Image : VR World NYC
Though virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) technologies have made significant strides this past year, the industry hasn’t quite broken into the mainstream just yet. This coming holiday season may be a significant one for many companies in the space, and could be a harbinger for the next couple of years.
One question that should be asked: Is the industry doing enough to promote the technology to the masses? A grassroots movement by some individuals and organizations in the space are making their own effort by working to establish the industry’s first global Virtual Reality Day. An event they expect to run annually until VR and AR are as common as the smartphone.
Designated to take place on the last Saturday, November 18th, before America’s largest shopping day, Black Friday, the event is being leveraged to bring more awareness to the general public about the state of virtual and augmented reality, and to create excitement as the nation enters the holiday shopping season. Much of the existing VR/AR community does meet regularly in established meetup groups around the world, but the majority of those meetings take place during the week and in the evening.
Virtual Reality Day has been specifically chosen to take place on the weekend, and during the day, so that parents can take time out with their children to learn about the technology together.
D.J. Smith, organizer of the 2nd largest VR Meetup in the world (NYVR) with 5,300 members and co-founder of a VR/AR company called The Glimpse Group has expressed excitement to participate and support the November 18th event. “NYVR’s mission from the beginning has been to support the growth of the VR community and events like Virtual Reality Day are a critical component in bringing the community together and advancing the technology.”
Jim Malcolm, general manager of Humaneyes Technologies Ltd - Bob Fine
So far, more than 20 organizations, from individuals to startups and colleges, around the world have expressed interest in organizing an event and taking part. Confirmed events today include Washington, DC, New York City and Annapolis, MD. Other cities in the final stages of preparation include Toronto, Boston, Phoenix, Austin and San Francisco.
"Virtual Reality Day may well be the catalyst the industry needs to unify the market and realize the commerce potential in the VR industry." said, Jim Malcolm, General Manager of Humaneyes Technologies Ltd., "Significant advancements in computer programming, VR video capture, distribution platforms and headset capabilities combine to unify a once fragmented industry. Virtual Reality Day will demonstrate the significant progress the industry has made."
Humaneyes Technologies, along with HTC, have contributed hardware to be raffled in a global online giveaway in an effort to support the Virtual Reality Day movement, and bring further awareness to the event. The total prize package is worth over $1500 USD.
VR For Good - Bob Fine
Even the newly established virtual reality arcades have gotten into the action. VR World NYC, one of the larger and more established arcades in the US, is offering a downloadable coupon through the Virtual Reality Day website allowing the first thirty customers to save 50% off their VR gaming experience this Saturday.
It remains to be seen whether Virtual Reality Day will move the needle much. But it’s a necessary effort for the industry to try to come together, and promote a common interest that carries everyone along in a positive direction. You can find an event near you by going to the Virtual Reality Day website and follow the conversation on Twitter at #VirtualRealityDay.