WorldViz is a developer of virtual reality software, but they’re approaching it differently than most. The team, led by Matthias Pusch, Peter Schlueer & Andrew Beall, Ph.D have been developing VR tech since the 90s (no, not the Virtual Boy). They started out in academia, at MIT and the University of California, creating methodological tools for studying human cognition and visual perception leveraged by the unique abilities of VR to address scientific questions.
What sets WorldViz apart from other VR software developers? Well, for one, they aren’t making video games; they aren’t making consumer products at all, and it’s working out for them. While the rest of VR world focuses on who will light the VR consumer market fire, WorldViz has their sights set on enterprise and academia. Industrial use, not consumer use, is what they believe will ultimately drive VR adoption in 2018 and, after examining some of their case studies and impressive client list, you quickly start to see why.
Here’s the rub. Consumer VR applications require inherently expensive hardware and software to participate. Furthermore, experiences are isolating, and resolutions are lower than what we would expect. Essentially, you’re asking people to pay a lot for an (arguably) ‘meh’ experience. On the other hand, WorldViz wants their customers to save by investing in their VR experience packages, and if you can save a business money, you’re in business!
Let’s take a look at what they’re selling and who’s buying.
WorldViz has a focus on academic, architectural, engineering and construction (AEC), healthcare, defense, and manufacturing industries. They offer two practical solutions, VR development services and a VR product line, aimed at making it simple to develop and experience VR environments. “Practical solutions” and “VR” wouldn’t normally belong in the same sentence with each other but, in this case, they do—the solutions they provide for those interested in VR truly are practical.
For example, their software is created to be simple to use and deployed anywhere, communicating complex ideas to remote decision makers to save both time and travel expense. And these savings are bigger than you might think. Companies spend $1.25 trillion globally on business travel to get around these limitations. Architectural and construction companies are using WorldViz VR products to displace physical mock-ups with virtual ones with full-scale BIM and CAD file import and collaboration capabilities.
Their VizMove VR System combines everything needed to design and experience projection, standing, walking or seated VR environments. Each is a complete preconfigured system running on a Lenovo ThinkStation and using their Vizard VR software for rapid application development.
The Projection VR system demonstrates this best in a system offering simultaneous viewing of the same virtual space projected onto two walls. This solution is distinct because it breaks through the inherently isolating design of full VR headsets and all users can interact with elements within the shared environment.
Late last year, they introduced project ‘Skofield’, a cloud-based system to quickly build VR presentations through a drag-and-drop WYSIWYG editor. Here’s how they describe the experience:
"Once they’ve created a presentation, the presenter can then invite attendees to join a session immediately or at a later date via email or text. Attendees can then view, experience, and interact with the VR presentation or 3D designs without ever having to travel. A set of tools will give attendees the ability to interact with the presentation in different ways, such as move around the virtual space, zoom in on or interact with objects, annotate on objects, measure distances, or even use a virtual laser pointer. Skofield also provides telephony for voice as well as gaze tracking, and can even record meetings for later reference."
These are just two examples of how WorldViz is taking aim at the barrier to VR and, we believe, may very well have solved the secret, the question many are asking, of how a business will use VR. With a turnkey approach, businesses are starting to see the ‘practical solutions’ of VR and if they’re making VR development so simple, it’s going to be very interesting to see how they move to develop and integrate with other 3D software and VR tech.