Are you looking forward to the Oculus Quest

VR in 2019 - an outlook

In this episode of the »Immersive Podcast«, Tim and Matze talk about the prospects for virtual reality in 2019.

2019 will be an important year for virtual reality. So far, VR is still busy getting through the teething troubles: low resolution of the headsets, more show than benefit, hardly any knowledge and dissemination among the population. But lately the trend seems to be changing. More and more sustainable applications are coming onto the market and the development of technology is making huge strides. If we consider where the medium VR is on the "hype cycle", then we find that we must be on the "path of enlightenment".

In addition to further prospects in 2019, Tim and Matze also talk about their own ambitions and projects at a young age - or at least they indicate the direction, because there will be more podcasts on this later.

More on the topic of »Outlook for 2019« can be found in our blog entry.



Matzo: Moin from Hamburg from the immersive podcast studio. Here are Tim and Matze. You can't say it often enough, although the intro already says who is doing the podcast. It's nice that you're there. The »Virtual Reality Year 2019«, that is the topic of today's podcast edition of Immersiv, we want to look a bit into the future on the next twelve months, what will the new year bring? Perhaps dare to take a quick look back at 2018, and let's get into the matter a little bit: Tim, you wrote a blog on the VRtual X website, you gave your comment, so to speak, and your perspective already thrown in 2019 and you are entering the race there in our blog with a, one can say provocative, thesis. You say »the hype about virtual reality is over. Now it's about establishing yourself in a differentiated market. «What exactly do you mean by that?

Tim: So this thesis doesn't just come from me, but you can now find it from very clever people on the Internet and hear it in lectures, and I can actually name this thesis or what is said in it from my own experience, because we actually have the same experiences. It's about what phase we are actually in with the medium. And that will e.g. shown in the hypecycle. This hypecycle is like such a large curve, such a diagram, and you can see that when a technology comes on the market, there is a real hype at the beginning, so it goes very steeply up to a peak point. Then that's the hype. And after this hype, you might say "the hype bubble is bursting," then it falls very steeply downhill again and then nobody wants to have anything to do with this medium again. And in the meantime we have not only reached this point, we have even exceeded it.

Because if I stay here for a moment, so far it has been the case that in the last year and a half we have noticed that people come to us and say, “We want to do something with virtual reality and we think that if we can use VR then people come to our booth. ”So that was the hype, it was about the medium itself. People want VR, simply because they want VR. Then everyone had somehow had VR and everyone knows it by now and that's why this rubbish came from the hype and we are now in the "valley of tears". That means, everyone who has now somehow set themselves up on this bubble and has participated in the hype, they now have animal losses and nobody wants more VR as such. Incidentally, in every technology there is not only VR, but actually always, when there is something new, there’s the hype. Then comes the valley of tears and then, when this bubble has burst, so to speak, then comes what really has substance. And from there, production starts to rise again and people come who want to use the medium sensibly. And that's also the point at which I notice where we are right now: people no longer come and say "we want VR", but they say "we have an idea where we can use VR, is that possible?"

Matzo: We can briefly talk about the count. The "peak of exaggerated expectations", that is, the curve all the way up, the phase is clearly behind us, then comes - I find it very nicely described - the "valley of disappointment", I think we have passed through the valley of disappointment and are now on the "path of enlightenment" towards the "plateau of productivity". And I think that is exactly where we are at the moment. Which makes us as VR and AR producers a bit nervous in between, right? Where you think the phone doesn’t ring as often as it did a year or two ago, but we said that strength lies in calm and we’re going to walk on the “path of enlightenment” towards the “plateau of productivity” . I think, and that also shows a bit the development of VRtual X, what we have experienced in the past two years, we have now tried an incredible number of things at the beginning. So, we started, that we somehow did music-360 °, that we went into education, that we visualized hotels in the tourism sector. So we really tried everything, which was also very good because we had to learn an incredible amount, and then we realized that Focus, Focus, Focus is definitely better for us.

Tim: In any case. I think that is also where our colleagues from other production companies have to assume that now that we have all found our niche Virtual Reality, so to speak, and this Nietzsche is now becoming a mass medium, or it is just beginning, we have to try again to find our new niche within this medium. And this niche can be, for example, saying “we only do 360 ° concerts.” As our friends from ConcertVR do now or others say, “we only make medical products” and so everyone has to be VR now. Finding a topic that he then exhausts and where he occupies his niche and is practically at the forefront. This broad whole no longer works.

Matzo: We can at least let the cat out of the bag for ourselves here in our modest little setting and say that we see our niche and our focus in the future, and currently see it, namely in the subject of education, training, further training. So whenever it comes to when people are supposed to learn, have to learn, or want to learn. Of course, we're not the only ones who are betting on this field, that's clear, but we see huge potential in it.

Tim: In any case. I believe that this is also one of the biggest areas that virtual reality will have in the future. Simply because the medium is simply predestined for it. You can use that to just show people how great the car is, or what a property looks like from the inside, but it's always about public relations. People just don't have VR glasses at home. Everyone has a smartphone or a computer, anyone can be reached when you go to websites. But if you try to reach people with VR, it will only work now and in the foreseeable future where the VR glasses are available. And in the education sector, people come there to educate themselves, e.g. in educational establishments such as universities, schools, vocational schools or in the company itself, if they train themselves. You can provide VR glasses and that's a big boost that this area is making great strides.

