HTC Vive Pro Review: A Great Upgrade for Enterprise


While a bit pricey ($1400 system + $200 enterprise license), the Vive Pro is worth every penny for enterprise training and marketing applications.

We finally got a chance to put the new HTC Vive Pro through it’s paces. This is a quick review of our first impressions, primarily as it applies to using Vive Pro for VR training and event marketing.

Easier Multi-System Setup

The most exciting new Vive Pro feature is it’s ability to use more than 2 base stations for tracking. While interesting for tracking larger areas, it also allows units to be setup next to each other without interference.

Our clients often use multiple VR stations at events to accommodate larger crowds. Doing so typically requires curtains or other barriers to prevent interference (see the central column below). Since the Vive Pro now works with 4 base stations, and support for up to 16 coming, we can now put base stations in the corners of a larger area (30+ sq ft) and run more than one VR station within the tracked region.

Vive Trade Show

Dual Original Vive Trade Show Setup Requires Barrier to Provide Separation

Room for Bigger Glasses, Hair, and Heads

The majority of glass wearers can use the Vive standard with their glasses off. Otherwise, if they need their glasses during Vive usage, many people’s glasses can fit within the headset. There are some, however, whose glasses are just too fashionable to be contained by the Vive standard headset. This adds a layer of complication when trying to get people in and out of the headset efficiently.

With almost 2cm more width in the headset, the vast majority of glasses should fit into the new headset. Similarly, the headphones are on a bigger swing arm, allowing them to fit better over bigger heads and hair. While the original Vive worked well for 90% of people at events, the Vive Pro should reach close to 100%. An easily used adjustment on the bottom also means focus can be tweaked per person. The older Vive’s adjustment was simply too cumbersome and time consuming to use for everyone at an event.

Vive Pro Spacious Design

Comparison of headset space between original Vive and Vive Pro

Higher Resolution Allows for Clearer Text

Text looks more clear, and this extra clarity will enable the use of smaller visual labels. This should allow more detail and more data rich UI interfaces as compared to the original Vive. 

Vive Pro Resolution

The Vive Pro packs a punch with 615 pixels per inch

Augmented Reality Potential

While we haven’t played much with the camera, the newly added dual cameras enable the system to sense depth and turn the headset into a more serious Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality platform. We’ll write a separate blog post once we’ve had a chance to test this unit out with one of our AR applications. We are especially interested to see whether the latency is low enough to allow usage of the Vive Pro as an AR headset.

Vive Pro Lenses

New lenses on the Vive Pro allow for AR application

Improved Wiring Harness and Buttons

A minor, but very appreciated, change is the single connector coming from the headset cable to the link box instead of 3 separate plugs. The old power cable in particular had a habit of pulling out. Also, on-ear buttons make volume adjustments simpler and more intuitive.

Vive Pro Link Box

The Vive Pro’s revamped link box

Con: Price

The Vive Pro is the VR headset that consumers deserve but can’t afford. For $1400 and a $200 enterprise license, the headset is substantially more expensive than other consumer VR systems. However, for VR training and VR event activations, the Vive Pro enhancements are worth every penny.

Con: Cleanability

The foam facemask is comfortable, but a bit of a sponge for sweat and makeup that’s also hard to clean. To be fair, this is a problem with the original Vive as well. However, we have happily swapped all the foam for faux-leather replacements that are easy to wipe down between users without absorbing moisture. Until similar products are available for the Vive Pro, this will continue to be a negative for public use.

Vive Face Pad

The Pro’s face pad is plenty comfortable but difficult to clean

 Conclusion

The Vive Pro’s more flexible setup options will be game-changing for business VR applications. Its enhanced comfort and wearability will be appreciated greatly by users at trade shows, sales demos, and any other events. Overall, for those who have the capital to invest in the Vive Pro, it is well worth the higher price. The unit could prove to be even more useful as we explore its AR capabilities.

What Did We Learn About VR at SXSW 2017?

Recently, Foundry 45 helped the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the ChooseATL team showcase Atlanta through a Virtual Reality experience at the SXSW Job Market Expo in Austin, Texas. We used our trade show VR experience skills to build the Chamber an Atlanta VR Experience that showed what it’s like to Live, Work, and Play in the great city of Atlanta, Georgia. SXSW attendees who put on our VR headsets were instantly transported from Austin to Atlanta.

The Chamber had the biggest booth on the floor. We were excited to be a sponsor, and the ChooseATL SXSW recruitment campaign created buzz for Atlanta’s thriving tech job market.

To learn more about the experience, please see this NPR article about our VR activation.

File_000 So, let’s get down to it. What did we learn about VR?

