If you’ve been following 3D Perspectives you know that we like Virtual Reality. If you’re new to us, welcome! (BTW, we love Virtual Reality.)
Last spring in the sprig of a single afternoon I interviewed several members of the French Association of Virtual Reality. And for all you VR enthusiasts or curiasts (I like making up words), I’ve published all the interviews but one on 3D Perspectives.
So far you’ve heard the VR perspectives of a:
- Software provider (David Nahon, Dassault Systèmes, 3DVIA)
- Hardware provider (Christophe Chartier, Immersion)
- Researcher (Daniel Mestre, Marseille Institute of Movement Sciences, CNRS and Univmed)
The last VR interview, which I’ve been storing away like a squirrel burying acorns for winter, is with the head of the association, Bruno Arnaldi.
France is one of our planet’s hot spots for Virtual Reality, so I wanted to know more about the association motoring the industry. Here’s what I asked Bruno:
- What’s the mission of the French Association of Virtual Reality?
- Considering all the projects the association is currently working on, which is your favorite?
- What’s the future of Virtual Reality?
- Is VR mainstream in France?
- But is interactive 3D really VR?
- How is France positioned in the VR world for its research and community?
Q1: What’s the mission of the French Association of Virtual Reality?
The mission of the French Association of Virtual Reality is to nurture relationships between different types of VR contributors. These include academics who work in laboratories, companies, industrials, and the labs themselves.
Q2: Considering all the projects the association is currently working on, which is your favorite?
The most important project is organizing our annual VR day for the entire French VR community. This includes users, industries, technology providers, labs, human science experts, etc. During the day high-quality scientific and industrial presentations are made, workshops are held, and it’s really a major rendezvous for the association.
Q3: What’s the future of Virtual Reality?
The future of virtual reality is clearly in its deployment. Today we observe that classic VR is at a very high level. Certain industrials and users have access to powerful VR tools, but at a price. Today we’re capable to establish pricing at a level to permit larger deployments. The future of VR will be to massively deploy solutions at small-to-medium sized companies and individual users.
Q4: Is VR mainstream in France?
Today we can’t say that VR usage is entirely democratic. However we’re seeing the arrival of more and more domestic usages. In this industry we have the tendency to use very particular vocabulary to describe specific things, and then more general terms for 3D interactive applications. So if we widen the definition to include 3D interactive applications, yes, you can say that VR is close to becoming mainstream. For VR used by industrials, we aren’t there yet.
Q5: But is interactive 3D really VR?
Ah, this is an old and long debate! Certain members of our community answer yes, and others answer no. Personally I think that interactive 3D, virtual reality and video games share enough technology, needs and applications that it’s ok to group them. But some of my colleagues are stricter about this question.
Q6: How is France positioned in the VR world for its research and community?
Today France is very well positioned in terms of labs, academies, research and industrial usage. France has a very dynamic community that garners a lot of attention, notably from our European partners. We’ve progressed a lot in the past ten years, thanks in part to some key national VR projects that have helped us structure the community.
The French Association of Virtual Reality is one-of-a-kind in Europe, and we communicate regularly with Japan’s VR association, with the future leaders of a European-wide VR association, etc. The French VR community is really tight-knit, and for that we have strong synergy.
So, what do you think; are we ready for VR mass deployments? Turning a cereal box into a 3D game console certainly puts us closer . . .