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The Future Of VR

What We Learned at VR 20/20

The InstaVR team had the pleasure of exhibiting at VR 20/20 this week, the kickoff to NYC Television & Video Week. There's a lot of enthusiasm for VR among media companies in New York. They realize that immersive media is gaining both attention and eyeballs -- and complements their existing broadcasting initiatives.

Our Head of Sales & Marketing, Andrew Woodberry, sat in on some of the panels that focused on the future of VR. Below are the most salient points he took away from the presentations:

The Future Has Arrived (Amit Singh, Google)

Google has always been good at identifying trends. They have plenty of data from which to identify them. One of the best examples of this was their scooping up YouTube for a fraction of the price they'd have to pay now.

Their initial foray into Google Cardboard was smart. These basic headsets, which cost less than $10, have reached 10 million consumers. The New York Times alone sent out one million of them to subscribers last year. Though not really a technological breakthrough, they did attach the name Google to the burgeoning VR market.

At VR 20/20, Amit Singh walked through the next phase of Google & VR. That involves the Pixel phones and $79 Daydream headset, which is both more comfortable and stylish than the Gear VR. He also discussed the pop-up store they currently have in Manhattan showing off their new hardware. 

But the most important thing Singh talked about was the Google VR content hub. With cool immersive videos from Baobob studios & Warner Brothers' Harry Potter, Singh showed off just two of the many experiences available for viewing with a new Daydream headset. 

Main Takeaway: VR adoption is driven more by content than hardware. That's why InstaVR is focused on allowing creators to quickly & easily create engaging VR content. Soon, you'll be able to add Google Daydream to the list of platforms you can publish to from InstaVR.

Film, Television, OTT & VR: Where the Content & Technology Intersect

Another great panel, this one featuring executives from CNN, Google, Felix & Paul, and IMAX. This lively discussion also focused quite a bit on what content is or isn't appropriate for VR. That's a conversation I have often with our clients, as they plan out what to put in their VR experience. 

One topic I found particularly interesting: length of VR experience. We're still at the point, given current headsets/hardware and attention span, where shorter is better. The consensus was 10 minutes was pretty much a max, given people's current preferences.

Main Takeaway: Shorter is better. Use InstaVR to create multiple specific apps, in lieu of one longer VR experience. Your end users will appreciate it more.

Predicting 2020 (Eric Romo, AltspaceVR)

The closing keynote was a great presentation by Eric Romo, founder of the social VR company, AltSpaceVR. He explained how things are currently in VR, and how they will change over the next four years.

My favorite of his projections: how currently companies generally have 1 person who is a VR advocate, but in the future many employees will be using or championing VR at a given company. He likened that to the way internet & mobile had early corporate adopters, before going company-wide. 

Main Takeaway: VR has up until now largely been a novelty, a way of gaining people's attention and appreciation. Going forward, it will be a standard way of experiencing things. Just as the mobile phone opened up all sorts of communication possibilities, VR hardware and software will revolutionize how we experience things.​