Best Gear VR Moments of This YearShare open/close
Over the past 12 months, the realm of virtual reality has undergone a number of exciting renovations, innovations and experimentations. Many of these have specifically revolved around Samsung Gear VR headset, showcasing the seemingly unlimited uses of virtual reality, as well as the multitude of areas where the technology can be applied.
From the Stage to the Screen
One of the most obvious industries that virtual reality has affected this year is entertainment. From next-generation gaming driven by technologies like movement detection, sensors and beacons, to the release of films that give viewers a 360-degree view of all the on-screen action, entertainment has reached a new level of greatness.
No longer simply about memorable characters and good storylines, the industry has become centered on producing holistic and immersive user experiences. This is becoming such a focus, in fact, that this past August saw the launch of the Kaleidoscope VR Film Festival. The traveling showcase was established to highlight independent filmmakers who are pioneering film’s newest medium. Festival-goers throughout North America had the chance to watch more than a dozen short films using Gear VR.
Similarly, there were numerous campaigns initiated to get viewers excited about new movie launches. Among them, Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron garnered a great deal of attention through a two-minute VR experience for the Galaxy S6 and Gear VR in which viewers were placed dead center in the middle of a thrilling battle between the Avengers and Ultron’s robot minions.
The music industry has also been fine-tuned to pave the way for similar new experiences. In September, the Van Beethoven bus tour commenced in Los Angeles, which let passersby don Gear VR headsets to enjoy the LA Philharmonic’s rendition of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, performed at Walt Disney Concert Hall. Likewise, across the country at Lollapalooza in Chicago, visitors of both the Samsung Galaxy Experience and Samsung Owner’s Lounge were able to view live performances from the Samsung Galaxy main stage in virtual reality for the first time in music festival history.
Unrestricted Event Access
Although Lollapalooza attendees were able to experience the festival in a unique way on-site, Gear VR also provided the means to get up close and personal with unrestricted, remote access at some of this year’s biggest events. Perhaps the most noteworthy of these was the first Democratic presidential debate of the US 2016 race. CNN made history by hosting the first-ever live stream of a news event in virtual reality, giving viewers a front-row seat to CNN’s 2016 election debates on October 13.
Likewise, Samsung gave consumers a sneak peek of its exhibition at IFA, the world’s leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances, in a number of experience zones around Berlin, Germany in September.
Go Virtually Anywhere
While the promise of being able to virtually attend some of the world’s biggest events from the comfort of one’s living room is very exciting, so is the idea of visiting exotic locations and faraway places without having to purchase a plane ticket.
In September, Marriott Hotels launched VRoom Service at New York Marriott Marquis and London Marriott Park Lane, in which hotel guests are offered room-service delivery of a virtual reality loaner kit with Samsung Gear VR. Guests can use the devices to watch “VR Postcards”, Marriott’s virtual travel content platform that features intimate and immersive travel stories. Each follows a traveler on a journey to a unique locale, such as the Andes Mountains in Chile, an ice cream shop in Rwanda or the bustling streets of Beijing.
Qantas Airways, another big player in the travel industry, provided a similar experience to customers in Sydney and Melbourne International First Lounges as well as in the First Class cabins on select A380 services. By providing Gear VR, Qantas let passengers explore the sights and delights of network destinations, new Qantas products and the latest blockbuster movies from 40,000 feet above the ground, thus setting a new standard in premium inflight entertainment.
Trials and Test-Drives
In the same way that travelers can virtually experience tourist destinations before they even set foot on a plane, consumers are now able to try out new products, and even test-drive the latest and greatest cars.
To promote Audi’s launch of the TT S Coupé, the car company gave consumers a chance to test-drive the automobile using virtual reality technology with Gear VR. The ground-breaking initiative added a touch of theater to automotive retail, allowing Audi customers to experience the thrill of the third-generation TTS in all its glory.
Finally, some of the greatest Gear VR moments this year were those in which simple experiences created tremendous value—both emotional and educational—for those that partook in them.
The Natural History Museum in London, for example, offered visitors a great deal of educational value through David Attenborough’s First Life, a virtual reality experience that combines the museum’s ground-breaking research with Gear VR, vividly bringing to life ancient sea creatures that roamed Earth’s oceans more than 500 million years ago.
LifeLIVE was one of the more heart-warming moments that allowed a father 2,500 miles away from his family to witness his son’s birth—the first birth ever live-streamed using virtual reality—via the Gear VR. The project illustrated how life’s profound moments may soon be shared in a completely new way.
Gear VR has also helped to raise the spirits of hospitalized children through Samsung Italia’s eMotion Project, which virtually transported young patients from the Santa Maria Goretti Hospital in Latina, Italy, to the Movieland amusement park. The experience provided emotional support for the children, helping to improve their moods and mindsets during their hospital stay.
Combining storytelling with technology in an unprecedented way, the Gear VR has most certainly changed the way we travel, shop, connect with others and are entertained in just one short year. It has proved how it can provide unrivaled value across a variety of industries, while its uses are nearly limitless. Only time will tell what kind of virtual reality innovations the next twelve months will bring, but it’s certain they will be “unreal.”
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