Il Tuo VR Viaggio e Turismo Apertivo (Your VR Travel and Tourism Appetizer). The extant and thriving lineup of VR travel industry appetizers is quite surprisingly advanced and diverse already. We present a few tasty appetizers of the high quality VR travel and tourism industry offerings you can take advantage of today, now, to wet your appetite for the explosive growth of virtual reality travel and tourism tomorrow.
• YouVisit (www.youvisit.com). First on the menu must be YouVisit. This VR app supports your Android, Apple iOS, Google Cardboard, and Samsung Gear VR devices to enable you to virtually immerse yourself within the 360-degree landscapes, vistas, panoramas, and tourist attractions of many of your favorite tourism sites, cities, and destinations. One traverses this virtual landscape by looking where you want to go. No buttons or VR headset controls are required.
Do you and your husband, tired from the financial grind of City of London life, fancy a spur of the moment night out in Barcelona? No problem, don your VR headset, plug in your smartphone, and use YouVisit’s Website to immerse yourself in the city of Gaudí and all its grand architecture and nightlife. Other EU cities and attractions you can visit today from the comfort of your own domicile in England include Paris, the Louvre Museum, Versailles, Berlin, Vienna, Rome, and the Vatican. YouVisit also offers cutting edge venue experiences such as a virtual visit to the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, the Carnival Cruise Line, and even a digital VR tour of Harvard.
YouVisit is a trending site, with gorgeous, cinematographic style Website design, and an abiding focus on developing a thriving ecosystem of “content developers” who record or livestream site visits for their VR travel customers.
• Ascape (www.ascape.com). This San Francisco based company’s marketing theme is so very appropriate, “Become a virtual reality traveler”. Ascape adverts a collection of some 100 “beautifully filmed 360-degree videos” that allow you to find yourself at a moment’s notice in a cinematically rich immersive, sound enhanced visualization of Amsterdam or reindeer racing in Norway, for just two location examples. Ascape harvests and down selects 360-degree cinematic video experiences from around the world. If you have a personal travel top 10 list, but you don’t have the time to be virtually goofin’ off at work or while you’re commuting, save your desired VR tours to a VR travel play list just like you save music to a playlist on your smartphone.
One smart thing the company is doing is to focus one major aspect of their marketing effort toward VR travel “content producers” with glaring Website pitches such as, “Content producer? Get paid for your videos. Ascape wants to pay you for your Cinematic VR content.” This is a “pay-per-publish model for cinematic VR content” in which Ascape pays a flat fee for VR tourism videos if approved for their content collections. Ascape affirms their “payment starts at a flat publishing sum of $100 for each individual video,” but pays higher fees for content exclusively published on Ascape’s site.
Ascape virtual reality experiences are compatible with Google Cardboard VR devices, and other less common ones such as the Zeiss VR One, the Dodo Case, Durovis Dive, Fibrum, and Homido. It can also be viewed with just a smartphone sans VR viewer.
• Jaunt (www.jauntvr.com) If their website is any indication of their design prowess and market savvy, this company is going places. They crafted their company name from the word “jaunt”, which means “a short journey, especially one taken for pleasure”.
Their company founders and executive team include members from a Silicon Valley who’s who list comprising top tier professionals from Stanford University, Caltech, Apple, Intel, Lucasfilm, Oculus Rift, Condé Nast, News Corp., Nickelodeon, and Netflix. That’s quite a diverse lineup of contributors to the VR travel game. It’s no wonder that Jaunt presents a clean, sophisticated, artful, yet visually compelling website and app experience.
Jaunt is highly focused on the high end, stereographic cinematic quality VR camera they built from scratch, the award winning 360-degree capture Jaunt ONE. Jaunt combines this 130-degree field of view (FOV), 60 to 120 frames per second, VR travel industry content capturing camera with Dolby ATMOS post processing audio technology to make very high quality VR experiences in terms of visuals and sound. A suite of production tools will enable many medium to high end VR content producers to capture, post-process, and publish the VR content of your dreams.
The next time you saddle up for a VR travel experience in the EU, check some of the background story behind the VR travel and tourism content capture and publishing process. You just may see Jaunt in the lineup of major players in the back end processes of VR travel industry content capture, post-production editing and rendering, and distribution and publishing in the not so distant future.
VR travel is but one of their target markets; others include VR films, VR music, and VR sports. If you’re BREXITed out of your summer vacay, you might want to kick back in your City of London recliner, put on your VR headset of choice, and check Jaunt’s set of Paul McCartney VR music experiences. Jaunt has their own headset, and it works with Gear VR and Android and iOS devices as well.
