So, where is VR headed in the future? Who are the movers and shakers you should be watching?
Below are the most promising Virtual Reality companies and startups in 2019
Oculus VR, LLC
What They Do?
Here’s Why You Should Pay Attention to Oculus:
The Oculus Rift was the first commercially produced VR headset for everyday people…well, ordinary people with a decent bit of money to drop on a VR system. Since then, they have been the gold standard for VR headsets.
The Oculus Quest runs on its own internal processor and has built-in sensors. So, it’s not tethered to anything, allowing free movement, and you don’t need to have a high-end gaming PC. For only $399, you have everything you need for a great VR experience…well, other than some games or other VR software. This makes Quest much more accessible to the mainstream user and will boost the market.
Surgical Theater, LLC
What They Do?
Surgical Theater develops professional medical virtual reality software and viewing technology designed to help train medical students and help neurosurgeons both perform surgery and communicate with patients.
Here’s Why You Should Pay Attention to Surgical Theater:
Surgical Theater has developed a platform that integrates with standard imaging technology (MRI, CT Scan, DTI, etc.) to create a patient-specific, three dimensional, virtual model of a patient’s brain. This technology allows neurosurgeons to have a 3D model of their patient’s brain when planning a surgery and even allows them to practice the specific surgery in advance.
Surgical Theater also provides a way for the neurosurgeon to better inform patients by showing patients exactly what they will be doing during the surgery. This can improve the doctor/patient communication and relationship.
In addition, these real-life surgical situations can be shared with medical students, enhancing their education by allowing them to practice complex brain surgery in a virtual environment. Already, some of the top academic hospitals have begun using Surgical Theater, “including UCLA, New York University, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Mayo Clinic, Mount Sinai, and now, Stanford University.” (source)
Considering the high cost of medical malpractice suits and serious effects of surgical errors during neurosurgery, there is a lot of pressure to eliminate as much error and risk from these surgeries as possible. Surgical Theater offers a significant way to do that. 2019 looks to increase surgical theater’s integration into medical institutions throughout the U.S. and beyond.
VR Listing Inc.
What They Do?
VR Listing Inc. is a virtual reality platform for real estate rental and sales. They allow real estate agents and companies to create immersive, 3D, virtual tours of properties to aid in sales and rentals.
Here’s Why You Should Pay Attention to VR Listing:
Virtual reality is just starting to emerge in the field of real estate. Sure, anyone who’s looked for a house or apartment in the past few years has seen many listings with “virtual tours”, but these are usually just a glorified photo slideshow or, at best, a slideshow of 360° photos.
VR Listing provides real estate companies with the ability to create fully rendered, three dimensional, photo-realistic tours of properties. Potential clients are able to move through the 3D environment as though they were actually at the property.
Property tours are the most effective tool a real estate agent has to sell a property, but often time and distance prevent clients from being able to visit a property or at least delay the visit until they have more free time. That’s why you see so many open houses on the weekends. VR Listing, however, gives potential buyers the ability to tour a property any time and from the comfort of their own home or a real estate agent’s office.
VR Listing also offers virtual staging where they seamlessly insert furniture and decorations into an empty space. Staging is a time-tested strategy for selling a property. Properties that are staged sell faster and for a higher price, but staging can be expensive. Virtual staging allows real estate agents to stage a property without having to purchase or rent the furniture and decorations.
Virtual listings are the future for real estate sales and rentals. VR Listings is at the forefront of the true virtual tour market and that market is only going to grow.
Marxent Labs LLC
What They Do?
Marxent Labs provides a cloud-based platform for retail stores to offer virtual stores, product displays, and showrooms. In addition, Marxent Labs offers AR applications to further enhance online shopping.
Here’s Why You Should Pay Attention to Marxent Labs:
Virtual reality for both instore and online retail is getting ready to explode onto the market. Marxent Labs is on the cutting edge for both venues. They offer the ability to scan in products for 3D rendering which can then be used in a virtual environment. Retailers can also create virtual stores with aisles and showrooms for their scanned products.
