MetaVRse Nominated for Global VR Startup of the Year

On the heels of having just named one of TechWeek’s Top 100 Rising Startups, MetaVRse has just been Nominated for the 2017 VR Startup of the Year at the VR Awards taking place in London, UK October 9, 2017.

“We are incredibly honoured to be named among the best in the industry including Google, HTC, Oculus and so many more” exclaimed MetaVRse CEO, Alan Smithson.  “Our focus has always been on the business and marketing applications of this technology and it is amazing to be recognized for the hard work it takes to make a successful startup.  Our team is world-class and getting better every day”.

MetaVRse is North America’s leading virtual and augmented reality product development company and in just over a year has an impressive client list including; Microsoft, Samsung, Rogers, Telus, Bell, PwC and many more.

The VR Awards Celebrates outstanding achievement in the Virtual Reality Industry. Attendees include some of the biggest names in VR and offers a night of entertainment and celebration, looking back on the previous year of achievement.

VR/AR Consultancy MetaVRse Named TechWeek Top 100 Rising Startup

North America’s leading virtual and augmented reality consultancy and inventors of the hottest new experiential marketing product, VR Photo Booth™ have just won the prestigious TechWeek Top 100 in the Rising Startup category.  In only one short year, Toronto based MetaVRse, has worked with a number of Fortune 100 companies producing a diverse range of branded VR and AR experiences.  “In the early days of VR education is paramount. We used events to expose as many people as possible to VR to open our clients’ minds to the potential of this technology to go far beyond entertainment” commented MetaVRse President and Co-Founder, Dan Flatt. “We begin by showing people games and experiences, then we show them training, communication, and collaboration tools, there is a process to getting people interested in using VR/AR in their business, it has to have real ROI”.

“The ultimate potential of this technology is infinite.”

Investments in the VR/AR industry exceeded $2B in 2016 and the industry is on track to grow over 100% annually.  With major tech giants like Google,  Facebook, Samsung and most recently Apple launching new technology in the space, analysts are predicting that VR and AR will supplant mobile as the world’s dominant computing platform as early as 2022. While the consumer entertainment market has seen steady growth, businesses are embracing the potential of immersive experiences for marketing, training, design and more.

Instead of the obvious gaming and entertainment markets, MetaVRse has decided to take a different approach, “The ultimate potential of this technology is infinite.” said Alan Smithson, CEO and Co-Founder, “Enterprise applications for education, training, remote collaboration, communication, vCommerce, data visualization, sales, and marketing are where we have decided to focus our practice.  Our mission at MetaVRse is to use virtual and augmented reality to improve the human experience and we feel we can do this best by working with large companies to bring custom solutions on scale.”

MetaVRse CEO Featured in Book about Virtual Reality

MetaVRse CEO, Alan Smithson was recently featured in the new book, “What is Virtual Reality?: Everything you wanted to know featuring interviews with the leaders of the VR industry” By Yoni Binstock. Here’s the excerpt:

What excites you the most about virtual reality?

The thing that excites me most about virtual reality is the fact that it’s a new communication media. It’s a new way for humans to communicate with each other and the social implications of being able to communicate with people in a much more immersive way will be incredible. Just in the past few decades, we saw the introduction of communication mediums like text messaging and Skyping which changed how we communicated and I believe brought people together. But placing people together in the same place will be amazing. The other thing that excites me, and why I started MetaVRse, is the way that VR will revolutionize education.

What do you recommend for people who want to get in the VR field?

The first thing I always recommend is to listen to the Voices of VR podcast. There are a ton of episodes to listen to, but if you listen to the early episodes or the top ten, you’ll get a really good understanding of where the industries are going and who the players are. I would also say to start building something or writing about the technology. Because the technology and industry move so fast, everyone, including myself, will have to constantly be learning.

What are your predictions for the VR industry and technology in the next 5, 10, and 25 years?

In the next 5 years, my prediction is that consumer VR markets will be growing, but not take off as fast as we all hope. It’s absolutely amazing how many units the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift, and the PSVR have sold, but it’s nowhere near the adoptions we need to get mass adoption. I would predict that we’re going to have businesses use this technology a lot more than individuals, especially with training, data visualization, and marketing. I also think when Steven Spielberg releases the Ready Player One movie, that will create a huge tidal wave of VR adoption. Lastly, I see houses and living rooms being designed to maximize VR experiences so that users will have great tracking and freedom of movement.

