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Is India ready to face Virtual Reality?

The first decade of 21st century can be categorized for smartphone and handheld devices evolution. And the next decade which we are already half the way through it, can be categorized for the evolution on multiple things, especially on Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.

In the last 3 years there is a lot of developments that is going on under Virtual Reality. And all of a sudden companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple, htc and sony started investing in these technologies. Did they see a future out there? May be. Hopefully not everyone is predicting a wrong future. Have you ever played with a View-Master in your childhood days? The same view-master with advancement over years, started landing into consumer’s head in the form of Google cardboard and Oculus Rift within the last 2 years.

The market for VR is predicted at 30B $ by 2020. But there are many analysis says that it will be worth more by that time. Google cardboard is already popular in Indian market since it is affordable and works with existing mobile phones. India is yet to see popularity on any head mounted displays like Oculus rift.

In the last 3 years there is a lot of developments that is going on under Virtual Reality. And all of a sudden companies like Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Apple, htc and sony started investing in these technologies. Did they see a future out there? May be. Hopefully not everyone is predicting a wrong future. Have you ever played with a View-Master in your childhood days? The same view-master with advancement over years, started landing into consumer’s head in the form of Google cardboard and Oculus Rift within the last 2 years.

The market for VR is predicted at 30B $ by 2020. But there are many analysis says that it will be worth more by that time. Google cardboard is already popular in Indian market since it is affordable and works with existing mobile phones. India is yet to see popularity on any head mounted displays like Oculus rift.

Virtual Reality is not a new term that arrived. It has a history back in centuries. Virtual Reality is a term coined by Jaron Lanier around ’80s. Even before that Wheatstone Stereoscope was introduced in 1838 and Ivan Sutherland’s head-mounted display was introduced in 1968 which is believed to be the first ever VR headset. And VR became popular by introducing it in screens by movies such as Brainstorm and The Lawnmower Man.  

virtual reality

Josep Lago/AFP/Getty Images

Do we really need VR? The answer is neither yes nor no. Virtual Reality is not a pressing need of the hour or a first world problem. It has the potential to become in future. Rather it fulfils and enhances the experience of what we already have as game, video, etc., Virtual Reality is being experienced in so many form factors right now. It comes as integrated head mounted displays(Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony Morpheus), mobile head mounted displays(Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR) and also as heads up displays(Google Glass).

When the technology advances, the size of the device decreases and its capability increases. Think of what happened with computers throughout the past 6 decades or any digital products that you use on everyday like television, radio, wrist watch, phone, etc.,

Right now, we are using VR headsets as a head mounted display which runs with the help of your laptop for graphics processing. But soon all the companies will start moving towards all-in-one integrated VR headsets which works as an independent device without the help of laptop which you can call it as a second generation device. And the future or the 3rd generation is going to be there like a spectacle that you wear. It will become reality within next 5 years with the help of wafer level lensless cameras, 2mm size SoC vision processors, touchless sensors, holographic OLED display, metal air batteries, supercapacitors, emissive displays with retinal projection which is already under research and it will become reality soon. At that point of time, everyone will literally have two lives, one in real and another in virtual world.

India is yet to see any of these effects on VR or its associated technologies like it is happening outside India. But the time is not so far from now. We have a few VR based services startups here. It is time to take it on to main stream. In the Indian context, a lot of things needs to be solved before bringing the technology into masses. It has a huge potential for billions of people by creating virtual version of everything that only wealthy can afford. Whether you want to take a ride on miami beach or you want to check how does it feel when you sit inside mercedes’ latest concept car, you can have the experience right here and right now. That is the power of VR. Soon our future is going to be there. We are going to see mass adoption of VR in games and movies.

If you still think how will it be useful for you, here are a few simple and direct use cases for the mass adoption of VR

  1. Kill your enemy inside their camp literally with the help of 360 degree view VR games
  2. You can watch a movie(2D movie) while travelling on a bus/train without disturbing anyone
  3. You can virtually teleport yourself wherever you want right now, say disneyland and you are there
  4. You can go for a virtual tour of the place that you are going to visit, even before your flight lands there
  5. A school teacher can take all the students into a historic incident and teach about it
  6. An architect/3D designer can visualize their 3D models by being virtually inside while designing. This will bring a lot of novel innovations in real estate sector
  7. Watch any live event by sitting at the venue without even being there
  8. Go for any kind of medical therapy by making yourself immersive into the virtual world. For example fear of heights(Acrophobia) can be cured with VR.
  9. Are you afraid of public speaking(Glossophobia)? Then go for a virtual rehearsal of talking in front of a huge audience
  10. Crime scene reconstructions for a court case
  11. Corporates will start their training programs with VR

Does this give at least one convincing use case related to you? Even if it not, there will be a use case soon. In the upcoming years, the whole entertainment industry is going to be flooded with VR contents everywhere from 360 degree videos, photospheres, VR hardwares, virtual tours, virtual theme parks, virtual marketing, virtual online education with Artificial Intelligence, virtual games to virtual porn.

There is a market for every industry in this platform, depends on how much easy the adoption is. So where is the future? I will be roaming inside a Metaverse from Neal Stephenson’s seminal novel Snowcrash, a virtual world accessed by millions of people through VR headsets. Fingers crossed!

We from GazeMatic creating an eco system around Virtual Reality. We will start selling our G360° VR headsets soon by the mid of this year. G360° Headset is aiming to become a major entertainment platform where user can play games, watch movie, travel around places virtually and much more. We are already working on a few cool applications for it like virtually teleport yourself to a foreign land when you are on a call with your soulmate and also a killer FPS game where you can play inside real world cities inside VR mode. We are working with architects to build 3D visualization of their 3D models. We are working with a movie streaming company to bring their app into VR to have a immersive experience and watch movie wherever you travel. If you want to have a look at our product and if you are around Bangalore, we are happy to show a couple of awesome demos to you. And also we are taking pre-orders. Just shoot us a mail to [email protected] HTH.

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