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The Virtual Reality Workout

The Virtual Reality Workout

June 21, 2021

The pandemic changed daily habits, and, for some, it also decreased workouts or made them a bit less exciting. Gyms were closed, and, let’s be honest, most people during the height of the pandemic might not have been venturing outside to mingle. While walks and runs were still an option, not everyone had the space to social distance on the pavement. The world may be getting closer to the old normal, but workout options have broadened. During quarantine, some might have discovered virtual workouts. For those who own a virtual reality headset, virtual workouts could have brought joy back into fitness. Not familiar with virtual reality workouts? Here’s everything you need to know to go virtual with fitness. DO YOU NEED A HEADSET? To enter the virtual realm, users do need a headset. Virtual reality fitness apps might require this, especially if users are downloading apps from Steam. During the pandemic, the term ‘virtual’ was conflated to mean anything that wasn’t in-person. School was virtual. Work was virtual. Conferences? Yes…virtual. Platforms like Zoom aren’t virtual reality. They are simply video applications. The meeting or school session is ‘virtual’ because it isn’t in-person. Virtual reality is a different kind of virtual. Accessing virtual reality platforms typically—although not always—requires a headset. Using the headset, individuals enter virtual realms. This can be a fantasy realm or a replica of a gym, studio or some other destination. Virtual reality can really take users anywhere. Users can have a virtual workout or fitness routine with or without a headset. Both options will be highlighted, as not all consumers have access to a headset. FITNESS IN VIRTUAL REALITY: YOU NEED THE HEADSET Steam offers many fitness apps that users can access via a headset. Want to feel the burn in virtual reality? Try out these apps for a fun, virtual and heart-pumping workout: BOOT CAMP FITNESS Described as “a home cardio and bodyweight workout app/game,” Boot Camp Fitness offers a built-in playlist of more than 150 songs to keep users moving. The game offers 13 ranks and 18 different locations users can unlock. Select the length of the workout and fitness level (beginner, normal or advanced). The app offers workout tips, too! VR IMMERSIVE FITNESS GYM The app includes football, cycling, running and other games. A yoga option is ‘coming soon.’ REALFIT (VR FITNESS) Stick with standard fitness options or opt for a game to make the competition a bit more fun. Earn points for exercises, too! Do squats, jumping jacks and more! This game keeps fitness fun and provides a unique immersive environment to pull users from their home-bound rut. VR FITNESS This is a game that combines fitness with action. User’s participation will burn calories. Go after the enemies and then discover how many calories were burned during the mission. VIRTUAL YOGA RETREAT Namaste! Practice yoga virtually. Features tranquil scenery to add to the ambiance. Users can choose their appropriate level, and, yes, beginners can use the app, too (just choose ‘beginner!’). All the above apps require a headset to enter the virtual lesson. Some may require other equipment, too, like a stationary bike. Users can explore the different apps and choose the one they like best…or the app that fits their needs. Virtual Reality Workout [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Virtual-Fitness-Without-the-Headset.jpg] VIRTUAL FITNESS WITHOUT THE HEADSET Virtual workouts don’t always require a headset. Working out from home with the aid of a video or conferencing app also could be considered ‘virtual.’ The internet offers many virtual workout options, and many can be found on YouTube. Check out these workout videos to get moving at home: BEGINNERS YOGA SERIES: 10 MOST IMPORTANT YOGA POSES FOR BEGINNERS New to yoga? Beginners can start a routine by learning the easiest positions. This video shows 10 yoga poses for beginners and may be a nice introduction to the practice. The video is less than five minutes long, so this is very much just an introduction to a few poses. Yoga for Complete Beginners-20 Minute Home Yoga Workout! Looking for an actual yoga workout as a beginner? Try this video from Yoga with Adriene. Not only does the video provide a good introduction to the practice, but it also provides a full yoga workout. HULA HOOP HOP (A WORKOUT FOR EVERYONE) All you need for this brief workout is a hula hoop. And, yes, that hoop will get your body moving and your blood pumping. The video progresses in difficulty, so prepare for some challenges. DANCE OFF THE CALORIES PopSugar posted a 30-minute Cardio Latin Dance Workout. Have fun, move the body and get dancing for fitness! 10 MIN BEGINNER JUMP ROPE WORKOUT Jumping rope is actually great cardio. This video is for those new to jumping, and it’s not long. Although 10 minutes of jumping rope can get the heart pumping. Grab a jump rope and embrace this fitness routine. AUGMENTED REALITY WORKOUTS Virtual reality workouts may require the need for a headset while virtual at-home workouts are typically just a workout done at home via a video or other platform (no headset required). However, there are also augmented reality apps for fitness. The difference between augmented reality and virtual reality is that augmented reality features the real environment with graphic overlays while virtual reality is viewed in a separate virtual environment. Both of these technologies are part of extended reality (XR). Some apps let users race against augmented reality zombies or an augmented reality competitor. Want to get fit in augmented reality? Try these options: ZOMBIES, RUN! The app is a game combined with a fitness program. Users are running, jogging or walking away from zombies, which are shown via a device in augmented reality. There could be zombies behind the runner. So look out! During the game, users have to complete tasks (like getting supplies) while outrunning the zombies. THE GHOST PACER This isn’t an app but a headset that lets runners train against an augmented reality competitor. They also can race against friends. The headset also features Strava. AR RUNNER For less than $1, users can download the app and race against friends. The app takes users through various checkpoints. Try to beat the previous time! Virtual Reality Workout [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Why-Use-Technology-for-Workouts.jpg] WHY USE TECHNOLOGY FOR WORKOUTS? Covid restrictions are easing around the country and the globe. More people may be heading back to the gym and back outside for sports and other fitness routines. Yet, technology may still be a perfect fit for fitness enthusiasts. Not everyday is ideal for outdoor activities, and virtual and augmented reality fitness options provide indoor fitness routines that won’t get rained out. Those who are still working from home or whose employers have permanently pivoted to virtual offices might use these virtual platforms for a fitness break during the day. Virtual reality also breaks up the monotony of workouts. Fitness enthusiasts may enjoy a virtual day of workouts, as apps and games can offer something unique to the fitness journey. And those who are new to running might enjoy an augmented reality platform that transforms their surroundings into a game…or a zombie apocalypse! DOWNLOAD THE DATA BEFORE THE WORKOUT Before starting a workout, users should check with their doctor first. And before downloading that app, research what it offers. Not every workout is ideal for every individual, and some apps may provide advisories or warnings related to who should use the app. And while some apps are free, others are not. Ghost Pacer, for example, isn’t an app but a headset. So, in some cases, there is an investment cost. Going virtual via videos, though, might be a budget-friendly way to find a fun but free workout. Beyond yoga, hula hooping, dance and jumping rope, there are so many workout options on YouTube. Find belly dancing tutorials, running in place videos, weight training videos, ab workout videos and more. Yes, there are even surfing lessons on YouTube! BEGINNERS AND THE VIRTUAL WORKOUT While apps via Steam require a headset, virtual video workouts require nothing but an internet connection. Thanks to the internet anyone can workout virtually. Some studios or gyms may even offer virtual classes or fitness training. Videos and virtual tutorials are a great way to learn a new exercise without any awkwardness. Even one-on-one virtual classes can help a beginner grow confident with a new routine. While the gym or studio can be intimidating to those new to a practice, a home-based introduction can ease the beginner into the routine and help them become comfortable. IS VIRTUAL FITNESS THE FUTURE? While working out via video, augmented reality or via virtual reality is unique and convenient, is it the future of fitness? As Covid restrictions have eased, many people may be craving their old routine. This might mean heading back to the gym or pounding the pavement with friends. Virtual and augmented reality fitness apps and programs, though, may have a place for those who are new to a practice and want to grow confident without a crowd. And virtual videos and apps also may be a great option when the weather isn’t quite so great or when an individual just doesn’t have time for the gym. While many may crave the social interactions of the gym or just the experience of an outdoor environment, virtual and augmented reality can provide a unique element to add to the fun of a workout routine. After all, who doesn’t want to be chased by zombies!?

Categories: Virtual Reality
How a Virtual Reality Car Showroom Simplifies Car Shopping

How a Virtual Reality Car Showroom Simplifies Car Shopping

June 9, 2021

Car buying has moved online because of Covid, and while the automotive industry might not have anticipated the sudden pivot to the virtual world, consumers have embraced the new virtual trend. According to Cox Automotive’s Digitization of End-to-End Retail study, “…64% of shoppers want to do more of the purchase process online the next time they buy a vehicle.” Shopping for a car online might be the future of car buying, and many dealerships may be adding more online resources—like a virtual reality car showroom—to aid potential buyers. Here’s how a virtual reality car showroom simplifies car shopping and why and how consumers can use these resources. Virtual Reality Car Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/What-is-a-Virtual-Reality-Car-Showroom.jpg] WHAT IS A VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOM? Before Covid, most consumers on the hunt for a new car might have looked at dealership inventory online, scrolled through pictures, priced their favorites and then headed out to visit a few dealerships for the best price. When the pandemic shut down most nonessential businesses, car dealerships might have moved their business online. This meant that many consumers might not have been able to leisurely stroll around the showroom. While pictures might capture the basic look of the vehicle, those photos don’t—and really can’t—tell the whole story. Yes, there can be photos of the interior. Dealerships can even take videos or up-close snapshots of the details. However, those photos don’t allow for much interaction beyond clicking through a slideshow or watching a video. Virtual reality car showrooms allow dealerships to digitally replicate the in-person experience in a virtual realm. These showrooms can be accessed via an app, with or without a headset. In its most basic form—without headset navigation—consumers can choose a vehicle and view it in a three-dimensional space. The vehicle is shown to scale, and consumers can look inside, change the color of the body paint…and more. With a headset, these spaces are much more interactive. Users actually come up close to these three-dimensional virtual cars and can interact with them in the virtual space. Again, this allows the consumer to access the interior of the car, swap out the paint hue and even look at the vehicle from different vantage points. Virtual reality car showrooms—like the one offered by RelayCars—provide consumers with the option to preview many different makes from multiple manufacturers, including luxury brands like Porsche and Ferrari. HOW DO VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOMS SIMPLIFY SHOPPING? While Covid restrictions kept many consumers at home or limited their visits to stores, some consumers still needed to purchase a new car. Virtual reality car showrooms allowed the car shopping experience to be accessible at home…or anywhere. But it also may help to simplify the experience beyond Covid. In fact, dealers surveyed for the Cox study believed that online experiences might be more personalized. The study noted that “…75% agree that digital retailing provides shoppers a more customized experience.” How can online resources and digital retailing provide this type of experience? Online resources can be used however the consumer desires. Customers using a virtual reality showroom might only preview the vehicles on their wish list. They don’t have to scroll through a list of online inventory. They can look at the cars that interest them, and then pursue the dealerships. Dealership experiences also could allow for more customized experiences in that even the sales interactions can happen virtually. This may help customers cut through the red tape of the experience by simply requesting info on the cars they need or want and not getting sidetracked with other vehicles in the inventory. Online interactions also could be more direct and to the point, eliminating a time-consuming in-person experience that could have taken hours. When shopping online, consumers also can look at their leisure, without pressure. If needed, they could request a virtual test drive or head to the dealership to view their favorite vehicles in person. USING VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOMS TO COMPLEMENT THE IN-PERSON EXPERIENCE The light at the end of the Covid tunnel is visible, and this may mean that in-person shopping may come with fewer restrictions to consumers. However, the online experience may still be valuable and can work to complement the in-person shopping experience. Consumers can use virtual reality car showrooms as a research tool to preview the vehicles that most interest them. The virtual realm can help consumers explore the look of the vehicle and what it has to offer. Using their online favorites as a guide, consumers can then check out local dealerships to find price points and any promotions or savings. Or consumers may have a list of their favorite vehicles and then visit the dealership for a test drive. Virtual reality car showrooms also can help consumers understand what they don’t want. Maybe a specific vehicle seemed ideal, but previewing the vehicle in the virtual space might have revealed space constraints in the back seat or perhaps other issues that crossed that dreamy vehicle off the list. Pictures are two-dimensional, but viewing the car in 3D may provide a better physical understanding of the vehicle. Virtual Reality Car Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Future-of-Virtual-Reality-Car-Showrooms.jpg] THE FUTURE OF VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOMS While RelayCars can be accessed via a headset, a more immersive virtual reality experience is on the horizon. The future of car shopping will be virtual…and very close to the in-person experience. The next generation of the virtual reality car showroom will be accessible via Steam. The app is known as Roomscale, and the experience is a true virtual reality showroom experience. In this new virtual realm, users will be able to walk around and interact with whatever vehicle is on the must-see list. There will be an inventory of vehicle choices, and the interactions will closely mirror those in an actual showroom. Even better? Users can explore whatever car they wish. If it’s in the inventory, check it out! Not only does this give users the freedom to explore new types of vehicles, maybe it also helps some car buyers set a goal for a dream car of the future. Or, of course, users can just check out cars for fun. Roomscale and the immersive virtual reality car showroom may represent what the future holds for car buying. Consumers have shown that they like the virtual shopping option. Perhaps this is due to the laid-back atmosphere that the virtual realm offers. There is no sales pressure when visiting virtual showrooms. The power might shift to the consumer. VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOMS WITHOUT THE HEADSET Roomscale will require that users have a virtual reality headset. However, RelayCars will continue to offer a virtual reality car showroom that can be accessed by anyone…with or without a headset. Using the standard app, users can preview cars in the virtual environment and interact with the vehicles via a phone or other device. Multiple app options provide accessibility to a wider audience. And, for users who want an augmented experience, RelayCars also offers an augmented reality car showroom. This app lets users preview the vehicle of their choice within their own environment. Drop a vehicle in the garage, the living room, the backyard…anywhere. With augmented reality, users can walk around the vehicle, peek inside and switch the colors of the exterior of the vehicle. Augmented reality provides a different type of immersive experience. By allowing users to drop a vehicle anywhere, it also allows users to customize their car hunt. Now shoppers can actually see what that car looks like in the driveway! It might be too big. Or too green! Change it up! WHAT’S THE COST OF A VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SHOWROOM? For consumers, the big question about online resources is “what’s the cost?” All the apps offered by RelayCars can be downloaded for free. There is no cost to experience virtual reality or augmented reality…unless, of course, users want to purchase a headset. Buying a new car is a major purchase. MarketWatch reported that the average cost of a new car has soared to more than $40,000. While there are models far below this average, many consumers may face sticker shock when hunting for that new vehicle. Researching options helps consumers find the best car for their lifestyle and, hopefully, helps them find the best price, too. While virtual reality or augmented reality car showrooms don’t provide price data, they can help consumers better understand what vehicles they like so they can narrow down their choices. Maybe a consumer finds a few favorites via the virtual reality showroom only to research the models and discover that they are just too expensive. That shopper didn’t have to spend gas money driving to a dealership or waste time looking at cars that simply were beyond their budget. Instead, shoppers can browse the virtual inventory, taking their time to find the best car for them…and then focus on finding deals at local dealerships. Not only can these online resources simplify the shopping experience, but it also can help lower stress, frustration and time waste. Shoppers who know what they want also might be a dream customer for sales teams who can then focus on finalizing the deal…instead of touring a lot. A win-win for everyone!