In 10 years, I think what’s going to happen is all the AR glasses will get smaller, lighter, faster, cheaper, and just generally better. I think the adoption is going to be a lot better especially in business because the business applications for AR are enormous. I can imagine any business using AR to increase the productivity of their workforce. Microsoft’s Hololens is an incredible technical achievement and I think that the technology will only get better. And so what we’ll see is the convergence of AR and VR where you’ll have one device being used for all types of mixed reality based on where you are and what application you’re using.

In 25 years, my best guess is that we will probably have our brains and computers connected so that experiences will be so immersive that it will be hard to separate it from reality. Today everybody’s working on how to make haptic suits and gloves, but if a machine has direct control of your brains, that we can make these 100% realistic experiences without the need for any external hardware.

In what ways do you think that virtual reality will be a positive force in our society and in what ways will it be a negative force?

I think the biggest way that virtual reality is going to be a positive force is by completely overhauling the education system. My purpose in life is to educate the next generation of young entrepreneurs to go on and create value in an environmentally, economically, socially sustainable way, and one of the reasons I got into VR is because VR is going to be the next way to teach people. It’s not enough to look at lectures or participate in an online course, but being able to experience and do something in a virtual space will finally make learning fun for everyone. The other day I learned how to fix a fridge using a VR application and it was so incredible. Before I would have had to call an electrician or spend hours reviewing the manual, but with this VR app, I was able to learn extremely quickly how my fridge worked and what to do to fix it.

I also see VR as an empathy machine, putting people in situations where they feel empathy for others, and I think that’s a really really big thing and that we’ve only scratched the surface on what we can do with this amazing technology.

Virtual reality can definitely be used for evil. Some of my friends made the Brookhaven Experiment where you are shooting zombies, and originally they made a simulator where you are shooting humans and they said it was so disturbing that they actually vowed never to make another shooter game where you shot humans. Like any technology, it can be used for good or for evil.

What needs to happen fairly quickly is we need to come together as an entire industry and we need to develop the ethical standards around VR. It is such a powerful media and if it is harnessed by the wrong people, you’re going to really mess with people and it’s going to go wrong real fast. I imagine that if someone violated the standards, they might be banned from ever using Unity or another game engine.

If there’s anything else you’d like to share with my readers about the future of VR, what would you like to say?

In the beginning, we had the printing press and the printing press brought people together and brought a new communication medium. Then we had the radio, the television, the internet, the smartphone, and now we have virtual reality which is going to change everything we do in the world. My suggestion to everybody is to get on it as early as possible and to build as fast as possible. By being one of the first in this industry, you’ll be able to be part of the story of how this technology and industry mature over the next several decades.

How do I get into the Virtual Reality (VR) & Augmented Reality (AR) Industry?

I started learning about VR 3 years ago and these are some of the things I did to hyper-accelerate my understanding of the virtual and augmented reality industry. Here is what I would do if I were starting out in VR now to put myself at the forefront of the industry.

  1. Start listening to the Voices of VR Podcast with Kent Bye (hint: listen on 1.5x speed or you will never get through them…there is over 500 now)
  2. Add Robert Scoble on Facebook and LinkedIn
  3. Learn Unity and watch talks from Tony Parisi
  4. Watch keynote talks about the gaming industry by HTC leader Rikard Steiber
  1. Once you learn Unity do the Microsoft HoloLens Mixed Reality Academy
  2. Subscribe to UploadVR, Road to VR, and VRScout
  3. Setup Google alerts for “Virtual Reality” and “Augmented Reality”
  4. Read VR news 2-4 hours a day
  5. Speak with EVERY person you know working in VR about the potential of it and ask “where do you see this going?”
  6. Do every VR experience that comes out (even though they make you sick)
  7. Buy a Samsung GearVR and Gear360 camera and start shooting and editing your own 360° videos (even just for fun!)
  8. Go to ALL VR/AR meetups and conferences and meet as many people as possible in the space.
  9. Come see us at VRTO in Toronto, June 24-26.

Work your ass off and find what excites you most and do that! I hope this was helpful and I sincerely hope that if you take this advice and build something amazing, you will let us invest in your company and bring it to the next level!

Feel free to add me on LinkedIn and if you are already working in VR, you have a working demo and you are interested in working with us, you can submit your info to our MetaVRse Partner Portal.


VR/AR Association Interview with Alan Smithson and Dan Flatt

Want to learn more about the business of Virtual and Augmented Reality and how MetaVRse started? Check out the latest “Everything VR & AR” podcast with AlanDan, host Kevin Harvell, and the VR/AR Association.


Kids Learning Code in Virtual Reality

There is never an age to stop learning and in the technology industry, that is exactly what you do – constantly learn. Being a Woman in Tech since 2010 provided me with lessons only experience and personal immersion could prepare me for.  When I had kids, I was drawn to the opportunities in education and combining that with technology became my passion.  When I learned about coding myself I knew it was something everyone needed to know about, it only made sense.

