When Stampede brought virtual reality to InfoComm 2016 in Las Vegas through its distribution agreement with VR Studios, skepticism about its place in the AV industry filled the hallways, with many in the integration community believing VR is more about gaming than helping with installs.
VR, augmented reality and a hybrid those behind the InfoComm 2017 Immersive Technology Pavilion call XR made more of an impact on the trade show floor, perhaps showing the resistance to these seemingly futuristic technologies is softening in some circles around the AV industry.
“Our big push is to inspire the industry,” says Wilson Tang, VP of digital experience for Freeman XP, which oversaw the pavilion that was loaded with Samsung gear in Orlando. “Most of the devices we use are 2D, but we live in a 3D world.”
Tang cited military training, spacewalk simulations that mimic physical and mechanical training and medical as among the markets where VR, AR and XR have the most potential, with new use cases emerging regularly.
Visualizations and walk-throughs of rooms or buildings have been among the most popular uses for VR and AR, which is also used in exposure therapy for military veterans returning from overseas as they try to re-acclimate themselves into their old lives and forget any atrocities they saw in battle.
The Microsoft HoloLens “allows networked AR and VR experiences,” says Tang, which helps to overcome one of the main obstacles about these experiences being “very isolating.” But it’s not just about the technology, he says. In fact, without content to broadcast, the technology is virtually obsolete.
“Technology allows us to do some very, very cool things,” says Tang, “but it’s secondary to the content. It’s about putting people in places they wish they could be. We believe there are bigger and better uses [for VR and AR] than just playing games at home.”
The Samsung 3D 360 is ideal for training and live streaming and features 17 lenses with the images “stitched” together to create a single blended image that surrounds the viewer. The technology can be used for military and law enforcement recruiting efforts, among many other uses.
“It’s like taking a globe and making a map out of it,” says Joshua Dixon, senior manager of Samsung Mobile.
Tang sees live streaming of concerts and other live events as an idea that’s not far away using VR and AR technology, noting the pricing structure would have to be negotiated for the artist and promoter to make it work.
Samsung will live-stream three events using VR this summer, including a UFC fight card, he says, and the company is working with the NFL for a camera that could be embedded in a quarterback’s helmet or something that would bring fans closer than ever to the action. XR is a way of capturing the new “reality” that emerges almost daily, says Tang.
“It’s a combination of digital, real world and sensing the real world through a stereoscopic experience,” he says.