Welcome! This will be a test of a weekly newsletter from Virtual Perceptions. If you have any feedback, please reply to this email and let me know. Hell, even the title is up for grabs; please let me know if you have a better idea.
No-one! At least, not yet. If you would like to sponsor the newsletter series from April onwards, please let me know. This is a great way to get your message in front of hundreds of VR and AR professionals and decision-makers. Please email [email protected]
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THE BIG STORY: COVID-19
COVID-19 is shutting down conferences left and right, with online versions popping up. VRARA is delaying its Lisbon conference, and announced an online summit where people can tune in to watch it.
The downside is that a lot of people are losing money from these events disappearing. It’s the small companies that lose out, not the massive corporations that can take a bad year. A lot of companies in VR and AR are on razor-thin margins, and the hit can turn into a deathblow. That’s the real loss.
But there is a silver lining. Finally, we may have an opportunity to push VR conferences. Why not? Rather than sit in front of a computer and watch a Zoom conference with inevitable technical issues, a VR equivalent is a natural step forward. In response, a few companies are offering advice on how to do these conferences, as a new business opportunity. (Or even SXSW?).
I asked one company that provides VR meetings as a service who wanted to be anonymous, and they noted that it is mostly business as usual, with some expectation management. While there is a business proposition, the contact doesn’t want it to become a seasonal solution that can be done for cheap.
In any case, there is a story here about a change in culture. It takes a high-pressure event like an international pandemic to change habits. If it means more people can be part of virtual meetings, and even promote working from home as an option, I fully support it. We just need some high-profile examples of VR conferences being successful. Or perhaps I am too hopeful, and we’re stuck with 30-minute video conferences where 10 minutes is spent jumping over technical hoops. Or it’s the same, but in VR.
- Ed Morris is the new VR of Strategic Partnerships – North America at Zappar, an augmented reality studio. Ed was the co-founder of Gate Reality.
- Rory Byrne has been promoted to EMEA Business Director – Immersive Technology at Imagination. Rory will continue his role building business for the company’s immersive offering.
If your company has a significant move, send me an email and I will add it to the next edition.
A MESSAGE FROM OUR SPONSORS
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LET’S TALK ABOUT SNAP
Snap, the parent company of Snapchat, is Fast Company’s Most Innovative Company of 2020. There’s a few reasons for this. One, the turnaround which the CEO Evan Spiegel conducted over the last few years, growing the ill company into a thriving tech monster. Mr Spiegel was a secrative and private man, mirroring the tech practices of Apple in its younger days. But as a more open leader who self-trained with coaches and books, he now leads a company that might actually turn a profit. Finally. At this point, seeing a tech unicorn make money is as rare as seeing an actual unicorn.
Personally, I am interested because the article gave some insights into their AR plans in the future. Quote:
‘“The next 3 to 10 years are ours to lose, because we already have this huge community of people engaging with AR all the time,” says Spiegel. He grabs a paper and pen to illustrate his point. He draws a rectangle, divided diagonally into two triangles. On the left one, he writes “iPhone.” On the other, the one that will soon push the first triangle into the corner, he writes “Spectacles.”
‘“Over the next 10 to 20 years, [mobile phone usage] is going to migrate to Spectacles,” he says. “So the question is, on what timeline? What’s interesting, though . . . if we lose this [hardware] bet, it’s still okay, because we have the [digital] AR platform. We’ll still have a very, very large business. But what would it look like if we also win the hardware piece? Why wouldn’t you try?”
‘Sean Mills, the company’s head of content, says that one of his big challenges this year is bringing augmented reality into entertainment programming as “a necessary component… When you’re doing something with AR, you’re giving over like 80% of the pixels to the audience to reshape the narrative. That’s going to be a very different experience.”’
It’s working too. On average, more than 75% of Snapchat’s 218 million daily users play with its AR lenses every day.
So how do you read this? For me, I see a company thinking five years in advance, alongside Facebook and Apple. The company sees specs as the future of content, and wants to be the natural software platform for the new revolution. Will it work? Only time will tell, as they actually come out (at some point). But regardless, their bold plans are fascinating to follow.
- Applications are now open for CreativeXR. Want to bring your creative immersive project to life, with some guidance in an accelerator program? Sing up today.
- Realities Centre announced the Global VR Art Fest and Tournament. Tickets are available through each city venue, which will also give them the option to have their name included on a Times Square billboard ad. Woah. More on this as it develops.
- Virtual Umbrella is looking for writers for their Virtual Library. Want to help contribute to a whole bunch of great resources? I may be slightly biased as I did help out, but hey ho. Take a look and consider helping out.
I hope you like this new approach. So much happens in the immersive community, with all sorts happening around the world. But sometimes, I feel media sites either misframe a story, or present the facts without much of an opinion or analysis.
I hope this newsletter surprises and delights you. My goal is to inform the community with what’s happening, with my thoughts on why it is significant. Along the way, I also want to profile the absolute powerhouses that push the industry forward because, frankly, they deserve it.
This will naturally evolve as we do a test-run of the newsletter. Not everything will stay the same, and not everything will change. I hope you can be a part of the conversation, and let me know what you think.
See you next week!
Editor, Virtual Perceptions