In addition, consumers can create their living space based on floorplan and then customize that space to look just like their home or workspace. The 3D products can then be placed and moved around the personalized 3D environment so customers can see exactly what a product would look like in their home or workspace.
These virtual environments can be used both instore or online. For retailers, this can not only give an enhanced shopping experience but also reduce floor space needed for displays. Instead of having 30 couches on display, they can have a much smaller VR area where shoppers see the couches displayed virtually.
Lastly, in addition to the many other clients, Marxent Labs has been working with, they just announced a deal with Macy’s a little over a month ago which will take them into 2019 with a high profile client.
What They Do?
Nvidia a graphics hardware development company. They produce GPUs (graphics processing units) and graphics cards for computers and other technology.
Here’s Why You Should Pay Attention to NVIDIA:
Nvidia has long been a powerhouse in the arena of graphics processing and video cards. AMD’s Radeon cards occasionally come close or even catch up to nVidia in terms of performance, but Nvidia inevitably pulls ahead and also consistently controls a much larger market share, especially among gamers and VR enthusiasts.
Nvidia has been the top pick for VR applications for a majority of the last 6 years (since Oculus Rift was released) and now Nvidia has made another giant leap forward. On September 20 of this year, Nvidia launched its new GeForce RTX 20 series with their greatly praised Turing GPUs.
These graphics cards, and particularly the Turing GPUs, offer several new advancements over previous cards/GPUs that will allow Virtual Reality applications to move to the next level. Real-Time Ray tracing, a new feature in the Turing GPUs, allows much better processing of light in the VR world. This will allow VR developers to create much more realistic environments.
Advanced VR rendering technologies, such as Variable Rate Shading and Multi-View Rendering offer better shading and peripheral rendering as well as increased fields of view. The new cards also have additions which will make VR connectivity much simpler and more powerful.
The launch of Nvidia’s new GeForce RTX 20 series with their new Turing GPUs not only makes Nvidia the clear leader in VR graphics processing but set the stage for significant enhancements for VR developers. They have once again established that Nvidia will be the gold standard for VR graphics processing in 2019 and likely for a long time after that.
What They Do?
YouVisit is an online virtual tourism platform that allows travel-related companies and other institutions to create and share 360° photos and virtual reality tours.
Here’s Why You Should Pay Attention to Youvisit:
The travel industry is another huge market sector which seems to match very well with virtual reality. YouVisit is positioning itself to be a major player in the introduction of virtual reality in this industry.
Commercials for cities like to show video of particular areas in the city that people like to visit. This helps to entice people to go, but how much more would people be enticed if they could see those places in a virtual environment.
Imagine the New York tourism department giving people a way to virtually stand in the middle of Time Square or by the Statue of Liberty. YouVisit can help them do that. Other travel related companies, like hotels and destination spots/tourist attractions, are also seeing the benefits of VR.
YouVisit also provides service for companies and institutions you wouldn’t typically associate with the travel industry. For example, several colleges and universities have worked with YouVisit to create virtual tours of their campuses. Potential students like to visit campuses before choosing a school, but it can be difficult and expensive to physically visit all the schools, YouVisit offers a solution through virtual tours.
YouVisit has also worked with companies producing virtual content for prospective employees and consumer brands producing virtual showcases of their products.
The travel industry is just now starting to see the value in VR technology for increasing tourism and improving experiences. YouVisit has created a platform to provide that VR technology and has already landed some pretty high profile clients, including Harvard University, Renaissance Hotels, Eddie Bauer, and others and 2019 holds the opportunity for much more growth.
What They Do?
Teslasuit develops integrated smart clothing.
Here’s Why You Should Pay Attention to Teslasuit:
Have you seen Ready Player One? Whatever you think of the movie itself, pretty much everyone who’s watched that movie wants one of those full-body haptic suits. If only they existed in real life…what? They do?