Categories: Virtual Reality
Is VR Mindfulness More Than a New Workplace Trend?

Is VR Mindfulness More Than a New Workplace Trend?

June 7, 2021

Many of us know the concept of virtual reality and it is likely that most of us have experienced it in some form or another over the years — most likely in the form of an immersive virtual experience or via video games. Family fun centers have been utilizing virtual reality to create amusement park style experiences within the confines of a single building for years. Oculus Rift has been utilized by not only gamers but also by a variety of professionals to trick the mind into thinking that it actually inhabits a virtually constructed world. Early precursors of virtual reality have been popping up here and there since the sixties — but nothing really caught on until recently due to technological limitations. Virtual reality is in a far better place than it was in the 80s for multiple reasons. To say that virtual reality has influenced video gaming is nothing new. What is new is the fact that VR is being used for a variety of purposes beyond creating an immersive gamer experience. For instance, the medical industry utilizes virtual reality for examining human biology, not to mention helping prospective surgeons practice certain methods and procedures virtually. The health and wellness industry is worth around 4.5 trillion dollars globally, statistics show, and it’s an industry that spends a lot of resources developing high end products that are aimed toward a socially and health conscious demographic. It’s no small wonder that businesses and brands around the world are now looking to utilize virtual reality in order to assist employees, especially those who are feeling less inspired within the constraints of a normal 9-5 job.  Is VR Mindfulness More Than a New Workplace Trend? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/VR-and-the-Health-and-Wellness-Industry.jpg] VR AND THE HEALTH AND WELLNESS INDUSTRY Virtual reality has been adopted by and incorporated into the health and wellness realm in a variety of exciting ways. As VR technology moves forward, the idea of VR only being associated with video games will seem like more and more of an antiquated concept.  VR technology is helping individuals: * Deal with pain management * Learn crucial health and wellness education in a new and interactive way * Treat PTSD and undergo certain parts of the injury rehabilitation process VR can now provide people with stress relief, enhance various fitness and wellness practices, and assist those who are aging in place in retirement homes. How does virtual reality help someone feel better or feel less pain? Virtual reality inherently aims to create an immersive experience for people, which ends up having an effect that leaves a person feeling pulled away from daily realities. When we are in pain or in states of distress or confusion, our awareness of our own pain increases and alleviates. When we can be released and delivered from our own pain and ailments, our mind is able to focus on other things, which provides a therapeutic effect. As virtual reality becomes more and more sophisticated, each and every sense will aim to be captured and integrated into a high caliber virtual reality experience. Once taste and smell can be successfully and convincingly incorporated into a virtual experience along with sight, touch, and sound, virtual therapy and virtual mindfulness will evolve as well. BUSINESSES AND HEALTH AND WELLNESS Nowadays people are highly aware of a business and/or brand’s social standing, which might include how businesses treat their employees. Now that just about each and every person has a platform to be seen and heard, stories are getting told about harsh and undesirable circumstances that some employers may or may not be subjecting their employees to. Perhaps as some sort of response, more forward-thinking companies are spending thought energy coming up with ways to promote wellness at the workplace. You might have heard about that hot new tech company downtown that has a yoga studio in their building and buys vegan food every Friday for their employees, or maybe there’s a new smoothie machine in the break room that is indicative of many employers at least making an effort to promote wellness at the workplace. Is VR Mindfulness More Than a New Workplace Trend? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/VR-Mindfulness-and-Wellness-in-the-Workplace.jpg] VR MINDFULNESS AND WELLNESS IN THE WORKPLACE Employers have a vested interest in putting energy into making sure their employees are happy and healthy, especially in their work environment, which inspires creativity and productivity. On the contrary, anxiety and stress can seriously curb someone’s ability to perform their job successfully, not to mention spend precious time and energy that could be better spent on day-to-day operations.  But it’s not so easy to see what is going on in the mind, especially since people always try to put their best foot forward while at work. There is still a negative connotation with mental illness, which might also be a reason why VR mindfulness is catching on in the workplace, where anonymity can be held intact. VR mindfulness tools enable users to engage in an illusory experience alone, in the comfort of their office or cubicle. Speaking of cubicles, one of the number one complaints that employees have is feeling trapped at work, especially when working in smaller spaces. A VR experience is an easy and cost-effective way for an employee to escape their everyday working environment and visit a faraway place or even a newly constructed virtual reality that doesn’t exist in the waking world. The Sunday scaries are a real thing, and they have to do with the average worker dreading going into work on Mondays, so much so that it compromises their ability to enjoy their Sunday, which accounts for 50% of the average worker’s weekend. It turns out that being able to teleport to new realms (albeit only momentarily) has a lot of benefits for someone working at a brick and mortar establishment — upper brass and groundfloor ranking employees alike. VR is more than simply technology that gives an employee the ability to view a new environment, they can also interact with it via tracking performed by remotes equipped in the hardware in the three-dimensional space. Workers can now interact with virtual environments, creating a more well-rounded immersive experience. Is VR Mindfulness More Than a New Workplace Trend? [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/VR-Games.jpg] OKAY, SO THERE ARE GAMES… Obviously some employers might want to create a fun and entertaining virtual experience for their employees that will allow them to blow off steam during breaks from productivity. Taking rest from work is a good way to recharge the batteries and attack an old problem from a new angle. Many employers have dart boards and foosball tables that allow employees to entertain themselves, but these forms of entertainment have obvious limitations. Only 2-4 people can play foosball. Only a few people can play darts. However, a virtual game can be used by every employee simultaneously, as long as there are enough headsets and hardware for the entire team. On the wellness side, there is far more serious and therapeutic work to be done. Meditation apps are utilizing virtual reality to help users surrender to meditative processes, which helps the mind slow itself down, which is a prime state to try to let thoughts settle down. Turns out there is a ton of stimulation at work. Top stresses that employees and employers experience at work is: * Financial Troubles * Unrealistic Goals and Expectations * Workplace Politics * Deadlines * Lack of Clear Leadership * Lack of Accountability These sorts of issues can seriously compromise an individual’s ability to perform their job in a functional manner, much less excel at what they do. Once one team member is feeling down and out at the workplace, they might feel the inclination to lament to others, which will ultimately lower the team morale in immeasurable ways. VR mindfulness tools that don’t go the gaming route are more geared toward education, often providing instructions and even tutorials that provide benefits to the user, especially when it comes to stress management.  VR guided meditation is tremendously beneficial to employees, especially since common complaints about meditation in general include:  * Inability to concentrate * Boredom * Futility * Difficulty A VR guided meditation aims to assist a user in the meditation process by using sound and virtual imagery that will capture a person’s attention and interest, while guiding them into a more meditative state. Before an employee knows it, they’ve just completed a 10-20 minute guided meditation and get to experience all of the wellness benefits that come as a result. Doing a VR guided meditation a few times a week or even once a day is a small investment in creating a new culture at any given workplace. Instead of asking employees to do it on their own time, employers can show some initiative and show a caring gesture by providing this sort of experience during business hours. VR wellness technology is showing up in workplace wellness rooms for businesses that have the resources to construct an immersive virtual reality experience in their own offices. Otherwise, it’s much simpler and cost effective to invest in a few headsets that employees can utilize during down time. One thing is for sure, VR is a new and exciting coworker for many employees around the world.

