3 Takeaways from VRX 2016

BY Kat Shanahan
The Filament team recently attended the VRX Conference in San Francisco to network with some of the brightest minds in Virtual Reality. Upon their return I set to out to learn more about their experience and what trends they saw at the show. Here’s what they said:

Content Development
Despite the excitement surrounding VR, the content still needs to mature and develop before it realizes the full potential of the hardware. Businesses and learning institutions see the value of the technology but they are scratching their head on hardware selection and the exciting, yet limited, content. There were a number of emerging companies with interesting prototypes on display, but lengthier, interactive experiences are few and far between. In the educational space there is a predominant focus on virtual field trips, which is a worthwhile use of the tech, but as content developers we need to think bigger and push harder. Virtual field trips and other obvious applications will only sustain the industry for so long; soon the audience will tire of the novelty and expect more engaging experiences.

Game Literacy
Because VR content is still so new, there is a lack of game literacy in users - especially when it comes to room-based games or judging depth and distance. People are hesitant to move around in a 3D space and it’s often difficult to get the user to face the intended direction. In order for developers to remedy this, we must clearly define the context for a VR situation and expose participants to one mechanic at a time. Not only will these tactics help users better navigate the experience, they will be instrumental in defining best practices for VR scaffolding.

Hardware and Technology
Low-end VR was the market leader in 2016, but high-end VR is poised to gain traction in 2017. Users are excited about what’s currently available, but are even more excited about what’s coming. In addition to VR headsets themselves, new middle-ware companies are targeting the VR market. Companies specializing in lighting, input, data, cloud, and infrastructure services are finding opportunities in the VR realm.

We’re excited to see what the future holds for VR and how it impacts educational technology. If you’re interested in learning more about our thoughts on the subject, check these resources:

How VR Changes Learning
Virtual and Augmented Reality for Businesses
The State of VR in the Classroom
Virtual Reality for Learning
VR and Identity [Podcast]
Virtual Reality [Podcast]

Where do you think VR is headed? Let us know in the comments section!