VR Was Everywhere

Yep, VR was everywhere — not just with VR companies plying their wares, but it was used by everyone from Home Depot to NASA for immersive messaging experiences. VR for flying, movies, activism, art, big data, health and so much more packed the event. Below, you’ll see three notable VR companies that are reshaping how users interact with full body motion and data.

New VR Accessories Offer Full Motion Input

Omni by Virtuix, a first-of-its-kind active virtual reality motion platform — Here we are walking through a new world

Birdly

Birdly, the VR experience that fulfills the ancient dream of flying. (Yea, you missed out.)

VR Use Cases are More Visual and Interesting

In addition to the seeing a lot of branded trade show experiences and recruiting opportunities as mentioned above, we also saw interesting takes in areas like Artificial Intelligence and Data Visualization. We met with one company called DatavizVR. They are doing interesting work in bringing big data to life with HTC Vive. This space also has touch points with some of our newest initiatives.

IMG_3660

Overall, SXSW 2017 was bigger and better than last year. We were honored to help represent our growing city, and we can’t wait to see what SXSW will be like in 2018.

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com

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Foundry 45 Services: Light Customization VR

Foundry 45 provides immersive services to create a stress-free and extremely exciting Virtual Reality (VR) experience. We understand VR is limitless which can be tough when defining a project’s direction. Foundry 45 focuses on three immersive experiences: Light Customization, Linear VR and Choose Your Own Adventure. Take a journey through our first experience tier.

Light Customization constructs custom experiences with existing stock footage to tell your brand story.
Sutherland Foundry 45 VR Experience

A Light Customization experience is the most powerful and economical branded VR experience for in-person events. It produces immediate brand attention, supplies affordable VR headsets, and generates stronger customer leads. Our immersive experience includes:

  • 60-90 second experience
  • Gear VR and/or Google Cardboard development
  • Two Gear VR systems and the option to rent additional units

Journey through the Light Customization Experience
Begins in a dark, 360 degree environment with customer’s brand logo and a “Look Here” button every 120 degrees that the user can select using a gaze-based selection tool to start the experience. The user is transported to the first 360video and voiceover such as, “Welcome to the YOUR NAME VR Experience! We help you lead the industry!” (Actual copy to be determined during engagement.)

The user then experiences two to three different 360 stock videos (about 30 seconds each). At the end of the experience, the voiceover shares a final touch such as, “We’re YOUR NAME. We find the solutions to your biggest challenges.” (Again, actual copy to be determined during engagement.) Fades to black and after a few seconds, restarts for the next user. Each new experience begins with a fresh opportunity to uniquely express your brand story.

Case Study Highlight: Sutherland Law Firm

GOAL: Create a budget conscious immersive experience that wows attendees and drives booth traffic.

EVENT: Trade show – San Francisco, CA

Dita Barker - SutherlandSutherland VR Experience

Foundry 45 RESPONSIBILITY:

  • Promote brand awareness in an interesting way
  • Create memorable experiences to strengthen sales leads
  • Ensure users become immersed in the brand story

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com

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The Fastest and Most Helpful VR Webinar

Great to catch up with Tim Patterson from Tradeshow Guy about Virtual Reality (VR) opportunities for trade show events. Here, we break down the many uses of virtual reality that any company can use to create an immersive brand experience. We first dive into the types of VR, content creation, and finally the ROI from a 360-degree experience. Read the highlights or watch the full video below.

Types of VR
We’ve categorized the range of VR headsets into two buckets: mobile-based headsets that operate untethered using a mobile phone for screen and processing, and PC-based headsets that plug into a full computer for the VR processing power. Each category of headset has it’s own pros and cons, and are therefore appropriate for different use cases.

Mobile-based headsets

  • Pair goggles with a mobile smartphone
  • Utilize a headset processor to render graphics through a mobile device
  • Samsung Gear VR partners with Oculus for a more in depth experience using Samsung’s Galaxy smartphone.
  • Google Cardboard is another headset but is less expensive than the Samsung partnership. This option is great for direct branding, branded merchandise options, and branded mobile applications for users to enjoy.

PC-based headsets

  • Room Scale – HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
  • This headset uses a powerful gaming computer, and is a bit more expensive than its counterparts due to its highly immersive qualities.
  • Tilt brush by Google places users in a room filled with their own imagination to freely paint.

What will the Content Do for My Company?

  • Build excitement and draw a captivated crowd
  • Become the best medium for people to listen to an immersive message using 3D graphics
  • Takes your company from an on a screen video to endless branding possibilities.

Content Creation

  • Light Customization – Construct custom experience with existing stock footage to tell a brand story
  • Linear VR – Create custom story and custom video filmed on site, which is more powerful and specific to the target customer
  • Choose Your Own Adventure – Users choose their own path with multiple created experiences that illustrate multiple value propositions in the VR experience.

