Polish start-ups are coming up with their own unique virtual and augmented reality solutions, believing that in time they will become an important part of this unprecedented change in the way we experience the world around us. What are they up to?
With a billion dollar acquisition of the emerging virtual reality manufacturer Oculus and a flood of viral videos displaying the amazing possibilities of the virtual and augmented reality technologies, one could think that it’s a huge thing. Well, not quite yet, but it’s definitely on its way.
According to the market advisor Digi-Capital, the combined market of virtual and augmented reality solutions will have reached $150 billion worldwide by 2020. Augmented reality, that is enhancing (augmenting) a view of the real world with computer-generated input such as graphics or sound, accounts for 80% of this estimate. Virtual reality, the practice of developing a whole virtual world for the user to experience, is responsible for the remaining 30 billion.
As more and more devices such as the Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear headsets become available, the exciting possibilities they bring to entertainment and beyond are being increasingly talked about. The market is still young, with the consumer edition of Oculus Rift, the Kickstarter star acquired by Facebook for $2 billion, only entering the market early next year. As such, it’s still the perfect ground for new innovative companies to take a slice of this pie. And there are at least a few candidates in Poland. What are they bringing to the table?
Virtual and augmented reality from Poland
Both virtual and augmented reality have long been associated with entertainment, mostly video games and movies, and the ability to truly first-hand experience the thrills of our favorite productions. The sentiment is already present with the popularity of 4D, 5D and even more “D” cinemas, which strive to enrich the movie experience with sensory additions, including lights, smell, blowing wind, etc. Some of these can be achieved with VR and AR headsets from Polish companies – Cmoar Personal Viewer and Vrizzmo VR.
A new world of entertainment at your fingertips… and smartphone
Entertainment is not the only field of interest for the VR and AR market, but one that surely deserves highlighting. The Oculus Rift has so far established itself mostly as a gaming device. The company released development versions of the device in 2012 and 2014 so that developers could prepare their software in time for the release of the customer edition. A bunch of games have thus already received or are in the process or receiving support for Oculus Rift. This includes the recent hit video game from Poland, Dying Light by Techland.
Compared to Oculus Rift, Polish projector glasses, the Cmoar Personal Viewer and Vrizzmo VR respectively, are a whole different concept. While Oculus is a standalone device, those two use the capabilities of the smartphone that is literally to be stored inside them. Both are cheaper than the Oculus Rift and at the same time much more universal.
“Virtual Reality headsets can be grouped into two categories – stationary (e.g., Oculus Rift, Sony Morpheus) and mobile ones (e.g., Gear VR, Google Cardboard). As we wanted Cmoar to be exceptional, we combined these two features, by enriching it with add-on screens that enable low-latency streaming via an HDMI cable from the PC, creating an ‘Oculus-like’ device,” says the founder and CEO of Cmoar, Damian Boczek.
The uses of Cmoar and Vrizzmo include both virtual and augmented reality effects for games and movies as well as streaming 2D and 3D games and movies in high quality. How does it look in practice? Watch the video here.
How do Polish VR devices stand out?
As a universal and affordable device (the Polish price is 250 PLN – about $67), Vrizzmo presents a great opportunity not just for individual customers to enhance their everyday gaming and movie experience, but perhaps especially for businesses.
“Vrizzmo is customizable. We allow our customers, mostly business ones, to design the look of their Vrizzmo headsets. A lot of companies that produce their content want to brand the devices they show their apps on. Some individual users also wish to have unique devices,” says Vrizzmo’s CEO Dariusz Żołna.
Now for a really bargain price, business consumers can use virtual reality to show their products and services in the form of visualization. This way, they can both impress their audience and show their offer from a perspective that would otherwise require a full-fledged live presentation (for example furniture – more about this below). What are Vrizzmo’s and Cmoar’s market plans?
“Our goal is to reach out to a really wide audience, including those interested in customizable hardware, software and content solutions worldwide, also in the U.S,” stresses Żołna.
“We mostly aim for the U.S. market, but people from all over the world have shown interest in Cmoar, including our Polish compatriots, so we’re not going to distance ourselves from any country. We’ve just opened pre-order system on our website where people can still make orders at much more competitive prices (as little as $99 up to $250 for the iPhone exclusive package)” says Boczek.
Cmoar’s founder also highlights the importance of crowdfunding as part of its growth plans. The successful campaign brought in over $120,000!
“I believe Kickstarter is a great platform that lets every creator find out whether his/her product will catch on the market. We treat it as a sort of a test, checking what people think about our product, how they’d like to improve it, etc. We’ve received valuable feedback from our backers and we have carefully analyzed it.”
Are there limits to the possibilities of virtual and augmented reality?
That’s probably the most difficult question to answer. As the sector has only recently reinvented itself in the eyes of the average customer with the emergence of devices such as the Oculus Rift, it’s hard to predict which way it’s going to go. Video games, movies, education, marketing and sales all provide seemingly limitless ground for the use of virtual and augmented reality. The presence of Polish start-ups in all of those fields shows that Poland is not going to be just a follower. It’s up to them to translate the innovative approach into an actual business success.
“As for the factors that may contribute to virtual reality becoming a part of our lifestyle, the quality of the VR devices plays first fiddle. Price is an important factor as well, as currently it is possible to make an affordable headset available for everyone – me, you, your child or your grandma. Right now, VR/AR is experiencing a renaissance and the biggest players on the market, including Cmoar, want to be a part of this technology,” concludes Cmoar’s Dawid Boczek.
Author: Adrian Sanecki
Text was previously published on web.gov.pl: http://www.web.gov.pl/eng/670_1192_about-us.html