2020: Build Stronger!
I would like to capture a few minutes of your attention with a short and humble story.
Although there may not be many who can claim that are true veterans in the immersive industry of VR, AR, and XR, I am quite new in this field. I still remember 2017, the year when I decided together with my girlfriend back then to spend all of our savings for a trip to visit the USA, but more specifically Augmented World Expo. Boy, were we starstruck… We were overwhelmed by seeing so many beautiful people who were talking about so many new concepts and ideas. In almost an instant we knew there were so many possibilities to be explored, so many good ways in which this new technology can be channeled to make a huge positive impact in our lives.
But the road is hard and probably even harder than in other tech industries. There is no telling of success, not even after an impressive presentation and a beautiful prototype, there is almost not a single day without tons of crashes and bugs in VR development, and ultimately no guarantee that our vision is shared and embraced by the ones that we are building for. Beyond the gadget enthusiasm, there are still too few that see the lightweight flexibility of VR and many still do not understand its power beyond entertainment purposes.
Now after two hard years I decided to draw a line and do the math. I have lost the support of many “down to Earth” people around me because it’s indeed hard to see the point of yet another new technology. I have lost a relationship because VR does not produce shiny results overnight so I had very little to show up with. I have struggled to survive in this under-appreciated field.
Now things are slowly starting to change. Late in 2019, for the first time, I got calls from people that I have not heard from in years asking me about VR and what is it exactly that it does. For the first time, a family member asked me if I’d like to help in creating a VR app for kids with health issues. For the first time, I got a request to create a VR tour for a friend. I’m not talking about a big game here, but I’m saying that these are people like you and me, and they are becoming aware of our meaningful work. And that is a good sign I would say.
Also as a part of a small team of developers, I am awed by the fact that even bigger companies are moving away from being shy to becoming interested in our work, interested the cost-cutting supremacy and agility of VR. Since the Holidays allowed me to take a step back from the crowded workdays, I could see that we went from one architectural tour product to a whole new world of apps like:
• Hard and even soft skills training with integrated evaluation and statistics generators
• Technical products and prototype concepts presentations
• Educational programs and historical reproductions
• AR customizations for interior spaces
• Physical training VR assistance
• VR conceptualization and pre-planning for larger architectural projects
So, 2019 felt good after all.
This might not sound like a best seller story but I dedicate it especially to the ones that are not there yet, because this is the worst time to give up, this is the time to put in the work. For all the others who keep posting, traveling, making workshops and inspiring us all, a big thank you and my deepest gratitude. Have an amazing 2020!