How are the 3D graphics generated?
A variety of approaches can be taken, depending on the desired results and budget. You can rely on the experienced staff at Foundry 45 to work their magic and bring your experience to life!

Here’s Why the VR Experience is Good for Your Company

  • Generates personal and brand excitement
  • Fosters stronger awareness and customers become immersed in messaging that creates higher quality in leads for companies. (Client Feedback)
  • Data shows companies increase trade show visits by 30% each year while using VR experiences as opposed to other forms of brand messaging.

VR Product Look
Some of our clients work with heavy machinery like large pumps, compressors and industrial equipment that can weigh thousands of pounds. They have successfully used VR to share equipment and factory tours at significant cost savings over their previous approaches. By foregoing a 50×50 trade show booth and product shipment fees, our clients instead use a VR experience in a smaller booth to translate stronger value propositions with greater ROI.

Let’s talk about how your company can benefit from working with Foundry 45 for your next VR experience!

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry 45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com.

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The Potential of VR Marketing

future is coming

The Future is Coming

Unless you’ve been living under The Rock for the past decade or so, I’m not going to be the first person to make you realize that digital technology has been rapidly evolving since it was created. Even someone with a terrible short-term memory can point to a common USB drive today, and recall how the same item costed 5x more just a few years prior. You’ve probably heard something about Moore’s Law, and, with that understanding, it might not surprise you to learn of the general exponential growth rate of technology. Expectations for the not-so-distant future vary, but hearing hypotheses from futurists like Jeremy Howard might be shocking when he suggests a designated living wage for the population after computers take all our jobs.

Anyways! I detail the overall growth of technology to help communicate how VR will improve in the coming years. Virtual Reality might be the modern day poster child of an emerging digital medium. This brand-spanking-new technology, though many mistakenly write it off as novelty, has been predicted to develop into a $80 billion dollar industry in the next TEN years! If you consider Virtual Reality to only be a “cool” format to display videos, you are severely underestimating the potential of this burgeoning tech. A user’s immersion within a VR environment blows standard 2D videos out of the water. Even when compared to 360 videos, Virtual Reality experiences are significantly more engaging than viewing a video on a flat screen. If current VR technology is already this compelling to people, imagine what we have to look forward to as it matures.

Future Spongbob gifVideo source: https://youtu.be/yk7IDVzLiQo

Among the plethora of uses for VR (some of which haven’t been fully realized yet), forward-thinking businesses and entrepreneurs have already utilized this technology as the driving force behind marketing campaigns. According to Cotton Delo at Adage.com, “virtual reality could be transformative for the ad industry.” Instead of poking advertisements into the lives of consumers through older mediums like commercials or billboards, VR marketing content actually attracts customers as a result of the level of engagement the content permits. Experiences are so much more stimulating than typical ads that users are much more friendly to brand content as a result. Not only does Virtual Reality provide more enjoyable content for viewers, but the message is significantly more memorable because it is  provided through an experiencenot a video. You’ve probably watched tons of videos today (there are dozens in this post!), but when compared to VR experiences that make you peek around and interact with your virtual environment,  VR becomes much more impressionable on your memory.

The ability to transport viewers to any environment by handing them a VR headset also provides limitless opportunities with a fraction of the budget required to take them there physically. VR specifically allows for viewer experiences that can’t be offered through any other means! For example,  Coca Cola created a VR experience for the 2014 World Cup that permitted viewers to step onto the pitch and play in a convincing fashion that no other medium can mimic. Foundry 45 used a similar development philosophy with their Georgia Tech Immersive Recruiting application which places users on the sideline of Bobby Dodd stadium during the “Miracle on Techwood Drive” play.

This fact cannot be overstated: Virtual Reality is not an updated way to view videos, but a new communication platform all its own that’s capable of previously impossible feats. Strategic implementation of Virtual Reality has the potential to yield never before seen results for your business’s marketing, and recruiting efforts. Companies large and small have pursued VR ventures to large degrees of success. Exemplary marketing uses of VR have emerged from The New York Times, Patrón, Lowe’s, Merrell, Marriott, Red Bull, Land Rover, Volvo, and even Michelle Obama! Make sure to check out all the success Foundry 45 has had with our Virtual Reality marketing efforts by checking out our case studies!

hipster vrI liked VR before it was mainstream…

In a Facebook post announcing his purchase of the VR company Oculus (a 2 billion dollar investment), Mark Zuckerberg detailed his ambition for this “immersive, augmented reality [to] become part of daily life for billions of people.” Though seeing this technology reach that large of a scale may be hard to wrap your head around, the amount of research and financial investment being poured into this burgeoning industry from all directions should communicate how revolutionary this technology can and will become. Modern media is evolving, and the presence of immersive Virtual Reality indicates a large step forward for our digital capabilities. The sooner your business can take advantage of this new technology, the more you can benefit from its innovation before everyone else realizes what they’re missing!