• Discovery VR (www.discoveryvr.com). If for some incomprehensible, yet totally “I get it” reason, you are a virtual shark aficionado and you’re bored in Manchester with no matches on the telly, click over to Discovery’s new VR site to check out their new VR Shark Week this week. Discovery VR is averaging 10 million views a month. This very week, Discovery is presenting and entire week of specials, documentaries, movies, and new programs to help you break through the technological shark barrier reef.
Did you know that there are 47 species of sharks that inhabit the Mediterranean Sea in the regions near the European Union? In fact, the number of Mediterranean shark attacks since 1990 is highest in Italy, with Spain, Croatia, Greece, and France lining up behind Italy in this unfavorable stat. Of note, none of these attacks were made by virtual sharks. Lest we be lax in our statistics, let’s be clear up front that it is not known how many of these incidents were initiated by BREXIT lawyer sharks on either end of the political spectrum.
Now sharks can move with stunning velocity for a sea creature, at 50 kilometers per hour, which means they are moving at only 42% of the top speed of a land cheetah. So let’s out give a shout out that underwater cheetahs never evolved. Nevertheless, if looking at high speed sharks swimming at your eyeballs in 3D and 360-degree high definition VR immersion does not get your blood pumping and your mind off of the potential post BREXIT economic and financial dread up in Manchester, then nothing will.
The Discovery app works with Android and iOS.
• Samsung VR (www.samsungvr.com). Considering Samsung’s intense global commitment to and presence in the VR headset space with the Gear VR, it is no wonder then that they offer a very sophisticated VR website and an app that is chock full of EU places to visit this summer. Tops on the Samsung list might be their VR travel experience entitled, “Baltic Sea, Germany: Kühllungsborn where you can explore lots of wonderful German coast line. And you don’t even need to bring your passport or go through airport security queues or customs. Just kick back in your seat, don your VR headset and travel to Germany without the EU ever knowing about it. Samsung also offers a 360-degree VR travel experience close up of the Czech Republic that was filmed this past spring.
If you’re the type of passive-aggressive ex-EU member who likes to sail past EU coastlines and wave bye bye, perhaps you’ll enjoy Samsung’s “Fishing in the Norwegian Sea” 360-degree high definition VR travel video.
Samsung presents on their VR website content that is compatible with the higher end VR headsets such as the Gear VR as well as 360-degree video content that is squarely aimed at smartphone users without a VR headset, a sort of training wheels campaign which is a brilliant marketing tactic to bring more smartphone users into the VR fold. If you’re one of the smartphone only VR beginners, you can click over to the Samsung Milk VR (??) content during your break from the latest BREXIT news.
• YouTube (www.YouTube.com) has a mobile channel devoted to VR content and 360-degree videos. There are several dozen or more titles. YouTube is offering a series of various collections of content, some of which are brief 1 to 2 minute VR interludes that equate to pleasant distractions for work or at home. Others are 5 to 10 minute long 360-degree VR travel video experiences such as an Alpine Coaster (??) title. YouTube’s VR site collection is weak on European vacation related VR content so far. However, YouTube is in this VR travel and tourism experience content game for the long haul, so look for more EU oriented VR travel content in the near future.
One interesting aspect of the YouTube commitment to this emergent industry of VR travel and tourism content is their attachment to what’s called the “Spatial Audio” specification. YouTube is an early and seemingly aggressive adopter of the Spatial Audio specification. If you are merely VR-curious or you are committed to showing the EU member states that you will not be held back from visiting their lands tariff free and customs free, anywhere, anytime from the comfort of your own seated or standing position, then you will need to ramp up your awareness and knowledge of Spatial Audio. Spatial Audio will be a crucial technology building block for the entire VR travel industry and all VR experiences. It allows the content developer to link the directional origins of specific sounds to where the user is looking at the moment they hear the sound.
All these immersive VR experiences are playable on Android smartphones. If you’re using a Gear VR headset, there is a workaround available via the Samsung Internet browser. If you’re interested in this workaround so that you can use your Gear VR headset to watch YouTube VR content, head over to www.hfheadgear.com No iOS support is provided just yet.
All of these VR travel sites, apps, content collections, and technologies will continue to be important elements of your emerging dip into the shallows or the deep of the summertime European Union coastline of VR travel. So the next time a bloke asks you if you’ve heard the latest depressing or exciting news about BREXIT, just calmly let them know that you are almost completely unconcerned because you just took a wonderful VR vacation to Mallorca, Rome, Corfu, and Crete all in one weekend, and you didn’t even break a sweat through the stress of airport security or customs to do it.