It's a warm autumn Christchurch afternoon and I find myself heading to the offices of Computer Concepts Ltd (CCL) to meet with Greg Urquhuart, one of the thought leaders at CCL.
Most tech companies have Foosball, a pool table, and perhaps a PlayStation, but Greg has taken the initiative and set up a Virtual Reality (VR) room for the staff to play with. You can tell it has been well used and when I asked about a crack in the 50" TV hanging on the wall beside the VR system, Greg told me this happened when one of his team was playing drunken bar fight and stepped outside the confines of the VR tracking system!
But from what started as a team building initiative, has now become a useful business tool that Greg and his team share with their clients to help inspire creative business solutions using VR.
Greg then introduced me to Henry Lane from Corvecto and I met him at his office at the EPIC IT Hub, Christchurch's business incubator.
Corvecto are building some incredible VR solutions. From a Mt John observatory night sky simulation (for when tourists visit and the cloud cover has ruined their tour), to spray painting training simulation, radiology medical training simulations for VMC (Virtual Medical Coaching company) with ARA being their first customer, and teaching heavy machinery operators about health and safety, to name a few.
Henry and his team are capable of creating almost anything you could dream of. I asked him which sectors in particular, and he listed nearly every sector. The low hanging fruit ripe for disruption are the medical and eLearning sectors.
Henry and I both agree that VR is all about experiences. Experiences that can teach you consequences, say if you make a mistake using a digger simulation and cut through a fiber optic cable in the city centre. The simulation shows you what you did wrong and you can try again. Or if you are recovering from a stroke, VR can help with part of your rehabilitation.
Many of the projects Henry talked about are under wraps but it is fair to say there will be some fantastic releases in the next 12 months.
Augmented Reality (AR) is also high on Henry's road map, but the AR devices are not at the same high-tech level that the VR devices are just yet. Perhaps the next generation may provide the tipping point for consumers and developers alike.
These virtual experiences will help benefit workers across a multitude of sectors. I wrote a blog on the "Internet of Experiences" back in February 2017 and I struggled to find a local company that were leading the way with VR applications. I'm excited to have found Corvecto. Henry and the Corvecto team are pioneers and a company I will be watching as they lead the way in the VR world!