That’s right Teslasuit is a VR company that has developed a full-body, 2-way haptic feedback suit. The suit combines motion tracking, haptic feedback, and biometry to more fully immerse users in their virtual reality.
They officially announced the suit in January 2018 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. They will be CES again in 2019, having been named a CES 2019 Innovation Awards Honoree. Over the past year, they have been honing the technology and working with developers in the creation of software that integrates the suit.
The company isn’t just thinking about gaming, either, though no doubt gaming will be a key part of their market. They working with developers to create corporate training programs, physical training and fitness applications, and sports training programs. They are even working with Sony Pictures Television on innovative integrations with Television.
The Teslasuit doesn’t yet have an official release date, but it is anticipated to be released sometime in 2019. This kind of technology can be a game-changer (pun intended), but it will likely have a slower impact simply due to the price. For their 2016 Kick Starter campaign, they had two levels of suits, the cheaper being $1500. So, go ahead and start saving up.
What They Do?
UNIGINE develops an interactive real-time 3D visualization platform for the enterprise sector. The UNIGINE SDK is used in professional simulation & training industry (maritime, ground, air, space, computer vision). It is also used in industrial digital twins, BIM, GIS, and various VR projects.
Here’s Why You Should Pay Attention to UNIGINE:
Virtual reality is not only about entertainment, as many people happen to think. At UNIGINE, we believe that immersive real-time VR technologies could contribute to every business. That’s why UNIGINE SDK is designed to push beyond the entertainment space. It combines the best of two worlds: photorealistic high-quality graphics of game engines and a lot of out-of-the-box tools and features for enterprise use.
One of the main UNIGINE focuses is the simulation and training industry. Due to the fact that UNIGINE handles huge-scale virtual worlds up to the size of the Solar System, provides cutting-edge physically-based rendering, supports geo-coordinates, and has a number of professional features the customer can create any training system he needs (maritime, ground, air, space). Virtual reality is the perfect training tool for industries, where operator errors can cost human lives and serious economic or environmental damage. The advantage of UNIGINE is that joint missions of various vehicles could also be simulated. To coordinate the actions fast in a real-life emergency situation, operators of all involved vehicles must be trained simultaneously, elaborate tactics and improve collective skills within the common environment.
Additionally, it could also be applied to computer vision training. Virtual polygons enable training at a very early stage of engineering, without a ready-to-go prototype of an unmanned vehicle.
As UNIGINE deals with complex CAD data and 3D scans and handles very detailed 3D scenes (tens of thousands dynamic objects, tens of millions polygons) the customer is able to create a digital twin of an individual enterprise, a city block, or an entire metropolitan area. Such virtual copies accumulate digital information and help to optimize the management processes. For example, to avoid a great number of mistakes in urban planning.
As UNIGINE is tailored for industrial use, it supports multi-channel rendering, curved screens (image warping and edge blending), various sensors visualization and many more.
The company provides two ways of partnership: licensing the SDK if you have a development team or getting a turn-key solution from the UNIGINE professional services team.
#1 Oculus VR, LLC
Not publically traded, but it’s parent company, Facebook, is.
#2 nVidia Corp
#3 Marxent Labs LLC
#4 VR Listing Inc.
#5 YouVisit LLC
Virtual Reality is amazing. If you’ve ever driven a racing game in VR or run around shooting bad guys in VR, you know what I mean.
However, what’s even more amazing is what’s in store for virtual reality. The technology is only in its infancy. Right now, virtual reality is seen as an entertaining experience, but it will become so much more in the future.
Imagine walking through the Coliseum without having to go to Rome. Imagine doctors performing exploratory surgery virtually without having to make a single cut on a patient. Imagine learning about the middle ages by visiting them.
The companies on this list are taking us into that future and beyond.
Did you enjoy this list?
What VR technologies do you see coming in the future?
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