& cplSiteName &

Time to Invest in Virtual Reality?

P. Tracy Currie
2/13/2017
50%
50%

Should I deploy the latest virtual reality (VR) technology if I know that the customer experience will still be lacking? That's the question that telecom and entertainment companies are asking right now.

With the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) now securely in the rear view mirror, one thing is clear: Virtual reality (VR) is, well, a reality. And you'll find it difficult to read anything about the overall theme of the show that doesn't have VR right in the middle of the discussion. We've long known that the gaming community and Hollywood have an obvious interest in VR and are getting in on the action quickly. NBC (through its partnership with Samsung) even dipped its virtual toes in the water just last summer by broadcasting delayed recordings of events at the Brazil Summer Olympic Games in VR.

Is it perfect? No. But it works.

Issues around hardware (many reporting that the headgear is just plain uncomfortable), supporting infrastructure and content remain -- all negatively impacting the overall customer experience (CX). But as Variety notes, Hollywood players are clearly hedging their bets. During CES last month, the Fox Innovation Lab even demonstrated a first exploration of augmented reality (AR) that made use of Osterhout Design Group-s (ODG) glasses, which let users explore short video snippets based on the upcoming Alien: Covenant movie in an AR setting. So VR is definitely happening. (See CES Preview: The Service Provider Edition and A Photo Tour of CES 2017.)

Early adopters, as you may have noticed, tend to see beyond initial limitations to the potential of a technology. Just look at the evolution of VCRs to DVDs to HD streaming; or the brick phone to the flip phone to the smartphone, as examples. You might think of the NBC/Samsung Summer Olympics effort as the VCR of VR.

Moore's Law will march us toward new, better, wearable VR and AR devices, giving companies an increasing opportunity to innovate around content and customer experience. Many VR ventures are overcoming the challenges of device exclusivity and increasing mobility by offering mobile applications that do not require headgear. It's not just Fox: Disney, Lionsgate and Lucasfilm have also expressed interest in implementing VR to attract an early adopter audience of thrill-seekers and adventurers beyond gaming platforms -- as have Netflix and The New York Times, too.

As a result, many industry observers project that VR revenue will grow exponentially in the coming years. Tim Merel, managing director at Digi Capital, forecasts that the AR and VR markets will hit $150 billion in combined revenue by 2020, bringing in about $120 billion and $30 billion, respectively.

Companies are already getting creative in their attempts to leverage VR. Universities are using it for campus visits for students that can't travel. Retailers can provide in-home "dressing rooms." Broadcasters can put you courtside, ringside, fieldside at sporting events. Moviemakers and advertisers can put the audience in the middle of a video experience.

Success in leveraging VR's positive impact on customer experience, now and down the road, will require significant investment and commitment from the content producers, as well as partnerships with device makers like Oculus Rift and its Samsung Gear VR, PlayStation VR, HTC Vive or Google Cardboard, to name just a few. Not to mention the need for much faster Internet speeds, better battery life, smaller, better headsets (or no headsets), and better 360-degree camera equipment with higher resolution picture quality.

The decision to pursue VR now or later is an important one. What is your business case? Is it a first-mover advantage to get the kinks out while early adopters are still forgiving? Can you increase advertising "stickiness" by a factor large enough to entice new advertisers? Does the C-suite simply want to be on the front lines of VR technology implementation? Whatever the reason, a business case supported by both money and talent is needed to create the best customer experience.

— P. Tracy Currie, CEO and Co-Founder, Capto Consulting

(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/20/2017 | 9:03:04 AM
Re: Amazing technology
VR will certainly be big in a few years as the technology for disply improves and better applications become commonplace. The trick may be to predict just when the huge surge in demand and use will occur.
SimoneCormack
50%
50%
SimoneCormack,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/3/2017 | 7:27:17 AM
Amazing technology
I don't know about you but I am extremely hyped about VR. I am thankful that I am young enough to be able to see how it starts and what it will bring. Just give VR a few more years and I bet it will be amazing!
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/22/2017 | 8:29:28 AM
Re: Color me skeptical
I also would guess VR is going to be a niche market for many years to come maybe in the line of 3D TV which is cool, but just not up to mass market appeal considering the investment that's mandated in expensive hardware and those objects one must put over their eyes to enjoy the effects. If it weren't for the glasses and googles, it would surely be a fantastic frenzy everyone would buy into.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
2/16/2017 | 2:32:31 PM
Re: Color me skeptical
What applications, other than gaming and some professional and training simulation apps, will VR be useful for? Why would the average person want to use it?

