FIRST VR CONFERENCE IN SAN DIEGO EXPLORED POTENTIAL AND LIMITATIONS OF VIRTUAL REALITY
Women in VR talk business and diversity in a burgeoning tech industry
Sports and education are two of the key areas in which both individuals and companies can become successful in virtual reality today, ahead of the impending launch of the major headsets later this year, according to a panel of VR experts.
“An easy concept for the mainstream to grasp is the power to teleport or to time travel,” explained Helen Situ, Virtual Reality Evangelist at NextVR, at a panel titled "Women Lead VR: Executives Discuss Content Creation and Diversity" at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this morning. “People want premium seat tickets to major sporting events. They want to be able to join in wherever they were in the world, so long as they’re online. Read More
The Netherlands is a serious hotbed for virtual reality content
The Netherlands is already known as an innovation hub. Indeed, this past April the European Commission awarded the European Capital of Innovation (iCapital) to Amsterdam.
The country has built an outstanding infrastructure for facilitating innovation. The government has made it easy and affordable for companies to incorporate, and recently instituted the startup visa scheme as a way to attract foreign entrepreneurs. It is always in the top 10 rankings for countries with the fastest Internet speeds. And the educational system, particularly the polytechnic institutions, churns out a steady supply of creative problem-
And now the country is emerging as an epicenter for virtual reality (VR) innovation. While Dutch startups have sprung up only very recently in this space, they’ve done so in large numbers — and they’re highly concentrated in the content creation end of the supply chain. Read More
While Virtual Reality has taken the tech world by storm, it has its skeptics. One of them is Barry Sandrew, founder of Legend 3D and one who has been around the entertainment industry for a long time. Sandrew invented the colorization process used in updating many black and white films and was a pioneer in 3D conversion of films as recently as 2007.
VR will be used in surgery and have applications, principally in gaming and, perhaps, in education, but, says Sandrew: “I am giving a different perspective after working in the trenches of Hollywood…Investment interest peaked but is now diminishing…People want to be witness to a movie and not a participant,” said Sandrew, citing surveys that indicate a lack of interest by the general public. Just like colorization, he added, it is “not everyone’s cup of tea.”
Sandrew’s views were part of the first presentation of its kind in San Diego that looked at the future of virtual reality. The conference at the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice attracted VR enthusiasts as well as many who came to hear about its prospects in storytelling, health, education and other applications.
Unlike Sandrew, Brian Levine, founder of the local VR Startup group, sees VR taking off in the near future among the general public because components, such as goggles used for viewing, are coming down in price. Also, he demonstrated how the general public, including his parents and son, have acclimated themselves to the technology.
The conference spent a considerable amount of time reviewing how VR is used in narrative storytelling, including journalism. Matt DeJohn of VRTUL Inc. demonstrated how he and the Asian Heritage Society produced a historical documentation in VR of the Vietnamese-
“The word ‘virtual’ (means) it’s not literally true. Journalism is what literally happens, not a recreation or retelling,” Nelson said, also questioning whether a digital representation of an event used to raise money for a cause, as the Syria documentation did, should be branded as “advocacy journalism.” By “trying to move you to care or give money, it just isn’t telling you the truth…but multiple truths,” Nelson added.
Other uses of VR in health and education were discussed, including the treatment of emotional disorders such as post-
How to make money with VR was also explored by a panel that included SDSU professor Bernie Dodge and branding expert Bennett Peji. Everyone agreed that despite some of the limitations of VR, it is an “immersive experience that can excite kids,” in Dodge’s words.
MAKE IT IN AMERICA’ CONFERENCE SHOWS S.D. IS ON THE MAP
On several occasions, we have talked about doing business in China. Well, the tables have turned and last week, China came to San Diego to do business.
“Make It In America,” a three-
We strutted our region’s stuff from drones to biotech and discussed how government programs in both the U.S. and Mexico can provide assistance. Rosalynn Carmen, president of the Asian Heritage Society and co-
We definitely live in a global interconnected world, and while our companies need to figure out how to access global markets and money, it is also true that global markets are seeking us. And San Diego is on the map. Finding capital for our local companies to grow has been a long-
There is one significant common business principle that overrides all others: Effective business is often done over a meal.
I sat with a most interesting group including Yu Shunbiao, executive chairman of the World Chinese Entrepreneur Association; Chang Zhang, an investor from Shanghai; Julia Cheng, a San Diegan who is vice president of the Taiwanese Chamber of Commerce of North America; and Cicely Meng, a San Diegan who is president of the San Diego-
Through a translator, Shunbiao told me that Chinese investors are particularly interested in buying real estate (office buildings, apartment complexes, shopping centers and single-
Cheng, who grew up in Shanghai, came to the United States in 1980 to study at UC San Diego. To support herself, she worked odd jobs and eventually earned a master’s degree in business administration from San Diego State University. In China, Cheng was separated from her parents, who became victims of the country’s political movement against what were seen as intellectuals. “The first thing in your life, you have to be sure you survive,” she said in an interview with the Asian Heritage Society, which recognized her with an award in 2013. “The second stage of your life you can dream and achieve your goal.” Cheng played an active role in recruiting participants from both China and Taiwan for this conference.
She said the region is attractive to them because of our beautiful weather, clean air, vibrant and growing Asian community, location near Mexico and the concentration of successful biotech and high-
At the conference, I talked about why San Diego is a great place for startups. I highlighted our already vibrant ecosystem in which success begets more success, our knowledgeable service providers, our amazing talent pool that comes from all over the world, our universities and research institutes, our growing angel investor networks, and our culture of entrepreneurship, which understands that failure is often part of the road to success.
Most importantly, I said, when our entrepreneurs have a successful exit, they stay involved. They start another company, become an angel investor and/or engage in philanthropy. This is truly the “Spirit of San Diego.”
Neil Senturia and Barbara Bry take turns in writing this weekly column about entrepreneurship in San Diego. Please email ideas to Barbara at email@example.com