This has been an important year for virtual reality (VR). When InsiteVR first started approaching customers in March of 2015, the VR ecosystem was just taking off. Fast forward 9 months and GearVR ads are everywhere, Microsoft, Sony, and HTC have joined the race, and Facebook has even started integrating 360 VR content into the news feed. This has all been made possible by the efforts of countless developers, engineers, and early adopters.
We want to spend time giving credit to our customers, who are some of those early adopters making VR a reality.
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In the past month, we’ve seen an increase in requests to view and present content in VR, but 9 months ago InsiteVR early adopters had to take a huge leap of faith. They had to convince themselves, their colleagues, and their clients that these headsets would revolutionize the way they conducted business. It’s people like them that help ensure, this time, VR is here to stay.
Our customers have helped push the current wave of VR headsets into industries like architecture, manufacturing, home building, construction, event planning, and even yacht design. They have helped their colleagues and clients understand how VR can impact the way we communicate 3D spaces. Powerpoint presentations in 2D will no longer suffice in an era when VR can transport you into your future office or boat.
For the remaining weeks of 2015, we will be highlighting some of our customers who play an integral role in pioneering VR adoption in the enterprise and who have had great success integrating VR into their workflows.
Today’s VR pioneer is Daniel Cashen, Senior Designer at Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill.
Daniel Cashen, Senior Designer
Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM)
What kind of work does SOM do?
SOM has an incredibly diverse portfolio, built over time on the values of an integrated design practice. Most of our work falls within a singular design framework, which is predicated on the integration of architecture and engineering. Sustainability is also as a big part of our practice, which is why our rational design process yields results that are environmentally “intelligent”. Multidisciplinary by nature, we have domestic and international projects of all scales and uses.
Given the complexity of some of our projects, I can’t imagine trying to describe these spaces without VR.
What was your VR “aha” moment?
With VR, you can easily grasp scale. I can’t stress enough how incredibly important this is for our process. With 2d renderings, you are always projecting yourself in the space, and the level of abstraction is very high. Not all of our clients can easily visualize space, nor have they been trained to understand things spatially through renderings or 2d drawings.
The great thing about VR is how literal it can be; once you have the headset on, you can turn and move and understand what would have taken numerous renderings and different viewpoints. Given the complexity of some of our projects, I can’t imagine trying to describe these spaces without VR.
It’s very literal, and one of the best tools to convey complex spatial ideas to our clients.
As [VR] becomes more mainstream, it will also become an essential and expected deliverable with our future projects. We are already seeing this happen with the real estate industry.
What VR technology are you most excited for in 2016?
I think 2016 will be the year of a major paradigm shift with the advent of the new Oculus headset, and the advancements of Samsung, HTC, Microsoft and Sony. I think we will begin to see more mainstream reception to VR and it will become more prevalent and an essential new way in how we consume media. I know that many VR movies are on their way, as are all other forms of entertainment, ranging from VR games, amusement parks, music videos, sports and event broadcasting.
As it becomes more mainstream, it will also become an essential and expected deliverable with our future projects. We are already seeing this happen with the real estate industry.
We can circumvent errors, and catch things before they are built… VR can help us iterate quickly and decisively at a fraction of the cost.
How has VR helped your interaction with clients?
VR can do what 2d renderings and drawings cannot. I would even argue that the lack of control that animations have do not do justice to some of the spaces that we are designing.
With VR, we don’t have to have to correct things so late in the game. We can circumvent errors, and catch things before they are built. Mockups are huge, especially in the hospitality market. VR can help us iterate quickly and decisively at a fraction of the cost.
If you are incredibly busy, and have a limited schedule, a VR presentation is the most concise, literal and straightforward way to present a design.
Do you you have a funny or inspiring story about using VR with a customer or colleague?
One of our clients tried on the headset during the final presentation for an important domestic project. He wore the headset for almost 20 minutes, as it was the first time that he had actually “seen” the project. He was a bit disinterested in the actual presentation, and preferred the headset over anything else.
This is actually the reaction that we get from many of our clients. If you are incredibly busy, and have a limited schedule, a VR presentation is the most concise, literal and straightforward way to present a design.
What do you love about InsiteVR?
InsiteVR has an incredibly responsive team. New features are added on a continuous basis. The technology is dependable and fits very well into our workflow. With Insite’s tools, we have an incredibly powerful new way to present our work.
To learn more about Daniel’s work at SOM visit their website: http://www.som.com/
Stay tuned for more InsiteVR 2015 VR Pioneers this week and see the complete list here: https://blog.insitevr.com/2015-vr-pioneers/