Sarah Jones, Deputy Head of School of Media & Performing Arts at Coventry University will be speaking on Day one of VR World, taking place on the 16th and 17th of May in Olympia Conference Centre in London.
Sarah is the co-founder of @VRGirlsUK and an active champion of women in technology. She is listed in the top 100 of global influencers in VR. She spent more than a decade working as a television reporter covering everything from the US elections 2008 to being in Sex and the City, Sarah moved into academia and works at Coventry University, happily spending her days immersed in a virtual world.
Sarah will be discussing ‘The Role of Simulated Environments in Education and Training’ on Day one of VR World and also 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 work largely within the VR space though touch upon AR as well. My work has been developed from an immersive journalism background in television so I work within narratives and creating presence within 360 film. In recent months, a lot of that has been focused on multi sensory VR as a way to increase presence within 360 film where interactivity and agency can be more difficult to achieve than in CGI environments. I also apply these tools and experiences to education so that students can learn from being someone else and somewhere else in a virtual world.
What benefits do you think immersive technologies can bring to your industry?
For me, as a storytelller, I always wanted to get closer to a story and bring the experience to an audience. VR allows you to tell a story in that way. There’s no longer a barrier in a narrative as you can embody someone else and experience something through another perspective. It builds connections and empathy in a way that flat screen films don’t allow. When you apply those ideas to education, you can see huge benefits for experiential learning.
Which industry do you think will be most impacted by VR/AR/MR technologies?
Anything focused on an experience will be most impacted by VR and AR. Education has huge potential but we have to get around accessibility issues and affordability of non mobile HMD. I’m always really excited about VR for Good and NGOs using the technology for empathy and creating impact and awareness of issues. Marketing and travel have huge opportunities where experiences are created to generate product interest. Live events, especially sport and music, have massive applications and some great work is pioneered in the US by Next VR around this.
How can we boost content creation for VR applications?
The accessibility of affordable 360 cameras is allowing content creators to make films and allows playing with ideas of immersion and narrative which is exciting. We are seeing more exploration of this, which is great and social sharing is playing a huge factor in this. You don’t get as much of an immersive experience with watching experiences on a phone but it is driving interest in the field. We are also seeing amazing tools like cospaces.io where school children can easily build virtual worlds with building blocks, adding audio and sounds. This is a really simple tool and we are seeing amazing applications of this kit exploring a range of subjects from language learning to history and science.
Are there any projects or applications of VR/AR/MR that you’ve seen that are particularly impressive and why?
I love any product that pushes the boundaries and looks at new ways of telling stories. For me, story is still the most important thing and we have to find a new of telling that story through the technology. The work and research that I have done with multi sensory VR looks at increasing presence by creating a full immersive experience. Breaking Fourth’s CTRL was a great example of storytelling in VR and Rewind has done some great work with their VR pacewalk called Home.
What are the key challenges to mass market implementation of VR/AR/MR and how do you see these being overcome?
One of the key challenges is making the best of the technology accessible to all. Social 360 allows mass adoption by using the phone as a VR viewer but it lacks the quality of a high end experience. People also don’t like putting things on their head which poses challenges for working with HMDs. We also still need time to play and experiment and not write the rules for VR when it is still very much emerging.
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.