Antunez's firm provides 360-degree body cameras to top-level sports
Virtual reality could become a niche technology if developers don’t work out how to make the viewing experience social.
That is the view of Roger Antunez, co-founder and CEO of Barcelona-based wearable tech firm FIRSTVISION, which is already helping to incorporate VR into the sports broadcast experience.
Antunez said that he is seeing a “strong trend” towards VR but fears its execution may be hindered by the isolating nature of the experience.
“VR can provide a super immersive angle that fans definitely want for at least some moments of the game, but there are handicaps related to the headset,” he told BusinessCloud.
“Most people don’t have one, and the current headsets don’t allow social consumption of content, which is a key barrier not only in sports, but for many segments of broadcasting and journalism.
“The way the VR industry faces the social content consumption challenge in the next years will decide whether it becomes a mainstream technology or a niche one.”
FIRSTVISION’s body cameras are worn by players and officials in top-level European basketball, handball and ice hockey and beam footage back to the TV director via a series of radio frequency receivers around the court.
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Antunez added: “Wearable VR has a large landscape: content capture, distribution and consumption.
“We operate in content capture, together with other players like action camera manufacturers – but we are specialised in professional sports where, for now, we don't have competitors.
“We were born as a wearable company, which is what makes us unique and has allowed us to penetrate pro sports.
“Our strategy is to invest in safety and comfort, making them our #1 priority.”