My girls took coding after I told them they had to. My oldest daughter, Abi (Top 20 Under 20, Ryerson’s Youngest DMZ Inventor) took coding 3 years ago at age 9 and still remembers the basics and can move her way through coding programs helping her build media sites for school.  My youngest daughter was one of the first to code in HTML before learning to read.  They didn’t really enjoy coding, as some do, but they didn’t need to like it, they just needed to know what it was.  They needed to understand the platform we live on. We all have mobile phones, iPads, laptops, and computers.  We download, sideload, upload and launch applications, then we have a rhythm of swiping, scrolling and texting our hearts out … all in the name of code.  

A little bit about code… it lives in computers, applications, and programs. It can build a bridge, a fort or a sequence. You can code an item, a thing, a direction, a colour, a picture, an action or a response.  Coding is built out of numbers and letters in different combinations and takes direction from the digits surrounding it.  Coding is an engineered plan of building blocks that will provide a response to its commands.  Coding has always been a very 2-Dimensional pattern on the computer screen … until now when an amazing team of companies pulled together to build a world-first, coding in virtual reality, an immersive 360° experience.

Coding in VR uses JavaScript and a visualizer to connect the theme used in a virtual space.  Phase one theme used is mammals and the code that makes them what they are. Inside the HTC Vive, you will be able to connect further into the mammals’ sequence to see a whale, cat, and dog and to visually see the corresponding picture. For our next phase, we hope to integrate a guided tutorial to teach about the similarities and well as further development into themes as we engage the students into a world they have never seen and some may not understand yet.  

Every child learns through their own set of wiring, their own medium of taking in information.  Sometimes it is auditory and sometimes it is visual.  Sometimes it is slow and sometimes it needs to be fast.  Coding in VR provides a visual plan to the sequence of a theme and seeing it in virtual reality makes the sequence easier to understand.

In celebration of Canada’s coding week, Phase one of coding in VR  has launched together with Ladies Learning Code, Primitive, House of VR & MetaVRse. On Tuesday, June 6th, local Grade 7 & 8’s in Toronto arrived at the House of VR to experience coding in virtual reality for the first time in education. The day was full of learning from the kids and for us as developers understanding how the kids experienced the program.  We are excited about the possibilities in developments to come and look forward to expanding the lessons of an educational VR curriculum into classrooms around the world.

Why You Need a Specialized Virtual Reality Agency Now

Four years ago, I got the unique opportunity to try VR for the first time, long before most people. The demo was given to me by none other than Chris Milk (, Here Be Dragons).  The experience was shown on an Oculus DK1 and when I put the headset on, I was magically transported to a concert where I was standing right next to Beck on stage.  This was the moment when I said “I am ALL in on VR” and from there I formulated my plan to sell my previous company (Emulator) and get into VR full time.  I studied the landscape of VR for a little over a year before deciding what to focus on and it lead me to fully understand the massive scope of VR.

Because there is an unlimited number of things you can do with this technology, I did not want to be tied down to any one technology or project and I wanted the flexibility to do multiple projects simultaneously.  After much deliberation, I realized that creating a VR/AR focused agency was the best possible idea and thus began the foundations for MetaVRse.  Now after two years working full time in VR and one full year with MetaVRse, I can tell you with 100% certainty that our business model of being a highly specialized VR/AR Agency was the best decision we could have ever made.

Over the past year, we have shot a ton of 360° videos, created VR retail solutions, AR menus, built and developed a 360° Photo Booth™, and spoken at a plethora of conferences on VR/AR and Enterprise.  We’ve worked with amazing companies like Microsoft, HTC, Samsung, Corus, HBO and more. In essence, we have built the demand for VR/AR with corporate clients from zero to now…in Toronto, Canada at least. Here’s our highlight reel:

This experience of being an agency in VR has given us a unique perspective on an industry that is growing faster than anyone can keep up with.  Below I am going to go through just a few of the different technologies that fall under Virtual and Augmented Reality and a couple ways they can be used.  You will soon realize that brands who use their traditional agency for VR/AR will be missing a ton of opportunities that this incredible communication medium allows for.  

NOTE:  If you are interested in learning more about VR/AR and how it can revolutionize your business, feel free to contact me directly and I will have one of our team work with you to devise a plan on how best to leverage the power of VR & AR with both short and long term objectives.  

From social media to experiential marketing, to brand and digital, most large companies understand the need for specialized agencies and VR/AR is no exception.  Here are just a few ways this technology can be used.  

