The number of companies involved in virtual, augmented and mixed reality and IoT in New Zealand is quickly growing as the technology develops. 

 

8i, a Wellington-based VR/AR technology company was founded in Wellington in May 2014. Its aim is to show humans for the first time in virtual and augmented reality. In October 2015, it revealed it had attracted $20 million in funding from investors, including Samsung, Dolby and American movie star Ashton Kutcher and in February 2017 they raised a second round of US$27M.

Mixed reality company Magic Leap, valued at US$4.5 billion, has close links with Wellington-based Weta Workshop with Sir Richard Taylor on their advisory board. Weta Workshop have staff working on creative possibilities for Magic Leap at its Miramar headquarters.

 A range of start-ups have emerged in New Zealand the past few years, including PointZero, GeoAR Games, Imersia, Mixt, IOTSTREAM, Curiat to name just a few.

 

The AR/VR Garage was backed by ATEED and Datacom opening their co-working and lab environment for Auckland start-ups in October 2016 and PROJECTR a similar centre is due to open in April 2017 in Wellington with support from The Wellington City Council.

The New Zealand VR/AR Association formed in September 2016 and secured the rights for New Zealand to be the official chapter of the international association has 120 members across New Zealand and just last week the NZ IoT Alliance was formed with support from MBIE with Minister Bridges saying that IoT  “is a transformative technology, one that promises to boost productivity across all major sectors of the economy, assist in monitoring our health, make transport and logistics more efficient, help reduce energy consumption and tackle environmental issues.”

It's clear that the time has arrived for businesses to start exploring applications and pilots using this technology.

 

Architecture and engineering are some of the first mixed reality applications off the ranks. 

 

At the launch of the New Zealand VR/AR Association in Christchurch, Trimble demonstrated their mixed reality application as part of a collaboration with Microsoft Hololens. Mixed Reality is transforming the way that architects, engineers, contractors and owners work in the spatial industry as Interpretation errors are common during the design to construction stages often resulting in poor quality, cost overruns and schedule delays. Visualising digital content as holograms in the context of the physical world bridges the gap between virtual and real and eliminates the current workflow in efficiencies. 3D models are common but what mixed reality and holographic technology does is brings the models out of the screen allowing users the ability to interact and engage with design data more intuitively.

 

 The evolution of advertising, entertainment and game design into 360 and VR content is here.

 

The media and entertainment industry is undergoing a fundamental shift in the way content is created, delivered and consumed, and VR is the next wave of innovation in this space. ATEED have used 360 content to market Auckland as a destination to visit and other regional councils are looking at how some of their large events like WOW can use immersive technology.

Air New Zealand used a VR experience to celebrate 100 years by taking a look to the future of flight. Wellington based company Sensorium have developed a 180° camera while former Rocket Scientist Lance Lones has created a camera that shoots 16K 3D 360° footage.

Queenstown Ziptrek Ecotours have used Samsung VR headsets to allow users to experience ‘zipping through the trees to take in the sights, sounds and sensory experiences of a zipline trip.  Trent Yoe presented the product at TRENZ. It is clear that advertising and tourism opportunities exist for creative agencies and filmmakers based in NZ and Future Realities offers an opportunity for this community to collide with the technology community for collaborative advantages.

 The New Zealand Games Industry plays an important part in this sector. With more game developers per capita than any country in the world and VR and AR applications and content being built on Unity or Unreal a traditionally game development platform, the skills required for VR and AR are much the same as game development and therefore offer a way for developers to leverage these skills for paid work while working on original content.  NZ Game Development Company PikPok created a VR game, Into The Dead and at a recent meetup of 150 developers over 50% said they were starting to work in VR.  The NZ Game Developers Association has a strong presence in NZ and they have recently appointed an Executive Coordinator to start working with them to activate their strategy.

The New Zealand Film Commission has a $200,000 interactive development fund for storytelling using AR/VR. This is potentially the first time game developers have really had an opportunity to get a grant to develop their own IP using VR and AR. It is realistic to expect to see a lot of original games coming out of the country along with the film and creative industry looking at interesting ways to tell stories. 

At recent collaboration of NZVRARA and the New Zealand Film Industry enabled a number of sold out talks and masterclasses on VR storytelling to take place across the country with Lynette Wallworth and Mike Jones and New Zealand's first ever Mixed Reality Hackathon took place.

 

The winning team at the NZ Mixed Reality Hackathon with their Hololens application created in 48 hours - EDEN.

The winning team at the NZ Mixed Reality Hackathon with their Hololens application created in 48 hours - EDEN.

 

More Iwi are investing in original and unique ways to tell the story of their heritage and culture. With new technology like 8i and networks like Imersia, we’ll be able to use NZ made technology and creative talent to put NZ on a world map as leaders in creative use of this tech should we wish to invest in this sector.  

 

It is clear that storytelling and the advantage of NZ's reputation in this sector can be leveraged for AR and VR.  

We have an incredible line up of  local and international thought-leaders including Neal Stephenson, Mark Billinghurst and Dan Ayoub. THis is your opportunity to understand how this technology can be leveraged by your industry.

 

Connected devices offer a unique opportunity for Mixed reality and the Internet of Things to merge offering up new business models and greater insights at the intelligent edge. With IoT and augmented reality in the top 5 technology trends for 2017 along with Blockchain, Machine Learning and Voice we are excited to present to you Future Realities.

Early bird tickets are on sale now and start at $99. Be quick.

This is not an event you can afford to miss.