Categories: Virtual Reality
HTC VIVE’s List of Top Virtual Reality Social Influencers

HTC VIVE’s List of Top Virtual Reality Social Influencers

May 28, 2021

Influencers are held up high within their specific market segment. This could be fashion, automotive, beauty or virtual reality. HTC VIVE released its list of 100 social influencers in virtual reality for 2021, but it isn’t just a random list of who’s who in virtual reality. According to the company’s press release individuals “…were ranked according to several factors including reach, levels of engagement, and how much of their content is dedicated to VR. Additional recognition was awarded to influencers who have a voice in mainstream media, such as Forbes.” Here’s a look at Vive’s list of top virtual reality social influencers, with a focus on the top 10. NUMBER 10: BEN LANG, ROAD TO VR (US) Lang started Road to VR about a decade ago, and he worked at several tech publications for nearly a decade prior to founding the site. Lang has documented the virtual reality industry for years. Road to VR has more than 90,000 Twitter followers, and more than 40,000 followers/likes on Facebook. Lang is followed by more than 22,000 on Twitter and serves as Road to VR’s executive editor. NUMBER 9: VRLOLATHON (THE UNITED KINGDOM) The popular YouTube channel has more than 840,000 subscribers. The channel posts videos like “How to Scare People in VRCHAT” and “Borat but its VR (VRchat funny moments).”  The bio on the channel reads simply: “Just a guy from the UK who loves VR and clowning around.” VRLolathon began in 2018, and has seemingly surged since then. So who is the person behind the channel? The identity seems to be a mystery. However, in the Fandom site for VRChatLegends, VRLolathon is a revered name in the world of virtual reality. The description for Lolathon states: “Lolathon is a content creator of VR Chat, who has been around since the damn concept of the game. For every stream he does, he tries to make a new avatar to show off. His many meme avatars delight, scare, or confuse people, or make them ponder their existence. His home is the VR Chat Circus: the asylum of laughter and screams. Lolathon is one of the Great Meme Pillars of VR Chat.” NUMBER 8: MULLY (AUSTRALIA) Mully is a YouTuber from Australia. The channel has more than five million subscribers. Content includes videos like “when nightmare no no comes for you” and “the strangest vr game of 2021.” The description for the channel? A simple note: “if ur reading this u r cool.” So who is Mully? According to Fandom, his real name is Mullen, and he’s 27; he’s also known to collaborate with YourNarrator, JoshDub, EddieVR, JuicyFruitSnacks. Collectively, per Fandom, they are known as “The Boys.” NUMBER 7: GAWR GURA (JAPAN) Hailing from Japan, Gawr Gura is a YouTuber with more than 2.6 million subscribers. Virtual reality videos often feature anime characters. Per Fandom, Gura uses Hololive. Fandom describes her ‘personality’: “Gura is friendly and readily likeable, and often amuses her viewers with foolish antics. She has no sense of direction, often misspelled and mispronounces words, has trouble remembering her own age, and consistently fails to solve basic math problems, leading viewers to affectionately call her a “dum shark”.” Gura, however, is simply a character…with a backstory! Fandom notes that she is descended from Atlantis, and she swam to Earth. She also wears a shark hat! NUMBER 6: IAN HAMILTON & JAMIE FELTHAM, UPLOADVR (UNITED STATES) Ian Hamilton is the executive editor of Upload VR, and Jamie Feltham is the senior editor (UK) and show producer for the site. According to their bios on the site, Feltham has covered virtual reality for about seven years; Hamilton started covering Oculus virtual reality back in 2012 and has been a full-time virtual reality journalist for about six years. NUMBER 5: APOKI (KOREA) Apoki has more than two million followers on Tik Tok. The main character in videos is a cotton candy pink haired girl, who often is featured with rabbit ears. Apoki also takes on some of TikTok’s viral dance challenges…via virtual reality, of course! Videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views. And it isn’t uncommon for Apoki to @ other TikTok influencers like Charli D’amelio. NUMBER 4: DRUMSY (USA) Drumsy is a popular YouTuber with more than two million subscribers. Some videos include anime, others include other popular cartoon animations. Drumsy’s official Twitter account has more than 120,000 followers. So who is this YouTuber? Once again, Fandom has the details: he has been dubbed “the #1 news reporter of VRChat,” and his videos are created like news stories or documentaries. NUMBER 3: JOSHDUB (AUSTRALIA) Yet another popular YouTuber, JoshDub has more than eight million subscribers. The description of his channel reads: “weird vr memes with the boys.” Of course, the boys are YourNarrator, EddieVR, JuicyFruitSnacks and Mully! Wikitubia notes that JoshDub’s management “…described him as being a pioneer of VR entertainment on YouTube.” NUMBER 2: EDDIEVR (UNITED STATES) Although JoshDub has amassed the most YouTube followers of “The Boys,” EddieVR has more than five million followers…he and Mully are pretty close. So how or why has EddieVR passed Josh on the list of 100 influencers? TikTok could be part of the answer, Eddie has amassed more than seven million followers…and more than 16- million likes…but while Josh still beats him with more than eight million followers…he trails in likes (150 million likes). NUMBER 1: JONATHAN NAFARRETE & MALIA PROBST, VRSCOUT (UNITED STATES) Jonathan Nafarrete is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of VRScout; he also co-founded Scout House, a virtual production studio. Nafarrete has more than 68,000 followers on Twitter. Malia Probst is a founding partner of VRScout and a producer and investor in virtual reality. Probst has more than 11,000 Twitter followers. VRScout, however, has more than 73,000 followers. On YouTube, VRScout’s channel has 31,000 subscribers. Nafarrete and Probst snagged the top spot because of VRScout’s influence and reach. In the press release announcing the list of 100 influencers, HTC VIVE explained VRScout’s place within the industry: “This LA-based start-up has grown to become the world’s leading immersive media network, with a reach of over 250 million people.” Influencers are held up high within their specific market segment. This could be fashion, automotive, beauty or virtual reality. HTC VIVE released its list of 100 social influencers in virtual reality for 2021, but it isn’t just a random list of who’s who in virtual reality. According to the company’s press release individuals “…were ranked according to several factors including reach, levels of engagement, and how much of their content is dedicated to VR. Additional recognition was awarded to influencers who have a voice in mainstream media, such as Forbes.” Here’s a look at Vive’s list of top virtual reality social influencers, with a focus on the top 10. Number 10: Ben Lang, Road to VR (US) Lang started Road to VR about a decade ago, and he worked at several tech publications for nearly a decade prior to founding the site. Lang has documented the virtual reality industry for years. Road to VR has more than 90,000 Twitter followers, and more than 40,000 followers/likes on Facebook. Lang is followed by more than 22,000 on Twitter and serves as Road to VR’s executive editor. Number 9: VRLolathon (the United Kingdom) The popular YouTube channel has more than 840,000 subscribers. The channel posts videos like “How to Scare People in VRCHAT” and “Borat but its VR (VRchat funny moments).” The bio on the channel reads simply: “Just a guy from the UK who loves VR and clowning around.” VRLolathon began in 2018, and has seemingly surged since then. So who is the person behind the channel? The identity seems to be a mystery. However, in the Fandom site for VRChatLegends, VRLolathon is a revered name in the world of virtual reality. The description for Lolathon states: “Lolathon is a content creator of VR Chat, who has been around since the damn concept of the game. For every stream he does, he tries to make a new avatar to show off. His many meme avatars delight, scare, or confuse people, or make them ponder their existence. His home is the VR Chat Circus: the asylum of laughter and screams. Lolathon is one of the Great Meme Pillars of VR Chat.” Number 8: Mully (Australia) Mully is a YouTuber from Australia. The channel has more than five million subscribers. Content includes videos like “when nightmare no no comes for you” and “the strangest vr game of 2021.” The description for the channel? A simple note: “if ur reading this u r cool.” So who is Mully? According to Fandom, his real name is Mullen, and he’s 27; he’s also known to collaborate with YourNarrator, JoshDub, EddieVR, JuicyFruitSnacks. Collectively, per Fandom, they are known as “The Boys.” Number 7: Gawr Gura (Japan) Hailing from Japan, Gawr Gura is a YouTuber with more than 2.6 million subscribers. Virtual reality videos often feature anime characters. Per Fandom, Gura uses Hololive. Fandom describes her ‘personality’: “Gura is friendly and readily likeable, and often amuses her viewers with foolish antics. She has no sense of direction, often misspelled and mispronounces words, has trouble remembering her own age, and consistently fails to solve basic math problems, leading viewers to affectionately call her a "dum shark".” Gura, however, is simply a character…with a backstory! Fandom notes that she is descended from Atlantis, and she swam to Earth. She also wears a shark hat! Number 6: Ian Hamilton & Jamie Feltham, UploadVR (United States) Ian Hamilton is the executive editor of Upload VR, and Jamie Feltham is the senior editor (UK) and show producer for the site. According to their bios on the site, Feltham has covered virtual reality for about seven years; Hamilton started covering Oculus virtual reality back in 2012 and has been a full-time virtual reality journalist for about six years. Number 5: Apoki (Korea) Apoki has more than two million followers on Tik Tok. The main character in videos is a cotton candy pink haired girl, who often is featured with rabbit ears. Apoki also takes on some of TikTok’s viral dance challenges…via virtual reality, of course! Videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views. And it isn’t uncommon for Apoki to @ other TikTok influencers like Charli D'amelio. Number 4: Drumsy (USA) Drumsy is a popular YouTuber with more than two million subscribers. Some videos include anime, others include other popular cartoon animations. Drumsy’s official Twitter account has more than 120,000 followers. So who is this YouTuber? Once again, Fandom has the details: he has been dubbed “the #1 news reporter of VRChat,” and his videos are created like news stories or documentaries. Number 3: JoshDub (Australia) Yet another popular YouTuber, JoshDub has more than eight million subscribers. The description of his channel reads: “weird vr memes with the boys.” Of course, the boys are YourNarrator, EddieVR, JuicyFruitSnacks and Mully! Wikitubia notes that JoshDub’s management “…described him as being a pioneer of VR entertainment on YouTube.” Number 2: EddieVR (United States) Although JoshDub has amassed the most YouTube followers of “The Boys,” EddieVR has more than five million followers…he and Mully are pretty close. So how or why has EddieVR passed Josh on the list of 100 influencers? TikTok could be part of the answer, Eddie has amassed more than seven million followers…and more than 16- million likes…but while Josh still beats him with more than eight million followers…he trails in likes (150 million likes). Number 1: Jonathan Nafarrete & Malia Probst, VRScout (United States) Jonathan Nafarrete is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of VRScout; he also co-founded Scout House, a virtual production studio. Nafarrete has more than 68,000 followers on Twitter. Malia Probst is a founding partner of VRScout and a producer and investor in virtual reality. Probst has more than 11,000 Twitter followers. VRScout, however, has more than 73,000 followers. On YouTube, VRScout’s channel has 31,000 subscribers. Nafarrete and Probst snagged the top spot because of VRScout’s influence and reach. In the press release announcing the list of 100 influencers, HTC VIVE explained VRScout’s place within the industry: “This LA-based start-up has grown to become the world’s leading immersive media network, with a reach of over 250 million people.” The List Next Year VIVE HTC isn’t the first to name the top influencers in virtual reality. In 2017, Onalytica released its own list; that year, Rick King (@RickKing16) was named the top virtual reality influencer. King was listed as a consultant. Ian Hamilton and Jamie Feltham (who were both with Upload) also made the list at #9 and #10 (Feltham). Malia Probst came in at #39. So will another list pop up in 2022? With the way technology is advancing, and the boost virtual and augmented reality had during Covid, there could be an update on who holds the most influential reins in the virtual or augmented worlds. There may be many contenders next year. However, there also could be a halt in not necessarily influence but advancement because of the microchip shortage. What’s On the Virtual Horizon? For consumers who aren’t following virtual reality or augmented reality, it’s never too late to delve into these technologies and try them out. New products may soon hit the market. Facebook is working on prototypes for wristbands or bracelets with augmented reality. While headsets remain a portal into the virtual world, consumers don’t necessarily have to spend high dollars to step into an augmented (or virtual) world. There are many free apps and experiences via phones or other devices. Augmented reality is an incredibly popular technology for apps, and whether users have an Apple or Android device, the list of augmented reality apps can be vast. There are popular augmented reality games including Pokemon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Jurassic World Alive, and Zombies, Run! Many stores also use augmented reality to heighten the user experience. Preview paint colors via augmented reality, or use augmented reality apps to place new furniture in a room before buying. Augmented reality apps even let consumers preview cosmetics hues. Individuals with an Android device can try out some of Google’s new augmented reality experiences. <a href= [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/The-List-Next-Year.jpg]Floom lets users draw a whirling portal (or hole) into their environment and see the world on the other side. Sodar is an augmented reality experience that lets users draw an AR perimeter around themselves to better stay socially distant. Google also is working on an experience that will allow photos to come alive with augmented reality. Even cars offer augmented reality experiences. Backup cameras provide grid lines over the real world to detail how the car will turn. Smart rearview mirrors also may show augmented reality images to better aid the driver. And virtual reality can be used to preview cars during the at-home shopping experience. Use sites like RelayCars to open up and experience a virtual reality showroom; look inside the car, change paint colors and more. RelayCars can be used via an app without a headset or via an app on Steam with a headset for a more immersive experience. Next year, the game could change for augmented reality and virtual reality. Who knows what new experience, game or device will be developed. And new influencers could change the world of virtual reality and augmented reality in 2022. THE LIST NEXT YEAR VIVE HTC isn’t the first to name the top influencers in virtual reality. In 2017, Onalytica released its own list; that year, Rick King (@RickKing16) was named the top virtual reality influencer. King was listed as a consultant. Ian Hamilton and Jamie Feltham (who were both with Upload) also made the list at #9 and #10 (Feltham). Malia Probst came in at #39.   