360° Video (3D/Stereoscopic, 4K, 8K, Livestream)

The easiest way for brands to get into VR is by using 360° video.  This can be filmed in-house using consumer-grade or professional cameras for social media posts and really cool things like Tiny Planet shots and Facebook 360° posts (both of which get really great engagement).  Once you start putting these videos into VR, it is VITALLY IMPORTANT to make sure you use 100% stable shots.  This can be accomplished using gimbals and/or post production software tools such as Mettle, Kolor Pano and others. Adobe Suite is introducing new tools for 360° every day.  

SIDE NOTE:  OG 360° videographers will remember the headaches that you had to go through with stitching each frame by hand and 3D printing the camera mounts from plans released on Reddit.

Example of Tiny Planet Image (taken in the MetaVRse 360° Photo Booth™)


Professional 360° Camera Rigs

Eye 360, GoPro Omni, Jaunt One

360° Camera rigs vary in price from thousands to hundreds of thousands.  It is important not only to know which camera to use for each application, but more importantly, to know who are the best in the world at exactly what you need.  Our global database of approved partners gives you the ability to leverage existing technologies while exploring new ones with limited risk.

Professional cameras are not always necessary.  When doing 360° content for social media, consumer cameras may suffice.  We teach all of our clients how to harness this technology internally to conserve resources.

Consumer 360° Cameras

Samsung Gear 360, Insta360 Air, Nikon Keymission 360

Brands and agencies can use these simple point and shoot cameras to get 360° photos and videos for social media (YouTube, Facebook, Instagram). The price for these cameras are all under $1000 now and most photos can be edited directly on your phone.

Light Field Captured 3D VR Video

360° Light Field Capture (Lytro) – This camera was just used to produce the musical piece “Hallelujah”

While still in its infancy, light field capture for 360° videos you can actually move around in.  This is the dream of many a Hollywood Director (filming and having agency is the ultimate storytelling experience)  This technology requires massive server racks and a ton of post processing, but the results are stunning.

Virtual Tours (Real Estate, Recruiting, Pre-Construction, Office Tours)

Virtual office tour we did for Symbility Intersect

Virtual Tours for real estate, pre-construction, virtual office or facility tours are all amazing ways to leverage this technology.  Google, Matterport and YouVisit all offer ways to do these tours and each has its own unique pros and cons.  Knowing which technology to deploy and when is the tricky part.  VR/AR strategy is important so that you not only provide value to your organization in terms of direct ROI but also provide value to your customers and employees.


Virtual Reality Retail Analytics Platform

Virtual and Augmented Reality commerce are heating up and according to CITI Financial, this industry will be worth $1.3T by 2035.  There are a ton of startups working on everything from VR shopping to Web-based VR and AR shopping.  

  • vRetail & vCommerce 
  • WebVR
  • Indoor AR Mapping

3D Products (Rendered vs. Photogrammetry)

3D Product imaging for vCommerce is going to be a very big part of the VR revolution.  Brands will have to find easy ways to scale their products into 3D format for both 2D and VR viewing.  Products can be scanned by either photogrammetry (hundreds of single images mapped onto a final wireframe) or Rendered (made only using computer graphics without taking a single photo)

Guess whether this shoe was shot in photogrammetry or computer render?


Communications & Meetings in VR/AR

Facial Scanning for Security & Emotion

Communications in VR/AR are going to be a very competitive and exciting market.  I recently heard that a large company we work with does over 1 million minutes of video conferencing per month!  Having a full presence in VR to communicate with others in different parts of the world is really incredible.  The biggest challenges right now lie in the fact that the avatars for these worlds consist of orcs, robots and Minecraft characters.  What is required is a fast, easy and scalable way for companies to onboard their teams into VR and then secure their personal avatar using biometrics like retinal scanning to make sure someone isn’t pretending to be you.  There is a lot of work being done in this space and while it is still nascent, progress is happening very quickly.  Here are some of the parts required to make this happen.

  • Avatars
  • Volumetric Capture
  • Social VR
  • Security
  • Eye Tracking
  • Data Analytics

VR/AR Content Delivery

Once you have a great VR/AR product or service ready, how do you get this out to the public or your team?  What platform(s) are right for your needs?  How do you scale your offering?  These are not simple questions to answer.  By knowing all the platforms and how they work, you will have a much better uptake of your project.

  • VR/AR Platforms
  • HTML5 360° website players 

VR/AR Education & Training

One of the most incredible applications of VR/AR is education and training.  Giving completely immersive training scenarios to new employees saves money and increases information retention dramatically.  

