Virtual Reality (part 1): Where we stand in 2015

We catch-up with a team of experts to learn more about the future of Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) has particularly hit the headlines recently with Google developments in the area, but hype aside where are we really at with this technology? In the first of a three part series we catch-up with a diverse team of experts – including a Developer, an MD and a CTO – to find out more.

“In the early 90s - and even before - VR technology was being used in research and a few years later in industrial settings for designing expensive-to-prototype products. The technology was very costly, so consumer applications were largely out of the question. In fact, early experiments of consumer-level VR gave it a very bad name because the user's experience was just not... well reality. These challenges are starting to be addressed with advancements in technology improving performance whilst reducing cost.”

-          Warren Lester, Engineering Product Manager at Vicon


“I think the best way to frame VR as a technology is to think of it as half way through its journey from invention to perfection. Go back 23 years to the days of Lawnmower Man and we have an incredible concept but a terrible product. Fast-forward to present day and we have Oculus Rift, with impending launches by Samsung and Sony.

We’re in MVP (minimum viable product) territory at the moment with VR but watch this space! As the technology matures, I see very little reason why every office and home in the developed world wouldn't have at least one virtual reality gadget in the next five years.”

-          Ian Hambleton, Creative Partner, Allez! Studio


“VR isn't a new concept - it's been around for a while - but it looks like it could very soon be making its way into the mainstream in a fairly major way with companies such as Facebook and Microsoft investing serious money into the concept - in fact, the funding for VR reached around $3-3.5 billion in 2014.

A number of industries have already taken to VR devices and software, including the military and gaming sectors. Apart from the devices which already bring VR into our homes – with the new Facebook app, and the virtual reality headset from Oculus garnering a lot of attention – what will really drive mass adoption of VR is content."

-          Euan Davis, European Head, Center for the Future of Work, Cognizant


“Virtual Reality is finally coming of age. In education in particular, we’re at a stage now where VR-enhanced learning is truly the next frontier.

Until now, we’ve always taught students with ‘2D’ equipment, despite living in a 3D world. Standard computers, keyboards and books have dominated the classroom, with most doctors counter-intuitively learning about the complex three-dimensional human body from flat graphics. But now, with VR facilities, trainee doctors can interact and experiment with accurate 3D-models of human organs.”

-          Amit Shah, Managing Director at Artiman, investor in zSpace


“The most exciting thing about VR is that right now, it could head anywhere. While there are some great companies working on the mechanism by which people view VR content, we’re very focused on what that content will be. Much like the beginning of cinema itself, we’re working with our clients and other creatives to figure this out. What will people want to see? Where will they way to see it? And for how long?  Underlying what content will entice people is how to create that content. That’s a challenge we find incredibly fascinating.”

-          Jon Wadelton, Chief Technology Officer, The Foundry