5 Reasons Why Virtual Reality Is Getting More Popular

This past weekend we set up rumii at GE2, which brings the best in robotics, Esports, gaming, drone racing, virtual reality, augmented reality, maker-competitions and more. You may ask why we decided to demo at a gaming conference. rumii is a VR product for business and education professionals. It’s a tool to have productive meetings and interactive learning environments. Margo Shiroyama and Audrey Fan of Washington Interactive told us about GE2 and encouraged us to attend. We were quick to sign up because VR is in high demand whether for games or work (we think work can be fun too).

We saw a great turnout at GE2. We saw long lines of people from all age groups waiting to experience the different VR demos (including rumii). The turnout of young folks at our booth was overwhelming. We had groups of high school freshman who were really excited about learning in VR. Their parents asked us if we had any real-life examples of educational institutions using rumii (we do, more on that later).

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Key Takeaways from the next generation:

  • They expect VR to be in their future. They see what we’re building today as what they will be using to work, communicate, and build when they enter the workforce. It’s not a question of “if” or “when” to them.
  • They expect VR to be a normal part of their lives. They are 100% bought-in and could not be more excited.
  • Young people today want to do something with VR. We are constantly asked by them how to get started making VR experiences. Virtual Reality of today is what it was like to experiment building websites with HTML and CSS in 2004.
  • Kids in high school are looking for a new avenue to be creative and take over. 15 years ago it was YouTube. People uploaded videos for fun but over time people discovered they could make a career out of it. Highschooler’s today will be our future “Youtubers” of VR tomorrow.
  • Kids want to do more than go to school, sit in a classroom, and read about what to learn. They want to attend school in VR (think Ready Player One). They want to be a settler in the American Colonies or ride the Apollo 11 to the moon. They want to explore a chemical reaction on a molecular level and experience what it’s like to live as a kid in a different part of the world. All these things can be accomplished with virtual reality.

To the people who say VR is dead or not worth investing in, we encourage you to look at what your kids or young people around you are interested in and excited about. We bet virtual reality is high on their minds. When a young person tries VR, they immediately take the controls and go forth. They aren’t afraid of stepping or moving around the virtual environment. In fact, they want more of it.

What we’re developing today is for the business and educational professionals. We see a strong need for virtual reality collaboration. But we’re also developing for the next generation. We’re giving them something to explore, something to create with and make their own.

AltspaceVR will not be the end of VR companies

We are truly saddened to hear that AltSpaceVR is closing their doors on August 3rd. For many of us in the VR space, they paved the road to virtual reality being mainstream.

AltspaceVR had an impressive user base with an average 35,000 users a month. Their average user spent 35 minutes a day in VR. Those are impressive statistics! Altspace hosted concerts and interviews with people such as Bill Nye. Their events drew crowds of 1,000 people.

AltspaceVR closing their doors is also a lesson for the rest of us. As Robert Scoble, an authoritative blogger in the tech world, said, “our industry needs to look at itself deeply.” Scobleclaimed that out of 1,000 entrepreneurs he spoke to, only three had a HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. Schoble claims that everyone should move to Apple’s AR technology. However, what we’ve seen is that VR works very well for specific use cases, which we have identified. Just because VR had a slow start to 2017 and we’re seeing AltspaceVR close its doors does not mean this tech is dead in the water. In fact, it’s far from it.

VR investment had a record year in 2016 of $2.3 billion. The hype from 2016 cooled off investment in VR/AR in the beginning of 2017. However, we’re already starting to see a rise in VR/AR investment in Q2 of this year, “AR/VR Dealmakers invested over $800 million dollars in Q2 2017” which is especially impressive because those numbers are without Magic Leap in the picture. These are the stats and figures that we should be looking at when analyzing the VR industry.

It hurts our heart to see a VR company fail, but their failure allows us to learn from their experiences. We are going strong at Doghead Simulations with 300 global users participating in our Early Access Program. We continue to speak and demo at events around the world as we move to our launch date. Our product, rumii, is a solution to a problem all companies face: poor telecommunication experiences.

