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Unlocking the Commercial Potential of Virtual and Augmented Reality


On Wednesday November 15th the BABC hosted the “Unlocking the commercial potential of VR and AR at the stunning Silicon Foundry offices in the heart of San Francisco. The event was sponsored by Penningtons Manches, Grant Thornton, Silicon Valley Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland and proved to be a fantastic success with over 50 attendees.

The event began with a hour for introductions and networking, with attendees being able to experience VR technology first hand thanks to demonstrations from Portico studios and Baobab studios. Portico make use of Virtual Reality as a training mechanism for soft skills, and their demonstration involved training users to check a guest into a Virtual hotel. Baobab studios are world renowned for their immersive VR movies, and guests of the event enjoyed one of their most recent productions.

At 6pm Josh Dorsey of Silicon Valley Bank took the stage and deftly introduced the attendees into the world of AR, VR and MR by explain his journey into these fields. This keynote speech was the perfect setup before the panel discussion began, with Josh moderating.

The panel consisted of Rick Davis from Rewind, Mark Skilton a Professor of Practice in Information Systems Management at Warwick Business School, Adam Nakagoshi the Northwest Regional Creative Media Leader for Gensler, Steven David Madge Vice President, Industry & Global Affairs in High Tech, Future Transportation & Smart Cities with Dassault Systems, and Jason RM Smith CCO / Creative Director / SOMA Creative.

The immediate question tackled by the panel was whether or not virtual reality will actually take off? All of the panelists chimed in on this question, as they introduced themselves and gave an example of one of the major projects that they have been working on in the field of immersive technology. Steven Madge of Dassault systems described his work generating a simulated version of Singapore, and using this to simulate and train responses to a natural disaster such as an earthquake. Adam Nakagoshi advocated the use of VR and AR in architecture and real estate, explaining how potential clients are able to enter the building before its even been built thanks to the technology. Jason smith and Rich Davis discussed the applications of VR in entertainment and gaming fields, as well as simulated training for events such as terrorist attacks. Prof Mark Skilton also talked about the application of haptics in addition to VR headgear, explain how gloves can simulate the beating of a heart, enabling the maximum immersive experience for surgeons training in the virtual environment.

The panel also discussed how immersive tech will change the way that the built environment is created, developed and used in the future and, what its unforeseen benefits are. These benefits all stemmed from the simple reality that anything is achievable in the virtual world, and the forecasting potential of VR devices are already cutting costs and solving problems before they become tangible.

They discussed how they will change the way we process, absorb, and learn information and who are the players making Immersive a reality. Huge companies such as Facebook, Sony, Google, HTC, Samsung and Apple have all invested large sums, as have venture capitalists across the globe. The panel also discussed some of the dangers of the Virtual world as it develops, talking of privacy issues as the immersive tech becomes increasingly more complex. Despite this, the underlying theme remained clear: As processing power internet speeds and network coverage advance, the possibilities of VR in the enterprise will grow parallel to these, and the world of immersive tech will continue to be an incredible field with which to get involved!

The panel was followed by an addition hour of networking and hands on VR demos from Portico studios and Baobab studios, aptly rounding off a successful and informative discussion.

A Huge thank you to our panelists, attendees and of course to our Sponsors Penningtons Manches, Grant Thornton, RBS and of course hosts Silicon foundry.

View photos of the event here:

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