Dubai is the converging point for VR

Rohma Sadaqat /Dubai Filed on November 21, 2018
Dubai is the converging point for VR

(Supplied photo)

Dubai, and the UAE, are the converging point for the latest technologies including virtual reality (VR), which is becoming more immersive everyday, experts have said.

Speaking at the announcement of a collaboration between the Burj Khalifa, HTC Vive, and Dubai Future Accelerators, Ramit Harisinghani, VP and head of Middle East & Africa at HTC Vive, said that VR technologies have continued to mature and that many businesses across different industries were embracing the technology.

As part of the collaboration, VR developers across the world are being asked to participate in a competition to build VR content themed around the Burj Khalifa. The VR experience that ultimately wins the competition will also go on Viveport - the leading app library for VR content powered by HTC Vive and accessible to Vive users globally.

Participants will get access to the Burj Khalifa premises and stunning high-definition footage of the building itself. Dubai Future Accelerators will also offer access to an incubator center and fully set-up VR hub situated at Area 2071, as well as office workspaces, throughout the project. HTC Vive is the VR partner for the program, and its latest premium VR system the Vive Pro will be the official VR device for the competition. Furthermore, HTC Vive will assist developers with full tech support, expertise, and mentoring throughout the competition.

"The UAE has the most visionary government that we have seen, which is embracing technology in a way that is relevant to us," Harisinghani told Khaleej Times at the event. "I believe that greater collaboration will happen, and that we will see more of such competitions, initiatives, and ecosystem related meetups. What we are doing right now is getting the right developers and studios from all around the world, and taking them on a journey that will enrich the VR ecosystem. We look forward to interacting more with VR developers, studios, startups, and even individuals that have a great idea."

Also spoke about how the experience was becoming exceedingly immersive due to higher resolutions, greater depth, and faster refresh rates. "We are continuing to make it even more real by adding elements that immersive. For example, when you jump off the top of the Burj Khalifa in the VR demo, there are fans on the ground in front of you that simulate the feeling of the air rushing over you, and this is only going to get more immersive as time goes on."

Saeed Al Falasi, executive director of Platforms of the Future at Dubai Future Foundation, said: "In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into a global hub for innovation and provide a test bed for emerging technologies, the HTC Vive and Burj Khalifa challenge provides a healthy competition in the VR ecosystem, and engages relevant stakeholders in creating cutting-edge VR experiences."

The competition will be done in three phases. Participants will first be asked to submit their profile and previous VR content app samples. The second phase will involve a shortlist of competitors who are then challenged to develop a storyboard of their big idea. The competition will conclude by the spring of 2019 in which a final winner will be selected among the competitive submissions and given the chance to bring their vision to life. Application submission for the competition can be made by individuals and groups from the UAE and internationally.



Rohma Sadaqat

I am a reporter and sub-editor on the Business desk at Khaleej Times. I mainly cover and write articles on the UAE's retail, hospitality, travel, and tourism sectors.Originally from Lahore, I have been living in the UAE for more than 20 years. I graduated with a BA in Mass Communication, with a concentration in Journalism, and a double minor in History and International Studies from the American University of Sharjah.If you see me out and about on assignment in Dubai, feel free to stop me, say hello, and we can chat about the latest kitten videos on YouTube.

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