Interested to see what we are all about? Check out our monthly meetups or experience rumii first hand at OrlandoiX and Seattle Startup Week.

Even better, join our FREE Early Access Program to use rumii first hand.

 People gather in rumii to discuss VR applications for their businesses.

People gather in rumii to discuss VR applications for their businesses.

The Doghead Store is Now Live

We have exciting news! The Doghead Store is now live! The store sells super soft, super cool T-shirts with our Doghead logo displayed on them. Go out into the world with your new, favorite shirt. The shirts are available for $20 plus shipping.

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The Story of How It Was Made

We originally made the shirts for our team members so they would stand out at conferences and meetups. They were such a hit that soon everyone was asking us if they could have a shirt too. That’s when we decided to make them available for everyone to share the Doghead pride.

Why the Shirt?

Wearing the Doghead Simulations shirt helps us in spreading awareness for our company and our product, rumii. We are fairly young tech startup making our way to the top. When our fans, like yourself, wear our shirts it gives us a sense of pride. It makes us feel like all the late nights, hard work, and endless pitches are paying off.

Plus, there is nothing cooler than walking down the street and seeing a fellow Doghead.

Shirt Features

We wanted to make sure that our shirts not only look cool, but feel good too. We had them made with the softest material. The shirts are 52% cotton and 48% polyester.

The Perfect Scenarios To Wear the Shirt

There is no perfect place to wear a Doghead T-Shirt. Wear T-Shirts to our meetups where you will feel like part of the team. Wear a Doghead T-Shirt to a conference or at the office. Everyone will ask, “is that a dog with a virtual reality headset?” You can proudly tell them that yes, it is indeed.

The Doghead T-Shirt is also nice to relax in after a hard day at work or rainy afternoon. Know that wherever you are, we at Doghead Simulations, are wearing our shirts too. In that way, we are all connected as part of a dog pack (howling at the moon together is probably one step too far).


Our Customers

How to Close the Investment Gap

“We should close funding by November.” That’s what we thought when we started down our funding journey in July last year.

At that time virtual reality was expected to be an $80 billion dollar industry by 2020. It’s now expected to be a $120 billion - $162 billion industry by 2020. That’s double market size! The numbers prove it. Virtual reality had a record year of $2.3 billion investment in 2016.

While we saw lots of investment activity in the space, we did notice some VR/AR startups feel an investment slowdown in the beginning of 2017. The investment market has cooled some since investors have been burned by virtual reality startup companies who haven’t delivered yet. They got in a little too soon, two to three years ago when the technology wasn’t quite ready. Unfortunately, now that the technology is ready, the purse strings have tightened up.

To compensate for this, VR/AR startups are finding that they are having to stay bootstrapped longer than they thought. Some are able to go to friends and family for initial investment. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is a good reminder that closing funding rounds take time.

Our advice? Closing funding is a marathon, not a sprint.

1.      Start building relationships with venture capitalists (VCs) and investors now, before getting to the point of asking for money. VCs are known to invest in the people and and team first, before the product. If they like you as a person they are more likely to invest in you when it comes time to ask for funding.

2.      Find a financial advisor or mentor to help manage your expectations and guide you through the funding process. There are many steps to closing funding, it’s not as cut and dry as writing a check. After agreeing to terms, there are transaction documents to be be reviewed, and lawyers on both side who want to make sure everything is in order.

3.      Don’t jump on the first offer you get. Remember, being invested is a two way street. Make sure you like the investor and can work with them as much as they want to put money into you. Seek out the “smart” money.

4.      Don’t quit your day job. Even if you start having serious talks with an investor it can take 7 - 14 months to close a funding round. It can take even longer if you haven’t started talking with investors yet. See point 1 above.

5.      Be patient, keep pitching, and network at events. Having your company’s face out in front of people will keep you first of mind when they’re thinking of who to invest in. Word spreads quickly. Even if you don’t talk to an interested VC, they might mention your company to someone who is.