So will another list pop up in 2022? With the way technology is advancing, and the boost virtual and augmented reality had during Covid, there could be an update on who holds the most influential reins in the virtual or augmented worlds. There may be many contenders next year. However, there also could be a halt in not necessarily influence but advancement because of the microchip shortage. Influencers are held up high within their specific market segment. This could be fashion, automotive, beauty or virtual reality. HTC VIVE released its list of 100 social influencers in virtual reality for 2021, but it isn’t just a random list of who’s who in virtual reality. According to the company’s press release individuals “…were ranked according to several factors including reach, levels of engagement, and how much of their content is dedicated to VR. Additional recognition was awarded to influencers who have a voice in mainstream media, such as Forbes.” Here’s a look at Vive’s list of top virtual reality social influencers, with a focus on the top 10. Number 10: Ben Lang, Road to VR (US) Lang started Road to VR about a decade ago, and he worked at several tech publications for nearly a decade prior to founding the site. Lang has documented the virtual reality industry for years. Road to VR has more than 90,000 Twitter followers, and more than 40,000 followers/likes on Facebook. Lang is followed by more than 22,000 on Twitter and serves as Road to VR’s executive editor. Number 9: VRLolathon (the United Kingdom) The popular YouTube channel has more than 840,000 subscribers. The channel posts videos like “How to Scare People in VRCHAT” and “Borat but its VR (VRchat funny moments).” The bio on the channel reads simply: “Just a guy from the UK who loves VR and clowning around.” VRLolathon began in 2018, and has seemingly surged since then. So who is the person behind the channel? The identity seems to be a mystery. However, in the Fandom site for VRChatLegends, VRLolathon is a revered name in the world of virtual reality. The description for Lolathon states: “Lolathon is a content creator of VR Chat, who has been around since the damn concept of the game. For every stream he does, he tries to make a new avatar to show off. His many meme avatars delight, scare, or confuse people, or make them ponder their existence. His home is the VR Chat Circus: the asylum of laughter and screams. Lolathon is one of the Great Meme Pillars of VR Chat.” Number 8: Mully (Australia) Mully is a YouTuber from Australia. The channel has more than five million subscribers. Content includes videos like “when nightmare no no comes for you” and “the strangest vr game of 2021.” The description for the channel? A simple note: “if ur reading this u r cool.” So who is Mully? According to Fandom, his real name is Mullen, and he’s 27; he’s also known to collaborate with YourNarrator, JoshDub, EddieVR, JuicyFruitSnacks. Collectively, per Fandom, they are known as “The Boys.” Number 7: Gawr Gura (Japan) Hailing from Japan, Gawr Gura is a YouTuber with more than 2.6 million subscribers. Virtual reality videos often feature anime characters. Per Fandom, Gura uses Hololive. Fandom describes her ‘personality’: “Gura is friendly and readily likeable, and often amuses her viewers with foolish antics. She has no sense of direction, often misspelled and mispronounces words, has trouble remembering her own age, and consistently fails to solve basic math problems, leading viewers to affectionately call her a "dum shark".” Gura, however, is simply a character…with a backstory! Fandom notes that she is descended from Atlantis, and she swam to Earth. She also wears a shark hat! Number 6: Ian Hamilton & Jamie Feltham, UploadVR (United States) Ian Hamilton is the executive editor of Upload VR, and Jamie Feltham is the senior editor (UK) and show producer for the site. According to their bios on the site, Feltham has covered virtual reality for about seven years; Hamilton started covering Oculus virtual reality back in 2012 and has been a full-time virtual reality journalist for about six years. Number 5: Apoki (Korea) Apoki has more than two million followers on Tik Tok. The main character in videos is a cotton candy pink haired girl, who often is featured with rabbit ears. Apoki also takes on some of TikTok’s viral dance challenges…via virtual reality, of course! Videos have garnered hundreds of thousands of views. And it isn’t uncommon for Apoki to @ other TikTok influencers like Charli D'amelio. Number 4: Drumsy (USA) Drumsy is a popular YouTuber with more than two million subscribers. Some videos include anime, others include other popular cartoon animations. Drumsy’s official Twitter account has more than 120,000 followers. So who is this YouTuber? Once again, Fandom has the details: he has been dubbed “the #1 news reporter of VRChat,” and his videos are created like news stories or documentaries. Number 3: JoshDub (Australia) Yet another popular YouTuber, JoshDub has more than eight million subscribers. The description of his channel reads: “weird vr memes with the boys.” Of course, the boys are YourNarrator, EddieVR, JuicyFruitSnacks and Mully! Wikitubia notes that JoshDub’s management “…described him as being a pioneer of VR entertainment on YouTube.” Number 2: EddieVR (United States) Although JoshDub has amassed the most YouTube followers of “The Boys,” EddieVR has more than five million followers…he and Mully are pretty close. So how or why has EddieVR passed Josh on the list of 100 influencers? TikTok could be part of the answer, Eddie has amassed more than seven million followers…and more than 16- million likes…but while Josh still beats him with more than eight million followers…he trails in likes (150 million likes). Number 1: Jonathan Nafarrete & Malia Probst, VRScout (United States) Jonathan Nafarrete is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of VRScout; he also co-founded Scout House, a virtual production studio. Nafarrete has more than 68,000 followers on Twitter. Malia Probst is a founding partner of VRScout and a producer and investor in virtual reality. Probst has more than 11,000 Twitter followers. VRScout, however, has more than 73,000 followers. On YouTube, VRScout’s channel has 31,000 subscribers. Nafarrete and Probst snagged the top spot because of VRScout’s influence and reach. In the press release announcing the list of 100 influencers, HTC VIVE explained VRScout’s place within the industry: “This LA-based start-up has grown to become the world’s leading immersive media network, with a reach of over 250 million people.” The List Next Year VIVE HTC isn’t the first to name the top influencers in virtual reality. In 2017, Onalytica released its own list; that year, Rick King (@RickKing16) was named the top virtual reality influencer. King was listed as a consultant. Ian Hamilton and Jamie Feltham (who were both with Upload) also made the list at #9 and #10 (Feltham). Malia Probst came in at #39. So will another list pop up in 2022? With the way technology is advancing, and the boost virtual and augmented reality had during Covid, there could be an update on who holds the most influential reins in the virtual or augmented worlds. There may be many contenders next year. However, there also could be a halt in not necessarily influence but advancement because of the microchip shortage. What’s On the Virtual Horizon? For consumers who aren’t following virtual reality or augmented reality, it’s never too late to delve into these technologies and try them out. New products may soon hit the market. Facebook is working on prototypes for wristbands or bracelets with augmented reality. While headsets remain a portal into the virtual world, consumers don’t necessarily have to spend high dollars to step into an augmented (or virtual) world. There are many free apps and experiences via phones or other devices. Augmented reality is an incredibly popular technology for apps, and whether users have an Apple or Android device, the list of augmented reality apps can be vast. There are popular augmented reality games including Pokemon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Jurassic World Alive, and Zombies, Run! Many stores also use augmented reality to heighten the user experience. Preview paint colors via augmented reality, or use augmented reality apps to place new furniture in a room before buying. Augmented reality apps even let consumers preview cosmetics hues. Individuals with an Android device can try out some of Google’s new augmented reality experiences. Floom lets users draw a whirling portal (or hole) into their environment and see the world on the other side. Sodar is an augmented reality experience that lets users draw an AR perimeter around themselves to better stay socially distant. Google also is working on an experience that will allow photos to come alive with augmented reality. Even cars offer augmented reality experiences. Backup cameras provide grid lines over the real world to detail how the car will turn. Smart rearview mirrors also may show augmented reality images to better aid the driver. And virtual reality can be used to preview cars during the at-home shopping experience. Use sites like RelayCars to open up and experience a virtual reality showroom; look inside the car, change paint colors and more. RelayCars can be used via an app without a headset or via an app on Steam with a headset for a more immersive experience. Next year, the game could change for augmented reality and virtual reality. Who knows what new experience, game or device will be developed. And new influencers could change the world of virtual reality and augmented reality in 2022. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Virtual-Horizon.jpg] WHAT’S ON THE VIRTUAL HORIZON? For consumers who aren’t following virtual reality or augmented reality, it’s never too late to delve into these technologies and try them out. New products may soon hit the market. Facebook is working on prototypes for wristbands or bracelets with augmented reality. While headsets remain a portal into the virtual world, consumers don’t necessarily have to spend high dollars to step into an augmented (or virtual) world. There are many free apps and experiences via phones or other devices. Augmented reality is an incredibly popular technology for apps, and whether users have an Apple or Android device, the list of augmented reality apps can be vast. There are popular augmented reality games including Pokemon GO, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, Jurassic World Alive, and Zombies, Run! Many stores also use augmented reality to heighten the user experience. Preview paint colors via augmented reality, or use augmented reality apps to place new furniture in a room before buying. Augmented reality apps even let consumers preview cosmetics hues. Individuals with an Android device can try out some of Google’s new augmented reality experiences. Floom lets users draw a whirling portal (or hole) into their environment and see the world on the other side. Sodar is an augmented reality experience that lets users draw an AR perimeter around themselves to better stay socially distant. Google also is working on an experience that will allow photos to come alive with augmented reality. Even cars offer augmented reality experiences. Backup cameras provide grid lines over the real world to detail how the car will turn. Smart rearview mirrors also may show augmented reality images to better aid the driver. And virtual reality can be used to preview cars during the at-home shopping experience. Use sites like RelayCars to open up and experience a virtual reality showroom; look inside the car, change paint colors and more. RelayCars can be used via an app without a headset or via an app on Steam with a headset for a more immersive experience. Next year, the game could change for augmented reality and virtual reality. Who knows what new experience, game or device will be developed. And new influencers could change the world of virtual reality and augmented reality in 2022.