  • VR/AR Education Companies and Platforms

VR/AR Creation Tools

There are many tools used to create virtual and augmented reality and knowing which tool to use when is very important.  Unity boasts that 70% of ALL VR projects are made using Unity, but more than 70% of all the revenue is made using their competitor, Unreal Engine.  This section could be a book all unto itself, so let’s just say there are a LOT of VR tools and it gets confusing.  I recommend learning Unity until you figure out what other tools are right for you.  The three big companies in the space are Unity, Unreal Engine and Adobe.

  • VR/AR Tools 

Depth Sensing Augmented Reality (Mixed Reality)

The difference between VR & AR is easy, VR puts viewers into a completely different world, blocked out from the real world and AR augments the world you are in using some sort of screen or projection.  Where things get really interesting is when you use AR in a specific context to the world you are in (ie. putting a Pokemon Go character on your table, or face recognition).  This next level technology uses a number of cameras (infrared and regular cameras) to literally map out the world you are in so things can be placed in context around you.  Imagine having an artificial intelligence robot that follows you around giving you the answers to any questions you have (like a holographic Alexa/Siri/Bixby).  Google has already introduced this in the form of their Tango phones and tablets and Microsoft is using the technology from their Hololens in the next generation of VR headsets to give what is known as “inside-out tracking”.  Trust me, this is REALLY cool stuff.  While no one knows what is going on with Apple, it is only a matter of time before they introduce their version of this technology.

  • Depth Sensing Cameras

As you see there is A LOT to learn and understand and hopefully I have given you a better understanding of why you will need a specialized company like MetaVRse to help you not only navigate the world of VR/AR, but to dominate your competition, by harnessing this technology faster and more efficiently.

Feel free to email me if you have any questions, 

My experience at VRLA 2017

Two weeks ago I had the incredible pleasure of being invited to participate on a panel at the world’s largest VR/AR conference, VRLA.  I have been to other conferences before (SVVR, VRTO), but nothing prepared me for the sheer size of this conference that is 100% dedicated to virtual and augmented reality.  One of the first things I noticed was the conference was attended by all major players in the space; Oculus, HTC Vive, Unity, Unreal, Intel, Microsoft and so many more.  This was the first time I had seen all of these players under one roof and it was amazing!  Another thing I noticed was that the conference was heavily focused on gaming and entertainment, but hidden amongst all the fun were some gems for enterprise and business minded people looking for VR/AR solutions like me.  Here are some of the things I saw at VRLA 2017 that I found interesting.


VRLA Panel Discussion: 

Transported is a really great platform for real estate agents to list 360° tours of properties using consumer-grade cameras without learning any code.  This drag and drop system was one of the simplest and most elegant I have seen.

G-Audio Lab is an immersive audio platform that gives you true 6DOF 360° audio.  This means you can now walk around in VR and the audio will respond as if it does in the real world thus leading to greater immersion.  

UploadVR opened their new LA office and has overnight created THE hub for VR/AR in the LA area.  The office is equipped with a full mixed reality (green screen) studio and is fully occupied already with some of the world’s next leading companies.

Vicarious VR is a social platform that allows users to take 2D and 360° photos and videos and create stunning social media presentations to share with friends via VR or mobile.

Radiant Images is the major distributor of 360° cameras on the west coast.  Radiant and their ultra-talented staff bring years of traditional filmmaking rental experience to the table and, trust me, they know their stuff (probably because they invented half the cameras they sell).  Here are some shots of the 360° cameras they sell.

One of the things I loved the most about VRLA was the chillout zone at the back of the conference where I got to try some of the most incredible trippy visuals of flying through a fractal world and visiting the Galactic Gallery, a new art gallery in space with three dimensional art and a killer soundtrack fully completed by wearing a Subpac (our favourite VR peripheral).

Of course, there was tons more cool stuff, but talking about VR is nothing like experiencing it so get your butt to VRLA next year, I will see you there!



What we experienced at Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference (SVVR) 2017

Last week, our team attended the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality (SVVR) conference, a three-day marathon of virtual and augmented reality. Similar to previous years, this conference is the mecca of VR/AR. Over the three days, we learned how to do a thrombectomy, fought hoards of medieval attackers, followed a white rabbit, played with a magic cube, recorded our first VR presentation in a virtual auditorium, shot a super realistic virtual machine gun, sculpted, tried zero latency 360 video streaming, played an augmented reality multiplayer blaster game, fought off rogue robots and smelled coffee, chocolate and a girl in VR.

Here is a quick run-down of what I experienced yesterday.  I know today is going to be even more exciting.