Matzo: Let's go back briefly to why VR? Why immersive media are actually so predestined in the field of education. So a lot of things that have just happened in the lecture about Powerpoint, about webinars or something, let's explain why this is really the medium of the media for us in the field of education, further training, training and so on.

Tim: Virtual reality is one of the most powerful immersive media out there. Immersion means, as has already been said a hundred times, "diving into another world." We experience things more intensely than we can do with any other medium. And that alone is a huge plus when it comes to learning. Because let's take a situation: you receive further training, you sit in a seminar room, someone in front is talking and throwing charts on the wall. No matter how well he talks, it's just a relatively long way from what you can consume. But if you now do everything that is taught to you, if you actively participate, then it will - it is proven what I touch or what I actively do with my body, I store it much more intensively and I also understand it much faster and much easier and more intuitive - and VR can do that incredibly well. I'm in the teaching session, I do the tasks, I do the motoric processes in VR, which I should do later in my professional life or which I should learn, and of course that is worth much, much more than it is just on the projector is presented.

Matzo: And I can make mistakes too. When it comes to the topic of safety instructions and instruction at the workplace, then I can cut my hand with the saw in the virtual application or the heavy piece of iron falls on my foot and I then have this experience, virtual, but then I am for it prepared for real situations and will probably not make the mistake a second time in real life.

Tim: Exactly. We call this the "luxury of being able to make mistakes." Because everyone knows that mistakes are the best way to learn. And if nothing happens, all the better, but you have learned from it.

Matzo: Another aspect that is also close to our hearts and that we have actually only just come across step by step is the topic of sustainability. Why the topic of sustainability and VR are so closely related, especially in the field of education, we have seen it with numerous customers who now have training take place via VR, there is no longer any need to travel. So far it has been like this, training takes place, usually everyone has to be carted there, in the worst case they even have to get on the plane and leave behind an incredible and unbelievable CO2 footprint. These are all things that also speak in favor of why the future should take place in VR, right?

Tim: I agree. And that's because a new niche is opening up here too. In the future, people will also travel to events. That will always be the case, because in many situations there is no substitute for a personal conversation. But it is like this: In the past, people always traveled somewhere. Then came the video streams, live switching and so on. That means a lot of people would meet in a conference room and then look at what was elsewhere. Or when there was a round-trip connection, it is now absolutely natural that you connect via video and then you can sometimes save yourself only an hour's drive. You can do complete job interviews in video chat. That works pretty well. Where the video chat is no longer enough, but the face-to-face meeting is already too much. There is also a need in between. And VR can cover that in the future.

Matzo: And that also applies to live streaming, we have already talked about it, so live streaming can be a totally interesting component and facet. So we will keep our eyes on the new year. Now let's talk a little bit about technology. What can we expect from new, technical gadgets? Maybe a quick look back, which milestones were there last year? I believe that the "Oculus Go" really carried us miles forward in the past year.

Tim: So the Oculus Go was definitely a huge thing last year because it made the whole VR industry much more mobile. Suddenly we come to people with a very good image quality and don't have to carry a computer, everything is all-in-one, really great, and at a low price. For me, the second big highlight of last year was the HTC Vive Pro, which simply increased the image quality extremely and at the same time made it even more comfortable to wear. That was also an animal highlight for me. There were also a few things in the AR area that I didn't find particularly worth mentioning. They didn't revolutionize the market, so I don't want to go into it any further now.

If we think about 2019: there will probably not be a new HTC Vive because the other one is also really good. There probably won't be a new Oculus Rift either. But now there will definitely be an Oculus Quest. And that's the next interesting big milestone, so to speak, technically. This is the bigger brother of the Oculus Go, I would say. The Go costs just over € 200, and it can, so to speak, represent everything I can do while sitting. The Oculus Quest is basically like the Go, only a little bit stronger, a little bit more powerful, maybe a little bit better resolution, but if it is cut it is just »Room Scaling«. That means we can get up and really actively move around the room. And all of this without us having to set up trackers in the room beforehand. And as a result, much larger, much better and more intuitive applications are suddenly possible than before. Up until now, this was only possible with wired glasses.

Matzo: Do you already know when the Oculus Quest will be out?

Tim: "Spring" is what they say, but I don't know what that means.

Matzo: Interesting for us, we now have to change and enlarge the workplaces of our employees because they need more freedom of movement.

Tim: At the moment we're still doing a lot of 360 ° videos, which doesn't need room scaling. You can always use it in place. Because our customers simply want the Oculus Go, we hardly need any room scaling at the moment. That's why we don't need that much space in development. But with the Oculus Quest we will run like stupid through the room, and therefore we will just have to look for larger rooms.

Matzo: ... equip with foam. Are there other things in VR or AR in 2019 that you are looking forward to? So of course, on the projects that we have, that is clear, and also that the technology is advancing. Are there other things that you look forward to?

