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The Mumbai-based Meraki has made a name as a creator of 360-degree videos of sporting events, reality shows, adventure sport etc
 
Indian innovation fuels demand for VR tools and solutions

April 24 2016: Virtual Reality looks set to  garner  wide consumer acceptability in 2016 ( see our main feature on the trends and tools).
 In a parallel development, Indian software companies have seized the opportunity to fill the yawning gap that today faces VR equipment buyers:  It's great if you are a games freak -- because virtually every big single shooter or multiplayer  video game  has  come out  with VR versions that take the player even deeper into the virtualmaidan of the  race track, the battlefield or what ever.   But  what's in it for those who seek a  more meaningful experience?
Imaginate, a VR company incubated at the International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad and founded 4 years ago by Hemant Satyanarayana,  has launched a serious of innovative applications for VR hardware:
-           Dressy, a virtual online fitting room where from the comfort of your home you can try out a variety of dresses and sizes before ordering them online.
-           ShootAR, a simulator for the Indian Army  to train soldiers in  marksmanship and tackling terrorists
-           HeritageAR, an initiative adopted by the Aga Khan Foundation and  available as an app at the Google Play Store  where one can  virtually tour the Quli Qutb Shahi  Tombs
The company  made at hit at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year with its latest VR product, the Connected Car virtual tour. ( see illustration here)
Another  VR content creator,  is the Mumbai-based Meraki   led by  an IIT Bombay- and-film making  foursome of Arvind Ghorwal, Sairam Saigiraju, Parth Choksi and Agam Garg  which has made a name as a  creator of  360-degree videos  of sporting events, reality shows,  adventure sport etc.  
A few months ago, three undergraduates  from BITS Pilani- Goa   -- Shubham Mishra, Vrushali Prasade, and Harikrishna Valiyath -- decided to drop out and out-do Oculus at their own game.  They started a company  -- Absentia -- in Bengaluru  and created a VR headset they called  Tesseract  which offers  360 degree military-grade  head tracking and the ability to watch any game or movie in  3-D. Like so many of the Indian entrants in this arena, the headset works with all current games and movies. The company has just landed  Rs 1.2  crores in funding   and the Tesseract is currently offered for pre booking at  Rs 20,000.
Chennai-based  Ingage founded by ex Intel and AMD executive   Vijay Karunakaran,  treads the thin line that separates  Virtual Reality from Augmented Reality. While VR takes the user into an entirely artificial environment AR integrates    new digital  information into the user's environment, in real time.  The Google Glass -- another pricey invention that has generally been shunned by  lay users is a prime example.InGage has launched a multi-brand Augmented Reality Mobile App called “InGage” on Apple itunes and Android Google Play designed for brands across a broad spectrum of industries to engage with their customers in an interactive  manner.  The company has partnered with educational publishers like Ratna Sagar  to  enhance  class 2 to class 8 lessons with  3-D augmented  imagery, even as   Indian talent -fueledBlippar, the world's biggest visual search tool  has joined Amar Chithra Katha to  let readers  interact  with their favourite characters like Suppandi!
Perhaps the one industry that will embrace VR  most zealously is tourism -- and it only needs one look at a site like IndiaVRTours.com, featuring awesome   360 degree views of India's top tourist attractions,  to appreciate   that  the possibilities of enhancing visitor experience are limitless.
For Indians who take the first tentative steps to trying out the future,  by investing in a VR headset or a VR paired  phone, this year, it does look  as if  their investment  will not be in vain: the critical mass  of content for VR is being created right here, in a mix of education and entertainment that they will  shrewdly judge to be paisa vasool.  The Future has arrived!




    


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