Performing a Neural Thrombectomy in VR

One of the first experiences I did at the 2017 Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Conference (SVVR) was to perform a neural thrombectomy in VR.  Now I know, just because I have a degree in Molecular Biology and used to own a medical billing company, does not make me someone who should ever be performing a procedure to remove a clot in someone’s brain, but that is exactly what I did (or should I say my robot avatar did).  This was a great example of how virtual and augmented reality is starting to change the way companies do business.

The company who brought this medical training demo was a VR innovation shop called Sixsense, lead by CEO Amir Rubin.  Their client, Penumbra, a company specializing in the equipment that makesthis life-saving procedure possible.

After I ‘scrubbed in’, I was given two controllers which turned into my robot stylized hands as the procedure began.  I was guided by a nurse/assistant who talked me through each step to insert the catheter, inject visualization fluid and pumped out the clot.  The entire session was around 7 minutes and by the end, I remembered why I did not pursue medicine.  I did, however, have a complete spatial awareness and mind memory of what I had just done and that’s what Penumbra is hoping real physicians will experience when they use this new state-of-the-art training simulation.

Fighting Hoards of Medieval Castle Attackers

The second experience I had was Seige VR, a collaborative effort with my partner at MetaVRse, Dan Flatt.  We were each on a castle wall defending it with only a bow and arrow.  The best thing about this experience was everything!  

  1. We were playing collaboratively together
  2. We could shoot each other with arrows and they stuck out of your head when shot
  3. There were exploding arrows that decimated the attackers
  4. The sound was mind blowing
  5. Graphics were excellent.

I am told that this incredible new game will not be available to the public anytime soon as it has been developed in conjunction with casino gaming giant, IGT to be part of Vegas’ attempt to capitalize on the massive e-sports movement by offering Seige VR as a tournament, winner-take-all program.

Follow the White Rabbit

This GearVR experience was quite possibly the best in-game mechanics for navigation without controllers I have seen.  Their use of gaze control for almost everything makes this escape room style mystery game super fun to play.  I am told that the full game will be released as 6 episodes, each running about an hour of gameplay.  Without giving too much away, Follow the White Rabbit VR is a game about the Great Manifesto, part-time magician, health tonic salesman and charlatan who suddenly finds that his ‘tricks’ have been replaced by real ‘magic’.  The experience is great, the visuals are well done and the gaze control mechanism is world class.

The Magic Augmented Reality Holo Cube

This incredible physical cube looks like you are holding the Borg ship in the palm of your hand and when you point your phone at it, the entire cube comes to life in the form of a Brain, Heart, PacMan, Lasers, Fractals and much more using the power of advanced augmented reality.  My guess is this is going to be the holiday toy of 2017.    This really cool toy made by Merge VR has recently been made available as a developer kit in hopes that people can make other useful and exciting experiences using the Holo Cube.  If developers are even half as talented as the people who made the demo, this thing is going to be FIRE!  (oh and it does have a fire setting!)

Recording My First VR Presentation

Walking through the SVVR exhibit hall, you never know what you are going to find so when I saw a green screen with a live presentation software in VR, I was stopped in my tracks.  Business applications in VR excite me so seeing an easy way to import a PowerPoint presentation into VR and present in an auditorium style venue for unlimited attendees really got my juices flowing.  The ability to present to numerous people around the world as a hologram may not be the sexiest use of VR, but it certainly is practical and I jumped right in learning all about VRAVO, the new presentation system by VRidge.  There is really no need to write more except to say this is awesome and no one I have seen thus far has anything like it to date (oh and you can also import 3D images into your presentation, so there is that incredible gem too).

Shooting a Super Realistic Machine Gun in VR

One of the largest booths at SVVR was the Optitrack motion tracking system.  This is the system used by Hollywood producers to make action films and up until now the price to get a quality mo-cap solution for VR was simply out of the budget for most.  Optitrack has introduced their new Slim series cameras that sell for less than half what their big-boy movie magic brothers do which makes them perfect for tracking all sorts of things in VR including…. MACHINE GUNS!!

I strapped on the Oculus Rift with an MSI VR Computer backpack and was handed an incredible Stryker VR machine gun.  Once given the 10-second tutorial, I was put into the matrix to shoot at giant floating paintballs.  The gun itself was heavy, well constructed and had an absolutely fantastic kick to it.  There were four modes; semi-auto, full-auto, grenade launcher and get this… Chainsaw mode where the front of the gun became a chainsaw.  EPIC!

After speaking with the founders of Stryker, I realized how dedicated and passionate they were not only about their products but about VR in general and it was really great to find more people in this industry who are working to create the next generation of VR peripherals and pushing this industry forward.  