Categories: Virtual Reality
The Future of VR and Facebook Reality Labs

The Future of VR and Facebook Reality Labs

May 26, 2021

Virtual Reality is classified as computer-generated simulations of three-dimensional images or environments — images and environments which can be interacted with.  The VR industry as a whole happens to be growing and being applied at a rapid pace. The global VR market size is projected to increase from around 5 billion U.S. dollars (in 2021) to more than 12 billion U.S. dollars (by 2024). The overall aim of VR technology is to set the table for a consumer to engage with VR technology and be immersed in a convincingly real artificial world. VR systems generally come with special electronic equipment — usually a helmet or goggles with a screen equipped inside and sometimes with sensor-fitted gloves. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/The-Early-Days.jpg] VR: THE EARLY DAYS VR history goes back a little further than many might think. Technologists have been working on developing simulated environments for decades. The earliest VR milestone was the Sensorama (1956), developed by Morton Heilig, who had a background in motion pictures. Wanting to create an experience for viewers where they felt like they were actually in the movie, Heilig created a machine which created an experience that simulated a real city environment.  Viewers/users could ride through this city on a motorcycle, completely virtually. Multisensory stimulation would allow users to see the city road, hear the motorcycle engine, feel various vibrations, and even smell motor exhaust in this simulated world. Heilig would also develop and patent a head-mounted display device, which was called the Telesphere Mask (1960). Obviously, future inventors would start to build upon Heilig’s foundational work — and VR masks/headsets are now commonplace as a result. OCULUS RIFT UPS THE ANTE Then came Oculus Rift, which is a line of virtual reality headsets that was developed and made by Oculus VR (which is a division of Facebook Inc.). This technology was released to the public on March 28, 2016. Oculus Rift headsets were first made available in 20 countries — at a starting price of $599 in US dollars. In their early days, Oculus Rift raised 2.5 million dollars on Kickstarter in order to start making their products — this was in 2012. Facebook would end up purchasing Oculus Rift for $2 billion dollars two years later.  Although it’s a little bit strange to be talking about the history of Oculus Rift when it’s only been around for half a decade, it’s easy to say that Oculus Rift is on the forefront of VR technology.  VR IN THE 80S AND 90S VR wasn’t in the best spot in the 80s and 90s — dozens of companies and organizations had tried to turn VR headsets into some semblance of viable commercial success, but all of them ended up failing… and failing hard. Many VR systems were far too expensive for the average person to even consider purchasing. Most VR systems didn’t work properly or create a convincing experience, either. Some VR systems were even far too ahead of their time. Components were too expensive and difficult to source and most home version computers were not powerful enough to help create a truly immersive experience. The Future of VR and Facebook Reality Labs [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/History-of-Oculus-Rift.jpg] A BRIEF HISTORY OF OCULUS RIFT The earliest iterations of Oculus Rift were meant to be used by developers and early VR adopters in order to help pioneers get their first experiences with virtual reality. These bulkier headsets were not exactly meant to sit on store shelves, but the original intent was to provide a palate cleanser for old VR experiences as well as get people to start building things in VR in order to utilize and expand the technology. Although the original prototypes and early models were still effective, there was missing technology that we consider commonplace today. Initial headsets did not have positional tracking, which is essential in order to track movement. Early headsets were said to cause motion sickness due to poor resolution, no positional tracking, etc. Subsequent Oculus Rift headsets would utilize new technology, powered by OLED displays instead of LCD displays, which offered brighter screen viewing and far less motion blur. They also cut delay in half and began using black frames to fool the brain into thinking it sees a smooth-moving image. One thing that Oculus Rift has always had going for it was the way people perceived the company. People have been rooting for this underdog since it was first conceived. The Oculus Rift story was one of those tech world fairy tales about brilliant whiz-kids turning their garage project into an actual company making millions. The Future of VR and Facebook Reality Labs [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Facebook-Gets-Involved.jpg] FACEBOOK GETS INVOLVED The fact that Oculus Rift originally launched on Kickstarter is a crucial decision/detail — Oculus Rift was able to glean a sort of “homegrown” street cred that mainstream organizations simply cannot emulate. There was something undeniably “indie” about Oculus Rift, which is perhaps part of why they were able to easily raise around $100 million from shrewd venture capitalists. This street cred was understandably under fire when Oculus Rift was acquired by Facebook. Backlash began to commence from Oculus Rift’s biggest and loyal fans. Many fans cancelled their DK2 orders and even began to predict that Oculus Rift would go under in no time flat. Oculus Rift assured their customers and fans that they would remain independent from Facebook.  Since then, Oculus Rift has been very careful to ensure that its products remain autonomous from Facebook. There is no Facebook messaging or branding associated with Oculus Rift or any of its products… and probably rightfully so. Most people who are still onboard with Oculus Rift have accepted their involvement with Facebook and adopt a “throw money at it but leave it alone,” mentality. Since the early days of Oculus Rift VR hardware has come a long way and virtual reality is being utilized in many different industries — not simply for video gaming, although obviously VR has some excellent synergy with gaming in all forms. VR tooling and technology became more versatile and developers seemed to have unlocked secrets about what makes a good VR experience and video game. The fact that Oculus Rift was first launched with an Xbox controller seems like a long time ago and possibly even a world away by now. The Future of VR and Facebook Reality Labs [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/How-Facebook-Helps-Oculus-Rift.jpg] HOW FACEBOOK HELPS OCULUS RIFT Facebook has actually helped Oculus Rift in the innovation department. VR evolution has been exceptionally fast as shown with Facebook’s headset, the Oculus Go, which arrived to consumers in 2018. Oculus Go would be the affordable entrypoint into VR for the average consumer, not to mention represented the company’s first all-in-one (AIO) device. This would set the groundwork for future Oculus endeavors. Next would come the Oculus Quest and Oculus Rift S — which were both launched in May of 2019. These headsets heralded a new era in which 6 degrees-of-freedom (6DoF) would then become the baseline. These products had an extremely short lifespan — Oculus Go’s 3DoF control was just a little too simplistic for consumers, which resulted in the technology being discontinued as of late 2020. Oculus Quest was superseded in 17 months (succeeded by Oculus Quest 2). Rift S will end up being discontinued very soon as well. Do not be discouraged by short lifecycle trends, which are going to continue as Facebook Reality Labs (FRL) continues “working on the next few generations of virtual reality and what Quest 3 and 4 are gonna look like,” says Facebook head honcho Mark Zuckerberg.  VR: WHAT NOW? VR systems are still trying to deliver a fully immersive experience. While VR is being used by advertisers, the medical industry, various tech sectors, the military, and more, it will continue to evolve and develop, ultimately creating a fully convincing experience that incorporates sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell. VR technology has also shown how beneficial and useful it can be during the COVID-19 pandemic, where VR technology was used to show houses, automobiles, and other products, give virtual tours of spaces, and more. Even websites are starting to incorporate VR and AR technology in order to help connect audiences with companies and products in a more effective and engaging way. Facebook Reality Labs’ Chief Scientist Michael Abrash went on record saying that, “We are at the very beginning. All this innovation, all this invention still has to happen with VR. People should realize that we’ve come a long way and we’ve done a great job—but this road stretches out for the rest of their lifetimes.” VR technologies include face tracking, hand tracking, eye tracking, not to mention incorporating brain-computer interfaces (BCI) and AI-powered interfaces — all of which have an important part to play. The extent and reach of these technologies and their uses and applications remains to be seen.

Categories: Virtual Reality
How VR Has Changed Content Creation and Consumption

How VR Has Changed Content Creation and Consumption

May 13, 2021

Perhaps since humankind began exploring its innate ability to create, the desire arose to craft an entirely interactive reality outside of our physical, earthly realm. In the early days, usually this would end up as some sort of depiction of reality with varying levels of accuracy, depending on the individual recreating what they experienced or saw. Virtual reality just might be the closest thing we have to such an ability in this day and age, and it’s being used for a variety of purposes, especially in the content creation and consumption world. But what is virtual reality, really? Old school definitions pegged VR as computer-generated simulations of three-dimensional images and environments, images and environments which can be interacted with in what feels like a real, visceral way. Over the decades, the vehicle for VR has generally been electronic equipment of varying complexities — helmets, headsets, and even gloves with customized sensors. VIRTUAL REALITY HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE THE 50S VR has made an undeniable impact in many different industries as it has been applied, especially in the ways that people create and consume content. But the true beginnings of virtual reality are often disputed.   Although VR might be thought of as new technology, early virtual reality technology was actually invented in 1957 by Morton Heilig. Heilig created a multimedia device (called the Sensorama) which is now considered one of the earliest VR systems made available, except back in those days the term “Virtual Reality” had not been coined yet. Much later, in 1987, researcher Jaron Lanier called this technology “Virtual Reality”, a name which has obviously had staying power. VR hardware and content creation has also gotten more intuitive and pragmatic as time has gone on. VR has already been used in major motion pictures like Ready Player One and John Wick, and virtual reality has proven to be helpful in production, direction, and audience consumption. New technologies like face-tracking and other types of sensors and tracking are continuing to help content creators achieve what seems impossible. How VR Has Changed Content Creation and Consumption [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/virtual-reality.jpg] Since its inception, virtual reality has been a medium which empowers a vast array of creative-minded individuals to challenge (and altogether change) the way we experience art. What started first as three dimensional video games has now transcended video game consoles and headsets, breaking new ground into other areas of expression. With VR technology, artists and art brokers can now craft immersive exhibitions which take place entirely in virtual reality, which helps artists both show and sell artworks without experiencing time and geographical constraints. Virtual reality is helping more and more artists reach more and more people while driving consumer engagement with each virtual experience. Those who are interested in VR might also immerse themselves in an IMAX-style moviegoing experience from the comfort of their own home to amazing effects. Virtual reality technology is being packaged more and more for the average consumer, instead of the intensely tech-savvy. Eventually, VR might even task itself with making the viewer a part and central character of movies themselves as technology continues to evolve. VR: NOT JUST FOR ENTERTAINMENT We all know how VR has impacted video games and the entertainment industry, but virtual reality is not limited to these two fields. As a matter of fact, VR has changed the way most industries do what they do. The medical industry is utilizing VR technology to help plan and practice complex procedures, to help patients with pain and trauma management, and to even “print” various living tissues. VR can help surgeons improve their skills and explore human biology in entirely new ways. VR and the health and wellness industries will continue to evolve in tandem as industry leaders continue to think outside the box and really investigate how VR can be used to help humankind as a whole instead of simply using VR to provide distraction and entertainment. Those who experience PTSD are turning to virtual reality for therapeutic purposes. VR is able to help create new experiences for traumatized individuals while helping them explore the incidents that created trauma in the first place.  The automotive industry is providing new VR content that helps consumers hop inside a vehicle and even take it for a test drive… all from the comfort of one’s own home. The real estate industry is also utilizing VR technology to provide contactless immersive tours in order to help consumers make more informed decisions. Online gambling is another industry that VR is set to change dynamically. Online gambling sites have an interest in creating immersive gaming environments for those who gamble online, which will help online gaming compete with brick and mortar casinos in Vegas and Atlantic City. VR technology is being used to bring the upscale casino straight to you.  VIRTUAL REALITY AND CONTENT CREATION We already know that virtual reality has a place in the video game world. We now have VR headsets that can take us to new realms with starkly real circumstances and stimulation. Devices used for virtual reality continue to change, evolve, and become more streamlined. Film festivals across the globe are now incorporating VR technology into their screenings and events. Sundance showcased a VR film called “Spheres” in 2018, raising the important point that films and other modes of storytelling are social experiences while being introspective at the same time. During the COVID-19 pandemic, VR has helped film festivals go online in order to continue with their operations. Smartphones have also had an indelible impact on content creation, consumption, as well as virtual reality as a whole. With the advent of social media, we’ve found that movies and TV shows are as much personal experiences as they are communal experiences, and VR is set to help bridge the gap between making movies and stories happen on the screen and in real life. Down the road, we might even be purchasing smartphones that incorporate VR technology themselves, at which point headsets will no longer be necessary. Film and TV execs across the globe are trying to find a way to create content that transcends the large and small screen and provides supplemental information and content available on all smartphone brands. Instead of telling people to turn off their phones in movie theaters, the entertainment industry might start pushing the idea of keeping your smartphone on and in front of you for an entire cinematic experience. How VR Has Changed Content Creation and Consumption [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/VR-potential.jpg] Marketing experts have also mined VR potential to dramatic results. Businesses, brands, and influencers are turning to virtual reality to help better connect with consumers. Not only are marketers creating content that can be viewed on VR headsets, but social media platforms are utilizing filters to overlay pictures and other objects/content over images and videos. Filters available on social media outlets like Instagram are categorized as augmented reality (AR), which is a type of virtual reality that allows users to overlay content and images onto what they capture in the real world. AR and VR are working hand-in-hand to make the world around us (and the sources of entertainment we seek) more interesting and interactive. Just like with the entertainment industry, all of the industries mentioned above have a vested interest in keeping consumers interested, engaged, and having interactions with businesses, brands, and each piece of individual content that is consumed. Virtual reality is a fantastic way to connect and keep audiences engaged for long periods of time. VR AND HOW WE CONSUME CONTENT It’s pretty much agreed upon nowadays that those watercooler moments of yesteryear when people would discuss content in the form of TV shows, movies, news, books, and more on Mondays during work breaks are over.  Instead, people can share their thoughts, input, ideas, satisfaction and dissatisfaction over a said piece of content pretty much instantly via social media and smartphone apps/technology. Marketers and top brass executives have noticed that with the advent of smartphones many consumers tend to interact with their phones while they’re experiencing content.  How VR Has Changed Content Creation and Consumption [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/content-creators.jpg] As VR continues to create increasingly believable alternate realities, content creators are aware that visual and audio cues have to work in tandem to create this powerful sense of “new reality” or else consumers are not going to believe in whatever virtual reality is presented to them. Image and video technology continues to evolve with VR and so does 3D audio that creates as close to a natural listening experience as possible in the consumer. Now when consumers view a vlog, for instance, they can now be fully immersed in whatever environment they are presented with, giving a sense that the viewer is experiencing the event right there with the content creator. Moving forward, VR will continue to set its aim on capturing all of the human senses. Down the road, it’s not unreasonable to envision a virtual reality experience that incorporates sight, smell, taste, touch, and sound, which will help those involved in virtual reality create a more immersive and convincing virtual experience. As VR technology continues to evolve, the ways we craft and consume content will continue to change as well.