 

 

Virtual Reality will Change the Way We Conference

This post is an expert from Lily Snyder’s talk at IIEX Europe: VR Gives Business People Super Powers

We, at Doghead Simulations, were tired of facing the same pain points of conference calls. We were frustrated with the technological trouble of getting on a conference call and once connected, not knowing if the person on the other end was paying attention to what we were saying.

That's when we realized that we had the power to bring conference calls into the 21st century.

What we did, was used virtual reality to create collaborative virtual space for our customers with virtual projects teams, remote customers, and who provide virtual training. Humans are naturally collaborative and expressive creatures. We talk with our hands and learn by interacting with objects. We are better enabled to come up with new ideas when we work together around a shared writing space like a whiteboard.

We also live in a global world where our teams and customers are all over the globe. We are no longer bound by geography or time zones. For years we have depended on teleconference calls and web conferences to communicate with one another. Unfortunately, these technologies do not allow us the full range of communication that we need to really be able to work with one another. These are outdated experience.

To combat this, we harnessed the power of virtual reality. We do more than simply bring people together in the same virtual room. We create personal, human experiences. Our customers moved to virtual reality because it gives them the means that traditional conferencing solutions do not.

For example, they are able to host leadership and management training workshops where before they would be stuck to single person talking on a webinar. They use VR to walk students through how to apply for graduate schools outside of their country. Additionally, VR lets people create experiments for situations they can’t afford to replicate in real life. Such as conceptualizing the use of a new product.

Simply put, virtual reality is better than traditional conference calls.

In traditional phone conferences you zone out. How many times have you found yourself swiping through your social media instead of paying attention to the call? On telephone calls, it is difficult to really connect with the person on the other end.

One time, at a previous company, I was with my team on a conference call. I needed my team’s input for project planning. I introduced the purpose of the meeting and opened the floor to my team. What happened next? The total sound of silence. No one said anything and I could see their microphones were on mute! It was so painful to draw them out and get people to start talking. Where, if we were all in the same room together I knew they couldn’t just mute themselves.

You may argue that we should have used video for the call. If we could all see each other then we’d be forced to talk. Video calls may show facial expressions and people’s faces but they are not popular. In fact, less than 11% of people use video for conference calls. For people who work from home, video calls are an invasion of privacy. It is difficult to get a sense of hand gestures and body language when all you can see is the screen boxed around their face. 

One study was done on NBA basketball players. It was found that, “NBA players who touch each other during games (fist bump, high-five, head grab) cooperate more and outperform their prickly counterparts on other teams.” Wouldn’t it be great if we would bring this sense of trust and team building back to our remote teams?

We live in a three-dimensional world. When we’re in a meeting or interview we can see, touch, and feel everything around us. Virtual reality gets us closer to being in the real world together. When you are in virtual reality, you are completely immersed in the experience. When it comes to running meetings or workshops, your team will be immersed in a scenario and they will be fully involved in that experience.

The first time my team met in VR for a meeting, it was surreal. We all stood in a circle. When it came my turn to talk, I could see everyone’s heads and bodies turn to focus on me. 40 minutes passed before anyone noticed the time. That's how involved into the discussion we were due to the immersive environment. When has that ever happened on a traditional conference call?

We experience our work and each other more than through voice and facial expressions. Virtual reality gives us that next level of interaction. Virtual reality provides spatial presence. When in VR we feel a personal bubble. We can sense how far or close someone is via their voice and avatar’s presence. We have a much better idea of interactions because people actually walk around. We can see what they are looking at or pointing too because head and hand movement is tracked.

In video calls and web conferences we can share our screens but only the person sharing it can interact with what’s being displayed. In virtual relaity however, anyone can point to or manipulate a drawing, object, or text and everyone else can see them. Virtual reality creates true human connection through immersive collaboration.

We are working on virtual reality meetings spaces, not just because the technology is really cool but because we believe it will truly help teams work better together and take their ideas to the next level.