Sculpting in VR

Over at the Oculus area, (they have dispensed with the large setups and implemented a much more retail friendly kiosk-style display), I had the chance to try Oculus Medium, a sculpting program that lets you make virtually anything with additive or subtractive tools, paints, and other sculpting tools.  While the controls are not nearly as intuitive as Google Tilt brush (tutorial took 6 minutes), and in my opinion, not as exciting, Medium certainly has its place among the top artistic things you can do in VR.  

Fighting Rogue Robots in VR

OK, so this is probably my most favourite VR game to date and it is called Robo Recall.  This triple A game made by Epic Games comes shipped free with the purchase of the newly priced Oculus Rift.  Rather than butcher the description of this one-of-a-kind gaming extravaganza, I will just copy what the game developers say Robo Recall is an action-packed virtual reality first-person shooter built by Epic Games exclusively for Oculus Touch. Explore realistic environments as an agent tasked with recalling rogue robots while unlocking an expanding arsenal of weapons.”  

Zero Latency 360° Video Streaming

Another Canadian company we met yesterday was called Vantrix and they have the most professional 360° VR solution I have seen to date.  These guys have been in broadcast for decades and their professionalism shows.  While I don’t know that we will be running out to purchase their $100,000 Live Stream VR rig, I am certain there will be a market for this.

Smelling Coffee, Chocolate and a Girl in VR

One of the more fringe products I experienced was in the Japan pavilion.  I was asked if I wanted to ‘smell VR’ and let me tell you the experience, while not polished yet, has great potential.  The small startup called Vaqso, put an Oculus Rift on my head and told me to pic up the virtual coffee cup and bring it to my nose.  When I did, I spilled most of the coffee on the floor (which was fun too) but the faint smell of coffee was there.  I was then prompted to pick up the chocolate bar on the table and again ‘smell it’ and this time the odour was undeniable.  The last and strangest request was to turn to my left and ‘smell the girl’ standing beside me.  While thinking this was a little weird, I was intrigued and I leaned over to smell the virtual girl.  While the smell was not too noticeable, the idea of smelling in VR is incredible and the delivery system that they had created was really small and easy to use. I assume they will make an SDK for it so programmers can code all sorts of smells, maybe even something like the gross, Nosulus Rift.

Playing a Room Scale Augmented Reality Blaster Game

So last but most certainly not least in my first day at SVVR was the augmented reality blaster game Hado by MeLeap.  Promoted as a ‘Techno Sports’ game, this room scale experience was using an iPhone 6 in a custom made headset with camera tracked wrist strap that acted as my weapon.  Putting the headset on, I could see my opponent, my partner Dan and was given a quick instruction and then GO… we were off and starting to blast each other by simply moving around the space and punching into the air at each other.  What I really loved about this experience was the fact I was using the real world with AR overlays to show fireballs coming at me and more importantly at my opponent.  After 6 minutes a defeating blow was launched and my screen said in big letters “YOU LOSE!”  I guess Dan had me beat, and so was I.  This experience was excellent and I can see this being used by schools to give kids a workout.  

So to sum up my first day at ‘The CES of VR’ I can say that was incredible!  I can’t wait to finish writing this and get back to the convention centre to see more today!  Here we go!



109 Ways Companies Are Using Virtual & Augmented Reality Right Now

Unless you have been living under a rock for the past 12 months, you will be aware of what virtual reality is and probably have an idea of how big the virtual and augmented reality market is going to be.  I am going to tell you anyway to make sure you know now…

By 2035, Citi Financial Estimates the vCommerce industry to be worth $1.3 trillion.  Yes, that is trillion with a “T”, we’re talking 4 comma club!  Now that is a massive number and surely not all of this is from virtual and augmented reality… or is it.  According to VR evangelist and author of the Fourth Transformation, A book about the transformative potential of VR/AR, Robert Scoble suggests ‘Users will start expecting brands to have mixed reality experiences in 2018. The big money will show up in 2020’

“Users will start expecting brands to have mixed reality experiences in 2018. The big money will show up in 2020.”
– Robert Scoble, Author ‘The Fourth Transformation’

Below is a list of as many ways that brands are using VR and AR right now to tell their brand story and I have done my best to attach an estimated price of what this might cost to give you the best understanding of how you can use this incredible new technology to make your brand stand out in a sea of marketing clutter.  I have broken this down by industry in order to make it easier to get to what is relevant for you.  Also included in this list is a section called Utilitarian which refers to tools made by brands that are actually useful.  This last section is the one I see the most promise in.

