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Virtual Reality Industry Forum Launched

January 18, 2017 By Steve Senne in

Twenty-eight leading high-tech companies recently announced they’ve joined to launch the non-profit Virtual Reality Industry Forum (VRIF) in order “to further the widespread availability of high quality audiovisual VR experiences for the benefit of consumers.”

Akamai, ARRIS International, CableLabs, Dolby Laboratories, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, Sky, Sony and Verizon number among VRIF’s founders, according to a news release issued during the 2017 CES trade show in Las Vegas. All are looking to raise their stakes in the fledgling VR market.

VRIF arose following a series of meetings organized by DTG over the past 12 months in which more than 200 company representatives took part. The VR industry group’s goal is to forge an industry-wide consensus that will result in the creation of “an interoperable, end-to-end ecosystem presenting high quality audio-visual VR services.” 

Virtual Reality Industry Forum

VRIF lists its goals as follows:

  • Advocating voluntary industry consensus around common technical standards for the end-to-end VR ecosystem, from creation to delivery and consumption
  • Advocating the creation and adoption of interoperable standards (VRIF will not develop standards itself); promoting the use of common profiles across the industry, and promoting and demonstrating interoperability
  • Developing voluntary guidelines that describe best practices, to ensure high quality VR experiences
  • Describing and promoting the use of VR services and applications.

The new VR industry association hopes to avoid the market fragmentation that multiple, competing tech standards have led to in emerging digital media markets in the past, Ericsson VP of business development David Price explained.

“We expect that many of those involved in the original informal discussions will join VRIF shortly” added Chris Johns, chief engineer for Broadcast Strategy at Sky. “VRIF will seek to establish best practices to ensure a high-quality user experience, and we believe this is crucial for the market to take off. We all expect that 2017 will be the year when intense consumer interest in VR spurs a quantum leap in the user experience.”

The introduction of new VR headset models and content during the 2016 holiday shopping season may serve as a keystone for consumer VR tech market growth. Awareness of VR headsets and tech rose substantially between September 2016 and January 2017, with more than 8 in 10 survey respondents expressing positive attitudes, according to ReportLinker

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) expects 2017 unit sales of augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) headsets to reach 2.5 million (up 40% year-over-year) and revenue to increase 46 percent to exceed $1 billion for the first time.