HTC today announced the formation of a new business unit, VIVE Enterprise Solutions, to deliver a full portfolio of extended reality (XR) solutions for business. The new organization aims to help companies that want complete XR solutions meaning concept-through-delivery, hardware, software, and services tailored to specific client processes and needs. There will soon be a Viveport business portal for the most popular B to B apps.
HTC VIVE’s new enterprise organization will be led by VIVE’s General Manager, Dan O’Brien, who’s role has expanded to include Head of VIVE Enterprise Solutions, HTC VIVE. He will continue to work from Seattle. O’Brien’s team, however, is expanding aggressively into regional markets to create, collaborate, and engage in VR implementations on very level. O’Brien, in other words, has opened an entrepreneurial VR production company, where VIVE will be both a hardware and solutions provider. They will partner with developers, and perhaps big digital transformation companies like Deloitte, PTC, PWC, and Publicis Sapient. “Ultimately, VIVE is redefining how companies of all sizes optimize and streamline their business to increase productivity, efficiency and safety while decreasing costs and time,” said O’Brien.
VIVE Studios, the company’s development and publishing arm for VR content, is actively developing a business collaboration tool, VIVE Sync, which allows up to 30 people worldwide to interact in a virtual meeting space. As much as we love Front Defense (a VIVE Studios entertainment title we have favorably reviewed), a worldwide enterprise collaboration solution seems like a more substantial opportunity.
As a pioneer in the VR industry, VIVE has spent over four years collaborating with small, medium, and large companies as a hardware provider that needs to help jumpstart an industry. The company created VIVE X to make select investments in developers of both content and infrastructure. However, HTC did not itself have the infrastructure to capitalize on its position. It first had to enable others.
VIVE’s new focus on enterprise has been years in the making as the pioneering VR headset maker entered the market with the PC-tethered VIVE in 2016. Along with Oculus and Sony, whose Playstation VR is the best selling device with sales of 4.2 M as of Q1 2019, There are high hopes the $399 Oculus Quest may spark consumer demand, but for the next few years at least, VIVE, Oculus and everyone in the industry is going to be fishing where the fish are: off the enterprise pier. VIVE has developed the market, nurtured it through a rough period of slow consumer adoption (due mainly to the need for gaming PCs), and come out with a multifaceted B to B approach.
In a statement, the company explained that “Recognizing that hardware alone isn’t enough, this new business organization combines software, hardware, professional services, business solutions, and support to address four key areas where enterprises are investing today: Training and Simulation, Design and Visualization, Virtual Collaboration, and Location-Based Entertainment and Attractions.”
“With enterprise VR rapidly becoming the ‘killer app’ in the industry, we are providing solutions for small to large commercial creators to be successful and solve business needs,” said O’Brien. “We’re in a unique position to offer enterprises a comprehensive business solution in part due to our own hardware innovation and collaborative industry relationships. We’re thrilled to continue to work with professional users to provide the best hardware, software, and services to help them succeed.”
At an intimate, invitation-only press event in New York on Thursday, June 27th, we had a chance to revisit the remarkable VIVE Pro Eye, which does both eye tracking and foveation, and experience some of the training modules developed for it. Ovation simulates a room full of people to train public speakers. You can even use your actual slides. Vobling is training railway conductors in Europe. The external trackers on the VIVE Pro provide 32’x32’ of room scale free roaming, more than enough for the promising location based entertainment segment.
We also got to try the VIVE Focus Plus, which is VIVE’s high end all-in-one, untethered 6 DOF VR HMD with 2880x1600 resolution, just like the more expensive and complicated VIVE Pro. This way those same fancy training modules they use in the home office can reach every location in the field. SimforHealth’s training app for home nurses is remarkable. It had me wash my hands about twenty times in ten minutes.
The VIVE Focus Plus is said to be popular with consumers in China (HTC doesn’t share sales figures) but the company never went through with plans to launch to consumers in the US, instead launching the Focus for enterprise customers. HTC does have a new consumer device, The VIVE Cosmos, which will launch in Q3 this year, but details like price are still unknown. What is known is that business is finding its killer apps, and the race is on to build them.