Tim: So, I'm really excited to see how the whole scene develops at all. I have to say that because, for example, when we look here in Hamburg, all the networks, all the startups that are now becoming established companies, to watch them, that's just incredibly exciting. If you look at all of this, you can see that VR is slowly growing up. Or let's put it this way, we are now in the youthful status. It's no longer hype, it's starting to get serious. And just to notice that, I find it incredibly exciting. And so I believe that 2019 will be a key year because now the wheat is separated from the chaff: those who have a good concept will survive, and those who have a bad concept will be noticed at the end of the year either no longer there or just didn't make it.

Matzo: Okay, I would say "Keep your fingers crossed that we will start producing this podcast with such great pleasure in 2020 and that we will continue to do so." I think we are very confident about augmented reality in 2019 - will there be any major changes or new innovations, who are coming towards us?

Tim: So the Microsoft Holo Lens, there will be an update. The Holo Lens 2 will probably not exist, but the last thing I have just heard is that it is just getting a bit stronger and has a few improvements here and there. Others will certainly catch up too. But I still see the optical problem that you just can't work the AR glasses so well that everyone stops and says: "Wow, cool!" It's more like saying, "Oh cool, it works . 'It's been like that so far. But this "Wow, cool!", I think, that will be at least a year longer in coming.

Matzo: And how do you rate the potential of an AR application that I do with my smartphone?

Tim: There will definitely be a lot. There has been a lot in the past, and I believe that smartphone AR applications will make a slight upward trend in a straight line. No jump, but it can be used more and more permanently.

Matzo: I'm looking forward to 2019! For example, we're going to be at LEARNTEC next week in Karlsruhe, and there, of course, you won't see the topic of digital learning in the education fair, but there is also a separate VR and AR area. Let's see what is being presented, what the colleagues are doing.And yes, and that brings us back to the beginning and the conversation, we really thought about it for a long time about whether we are on the right track with the subject of education and, even after sleeping about it several times, and not thinking about it for weeks , we are now really sure that this has huge potential. So I need your confirmation now!

Tim: Well, with what we are currently developing, when I talk about it with potential customers, it just feels really different than before, because ...

Matzo: That was really cool: This morning Tim was sitting at his desk, we are sitting here cuddly across the street in our office, and then Tim said in between: "You know what Matze, that's so cool when it feels like you're doing exactly the right thing . And that's the case at the moment. ”Although I didn't have the feeling that for the past two years you've been so capable of not doing the right thing and not having the feeling of doing the right thing. But somehow it feels damn right right now.

Tim: Yes, the difference is as follows: So far I have sold »VR« to people. And then I went up to them and said: "That's totally awesome and it's immersive and you feel completely different." But that's so vague. As if you just have to make people fun and then they want to have fun and, if possible, also make a little sense. But what I tell people now, and wherever I go to potential customers and already acquire for the new project, I simply tell them hard facts. And say “that's the idea and that's your benefit.” And then they say: “Cool, we want that.” And that's just a confirmation that I haven't received like this before.

Matzo: How do we manage to do it now, Tim, so that we can reveal up to a point about our new product but not too much, which we are currently working on? It's our heart and mammoth project 2019, what's ahead of us. And we're already busy doing it. How do we do that, or do we not want to reveal anything?

Tim: Coming soon to a podcast episode. Can we do it like this: if we have recorded the podcast episode about it, I can put the link in the description of this podcast episode below.

Matzo: Come on, we can say a few key words: Well, in the broadest sense, it is about the topic of "safety at work". You can already say that much. Can you go one better?

Tim: And we want to significantly simplify, shorten and improve education in the workplace.

Matzo: And there is also a bit of the subject of "instruction". We won't reveal more. But we will keep you up to date. And that is a crucial difference, so far we at VRtual X have always traveled around the area as a service provider and have done wonderful orders and projects for wonderful customers. And of course we will continue to do that as well. But we are in the comfortable situation that we are now bringing our own real, scalable products onto the market, which of course is much, much more fun. And you just said, Tim, at the moment when you talk to the first potential customers about it and get feedback, when they say "super cool, at exactly the right time in the right place," which is confirmed and more motivated. And I think we are on the right track.

Tim: In addition, we are currently in the process of developing the pilot for it and I expect that we will publish the pilot in March or April at the latest. And from then on we go public in a big way, and then we will report intensively on the topic.

Matzo: Keyword “agile project management”. But that's another topic. We are definitely looking forward to it. I would say, in a nutshell and painlessly, the first 2019 edition of Immersiv, the podcast for immersive media. Do we have something else to say, Tim?

Tim: Nah, we still have to come up with a slogan.

Matzo: The running gag, we've been doing it for a year and a half: How should we say goodbye in the end? So far we have said "In Hamburg they say goodbye." What else do you have? We just can't think of anything. So, if you still have tips, ideas, suggestions on how our slogan should end up being, and it shouldn't be "Paris, Athens, goodbye", and not even "In Hamburg they say goodbye", we're for all open and look forward to the continuation of our podcast. More of us shortly, it goes on. Because 2019 is just around the corner and we are part of it. In this sense, see you next time, bye!

/ by Tim