Categories: Virtual Reality
Imagining a Virtual World: Step Inside a Virtual Reality Car Dealership

Imagining a Virtual World: Step Inside a Virtual Reality Car Dealership

May 7, 2021

Virtual reality might have once been considered futuristic, but today it’s a growing technology used by businesses and the entertainment world to provide a unique vantage point to consumers. Virtual reality headsets are offered at varying price points and with unique features, and platforms like Steam offer many downloadable virtual reality games. AR Insider projected that virtual reality revenues would soar to more than $14 billion by 2023, a figure encompassing the expanse of the technology (consumer, software, hardware, etc.). Virtual reality might be the future. Could consumers soon experience virtual reality stores or perhaps virtual reality car dealerships? Get ready to imagine a virtual world, and explore hypothetical virtual reality car dealerships. THE VIRTUAL REALITY SHOWROOM Virtual car showrooms  are popular for consumers starting their car buying hunt online. These showrooms allow consumers to see a scaled image of a vehicle and explore its different features. Different virtual experiences might have different features. For example, RelayCars lets users change the vehicle’s paint color, rotate the vehicle for a different viewpoint and look inside the car at the interior features. Exploring cars virtually also doesn’t necessarily require the user to have access to a virtual reality headset. Instead the showroom could be accessible via an app or online. The ‘virtual’ of this experience refers to the setting. Users see the vehicle in three-dimensions, and can interact with the vehicle using a mouse or fingertips (for apps). However, RelayCars also offers a Room-Scale app that can be downloaded via Steam. This app allows the user to interact with a vehicle in a virtual room, accessible via a headset. The app is compatible with Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest headsets. This type of virtual experience is extremely immersive and could be how a consumer imagines virtual car dealerships. Virtual Reality Car Dealership [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Virtual-Shopping.jpg] VIRTUAL SHOPPING The internet is virtual in that it isn’t a physical presence. Consumers aren’t interacting face-to-face with a salesperson or the products being offered. Any question or inquiry that a shopper might have during their online browsing might be answered by a virtual sales assistant.  Many consumers are familiar with the little pop up box displayed at the bottom of a website that is the portal for a virtual chat or virtual assistance. Some websites or businesses automatically send a message virtually when a new individual lands on the page. In-person shopping means physically interacting with the products or services. Consumers look through racks of clothes, try on favorites, touch fabrics. When shopping for a new automobile, they will walk through a car showroom, opening doors, sitting in the seat and exploring features. Physical interaction may be a key aspect of the experience. Online is different, however. When shopping online, consumers scroll through their options, clicking on their favorites to learn more. Virtual car shopping isn’t different. Scrolling is the same as walking through aisles of cars. However, pictures don’t allow for much interaction, and this may be why virtual showrooms surged in popularity. With virtual and augmented reality showrooms, the consumer can interact with a scaled representation of the vehicle of their choice . Augmented reality apps or platforms usually allow for the vehicle to be dropped in a real world environment, while virtual reality showroom apps showcase the car in a virtual world or backdrop. Again, virtual experiences could be available online and require no special headsets or glasses. Others might be fully immersive and can only be accessed while wearing a headset. Just how popular is online shopping? According to Statista, more than $4.2 trillion in sales came from the internet (e.g. e-commerce). This number represents worldwide sales, and the site notes that, in 2023, e-commerce will represent nearly a quarter (22 percent) of sales across the globe. Covid likely led to an increase of online buying for some sectors (groceries!), as many consumers didn’t want to visit the stores. In addition, many stores deemed non essential might have closed during the pandemic. Making purchases from these businesses might have required consumers to go online. However, Big Commerce reported that, in general, online shopping didn’t necessarily see a huge spike during Covid. Again, online grocery sales did increase, and medical, cleaning and baby products also were popular online purchases. Clothing purchases, however, dropped. Tools, auto, jewelry/luxury and several others also showed decreased online sales per BigCommerce. Virtual Reality Car Dealership [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Virtual-Stores-and-Virtual-Car-Dealerships.jpg] VIRTUAL STORES AND VIRTUAL CAR DEALERSHIPS While figures for online shopping might have been mixed during Covid, the idea of shopping online and shopping beyond bricks and mortar might have become a more ingrained habit for some. The hesitancy of shopping in-store combined with stores that were closed completely to foot traffic might have led shoppers online. Some consumers were faced with a unique situation during Covid in that they needed to purchase a new car. Normally, shopping for a new car might have meant visiting a few dealerships and walking through the lot. During the pandemic, though, some dealerships might have been closed to shoppers. The only option might have been shopping online. As virtual reality and virtual experiences replaced in-person experiences during the pandemic  (even work and school were virtual), could virtual experiences soon become the norm? Will there be a rise of virtual stores and dealerships? The future of virtual is still a question mark, yet the rise of self-driving cars is on the horizon. It might not be a stretch to think that in the future the shopping experience—even for cars—could go virtual, too. Virtual car dealerships could be designed a bit like virtual car showrooms. The virtual experience could be accessible via an online site (without any special headsets or glasses) or may be more immersive and require that shoppers download an app and use a headset to enter the virtual realm. Currently, many dealerships may offer virtual assistants who chat with online customers about their preferences or answer any questions. A virtual car dealership could include salesperson avatars who interact virtually with shoppers. The experience could include both a virtual showroom and a virtual lot. Imagine walking around a virtual car lot and exploring different makes and models. Shoppers may be able to virtually sit in the car and play with the unique features of the vehicle. What about used car sales, however? Hosting a virtual showroom or car lot for used cars could be a bit more complicated. For example, some used cars might have scratches or imperfections in the interior. The virtual vehicles would need to be all-inclusive of these details. Could technology fully replicate such intricate imperfections? In the future, virtual car dealerships might be relegated to those that sell new makes and models, as these would likely be easiest to replicate in virtual reality. Perhaps the whole shopping experience takes place virtually, and maybe users could upload financial data via a secure site online. There really are so many possibilities, but there are also so many details that would need to be perfected for the entire car shopping experience to exist in a virtual realm. The unique features of virtual reality, though, could allow for a more personalized shopping experience, especially for buyers who want to customize their vehicle. While the in-person experience of buying a new car can let the shopper see and touch different features, not every detail can be seen on the lot. Virtual experiences, though, could be inclusive of all the options available for the make and model. So perhaps the buyer can change out the color of the paint, switch out the tires or even upload a different interior fabric. A virtual experience could be more accommodating to visualizing a vehicle. And the virtual car dealership could be a much more immersive and entertaining shopping option. Consumers also could explore different virtual dealerships without leaving their home. Technology could evolve for a more laid-back process. CAR SHOPPING VIRTUALLY….TODAY While virtual reality car dealerships don’t yet exist, shoppers can access virtual reality car showrooms. Visiting a virtual platform could be one of the first steps during car shopping to help decrease the time spent at the dealership. Consumers could use sites like RelayCars to explore different makes and models. After finding the top choices, shoppers can then search local dealerships for pricing, deals and incentives. Shopping and browsing online can help simplify the car buying process and save time…and gas money. For consumers at home and in need of a new car, virtual experiences can be downloaded on phones or tablets. Some experiences might require a headset, but many apps can be experienced without any special accessories. Ready to find the perfect car? Download RelayCars via the app store (for Apple) or Google Play (for Android). [https://contentgm.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/content_uploads/App%5CDynamicModules%5CItem/47684/Imagining-a-Virtual-World.png]