If you want to take advantage of this cutting edge technology for your marketing or recruiting efforts, waste no time in contacting Foundry 45 for premiere VR content.
Also make sure to check out our blog filled with other information as well as tips and tricks for VR tech.

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com

Follow Us!

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Trade Show VR Best Practices

So it looks like you’ve made the right decision to use a Virtual Reality Experience to enhance your upcoming trade show event. Prepare to be the talk of the town! By taking on this new storytelling format, you’ve effectively swallowed the red pill, and through this rabbit hole, you will discover several amazing opportunities not available through other means. But be wary, you may want some help navigating this new virtual world. This post shall be your guiding light.

Swallowed the red pill | Foundry 45

 

Equipment checklist:

  • 2 phones per Gear VR headset
  • Swivel chair(s)
  • Fast chargers for phones
  • Alcohol Wipes
  • Lens cloths
  • Headphones
  • Stickers with your brand to put on headset

Step 1: Do a Dry Run Before the Show

This will work out any unexpected issues, both with the equipment and process. Be sure to tell guests to turn their heads to look all around!

Step 2: Prepare to Teach VR Newbies

Considering the cutting edge nature of the technology you are using, you are almost guaranteed to expose someone to their first VR experience. Hardwire a short instructional bit into your presentation, and be eager to answer any questions you encounter!

 

dana_putting_on_gearvrBooth Visitor: So I’m gonna be able to see really far away when I look into it, right?

Step 3: During the Show

Nothing will damper your amazing virtual reality experience like a dead phone battery or constant extraneous notifications. Take several measures beforehand to ensure your visitors maximize their immersion.

  • Fully charge all phone batteries prior to the event
  • Put all phones in airplane mode and deactivate Wifi
  • Every time you start app and put in GearVR, turn the volume back up (buttons on side). The volume resets every time the phone is removed.
  • Swap out phones in the headsets to cool down and recharge every hour
  • Remove phones from headset to charge and do not charge via the port on the newer GearVR units (this will allow them to cool off)
  • Make sure the app is at the start screen for new guests. If the previous person did not finish, just point the headset straight up for 5s to reset.

Step 4: Create a safe Virtual Reality zone

Just like The Matrix, when people are “jacked in” to a virtual world, their actual body can still be subject to harm.

Swivel chairs are your friend and your most trusted companion in order to avoid hilarious incidents like that one. You need to have a swivel chair for every VR headset you are running. Also to increase immersion, be generous in granting your visitors enough space for them to turn around freely. Consider roping off the area near each chair.

roped vr

Step 5: Concentration on Sanitation

If your event goes according to plan, your VR headset will come into contact with hundreds of people’s faces. Taking proper measures to guarantee that your equipment is functionally clean between every use is imperative in order to garner a positive response.

lol

We recommend wiping down the face pads with alcohol wipes and the lens with lint-free cloths in between guests.

Step 6: Help out your Marketing Team

Taking pictures and recording videos of people enjoying a VR experience will undoubtedly help your publicity efforts. Showing people that your event was a success rather than telling them will help with online posts and articles concerning your trade show experience. Record quotes from people who really engaged with your VR content, and try to obtain an honest opinion of their experience. Keeping record of these positive interactions increases the likelihood that your company will invest in future virtual reality endeavors.

Step 7: Cardboard Headsets!

Branded cardboard is a great giveaway that will keep your brand top of mind, and also provide access to hundreds of other Cardboard enabled apps in the app stores. If you’ve developed a custom cardboard app, we recommend helping people find and download the app from the store. This can require WiFi depending on your app.

ll See how happy they make people!

Now that you have been fully trained in the art of hosting a Virtual Reality trade show booth, you are ready to reap the rewards of all your hard work and preparation. Following these steps are all you need to do to guarantee that your event will run smoothly. People will receive a solid impression of your product and mission statement through your effective use of a Virtual Reality Experience. By learning all these helpful tips, tricks, and preparatory steps before your trade show event, one could say you have dodged a bullet.

If you’re interested in utilizing VR at your next trade show event, be sure to contact Foundry 45 for VR premiere content!

ABOUT FOUNDRY 45

Foundry 45 is The Business VR Leader. We create immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experiences for mobile platforms including HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, iOS Cardboard Headsets, Android Cardboard Headsets. Foundry 45 helps businesses step into their brand story by using dynamic 360-degree video and VR app creation. Our marketing and recruiting approach captures customer experience desires and emphasize product value. We also partner with existing video production studios, advertising agencies, and other content creators to serve as their VR technical consultants and developer shop.

To learn more about Foundry45, visit us at www.foundry45.com.

For Immersive VR inquiries, contact Managing Partner:

Dave Beck, dave@foundry45.com

Follow Us!

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