Insight
VR industry urged to avoid going downmarket
Last Updated: 2016-10-24 13:51 | CE.cn
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By Huang Xin

Zhang Feng, chief engineer of MIIT, says at the establishment conference of Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance (IVRA) on September 29 that the virtual reality is expected to develop rapidly in next one year and the consumer market will speed up its cultivation. Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will speed up the formulating of the guiding opinion for virtual reality industry development, plan the development target, path and details of virtual reality industry from a long-term and strategic perspective to avoid the low-end orientation of high-end industry and grasp key point of industrial development as well as dominant right of industrial development.

Wide application prospect

"Virtual reality, as an important part of information technology and integrating with the technologies of multi fields such as multimedia, sensor, display, Internet and artificial intelligence, has become a comprehensive representative of new generation information technology." Zhang Feng considers that the virtual reality is expected to be a foundation platform for lots of innovation applications to expand apperceiving space of human, change various product forms, enhance product functions and enrich service contents so as to become the next bursting point of information technology industry.

Virtual reality allows users to interact with the object in virtual environment and the production tools developed based on virtual reality technology to become important tools in production activities of human that will significantly increase the product research and design ability as well as production efficiency.

In addition, the virtual reality possesses great expressive force and impact force, making it an important carrier for excellent cultural value. For example, the virtual reality technology was first applied on closing ceremony of Rio Olympic in 2016. Japan has announced to adopt virtual reality technology widely in Olympic Games in 2020. As for the aspect of livelihood service, virtual reality is becoming an effective medical auxiliary mean and assisting in solving aging problem.

"The virtual reality will have the influence nothing less than the mobile terminal and social software. People will integrate into the world established by virtual reality technology just as relying on Internet video or WeChat along with the virtual reality services that mix the virtual with reality accessing to common life in the following several years," said Zhao Qinping, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and president of IVRA.

Enterprises' competition in market gaining

As indicated in White Paper of Virtual Reality Industry and Application Development released by CCID Think Tank the day before, the scale of global virtual reality industry in 2020 is estimated by many large market research institutions to be between USD 15 billion and USD 30 billion. The domestic shipment of China’s virtual reality equipment is estimated to reach 8.2 million sets in 2020 and user quantity of over 25 million. Compared with USD 2.8 billion of the estimated scale of global virtual reality hardware market in 2020, domestic virtual reality hardware market scale in China will account for 34.6 percent of the world.

International electronic information giants have promoted virtual reality to a strategic level and is positively making layout to seek initiative. Leading enterprises in China’s information field have taken lots of activities as well to get involved into the virtual reality industry chain through investment, merger and incubation and have launched head mounted virtual reality products. A quantity of small- and medium-sized enterprises are competitively joining into the virtual reality field and have launched various virtual reality equipment and virtual reality application represented by video games and entertainment frequently. Meanwhile, the investment of abundant capital has greatly promoted the rapid development of each section in the virtual reality industry chain such as hardware, software, content, application and service.

At present, there are two big categories of virtual reality enterprise in China. Firstly, mature industries permeate into the virtual reality field by virtue of the advantages in traditional software and hardware or contents, among which the manufacturers of smart phone and other hardware are focusing on hardware mostly; Secondly, new-type virtual reality industry companies, including ecotype platform company and newly established company, led by Internet manufacturers, have entered into the fields of hardware, platform, contents and ecology.

According to Zhang Feng, there are hundreds of enterprises in China have announced to enter into virtual reality field with rising development enthusiasm at present. Virtual reality will attract high attention from government, enterprise and social capital with the video games and entertainment as its tipping point and permeate into various industries rapidly to drive the rapid development of industrial application.

According to the statistics, the mainstream device in the domestic virtual reality market in China is still the virtual reality glasses on mobile terminal and the virtual reality video content is developed further more than game contents. About 2700 videos and 800 games have been found on domestic virtual reality platform and the offline experience pavilion in China has increased quickly in recent years to a number of over 2000 across the country.

Grasping core technology

"The arrival of the virtual reality age has provided excellent opportunity for the continuous and rapid development of information technology industry in China and the growth power conversion between new and old economy. But the initiative development opportunity and tremendous development space will only be achieved by occupying first mover advantage." Zhang Feng says that there are hundreds of virtual reality related enterprises in China at present, mainly concentrating on small- and medium-sized newly established enterprise. Key enterprises have relatively slow strategic deployment and technical products are mostly in research and development and accumulation stage. A great distance exists in industrial maturity compared with foreign industry and many issues exist such as insufficient key technology, relatively scanty contents and imperfect application ecology.

With regard to the key technology issues of virtual reality, the MIIT will emphasize on supporting the development of core devices as core chips, display devices, optical elements and sensors to break through the key technologies such as modeling and simulation of virtual reality, enhanced reality and man-machine interaction, integrated environment and tool. Meanwhile, it will speed up standard formulation and the establishment of technology, product, and service standards and evaluation system of virtual reality to solve the bottleneck problems in key sections.

Zhang Feng also says that it is necessary to accelerate the market transformation of scientific achievements in the virtual reality field in China, formulate favorable and supportive policy in terms of industry incubation, investment and financing and talents serving the virtual reality innovation and business starting, motivating the innovation energy and exploiting the development space for virtual reality.

"We shall promote integrated application between virtual reality and various industries." Zhao Qinping considers that we shall exert the function of virtual reality as an important tool for production and livelihood and popularize new production mode as three-dimension design, virtual manufacturing and virtual product display, thus promoting the improvement of production efficiency. Meanwhile, we shall explore and promote the application of virtual reality in health and medicine, aging care and cultural education to relieve unbalanced social public resource in medical treatment, aged providing and education.

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