Categories: Virtual Reality
The Many Uses of Virtual Reality in Cars

The Many Uses of Virtual Reality in Cars

April 28, 2021

Embracing new technologies is one of the keys to success in highly competitive industries such as the automotive industry. Automotive companies must continue to find new ways to implement exciting technologies in order to set themselves apart from their competitors and meet their consumers’ demands. One technology that has been widely used in the automotive industry is virtual reality. This technology transports users to a simulated environment where they are free to interact with and explore their virtual surroundings. Virtual reality is often associated solely with the gaming world, but it has countless other applications outside of this industry. In fact, there are many different ways in which automotive manufacturers can use virtual reality in cars, including: IN-CAR ENTERTAINMENT Most modern vehicles are designed with in-car infotainment systems, which provide different types of information and entertainment to passengers. But in the future, virtual reality technology may take in-car entertainment to a whole new level. In 2019, the first public demo of in-car virtual reality entertainment was introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show. The “Rocket’s Rescue Run” experience was produced by Audi, Marvel, Disney, and Holoride. Using an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, consumers could travel to a virtual world with their favorite Avengers characters while riding in an Audi E-Tron.  In this game, what happens in the virtual world will depend on how the driver of the Audi E-Tron drives in the real world. The passenger’s movement through the virtual world will mimic the Audi E-Tron’s movement in the real world. For example, the Audi E-Tron turns left, the virtual spaceship in the game will turn left as well. Virtual Reality in Cars [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/virtual-reality-experiences.jpg] This game, which was only available to passengers who ride in the backseat, is just the beginning when it comes to in-car virtual reality entertainment. Holoride plans on creating a wide range of in-car virtual reality experiences for passengers in the future. This could completely transform the experience of traveling by car for people who aren’t in the driver’s seat. Virtual Reality in Cars [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Autonomous-Car-Control.jpg] AUTONOMOUS CAR CONTROL Autonomous cars are meant to drive on their own without any human intervention, but virtual reality technology could be used to help drivers maintain some degree of control over self-driving vehicles. Several years ago, Toyota filed a patent for a virtual reality navigation system that would be used solely in self-driving vehicles. The system would show drivers where their self-driving vehicle intended on driving at any given point during their journey. Drivers would be able to see the exact path that the vehicle planned on taking in order to reach their final destination.  If the driver isn’t satisfied with the chosen route, this system would give them the opportunity to change the self-driving vehicle’s plans. In other words, the self-driving vehicle would handle the actual driving, but the human driver would still be able to call the shots. For example, say the driver sees that the self-driving vehicle is planning on taking a toll road. This route may be the fastest, but the driver may not want to pay the toll. In this case, the driver would have the option of adjusting the self-driving vehicle’s route to avoid having to pay this toll. Toyota has not introduced this technology to consumers yet, but based on the patent filing alone, it’s clear that virtual reality will be incorporated into future Toyota vehicles in some way. VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS In the past, automotive consumers had to visit dealerships in-person to explore their options before deciding which vehicle to purchase. However, virtual reality has changed that. Now, automotive consumers can explore vehicles from the comfort of their own homes by visiting a virtual showroom.  A virtual showroom is similar to a real showroom, but it exists in a simulated world rather than the real world. Automotive consumers can visit a virtual showroom online using their computer, tablet, or smartphone. Once inside the showroom, they can explore the interior and exterior of every vehicle just like they would if they were inside a real showroom. They can even walk around the vehicle and rotate it to see it from different angles.  Audi is one of the many automotive manufacturers that has already built a virtual showroom for its consumers. Consumers can visit a virtual showroom to explore the full range of Audi vehicles. The company believes that this will help smaller Audi dealerships, which can’t carry a wide range of models due to space limitations. Now, these dealerships won’t have to turn customers away simply because they don’t have a vehicle in stock. Instead, they can direct customers to virtually explore the vehicle before making a purchase decision. The introduction of virtual showrooms has made it easier for automotive consumers to research different vehicles online. Because of virtual reality, automotive consumers can get the dealership showroom experience without stepping foot in a dealership. Virtual Reality in Cars [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Virtual-Test-Drives.jpg] VIRTUAL TEST DRIVES Taking a test drive is an important part of the average automotive consumer’s car-buying journey. In fact, nearly two-thirds of consumers said they would not purchase a vehicle without taking it for a test drive first. But thanks to virtual reality, automotive consumers may not need to visit a dealership in-person to take a vehicle out for a spin.  Many automotive dealerships now offer virtual test drives, which are test drives powered by virtual reality technology. Consumers can select which make and model they want to test drive. Then, they can take the selected vehicle on a simulated test drive to see what it’s like to sit behind the wheel.  A virtual test drive gives consumers the chance to experience how the vehicle drives and explore the interior of the vehicle. Consumers can test drive as many vehicles as they would like, which will help them compare different models, narrow down their options, and determine which vehicle is right for them.  Taking a virtual test drive is also far more convenient since consumers can do it without scheduling an appointment in advance or leaving their homes. Automotive consumers won’t need to purchase a special virtual reality headset or device to take a virtual test drive. All they need to start their virtual test drive is their computer, tablet, or smartphone. Then, they can buckle up and hit the virtual road. SAFETY TESTING Every vehicle goes through rigorous testing before it is sold to consumers. For example, every vehicle must go through crash tests, which determine how the vehicle will hold up when hit by another car from various angles.  In the past, automotive manufacturers could not perform these tests until the vehicle was actually produced. But now, automotive manufacturers have the option of using virtual reality to conduct these safety tests early on in the design and development phase. For example, in 2017, many vehicles did not pass the headlight safety test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The next year, automotive manufacturers were committed to improving their headlights to ensure they could pass this crucial safety test. Instead of waiting for a vehicle to be produced, automotive manufacturers began using virtual reality to test their headlights during the vehicle design and development process. This allowed them to determine whether or not the headlights met the IIHS’s standards while the vehicle was still being designed.  If the headlights did not meet these standards, the automotive manufacturer could simply tweak the design and retest the headlights. This way, the automotive manufacturer could perfect the design of the headlights before the vehicle went into production.  This is just one example of how automotive manufacturers have used virtual reality technology to reduce the time and costs associated with safety testing. Virtual Reality in Cars [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Design-and-Prototyping.jpg] DESIGN AND PROTOTYPING It takes a long time to design a new vehicle. Countless changes are made to the design of a vehicle before it is approved for production. Every time a change is made to the design, a new clay prototype must be built to reflect the changes. Building these clay prototypes is not only time-consuming, but also expensive. Fortunately, virtual reality technology can eliminate the need for these prototypes. Several automotive manufacturers, including Ford, are now using virtual reality technology to design new vehicles. Ford designers now create virtual models of new designs instead of clay prototypes. Once the virtual model is complete, the designers can rotate the vehicle to view it from every angle. They can even put a virtual driver in the front seat to inspect the interior design. If a change is requested, the team simply updates the virtual model instead of creating a new clay prototype.  This drastically reduces the amount of time that it takes to complete the design of a new vehicle. Ford estimates that virtual reality has shortened the design process from weeks to hours. Using virtual reality in this manner also reduces the cost of designing a new vehicle. It’s also easier for designers to collaborate on a virtual design. Everyone on the team–regardless of where they are located–can visit the virtual room to view the model and provide their input. Because it is easier to collaborate, this process could lead to more innovative and exciting design ideas. EMPLOYEE TRAINING Virtual reality technology has also changed the way in which employees in the automotive industry are trained. Employees used to learn how to assemble different car models by observing others. After watching someone else correctly assemble a vehicle, these employees were given an opportunity to test their knowledge by assembling a car model under the supervision of trained experts.  Even though they were supervised, employees often make mistakes during this stage of the training process. Each mistake can cause significant damage to the vehicle, which can cost the manufacturer hundreds or thousands of dollars. Some mistakes can also jeopardize the safety of employees. Now, automotive manufacturers are using virtual reality technology to train new employees in a virtual environment. Employees can now get hands-on experience assembling a vehicle in a virtual world rather than a real world. This way, employees are free to make mistakes without worrying about the safety or financial repercussions. Instead, they can learn from their mistakes in the virtual world so they don’t make the same errors when assembling vehicles in the real world. Virtual reality also makes it easier for automotive manufacturers to train large groups of employees at once. Employees from around the globe can join virtual training sessions, so automotive manufacturers can train everyone at the same time instead of hosting training sessions at each location.  DRIVING SIMULATOR FOR TEENS Hundreds of thousands of teenagers are injured in traffic accidents every year. Many of these traffic accidents are caused by inexperience. Teenagers are fairly new to driving, so they don’t always have the experience necessary to avoid accidents. To address this problem, Toyota developed a driving simulator powered by virtual reality technology called TeenDrive365. TeenDrive365 allows teenagers to practice driving in a virtual world before they get behind the wheel in the real world. This simulator, which is compatible with Oculus Rift devices, provides teenagers with the skills they need to safely operate in a vehicle in the real world. It focuses on teaching teenagers how to avoid distractions while operating a vehicle. Teenagers will encounter a number of different distractions while virtually driving in the TeenDrive365 simulated world. For example, they may hear their phone ringing or a passenger in the backseat asking them a question. Teenagers must train themselves to avoid these distractions so they can continue to safely drive their virtual vehicle. This prepares them for the real world, where they will have to learn how to ignore these distractions every time they get behind the wheel. Teenagers who are unable to ignore these virtual distractions may get into an accident. Even though it occurs in a simulated world, it still feels real, which helps teenagers understand the dangerous consequences of distracted driving. The automotive industry was one of the first industries to embrace virtual reality technology. Now, automotive companies have found countless ways to use this technology to their advantage. Some of these virtual reality applications are already in use, whereas others are planned for the future. This means virtual reality will continue to drive change and innovation in the automotive industry in the years to come.

Categories: Virtual Reality
All About the Audi Virtual Reality Showroom

All About the Audi Virtual Reality Showroom

April 23, 2021

The Coronavirus changed the world in a variety of ways, but one of the biggest impacts has been made in the virtual and immersive reality spheres. Retailers throughout the consumer services, commercial goods, and automotive sectors are relying on this technology to connect customers with brands from wherever everyone is located. To limit personal contact and keep business thriving, virtual reality is more important than ever before on the mainstream market. The Audi virtual reality showroom is one example that shows the practical use of VR and immersive media in the automotive industry. From the time someone starts researching their chosen vehicle to the moment their purchase leaves the lot, virtual reality can give potential buyers more control than ever without requiring a visit to a brick-and-mortar car lot.  Using mobile technology, innovative projection elements, and smart connectivity – Audi is one of the leaders in this rapidly growing part of the automotive retail industry.  Read more about the Audi virtual reality showroom and how this luxury retailer could change the car sales sphere as we’ve known it – even after the pandemic no longer has an impact on the global marketplace. Audi Virtual Reality Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/virtual-reality-in-Audis-showrooms.jpg] WHAT LED TO THE USE OF VIRTUAL REALITY IN AUDI’S SHOWROOMS? Audi has been using virtual reality technology in the shopping experience since 2016, but this capability has only grown in the current digital landscape. The leading retailer is using VR connectivity to design, manufacture, market, and sell cars in a new and innovative way.  When onsite showrooms closed around the world in 2020, this technology became more than just a way to attract tech-savvy consumers to the high-end brand. VR showroom technology allowed buyers and sellers to continue maintaining operations. This capability is also responsible for boosting in-house development by connecting designers, engineers, dealers, and decision-makers across the global corporation.  While Audi’s virtual reality showrooms have always incorporated a hybrid experience between onsite and remote features, shoppers have relied on this corner of the virtual world to explore and learn about emerging models with the same level of granularity of showing up to the dealership.  The deployment of real-time VR has made the shopping experience more accessible, without taking away the exclusivity and level of luxury the brand is known for. VR showroom technology has been used by Audi to facilitate: * Virtual test driving * Remote supply management * Real-time customization * Car delivery * Instant product selection and quote comparison * Access to an unlimited inventory While physical dealerships are limited by the amount of physical space they can provide, virtual reality showrooms can house an infinite amount of individual SKUs – as well as limitless customization options from color to function to accessories and more. Audi Virtual Reality Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Audi-manufacturing-and-sales-processes.jpg] WHY IS VR CHANGING THE AUDI MANUFACTURING AND SALES PROCESSES? Audi is credited with producing the first completely functional VR experience in the dealership environment. Starting in Europe, this technology took the automotive world by storm and created a new culture surrounding digitization in large-scale retail.  Using VR in the sales and supply chain processes has provided customers and partners with a first-hand look at the inner workings of this global brand’s approach to innovation and accessibility. With just a VR headset, dealerships have expanded their product offerings and level of service to give customers a realistic but digitized look at the inventory, sourcing, materials, and functions provided by each individual car lot. As we experienced during the pandemic, customization and technological innovation continue to reign as king throughout the entire automotive industry. But, limited access to physical car lots is just one problem that needed to be solved in order to keep auto sales high.  Since 2017, Audi has been perfecting this technology to give customers the ability to: * Customize individual products * Search through limitless inventories * Expand their shopping experience from any connected location * Dive into the minute functions of each product available * Create the exact vehicle of their dreams, with their own hands On the level of manufacturing and production, VR has changed the way automakers collaborate to create new models, perfect existing SKUs, and build new ideas in a fully digital workspace. This type of technology has allowed dealers and retailers to significantly cut costs by reducing overhead tied to inventory management, onsite workspaces, and even physical equipment needed for modeling, testing, and merchandising.  By moving the entire dealership to the digital sphere, the possibilities are endless when it comes to: * Variety and customization of existing inventory * Simplicity of placing new orders * Expanding office space without increasing overhead * Building a sustainable showroom environment Digitization is cheaper, more efficient, and often more effective than in-person tactics which provide the same results.  Additionally, Audi’s use of VR in the dealership has reduced error margins by utilizing automation and machine learning to perfect the sales process.  By applying customer data to personalized the shopping experience, virtual reality can cut hours from each individual consumer’s vehicle search process. In just a matter of minutes, someone can customize a potential purchase to their chosen specifications while navigating through the sales process using smart, AI-generated prompts and solutions.  Instead of spending hours walking up and down a vast car lot to find the right model, with the right specifications, it’s possible to quickly browse through hundreds (or thousands) of options at your fingertips. Audi Virtual Reality Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/How-is-VR-used-to-visualize-new-products.jpg] HOW IS VR USED TO VISUALIZE NEW PRODUCTS? Typically, innovation in automotive has been tied to extensive testing and analysis of physical prototypes and new releases. This method is expensive, wasteful, and dependent on a wide range of unpredictable factors that can occur during any cycle.  Virtual reality has allowed auto brands such as Audi to test, analyze, assess, and fix new vehicles before they ever hit the market. Using detailed manipulation of digital renders and simulating those parts in realistic virtual environments, the manufacturing and testing processes can be completed in an entirely digital world. With VR design capabilities, specialists and engineers can create new vehicles from anywhere, at any time. Not only has this opened up an entirely new culture of workplace flexibility and corporate stability, but it’s made it possible to drive brand growth in a previously limited industry. Whether designers are working from home, shared office spaces, or the showroom – they can collaborate in real-time using virtual tools and file-sharing options. Additionally, the growth of secure cloud storage allows individuals to communicate and transfer files, images, renders, and more in an entirely digital work environment. Removing human testing and physical prototypes has also saved automotive giants millions in production costs, as each individual trial would typically require a new set of equipment. Cutting down on these materials, while eliminating the need for human testing in self-contained environments, has made the production process cheaper and safer from start to finish.  When it comes to creating new models, virtual reality has simplified the ideation and creativity parts of the production line like never before. Instead of meticulously changing physical prototypes to meet designer specifications, engineers and testing specialists can simultaneously work on digital prototypes and revise the information as often, or as frequently, as needed.  From design elements like shapes and colors to functionalities in the cab and motor, VR facilitates an open environment where each collaborator can work on any element of a vehicle for as long or as detailed as necessary until the capability is up to par. Audi Virtual Reality Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Is-virtual-reality-impacting-Audi.jpg] IS VIRTUAL REALITY IMPACTING AUDI’S HOME-BASED SALES? In short, virtual reality has allowed Audi’s customers to see the future of the automotive industry in real-time. No matter where they’re starting to conduct their vehicle search, they can visit a virtual dealership just as easily as before. But, with this new development, they can ensure that more control rests in their own hands instead of the salespeople who are running the car lot.  By allowing consumers to lead the way, VR has positively impacted Audi’s home-based sales and onsite sales that involve immersive VR technology.  Virtual and augmented reality technology is more accessible for consumers than ever, and it’s now possible to access these capabilities with just a mobile phone or user-owned device.  While Audi is still utilizing VR technology to enhance the in-store experience, the same innovation is revamping the at-home shopping experience for the brand’s consumers.  Interest in at-home auto shopping reached all-time highs during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. While many consumers would still prefer to handle at least part of the buying process onsite, more and more shoppers are opting for virtual reality solutions to speed up the process, cut back on time spent comparing models and quotes, and eliminate the need for assistance by an in-person sales representative.  Virtual test driving, real-time customization, and access to an endless inventory are just a few reasons why VR dealerships are appealing to the average consumer.  Furthermore, VR connectivity has changed the way auto brands advertise to their target audiences – improving conversion rates and reducing returns at the same time.  VR technology is still in the beginning stages, and there are a few hitches in the process that are turning off mainstream consumers. Some issues include: * 26% of consumers claimed poor user experience (through bulky equipment, glitches, bugs, and more) is hindering the process * 24% of consumer cited low content availability as a hindrance to mainstream adoption * 10% of consumers are worried about rising costs associated with VR technology * 13% of consumers feel limited by VR regulations and related legal issues However, with more than half of the younger consumer base showing some interest in virtual reality technology, auto brands like Audi are seeing positive trends surrounding consumer adoption and acceptance of VR.  Immersing customers into targeted ads, providing personalized information using machine learning, and allowing buyers to lead their own shopping processes is bringing VR to the forefront of the automotive industry.  As adoption rates and consumer opinions surrounding VR continue to grow, we’re sure to see even more virtual reality capabilities and functions throughout the entire at-home buying process. Audi Virtual Reality Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Audi-virtual-reality-showrooms.jpg] WHICH TECH INNOVATORS ARE INVOLVED WITH THE AUDI VIRTUAL REALITY SHOWROOM? The gaming industry continues to be the top provider for VR demand in the mainstream marketplace, but automotive is following closely. As a result, there is a considerable amount of overlap among top tech innovators across multiple spheres and specializations.  Around the world, these continue to be the top brands in VR technology across the board: * Google * Oculus * Autodesk * Robert Bosch GmbH * Onboard * Microsoft * HTC * Audax * OmniVirt * 4Experience Virtual reality companies are popping up in droves to respond to the influx in consumer and corporate demand for simplified, accessible VR access. Audi, in particular, also utilizes proprietary technology to provide streamlined innovation to their consumers. Germany-based startup holoride has been a leader in the advent of dealership and in-car VR experiences.  The virtual reality experience facilitated by holoride can transform driving for everyone inside of Audi’s suite of luxury vehicles. From entertainment to safety features and beyond, VR is effectively transforming the way drivers, pedestrians, and even businesses interact with each other on the road. When it comes to technological advancements in the automotive sphere, virtual reality is a hot-button topic that continues to generate buzz year after year. From the time a shopper searches for a potential vehicle purchase to the moment they put their key into the ignition, virtual reality has the potential to remove time, money, and stress from the entire equation.  By simplifying the shopping experience, streamlining automotive manufacturing, and even enhancing the in-car atmosphere – Audi is making a name for itself as a tech giant within the luxury car sphere. The Audi virtual reality showroom continues to be the pioneering service that is effectively changing the automotive industry as we’ve always known it. As we become more accustomed to VR technology in the consumer retail sector, we’re sure to see more of this brand’s strategic developments for years to come.

