The future of virtual reality and how it will affect how we live. A view from the Consumer Electronics Show in 2017.

In order to stay current and informed about upcoming trends in the Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality industry, the crew here at Virtual Viewpoint, Inc. decided to attend the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

We were able to experiment (play) with the newest virtual reality technologies which were everywhere at CES this year. We saw everything from self valet cars to drones that flew themselves. (Yep, the car parks itself without anyone in it or watching it) You may ask what does the self valet car have to do with Virtual Viewpoint? Well the self valet cars are using a similar laser technology to scan the parking lot while looking for a free parking space that Virtual Viewpoint uses to scan homes for you. You can see the “reveal” and the self valet example by the FF 91 here https://youtu.be/x_zF8chBKTs

ESPN and Jaunt VR have created ESPN College Game day at Clemson which highlights the game day events leading up to the the championship game filmed in full VR. You can find the 360 video here: https://www.jauntvr.com/title/fb0934b1bc

This is just a couple of examples where virtual reality and the technology that makes it possible are making it into our homes and lives. 2017 will be the year of virtual reality as the technology moves from an early adopter stage to the mainstream adopter stage. Once again technology is going to change our world and the way we interact with it.

We attended a conference called “The Reality of Virtual Reality” where there were four speakers and a moderator. One of the speakers 20th Century Fox’s President of Product Strategy and Consumer Business Development, Mike Dunn, while talking about new media and virtual reality content stated “We see the possibility of new media being a new media stream of revenue and in order to kickstart that we felt like we needed to produce commercial content for sale. Because, if you are trying to develop a new platform you don’t want it to become a gimmick. Right? And to fight the gimmick you fight it with fantastic content, that really satisfies the consumer, that’s repeatable, that is somewhat ownable, re-watchable, and that is something that someone is willing to pay for.” he continued with “Our first foray into (VR) was with “The Martian” with Ridley Scott and director Robert Stomberg.” he went on to say “We released it on playstation 4 and 5 and it’s in 51 countries and in less than a month we have covered about a third of our production budget.”

Hollywood is getting on board the virtual reality wave in a big way. Large budgets are being allotted for virtual reality film, and this trend is going to continue into and throughout 2017. The way the large film and game production companies are getting their content to users is through the use of gaming consoles like the Playstation VR and VR headsets like the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive. This invasion of virtual reality into our homes is something I think most of us could see coming especially if you have kids or a gamer in the house.

What is not so clear is how we are going to interact with these virtual worlds, how content is going to be created, and in what way we can or will govern them. Interaction or the ability to affect objects in the virtual worlds being created was a major focus of the vendors we came in contact with in the virtual reality section of CES 2017. The camera technology seemed to be behind the times. Most companies were focused on creating 360 cameras that have no true stereoscopic capabilities. This limits the ability of the content creators like Virtual Viewpoint, Inc. We want to create the most realistic virtual view of the world that we possibly can, and the technology for filming the real world with the intent of creating a virtual world still has a long way to go.

Security is another issue that we wanted to gather information on. With augmented reality, the user is always wearing an out facing camera that is utilized to tell the system what you, the user, are looking at. We were lucky to run into one of the foremost industry experts on cyber security, Ira Victor, and he was willing to give us a quote on the security of augmented and virtual reality for our blog.

We posed the following questions to him:

Q: “Do you have any comments about CES 2017 overall?”

A: “While still the largest technology conference in the world, overall the companies and staff of the exhibiting companies there have a tremendous amount to learn about data security and user privacy.

After talking to engineers and marketers in the booths, the vast majority of show vendors still believe that security and privacy is something that you add in after a product has shipped rather than building security into the design. It is like building furniture from balsa wood and expecting the varnish to support you. They think that security is an add-on as opposed to being something that you design or build into a platform from the ground up.”

Q: “What did you think about the VR / AR Market there?”

A: “I was at an exhibitor’s booth pitching video/security systems and products for home use. The company was touting how they use utilize facial recognition to identify people going in and out of your home. They stored that  facial recognition data in the cloud with no apparent sense of the importance of the privacy of that information.”

From Ira Victor, is a digital forensic analyst with DiscoveryTechnician.com, and the Host of CyberJungle Radio, the news and talk on security, privacy and the law. http://www.TheCyberJungleRadio.com . You can reach him at asap (at) iravictor.net

Security is one more thing we have to think about when any new technology is being adopted by the mainstream world, and once again the industry is behind with respect to your personal information. Before augmented reality it was your personal identifiable information or your medical history. Now, it is going to be the security of your everyday life from moment to moment in the balance. If the “system” becomes corrupt or gets the wrong idea about you and if it’s an AI or controlled by humans, your world and peace of mind could potentially be controlled and definitively influenced by a larger external force.

Jonathan R. Batchelor

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