, Moving from A Few Intrepid Investors to the Broader Investor Community.

While Silicon Valley is Abuzz with AR/VR, Here in India, there Isn’t Much Noise. Going by Data from Research Platform Tracxn,

9 of the 74 Indian Startups in AR/VR Have Received Funding

There is Dearth of People Who Truly Understand the DNA of VR in India. It is Not Only About A 360 Degree Video.”

Digi-Capital Estimates that the AR/ VR Market Will Hit $120 Billion by 2020. “Asia Could Drive AR/VR Revenue, Followed by Europe & North America. This Has Not Escaped the Notice of Entrepreneurs & Investors, As Everyone Tries to Figure Out Where to Place Bets,” says Merel.

Indian Players See 2017 As Year of Opportunity. Entrepreneurs Expects First Generation AR/VR Devices Such As Smartphones & Headset/Glass Based Experiences to Catch On Among Consumers.

Few Expects More Indian Startups to Dip their Hands Into Developing VR Content, Photographers & Videographers to Upgrade their Skills, & More 360 Degree Cameras Coming to the Fore.

Worldwide, Some of the Brightest Minds & Best Investors are Working to Build An AR/VR Future. The Road Ahead Seems Winding for India But the Day Might Not Be Far When We Wake Up in Virtual Reality.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Shakeel Ahmed
    We are Happy that U liked the Article
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