When new technology begins to mature and attract consumer interest there is usually a commensurate increase in that industries supporting business structure. This can be easily tracked in the rise of related professional and consumer conferences. Such is the case with VRLA and the rise of virtual reality.
VRLA started as a series of Los Angeles based meetups in 2013. Since then, it has grown to become a highly publicized and industry supported event. Companies vested in the virtual reality landscape use this opportunity to publicize their products and partake in various sessions, including speaking sessions and educational breakouts.
There were many great speakers and panel sessions to attend. Expertise from all areas of virtual reality were featured and provided valuable insight into the state of our industry and its course for the future. Among the notable presentations, Rikard Steiber, the head of HTC's Viveport and SVP Virtual Reality, gave a great summary of HTC's efforts supporting the base of VR technology by empowering developers. There are over 20,000 registered developers in VivePort and HTC is providing business model options like subscriptions and in-app purchases to support them. HTC also moves the industry forward with the release of the Vive Trackers and the upcoming TPCast wireless headset. This type of hardware iteration and developer support is crucial for the growth of the industry.
Industry experts such as James Jensen (The Void), Mark Mine (Walt Disney Imagineering), Frank Soqui (VP, VR Intel) and many others continued the valuable presentations and discussions about virtual reality and its nuances.
VRLA is a great venue for VR consumers in Los Angeles to experience pre-release products as well as those already available in the marketplace. The conference supports all technical aspects of virtual reality including professional 360 cameras and augmented reality systems. Microsoft's Hololens Easter Egg Hunt was a creative and popular experience. Exit Reality was present with their VR trucks and a plan to expand to new cities. The ION Torque ATV VR experience was an out-sized example of mixed reality and definitely enjoyable.
There was also an increased showcasing of VR related hygiene products. Hyperkin was present as an industry mainstay but VSkull made a statement with their washable Lycra masks. VRubbers (yes, you read that right) made a strong push as well with a lot of personal outreach to attendees. If VR related hygiene is concern of yours then each of these companies has options to consider.
Lastly, but certainly not least. The Racket: NX team was also showcasing their great multiplayer game and were excited to hear about Boise's upcoming VR eSports tournament competition at VR1. This is looking to be a great event so stay tuned for additional information.