I was a Second Life addict. I remember trying to evangelize it to friends and colleagues, who said, "Second Life? I don't have time for my first life!" I see the same obstacle for VR. 

Even with regard to porn, there are already plenty of channels for that. Porn won't sell much VR.

 
Cary McDonald
50%
50%
Cary McDonald,
User Rank: Light Beer
2/16/2017 | 1:09:59 AM
Re: Color me skeptical
EVERYTHING from 'radio' to 'Apples' started with a 'niche' market.

Sony is ramping up in a very controlled and AFFORDABLE direction IMHO. However, you're correct in the application being 'different' enough that it is NOT a direct replacement to 2D.

If the camera action moves even slightly 'too much' then dramamine is REQUIRED. It is very easy to 'forget' you are in VR, and 'react' badly. In a 'stand-up' simple action of a shuffle-puck game for example, I've obsrved very intelligent individuals reaching out as they would if a table top were actually in front of them, only to then fall on the floor. Futrure games will probably remain in the 'feet not moving' standing position, or in a seated position for example. A steady-cam method of recording is absolutely required.

Just about every first-time male user gets through trying on a headset, they ask: so when is porn going to be available?!   (So that's a BIG niche market on the horizon, kids aside!)
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/14/2017 | 11:13:30 AM
Re: Color me skeptical
Sure -- for those of us who prefer the analog world. But think of the kids.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
2/14/2017 | 11:12:00 AM
Re: Color me skeptical
Jack Daniels works for that. 
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
2/14/2017 | 11:04:35 AM
Re: Color me skeptical
But Mitch -- as actual reality drifts more deeply into a dark, depressing, dystopian morass, won't we all want some rose-colored VR glasses to feel like life is still worth the effort?
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
2/13/2017 | 5:19:16 PM
Color me skeptical
I'm skeptical VR has a future beyond a niche market in high-end gaming and training. It's Second Life for 2017. 
More Blogs from Column
As the industry looks to aggressively ramp up NFV efforts, it becomes critical for strong and interoperable industry standards to eliminate vendor lock-ins and create a marketplace for best-in-breed services.
Today's telcos and communication service providers are more vulnerable to large-scale DDoS attacks than ever.
But this story will take years to write.
A few myths have emerged about microservices that need to be addressed, says Ciena's Abel Tong.
New and exciting methods of automation – whether virtualization, the cloud, IoT or even best practices like network segmentation – tend to emphasize innovation over visibility. As such, networks develop blind spots that mask network problems and even faulty devices.
From The Founder
Kicking off BCE 2017, Light Reading founder Steve Saunders lays blame for NFV's slow ramp-up and urges telecom to return to old-fashioned standards building and interoperability.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Viavi Explores the Latest Cable & Fiber Trends Within the CATV World

6|29|17   |     |   (0) comments


Viavi's Koji Okamoto discusses CATV technology and trends with Alan Breznick of Light Reading. From DOCSIS 3.1 deployment to the impact of Distributed Access Architectures (DAA), bringing fiber closer to the home, and leveraging DWDM technology for business services.
LRTV Interviews
Masergy: It's Time for SD-WAN Options

6|28|17   |   03:09   |   (0) comments


Paul Ruelas, director of network products for Masergy, explains how adding SD-WAN has changed the service mix for his company's customers. In some cases, the change is incremental, enabling more granular customer control. Masergy's newest version, SD-WAN Go, gives up some of those controls for a streamlined version targeting mid-sized customers with the most ...
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Intel Ushers in the Revolutionary 5G Era

