AV/VR/DUB: Dublin Gets Real

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The Big Read, sponsored by Vodafone: Dublin continues to be a world leader for Augmented and Virtual Reality.

Many of these technologies will be showcased at the 3rd annual AR/VR Innovate event later this month. AR/VR Innovate has grown and evolved in response to the growing level of interest across a range of industries. “We noticed last year almost half of the delegates came from sectors such as engineering, retail, financial and architecture,” says AR/VR Innovate founder Alex Gibson. “We rebranded from AR Marketing to embrace a wider audience”.

Last year’s AR/VR event offered an impressive mixture of exciting and innovative Irish-based companies, amongst them ITagged. Their CEO Keith Jordan is upbeat about the market’s potential, citing the Deloitte annual technology trends report which identified Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality as the two technologies to make the biggest impact this year:

As well as iTagged, companies to watch in the Dublin AR/VR space in Dublin include Firstage and SAP: Octagon based in Cork and Sentireal in Belfast are also significant players who will be attending AR/VR Innovate later this month.

“This event has put Dublin on the map for AR and VR,” says Alex Gibson. “Already there are delegates coming from as far afield as Indonesia, Ukraine and the US to attend.” As with the Drone and FinTech clusters in Dublin, there are now a group of dynamic businesses here that have identified a niche and become global innovators in AR and VR. Dublin has also managed to attract global leaders such as DAQRI, one of the world’s leading enterprise augmented reality companies, to locate their European headquarters here.

Alex Gibson first noted the potential of DAQRI when he came across them at “the AWE conference, in San Francisco. I met Gaia Dempsey and Brian Mullins from DAQRI, who were exploring the possibility to come to Ireland to locate their international operations. What they had was mind-blowing, showing how AR was going to totally reshape the nature of work.” Gaia Dempsey now heads the DAQRI European HQ from Dublin; her colleague Regan Wynne will be speaking at AR/VR Innovate.

While there are many positive predictions about the potential of AR and VR, it is important to make sure it is right for your business. Dean Johnson, Head of Innovation at Brandwidth and keynote speaker at the upcoming event, emphasised the importance of “starting with the basics. The assumption within the AR and VR community is that everyone knows what we’re talking about. The truth is, very few people have first-hand experience, so it’s important to work together to promote the potential. Focus on quality rather than quantity.”

This feeling is shared by fellow speakers including Leigh Davidson from Cimagine, who work with Coca Cola and John Lewis among others. Davidson explained how AR “is now recognised as more than a gimmick”, with “augmented reality having a market potential of three times that of virtual reality”. James Dearsley from the Digital Marketing Bureau also notes that “with the VR and AR industries expected to hit a $80 billion industry target in the next 5 years, it is important for all businesses to understand what is on the horizon. Making it easy for consumers is the most important thing, and getting in front of people sooner rather than later is integral. The more people play with and enjoy the technology, the more likely the industry will scale quickly”.

The technology is improving rapidly and delivering a better, more believable and immersive experience. With Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Samsung among the leading players working on their own versions of AV/VR experiences, it’s clear that the technology is moving closer and closer to becoming a daily part of our tech lives. Dublin is in the fortunate position of being at the forefront of this particular revolution.

Innovate Reality 2016 takes place at Croke Park Stadium, Dublin, on April 28th.

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