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Our Virtual Future: CTA’s VR Summit Explores Health, Entertainment Innovations

San Francisco – May 11, 2017 – 

Constant innovation in virtual reality (VR) technology is forever changing the ways we receive medical treatment, how we consume media content and the hardware we use across the entertainment sector, according to technology engineers at the Consumer Technology Association’s (CTA) Virtual Reality Summit. Day Two of CTA’s Technology & Standards Forum in San Francisco focused on the benefits VR is already delivering to the health sector and what lies ahead for VR content creators and gaming developers.
 
According to new CTA research unveiled at the Summit, while virtually all online consumers (98 percent) are aware of VR, uncertainty over device setup and costs, and a belief that VR will improve over time keeps many consumers from buying VR headsets. CTA also says consumers are most excited about VR for uses including gaming, travel and education. Additionally, while only 18 percent of online consumers report viewing VR content, two-thirds have a favorable view of VR headsets for training and medical support purposes and more than half favor VR for indoor and outdoor entertainment and commercial uses.
 
“We know consumers see VR as cutting-edge technology that brings content to life and can be emotionally powerful – an escape from reality that makes the impossible possible,” said Mark Turner, vice president, Corporate Partnerships & Strategy, Technicolor; and chairman of CTA’s AR/VR Working Group. “This is, essentially, a new form of art that opens a world of interactive and immersive engagement. Whether that involves a would-be traveler exploring a potential vacation destination or a hospital patient receiving treatment for chronic pain, VR innovation is already transforming industries.”
 
Also at the Forum, CTA’s Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality Working Group, R6 WG24, discussed three separate AR/VR projects:
 

  • ANSI/CTA-2069, Definitions and Characteristics of Augmented and Virtual Reality Technologies, which will provide both consumer messaging and industry definitions for terms related to augmented and virtual reality technologies;

  • ANSI/CTA-2070, Best Practices for Content for Augmented Reality Technologies, which will address AR user experience and its relationship to content creation choices;

  • ANSI/CTA-2071, Best Practices for Content for Virtual Reality Technologies, which will address AR user experience and its relationship to content creation choices.

 
“This is fast becoming a critical tech sector – whether the end use is consumer enjoyment, professional projects or an entirely new application we haven’t even seen yet,” said David Wilson, vice president, technology and standards, CTA. “From training for real-life environments and never-before-seen realities for gaming, to the treatment of serious psychological conditions such as PTSD, VR technology is already changing our lives for the better. And we and our members are excited to kick off CTA’s technical work on AR/VR standards.”
 
“In my 18 years of practicing medicine, I can't think of anything – short of restarting someone's heart – that so profoundly affects patients so positively within 10 minutes of the treatment,” said Dr. Brennan Spiegel, Director of Health Services Research at Cedars Sinai Health System, delivering the day’s keynote address, Medical Applications for Virtual Reality. “After about four to six minutes [of a VR experience], blood pressure drops in some patients, heart rate slows in some patients – it's a brain stem effect. It doesn't always work, but when it works, it's extremely positive.”
 
Leading tech companies taking part in this week’s Summit span the entire VR ecosystem – content developers including Technicolor and Warner Brothers; hardware manufacturers including High Fidelity and HTC Vive; and gaming companies including Plantronics and Steel Wool Studios. Among the topics discussed: the future of gaming and VR, and potential innovations for VR content development.
 
“We tend to look at this as a more mature market than it really is,” said Nick Beliaeff, vice president, production, SpinMaster. “It’s an emerging market. It hasn’t found what its magic is. That’s the key, what’s going to be the killer app? Is it going to be gaming, is it going to be movies, is it going to be advertising? We need to find what will ultimately drive VR.”
 
            Last year, CTA’s AR/VR Working Group – including member companies Amazon, AMD, Dolby Laboratories, the Fox Innovation Lab at Twentieth Century Fox, GoPro, Intel, Meta, Microsoft, NVIDIA, Reverge VR, Samsung, Sony, STRIVR and Translink Capital – finalized a set of industry definitions to help companies better explain to consumers the spectrum of experiences their technologies deliver.
 
According to CTA’s U.S. Consumer Technology Sales and Forecasts report, VR will be among the tech sector’s overwhelming leaders in year-over-year growth in 2017 – U.S. headset unit sales will reach 2.5 million units, an 80 percent increase over 2016, and revenues will increase almost 45 percent, reaching $660 million.
 
CTA’s Technology & Standards Forum runs May 9-11, blending industry strategy sessions, educational opportunities and networking events as part of CTA’s continued efforts to help grow emerging segments of the consumer technology industry. Anyone interested in CTA’s standards activities is encouraged to learn more about participation at standards.CTA.tech.

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