Categories: Virtual Reality
Is Virtual Reality Car Shopping the Future?

Is Virtual Reality Car Shopping the Future?

March 24, 2021

The car buying journey has evolved over the years. In the past, automotive consumers visited an average of five dealerships before deciding which vehicle to purchase. But now, consumers complete many of the steps of the car buying journey online rather than at dealerships.  Today’s automotive consumers go online to gather information, conduct research, compare and contrast different models, and narrow down their options. As a result, the modern automotive consumer only visits one or two dealerships before purchasing a vehicle. Furthermore, most consumers have already decided which vehicle they want and are ready to buy once they arrive at a dealership. To remain competitive, automotive companies must adapt to this sudden shift to a digital car-buying journey. This is why many automotive companies are moving toward virtual reality car shopping experiences.  WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY? Virtual reality is technology that can be used to transport users to simulated environments. You aren’t simply looking at a different environment on a screen. Instead, the technology allows you to leave the real world behind and become fully immersed in the simulated environment. The technology even allows you to interact with different elements in the new environment. You may need a special device such as a headset or pair of goggles in order to experience virtual reality technology. Some of the most popular virtual reality devices include the Oculus, HTC Vive, and the Sony Playstation VR headset. However, you can access some virtual reality experiences with just your smartphone. Many people confuse virtual reality with augmented reality, but these are two distinct technologies. The former takes users to a completely new, simulated environment, whereas the latter does not. Instead, augmented reality allows users to enhance their real-world environment with images, sounds, and other digital elements.  HOW IS VIRTUAL REALITY USED FOR CAR SHOPPING? The two main ways in which virtual reality is used in the car-shopping process are: * Virtual Showrooms * Virtual Test Drives Virtual Showrooms Automotive dealerships can use virtual reality technology to create virtual showrooms to showcase their inventory. A virtual showroom is just like a real showroom, except it exists online. Automotive consumers can visit a virtual showroom to explore the interior and exterior of a vehicle, rotate it to see it from different angles, and walk around it just as they would if they were actually inside a dealership’s showroom.   Virtual showrooms can eliminate the need for consumers to travel to dealerships in order to see vehicles in person. Inside a virtual showroom, consumers can carefully examine vehicles and compare and contrast different models to help them reach a purchase decision. Thanks to virtual reality technology, consumers will feel as if they’re standing inside a showroom at a local dealership rather than shopping for a vehicle online.  Virtual Reality Car [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Virtual-Test-Drives.jpg] VIRTUAL TEST DRIVES Test drives are very important to automotive consumers. According to the 2021 Global Automotive Consumer Study, nearly two-thirds of consumers still want to take a test drive of a vehicle before purchasing it. In the past, these consumers may have needed to travel to a dealership to test drive a vehicle. But now, virtual reality gives these consumers the opportunity to test drive multiple vehicles without ever leaving their homes. A number of automotive manufacturers are already using virtual test drives to make it easier for consumers to shop online for new vehicles. A consumer can take a virtual test drive of any vehicle model using only their computer or smartphone. They can see how the vehicle drives and what it feels like to sit behind the wheel before making a purchase decision. Using virtual reality in this manner makes the process of taking a test drive easier, faster, and more convenient for both the dealership and the consumer.  WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF VIRTUAL REALITY CAR SALES? The virtual reality car shopping experience can benefit both automotive consumers and dealerships. Some of the many benefits include: * Lowers Overhead Costs * Creates A More Convenient Shopping Experience * Increases Sales Staff Availability * Widens the Customer Base * Improves Customer Satisfaction LOWERS OVERHEAD COSTS Many dealerships are hesitant to invest in virtual reality technology. Although it requires an upfront financial commitment, it’s important for dealerships to realize that this technology will save them money over time by lowering overhead costs. Dealerships spend thousands of dollars per year on transporting vehicles to their showrooms and maintaining the vehicles until they are purchased. However, the use of virtual reality technology could drastically reduce or even eliminate these expenses. Virtual showrooms and virtual test drives could eliminate the need for dealerships to keep a large number of vehicles on-site. Instead of keeping these vehicles on-site at all times, dealerships could choose to only transport them to the showroom once they have been purchased online. Automotive dealerships could even choose to transport the vehicles directly to the customers’ homes instead of the showroom. Not only would this reduce transportation and maintenance expenses, but it would also allow dealerships to operate out of smaller spaces, which means they could save money on rent and other operating expenses as well. Virtual Reality Car [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Creates-A-More-Convenient-Shopping-Experience.jpg] CREATES A MORE CONVENIENT SHOPPING EXPERIENCE Most automotive consumers would agree that shopping for a vehicle online is far more convenient than shopping for a vehicle at a dealership. According to a recent study, nearly half of automotive consumers are unhappy about the amount of time it takes to purchase a vehicle from a dealership. Automotive consumers currently spend an average of three hours at a dealership when purchasing a vehicle.  However, moving the car buying process online would drastically reduce the amount of time that consumers spent at dealerships, which would make the entire process more convenient. Even if consumers could only complete some of the purchase steps online, such as exploring vehicles in a virtual showroom, they could reduce the amount of time they spend at a dealership. This isn’t the only reason why shopping for a vehicle online is more convenient than shopping for one at a dealership. The use of virtual reality technology allows automotive consumers to start the car buying process on their own schedule from the comfort of their homes. This means they could technically explore a virtual showroom or take a virtual test drive at any hour—even if it is outside of the dealership’s standard operating hours. There’s no need to waste time traveling to dealerships—the entire process takes place online.   INCREASES SALES STAFF AVAILABILITY The use of virtual reality technology could lead to increased sales staff availability, too. Sales representatives typically work one-on-one with customers who visit dealerships in-person, which means they usually only help one customer at a time. But if customers start shopping for vehicles online, this could free up a lot of time in the sales team’s availability. Digital automotive consumers may need online assistance from a sales representative throughout their car buying journey. For example, a customer may use a live chat feature on the dealership’s website to ask a sales representative a question about a specific vehicle they see online. But even if a sales representative must step in to provide help, they can still help other customers at the same time. This is because online shoppers typically won’t require a sales representative’s undivided attention. So sales representatives would be able to serve multiple customers at the same time, which means they could potentially sell more vehicles. Virtual Reality Car [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Widens-the-Customer-Base.jpg] WIDENS THE CUSTOMER BASE The traditional car-buying experience only allows dealerships to serve customers who are living in the immediate area. This is because customers must visit dealerships in-person in order to buy a new vehicle, and they typically only visit dealerships located nearby.   But the use of virtual reality technology could help dealerships widen their customer base. If customers are able to virtually explore and test-drive vehicles online, they won’t need to visit a dealership in-person before buying a new vehicle. This means virtual reality technology could give dealerships the potential to serve customers from around the country. Serving a wider customer base would give dealerships the opportunity to sell more vehicles and increase their profits. Dealerships aren’t the only ones who benefit from this, though. Automotive consumers also benefit from being able to shop online at any dealership regardless of their location. This would make it easier for automotive consumers to find the exact vehicle they want. They would no longer be limited to choosing from the vehicles that are in stock at local dealerships. IMPROVES CUSTOMER SATISFACTION One of the reasons why so many automotive consumers want to take the car buying process online is because they aren’t satisfied with the traditional dealership experience. In fact, one survey found that 87% of consumers disliked at least one aspect of the process of buying a car at a dealership. Some of these consumers reported feeling anxious or uncomfortable at dealerships, whereas others felt like they were frequently taken advantage of when visiting automotive dealerships. The use of virtual reality car shopping could eliminate the need to visit a dealership to buy a car. This would please the majority of consumers who are unhappy with the dealership experience, which means it would improve overall customer satisfaction.  To put it simply, using virtual reality technology to create a digital automotive shopping experience would give consumers exactly what they want when it comes to buying a new vehicle. For this reason, it’s safe to say that virtual reality car shopping will become increasingly popular in the years ahead.

Categories: Virtual Reality