Before you get to the list, if you have any questions about what you read below or if you want to know how Virtual & Augmented Reality can impact your business, please feel free to email me directly at or if you are like me and you want to read more about us, visit




The Virtual Future of Retail

The Line Apartment VR Shopping Experience

Lowes In-Store Navigation using Google’s Tango Augmented Reality Technology

Lowes Virtual Reality Holoroom

Lowes Hololens Experience

Walgreen’s tests Augmented Reality Loyalty program

Sephora Augmented Reality Makeup App

IKEA Virtual Reality Kitchen


eBay VR Department Store

McDonald’s Happy Meal “Ski Slope”

McDonald’s Happy Meal VR Box

Coke Google Cardboard made from packaging

McDonald’s Farm Tour

Topshop Front Row Fashion Show

Dior present its own VR Headset

Rebecca Minkoff Google Cardboard

Merrell “Trailscape” VR

Boursin Sensorium

Gatorade Baseball

Dramamine Ad for nausea

Patron Tequila VR

Shinola Watch Factory Tour

American Express “You vs. Maria Sharapova”

Mountain Dew VR Skateboarding




Sodimac Home Centers VR


Viking Cruise Ship 360° Tour

Best Western Hotels use VR

Hilton uses 360° Video to promote room bookings

Marriott VRoom Service (in-room VR service)

Hilton Hotels 360° Tour Video

Flam Train 360° Experience

St. Regis Hotel Lobby Virtual “Matterport” tour


360° Photo Booth™

NY Times VR

Mission Impossible Rogue Nation VR

Late Show VR Pictionary

Coachella Livestream 360° VR

Coachella Augmented Reality Welcome Kit

MetaVRse VR Events & Entertainment

NBA & Mountain Dew team up for VR Art

Hunger Games VR/360 Experience

Molson Canadian Hockey Night in Canada VR

NTT Japan’s Telecom using VR/AR/AI



Overview of VR/AR for Mining

BGC Engineering uses Hololens AR to show mine reclamation

Lucara Diamond Mine uses VR/360 to show investors the mine site without travelling

Discovery VR ‘Gold Rush’ VR/360 series

BNN Interview with MetaVRse CEO, Alan Smithson


Joining the VR Mile High Club – UploadVR article on using VR in an airplane

United Airlines and Matt Damon show you the new Business class Boeing 777 before it’s built

Nicole Kidman introducing Etihad Airways in VR

Qantas Airlines VR app

Virgin Atlantic using VR to show future planes


Audi VR Showroom

Audi TT VR Experience

Volvo VR Test Drive

Lexus VR Experience

Lexus RX VR Experience

Nissan Rogue Tiltbrush

Ford VR Design Studio

Ford Rally Car 360° Experience

Ford VR app

Audi 360 Video with Gigi Haddid

Mercedes 360° Interior Tour Video

Mercedes Virtual Reality Showroom

Toyota Prius 360° Video

AT&T “It can wait” anti-texting and driving 360° VR campaign

Renault VR Prank


Virtual & Augmented Reality for Pharmaceutical Companies

VR For Life Saving Training

Virtual Reality Surgery Practice Simulator

Using VR to ease stress of dental procedures

Using VR to help seniors experience more

How VR is shaping the healthcare industry

BioFlightVR Physician Training and Simulations

VR Human Anatomy App

GE Neuro VR exploration of the Human Brain

Excedrin VR Migraine Empathy Experience

Bayer AR Teaching Tool

Schizophrenia Empathy VR

Article: 10 VR companies disrupting healthcare

VR Saves a babies life

World’s first 360° Live Surgery

Virtual Reality to study the brain

World’s First VR Medical Training Facility

VR Medical training Simulator

VR Guided Meditation

VR to treat Vertigo

VR to treat Cancer

Hololens visualization of Asthma attack

See inside the Human Eye in VR before surgery

VR to treat Mental Health


Symbility Intersect 360° VR Office Tour

Using VR to sell expensive pre-construction condos (InventDev)

Using VR Tours to sell Real Estate (VR Listing)

Augmented Reality Tour of new Mall

Matterport 3D Virtual Tour Platform  

YouVisit 360° Virtual Tour Platform

360° Virtual Condo Tour (YouVisit)

360° Virtual Private Club Tour

Retail Store Tour (360° Photos)


How VR is improving the Criminal Justice System

UTILITARIAN (useful tools using VR/AR)

Augmented Reality Piano Lessons (Hololens)

Architectural uses for Microsoft Hololens AR

Virtual Reality Resumes

Putting people inside a burning house to teach fire safety


If you made it this far, congratulations!  The above list is as comprehensive as we could make it and we will continue to update this blog to ensure this resource is always relevant.  I hope you found some value in the article.  Again, if you have an idea for how to use VR in your business, but don’t know where to start, feel free to email me and get the conversation started.