Is virtual reality the new business opportunity?
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Is virtual reality the new business opportunity?

Is virtual reality the new business opportunity?

Walking into a hotel in the UAE in 50 years will be a whole new level of luxury, with XR glasses making the visitor experience seamless says Nikhil Nair, consumer business lead at HTC Vive MEA

How do you see the growth of the virtual reality market in the Middle East? Is it still in its infancy in the region?

Virtual Reality (VR) is still taking off around the world but at an accelerated pace. While the market initially captured the interest of professional gamers, we have evolved the category across the board, catering to multiple consumer and commercial touchpoints. The YoY growth has been substantial in adopting PC VR and All in one VR products. While still in its infancy, we see mass adoption of the category with the launch of All in 2 VR category devices in the near future. Aside from the consumer business, we have partners in every commercial industry, from automotive to design, medical, and defence. The potential is vast, and the Middle East has many innovators looking to the future and showing immense potential to our business. VR can change how consumers experience content and games as well as how companies operate.

For instance, VR glasses can display contextual overlays of real-time information when walking in an airport. It will contain everything from how crowded each restaurant is to seeing the menu with 3D renderings of each item to flight updates and how long it will take to walk to the gate, with instructions displayed in the view.

How will augmented reality and virtual reality transform businesses and the economy in the UAE?

The UAE has a long history of technological advancement. VR headsets and adoption are a vital part of that journey, and nations that continue to push the limits will reap the benefits in decades to come. The country is perfectly placed to use advanced technology, with dozens of sectors ranging from tourism to industrial and beyond. Walking into a hotel in the UAE in 50 years will be a whole new level of elegance and luxury, with Extended Reality (XR) glasses making the visitor experience seamless and effortless. For example, to book activities at a glance, try out the latest boutiques without moving and even have a live view of what a friend sees while skydiving.

What in your opinion is the potential fields in which VR and AR can be implemented going forward? 

The potential for VR is near limitless. In the past few months, I have been given surgical training in VR, been taught how to land a plane, and driven a sports car too. I have also seen the most intricate and detailed artwork created using VR. I have held meetings across the world from my living room and seen my colleagues as we work on 3D models of new products.

We have partners like BMW, who can help customers tailor every element of their new car and train their engineers on their upcoming fleet of electric vehicles; for instance, VRMADA uses VR and AR to drive digital transformation and customer success for Dubai Customs and Dubai Police.

A great range of applications is available already, from training to design, and collaboration and beyond; the possibilities are endless. It’s exciting being at the forefront of VR technology because we see new and creative tools developed everyday.

Can you tell us about your latest product, Vive Flow? What are its features? How does it stand apart from the rest?

Vive Flow represents the next evolution of technology as we take a more holistic view of making life better. It is a compact, lightweight immersive glass device intended to help people nurture their minds, relax, have fun daily, disconnect from their present and go with the flow.

The device allows people to immerse themselves in a new and convenient way – effortlessly fitting into life and providing a simple way to improve wellbeing. Vive Flow is spearheading a new product category that will help redefine self-care – whether that means watching a favourite show, meditating, or playing a game.

It is designed to fit different head shapes and sizes, and it easily folds down and can be stored in a purse or satchel. Vive Flow also has built-in diopter dials, to make adjustments for crystal clear visuals without wearing glasses.  We have innovated significantly on making immersive experiences more accessible, convenient and affordable for our mass consumers. We have done away with controllers, allowing users to use their smartphone as a controller coupled with our inside-out headset with 6DoF tracking.

Read: New realities in the virtual world

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