According to Nikhil Nair, consumer business lead at HTC Vive MEA, walking into a hotel in the UAE in 50 years will be a whole new level of luxury, with XR glasses making the visitor experience seamless.
How do you see the Middle East's virtual reality market developing? Is the region still in its infancy?
Virtual Reality (VR) is still growing in popularity around the world, but at a faster rate. While the market initially piqued the interest of professional gamers, we have since broadened the category to include a variety of consumer and commercial touchpoints.
The adoption of PC VR and all-in-one VR products has increased significantly year after year. While the category is still in its infancy, we expect mass adoption in the near future by introducing All-in-One VR devices. We have partners in every commercial industry, from automotive to design, medical, and defense, besides the consumer business. The potential is enormous, and the Middle East is home to a slew of innovators who are looking to the future and showing tremendous promise for our industry. Virtual reality has the potential to alter how consumers interact with content and games, as well as how businesses operate.
When walking through an airport, for example, VR glasses can display contextual overlays of real-time information. Everything will be displayed in the view, from how crowded each restaurant is to seeing the menu with 3D renderings of each item to flight updates and how long it will take to walk to the gate.
What role will augmented reality and virtual reality play in the UAE's economy and businesses?
The UAE has a long history of technological advancement. VR headsets and adoption are a vital part of that journey, and nations that continue to push the limits will reap the benefits in decades to come. The country is perfectly placed to use advanced technology, with dozens of sectors ranging from tourism to industrial and beyond. Walking into a hotel in the UAE in 50 years will be a whole new level of elegance and luxury, with Extended Reality (XR) glasses making the visitor experience seamless and effortless. For example, to book activities at a glance, try out the latest boutiques without moving and even have a live view of what a friend sees while skydiving.
What are the potential fields in which we can use VR and AR in the future?
Virtual reality's potential is nearly limitless. In the last few months, I've received virtual reality surgical training, learned how to land a plane, and driven a sports car. I've also seen some of the most intricate and detailed artwork created with virtual reality. From my living room, I've held meetings all over the world and watched my colleagues work on 3D models of new products.
We have partners like BMW, who can help customers customize every aspect of their new car and train their engineers on their upcoming fleet of electric vehicles; for example, VRMADA uses VR and AR to help Dubai Customs and Dubai Police drive digital transformation and customer success.
There are already a plethora of applications available, ranging from training to design, collaboration, and beyond; the possibilities are endless. Being at the forefront of VR technology is exciting because we see new and innovative tools being developed every day.
Can you tell us about Vive Flow, your newest product? What distinguishes it? What sets it apart from the competition?
As we take a more holistic approach to making life better, Vive Flow represents the next evolution of technology. It's a small, light-weight immersive glass device designed to help people relax, have fun daily, disconnect from the present, and go with the flow.
The device allows users to immerse themselves in a new and convenient way, seamlessly blending into their daily lives and providing a simple way to improve wellbeing. Vive Flow is leading the way in a new product category that will redefine self-care, whether it's watching a favorite show, meditating, or playing a game.
It's made to fit a variety of head shapes and sizes, and it folds up small enough to fit in a purse or satchel. Vive Flow also has built-in diopter dials for fine-tuning your vision with no glasses. We've made significant advancements in making immersive experiences more accessible, convenient, and affordable for the public. We've ditched controllers in favor of allowing users to use their smartphone as a controller with our inside-out headset with 6DoF tracking.
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