Many people predicted that 2017 would be the year that virtual reality "became a thing," but while new hardware continued to be announced there appeared to be a real dearth in the software to support the new technology. There is still a real shortage of available content, and the learning curve for VR software remains steep.
With an interest in learning more about the VR space and what is being done to correct challenges in the marketplace, I spoke to ImmVRse CEO Farabi Shayor who is working tirelessly to disrupt the VR industry.
Why do you believe that the virtual reality industry, still very much in its infancy, is a good fit for the also developing blockchain tech?
Shayor: Virtual Reality has reinvented itself to become one of the most anticipated disruptive technologies in the modern era. According to a recent study, the journey to reach plateau will take approximately 2-to-5 years. The momentum from several giants in the technology sector such as Google and Facebook, is progressing the forecast in line with expectation. Likewise, blockchain has emerged as a revolutionary technology poised to challenge how business transaction is conveyed on the Internet.
By using blockchain and VR convergence, ImmVRse not only lowers the uncertainty for exchanging value, but also provides a platform comprising of a technology that imitates 'a rocket on the verge of ignition' - an application that will function autonomously and effortlessly within a system where commercialization of content will be facilitated by users on their own terms.
The decentralized ETH blockchain will mean zero downtime for the global platform. Imagine a decentralized iTunes for VR content that anyone can tap into worldwide with no barriers to entry.
What exactly is your plan to create thousands of jobs for a new generation of content creators?
Shayor: The advancement of hardware capabilities as well as the continuous fall in headset pricing has left the most important aspect of VR still to solve: content. The strategy for ImmVRse includes nurturing the growth of the whole industry by incentivizing content creators to produce quality, relevant and immersive videos on the platform. This surge of content will initiate the job marketplace by attaining the focus of corporate institutions to hire content creators. As of 2017, 75% of the Forbes most valuable brands have already begun incorporating VR within their marketing strategies.
This will lead to creating more VR experiences, billions of hours of VR media consumption, as well as applications that will give birth to a "VR binge-watching" generation.
With the growth of user consumption, comes the need for creating advertisements and content for marketing in VR. This will result in companies shifting towards the institutionalization of VR content platforms. The change will be similar to the evolution of digital content platforms, which resulted in ad makers and companies shifting their marketing budget, from traditional (TV) to social media. This is exactly where ImmVRse will play its part; by providing a platform for commercialization of VR content that will help millions of content creators earn their living using this technology.
What are you working on with students at Imperial College London and why do you believe it has the power to seriously impact your industry?
Shayor: R&D will play a vital part in the early stages of the VR lifecycle and is the reason why ImmVRse has partnered with Imperial College London to conduct a research study. Focusing on the relation between VR and neuroscience, the aim of the research is to prove that immersive experiences have a considerable impact on the human brain and are fundamentally disparate from consuming media on a 2D environment. Furthermore, the target is to demonstrate that VR has an incredibly high retention rate
The research will form the groundwork for the ImmVRse platform, as the results will not only provide a potentially disruptive solution for the medical industry, but also a robust reason for companies to legitimately shift their advertising ground towards virtual reality.
How long do you think it will take to develop fully functional, reliable tiers of VR content creators on your system so that viewers, brands and advertisers will be able to take positioning seriously?
Shayor: ImmVRse proposes to develop a functioning platform by the end of 2018, and deliver a finished product by Q2 2019.
Initially, the team will be developing an Android application that will work both as a VR content platform, where users can consume 360-degree videos, and a content creator's marketplace. As the technology evolves and improved standalone headsets are released in the market by 2019, the target is to build immersive spatial application that will be supported in high-end devices such as Vive Pro or Rift.
By 2022, ImmVRse aims to develop a rapidly-expanding platform that will provide a reliable solution for commercial VR content development. ImmVRse also expects to integrate technologies such as mixed reality, augmented reality as well as virtual goods within its long term scalability strategies.