- Monday, Jun. 27, 2016
- CULVER CITY, Calif.
Roy Taylor, corporate VP and head of alliances, content and VR, at AMD Radeon Technologies Group, is bullish on the future of virtual reality, citing such factors as some 300 startups in the VR/AR space during the past 18 months, the level of investment in these startups which amounts to billions of dollars ($1.1 billion alone so far in calendar year 2016), and the sheer number of industry people involved spanning storytellers, creators, production and technical talent.
Taylor offered this VR assessment during his keynote speech at the 2016 Creative Storage Conference last Thursday (6/23) at the DoubleTree Hotel in Culver City. He shared the myriad applications for VR beyond those already well documented in gaming and entertainment. Taylor noted that Boeing is using VR for its safety training, re-creating dangerous situations on a realistic experiential platform while posing no real physical danger to trainees. On other fronts, BMW is deploying VR in showrooms for prospective customers to experience different car designs, IKEA is doing the same for kitchen design. The USC Institute for Creative Technologies has turned to VR to help in the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) patients. Architects have found VR a useful tool in creating and designing environments as has multinational engineering firm AECOM, and a UK court of law has set precedent by approving VR as a means to help transport jurors to the scene of a crime. Furthermore AMD partnered with Associated Press (AP) on the deployment of VR to foster journalistic endeavors. And AMD has connected with university film schools, science departments and labs to explore and help realize the potential of VR in varied ways.
A leading GPU and CPU manufacturer, AMD turns out technology known for powering game consoles--and in the PC sector, its commitment to VR and immersive technology is reflected in the development of powerful APIs such as LiquidVR and Mantle. Taylor noted that AMD powers an estimated 83-plus percent of VR systems globally and that the company is this week scheduled to introduce a graphics card to the marketplace at a price point of $199. He added that more cards are to come at similarly affordable prices as part of a push to help “democratize” VR, putting it in the hands of those who cannot easily spend $1,000 for the proper personal computer.
In that same affordability vein, Taylor said that there will be a reduction in price for headsets as companies like DeePoon with a viable $259 headset are emerging to compete against Oculus.
Also unfolding is “an arms race” to higher resolution headsets, continued Taylor who manages AMD relations with Microsoft, Google, major games publishers and developers. In VR he heads up partnerships with film, broadcast, gaming, academia and industry as well with Oculus, HTC/Valve and others. Taylor related that Valve reportedly has one-third of its employees working in VR.
AMD plans to enter into more such cooperative VR relationships, with those partnerships slated to be announced during the course of next month’s SIGGRAPH confab in Anaheim, Calif.
Of course, the entertainment industry continues to step up proactively in the VR arena. Taylor cited such ambitious location-based VR projects from major motion picture studios as Paramount’s Paranormal Activity and Fox’s The Martian VR experiences.
As for why the growing momentum for virtual reality is of significance to the creative storage community, Taylor explained for instance that the computing power to deliver VR has to be in the cloud, which bodes well “if you’re Amazon or Google.”
The 10th annual Creative Storage Conference and exhibits brought together vendors, end users, researchers and visionaries who are focused on the growing storage demands of HD, Ultra HD, 4K and HDR film production and how they affect every stage of the production process, from content capture, editing and archiving to content distribution.