I spoke to Tom Symonds, CEO of Immerse, to talk about Immerse, a nifty company who recently started working with EY

Hey, it’s great to speak to you!

Great to speak to you to!

So tell me, who is Immerse?

Immerse is a British technology company providing industry with both fully designed immersive virtual reality environments, plus a platform and tools that empower enterprises to create, distribute and track their own solutions.

Ah, so you operate in the VR space? How does Immerse fit within it?

Immerse offers businesses something that other companies do not – the chance to come together and collaborate within VR. Our multi-user environments mean that people from across the world can be transported into the same space to look at, consider and interact with machinery or tools that would otherwise be impossible to reach. An example of this is our work with QinetiQ – Navy trainees can enter our realistic VR Submarine to receive instruction, saving a great deal of time and money on at-sea training.

Every action performed in our platform, whether a user is in VR or has joined via a web browser, can be reported on for later analysis. This means that both trainer and trainee can be monitored for progression and success, and meaningful dashboards can be created to track an individual’s activity.

What’s a key thing you had learnt? What issues did you come across?

We have learnt that we need to be very flexible in terms of what we provide to businesses. We are increasingly finding that companies want to be able to design and create their own 3D and VR solutions, which has prompted us to release the technology we have been using as a standalone platform. Currently in the Beta stage, our VR Platform enables scalable, accessible and cost-effective creation, distribution and tracking of collaborative VR and 3D browser experiences.

What are your thoughts on the UK VR scene?

Despite the consumer market not meeting expectations in the VR world, more and more businesses are interested in, and earmarking budget for virtual reality solutions. We are certainly seeing more enquiries and having more conversations about how virtual reality can help cut costs and improve business efficiency.

As the hardware gets lighter, less bulky, clearer and more responsive, we can only see the uptake increasing in speed, especially as large companies start to publish the successes they have achieved via VR. Hopefully our VR platform will allow more companies to be involved in the creation of their own assets without needing a full development team, and this will help to further boost acceptance.

What particular insights do you have on VR?

The challenge with virtual reality is turning what can be seen as a novelty or gimmick into something that provides solid ROI. While we are involved in some ‘fun’ applications, we also need to make sure that everything we do has a definite and recordable financial benefit. If we do not, it is likely that VR will be seen only as a marketing tool, a possible loss leader and will never be fully accepted as a business practice.

Our work with Inmarsat is an example where we have locked in the potential for definite ROI. The solution we created for them will be used as a sales tool for their Cheetah Satellite Terminal. We believe that our solution will greatly increase their sales conversion rates and drastically reduce costs, and will become a use case for the impact that VR can make to a company’s bottom line.

And how do you think VR/AR/MR will develop in the future?

As mentioned above, the hardware is ever improving and also coming down in price, removing some of the first barriers to embracing VR for both businesses and consumers. With IDC’s prediction that VR and AR revenue will reach $162bn by 2020, we believe that VR will become a standard feature in businesses for training, product sales and marketing as standard, with future applications emerging as adaption continues.

Thanks for the discussion!

Thank you!

Tom Ffiske

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