Virtual reality products are dominating the exhibition at this year’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The term “virtual reality” has been kicked around the industry for years, but until now we’ve never had the processing power, camera technology or connectivity to enable true virtual reality (VR) solutions. And for that reason, there is palpable excitement buzzing through the crowds gathered around the new VR products at the show.
So what is virtual reality?
Virtual reality refers to the immersive, computer-generated simulation of a three-dimensional image or environment that can be interacted with in a seemingly real or physical way.
The virtual reality products showcased at Mobile World Congress were impressive. After experiencing Samsung’s virtual reality rollercoaster and HTC’s underwater virtual reality world, attendees instantly become VR enthusiasts. Headsets were the headliners of the show, ranging in price and complexity from HTC Vive’s headset ($799 with applications available from Steam) and the Samsung Gear VR headsets ($599 with applications available from Oculus VR and Milk VR), to the bargain-priced Google Cardboard, which was on display at the Alcatel booth. Google Cardboard is free with an Alcatel Idol 4 device – the box converts to Google Cardboard, or it costs about $20 from a wide selection of retailers, with applications available on Google Play. Google Cardboard was originally launched in 2014, but continues to excite with a low-fuss, affordable product and a wide range of content.
Also of note, there were a number of VR cameras available to consumers. Here are two to check out:
The Samsung Gear 360 is designed with dual fisheye lenses with 15 megapixel image sensors. Meanwhile, LG announced the LG 360 Cam, which will have two 13 megapixel 200-degree wide angle cameras that can capture 2K video and 5.1 surround channel recording on three microphones.
With all of these VR products and applications set to reach consumers this year, we expect to see huge leaps in VR innovation over the course of 2016. Manufacturers and developers will build on these products based on user feedback and evolving technology.
The success of all of these virtual reality products will hinge on the user experience. In order to successfully span the distance between novelty and mass adoption, the industry will have to produce a lot more than just games. They will need to create content that measurably improves how users watch movies, shop and learn.
Connectivity is a cornerstone of the VR user experience, and we take connectivity very seriously at Equinix. As the world’s leading interconnection provider, Equinix is continually investing in improving connectivity to all corners of the globe – our recent acquisition of European data center provider Telecity is the latest example of that. We operate 145 data centers in 40 global markets. That’s means we can offer companies in the virtual reality space proximity to partners and end users everywhere, for high-performance, secure interconnection.
We’ll continue to monitor the advancements in virtual reality and work to bring together the ecosystems that drive these sophisticated experiences.