6|28|17   |   5:00   |   (1) comment


5G will bring job opportunities for women in telco and IT, as well as a whole new era of communications for consumers and industries of all kinds, says Caroline Chan, vice president and general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division at Intel.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX at ANGA COM

6|27|17   |     |   (0) comments


At ANGA COM 2017, Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX, updates Alan Breznick with VeEX's new products and technology. This includes VeSion cloud-based platform for network monitoring, AT2500-3G advanced spectrum analyzer and MTTplus-900 WiFi Air Expert module. He also comments on DOCSIS 3.1 deployment and Remote PHY technology.
LRTV Custom TV
The Overall Objective Is to Win the Game

6|26|17   |     |   (0) comments


SCTE•ISBE's Chris Bastian discusses Energy 2020's success to date and the importance of a flexible approach that allows for changes in specific strategies in order to reach significant milestones.
LRTV Interviews
CenturyLink: Let's Get Past SD-WAN Hype

6|23|17   |   04:02   |   (0) comments


Technology becomes a "shiny object" unless it's properly focused on solving business needs for enterprise customers, says Bill Grubbs, network solutions architect for CenturyLink. He explains to Light Reading why SD-WAN deployments have to be tailored to specific needs – and more.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Infinera's Sales Director Paints Tech's Big Picture

6|21|17   |   4:14   |   (1) comment


Shannon Williams, Infinera's director of sales, shares how she achieves work's many balancing acts -- between her role and the broader company, today and tomorrow's tech and more.
LRTV Custom TV
SD-WAN Innovation & Trends

6|20|17   |     |   (0) comments


Versa CEO Kelly Ahuja discusses with Carol Wilson the current status and trends in the SD-WAN market, Versa's innovation around building a software platform with broad contextualization, and the advantages that startups can bring to the SD-WAN market.
LRTV Interviews
Ovum's Dario Talmesio on 5G in Europe

6|20|17   |   02:16   |   (0) comments


At 5G World 2017, Dario Talmesio, principal analyst and practice leader on Ovum's fixed and mobile telecoms European team, explains the emerging trends amongst European operators as they prepare for 5G.
LRTV Custom TV
Putting Power on a Pedestal

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


ARRIS's John Ulm says a major accomplishment of SCTE•ISBE's Energy 2020 program is increased focus on power cost and consumption, including inclusion of energy requirements in operators' RFPs and RFIs.
LRTV Custom TV
Gigabit Access: The Last-Mile Pipe for All Future Services

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


A Gigabit access platform being deployed today must be able to deliver all types of services to an increasing number of devices. A non-blocking architecture is necessary to support the ever-increasing growth in bandwidth demand. The Huawei Gigabit access solution is based on a distributed design that is fully scalable to deliver a unprecedented performance.
LRTV Custom TV
Key Factors to Successfully Deploy an SD-WAN Service

6|19|17   |     |   (0) comments


As service providers transition their SD-WAN solution from trials and limited deployments into production at large scale, there are important considerations to successfully operationalize these solutions and realize their full potential, without adding complexity, introducing uncertainty or disrupting current business operations. Sunil Khandekar, CEO and Founder ...
Upcoming Live Events
October 18, 2017, Colorado Convention Center - Denver, CO
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Does AT&T Deserve Time Warner?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 6/23/2017
Hulu Is Greatest Threat to Pay-TV Providers – Study
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 6/27/2017
Calix: Russo's Not-So-Overnight Success?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 6/28/2017
DT, Chinese Operators Take NB-IoT to Market
Iain Morris, News Editor, 6/26/2017
Brexit to Hit UK-Based Broadcasters – Report
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 6/23/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Following a recent board meeting, the New IP Agency (NIA) has a new strategy to help accelerate the adoption of NFV capabilities, explains the Agency's Founder and Secretary, Steve Saunders.
One of the nice bits of my job (other than the teeny tiny salary, obviously) is that I get to pick and choose who I interview for this slot on the Light Reading home ...
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.