VR World is returning on the 16th and 17th of May at Olympia Conference Centre in London, and this year a number of excellent speakers have signed up to share and discuss how their companies are benefitting from AR, MR and VR.
One of VR World’ visionary speakers, Brian Waterfield, is the Virtual Reality and High-end Visualisation Technical Lead at Jaguar Landrover. Brian introduced VR into Jaguar Landrover and commissioned one of the world’s leading virtual environments – the VRCAVE.
Brian, who will be speaking about the role of VR, AR and MR in Product design and development; and where immersive technologies will be in five years, took some time to complete our speaker interview:
Please tell us a bit about the work you are doing in the VR/MR/AR space?
I have worked in VR since 2006, introducing VR to Jaguar Land Rover in 2008, where it has become part of the product development cycle. AR & MR are also being applied to different areas of the business from retail to manufacturing, and Jaguar Land Rover is pushing the barriers in how we can maximise these technologies and get closer to the customer.
Immersive technologies are enabling JLR to experience the product from the inside, sitting inside a virtual vehicle before any physical proto-types are developed. This gives us a great advantage, to enable work outside of normal physical restriction, giving our team a deeper insight into the customers' passion for our products
What benefits do you think immersive technologies can bring to your industry?
Immersive technology inspires the power of imagination and removing the physical barriers can ignite another layer of creativity. Getting closer to the customer is a key attribute of immersive technology. Getting closer to the design means you can inject more and more invention into the product, increasing safety and accelerating productivity
Do you think enterprise is ready to take full advantage of immersive technologies? Why/ why not?
No, because the rate in which technology is changing the industry has not got the support levels it needs to enable rapid change with expert guidance. Companies are transforming within the digital age, however ImmerseUK needs to keep evolving to maximise the support needed to make the UK a world leader across many sectors, and a pioneer in immersive technology
Which industry do you think will be most impacted by VR/AR/MR technologies?
All industries will be impacted by immersive technology. This will evolve to support AI and have a influence on how we interact both socially and at an industrial level. The most exciting area in which immersive technology will make a difference is the medical arena with advances in science accelerated using these tools. The closer we can get to simulating real world conditions, the closer we will get to understanding complex medical problems, immersing experts closer to the challenge
How can we boost content creation for VR applications?
There needs to be a set of standards that will enable content to be created in context, whilst opening up sharing across all industries. Context is vital to give meaning to the immersive experience, while entertainment can expand the experience to take you away from reality, industrial immersion need to be grounded in reality, closer to real life and immersing all the senses. Collaboration across all aspects of immersion content creation will lead to a complete and robust experience that can reduce the need for physical interaction during the product development process
How are partnerships contributing to growth in the immersive technology market?
Partnerships in the tech world are great to increasing exposure, and generating the markets within the immersive field. However, how these partnerships open their development onto the world stage is key to preventing saturation of singularly focused experiences. Collaboration and open source are the factors that will allow immersive technology to evolve out of the hype cycle and into the essential, seamless integrated into everyday life.
Are there any projects or applications of VR/AR/MR that you’ve seen that are particularly impressive and why?
Not really! I am still waiting to get the feeling i had when i first experienced VR. Its probably due to the fact that I work in this world day-in day-out. However, our recent virtual launch of the new Jaguar I-PACE Concept was a great experience and a new way to promote a product. I am however looking forward to a magic leap. If it lives up to what it promises, I am impressed with the hololens and meta developments in AR / MR. There are lots of possible approaches with everyone trying to invent the killer app, the next perfect interface. To deliver this what is needed is a collaborative approach, and support structure, a growth in connected networks like ImmerseUK.
What are the key ethical issues that arise from the use of immersive technologies and how are these being addressed?
There are many ethical issues relating to immersive technology. The closer we get to the real world in the virtual world issues like effects on health and motion sickness when undergoing a virtual experience is a big factor. There is a need to continue research into how the effect immersive technology has on how we understand the world around us. How the effects of VR may impact underlying medical issues, or effect mental well-being. There is always the question on how far do you allow the experience to cross barriers that in the real world would not be tolerated or even be law breaking. The entertainment and gaming world needs the support from research in this area to establish guidelines and prevent disruption in the future.
Where do you see immersive technologies in the next 18 months?
We are only limited by our imagination. Technology is evolving so fast that we could be moments away from a groundbreaking development that will change the way we experience the world, or at least interact with the people around us. 18 months on and i see the world accepting immersion as an enabler for product and process, a vital tool in the development of scientific and medical research. The entertainment industrial will work out how to package the virtual experience within games and films that open up another narrative in storytelling. The product development process within any sector will accelerate the use of immersive tools, so that most development work is virtual.. Immersive technology will open up the world, but from your armchair, social interaction will become less social, and more virtual, so there is need to research this concept, so that we are aware of how we are evolving at humans.
The physical technology will reduce its impact of our interaction, becoming less intrusive, more intuitive and seamlessly woven into our day. Human in the loop design across all field of immersion will accelerate acceptance and trust, and cross over the cultural acceptance barriers.
What are the key challenges to mass market implementation of VR/AR/MR and how do you see these being overcome?
Content and the experience itself are key contributors to the challenges ahead of immersive technology becoming common place. The creation of content in context within a framework that shares and evolves is the foundation to any immersive experience. The experience itself, the closer it gets to the real world, the greater the trust and robustness it will generate, which will create a powerful development tool. Both of these factors are reliant on structure and support, creating and underpinning all immersive activities. the support structures are developing but they need to be a focus for government and industrial acceptance, integrating with data has changed and will continue to change, what is needed is a road map with a very light touch which could be used to make sure all the piece are in place to enable what I call the 5 c's
- Counsel (Support, standards, developments, research)
- Context (data fit for purpose, and relevant)
- Collaboration ( the UK working as one to create, inspire and innovate)
- Connectivity (connected through a robust fast and evolving network)
- Content (shared, relevant, reusable, ground breaking)
About VR World
Now in its 2nd year, VR World 2017 is a 2 day conference and exhibition focused on Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Reality and its impact beyond gaming.
With 4 in-depth event tracks and over 150 leading speakers, no other European event covers the market in as much detail.
Amid unparalleled networking opportunities, attendees will have access to visionary speakers and case-study led content. Hear from inspirational keynotes and thought-provoking panel discussions from key players redefining the boundaries for technology.
Register now to reserve your place for THE VR, AR and MR event of 2017.