It seems the only application of virtual reality that has gone mainstream are VR arcades. Major companies like IMAX and VOID are bringing VR to people near malls and shopping centers.
VR Arcades will soon accompany virtual reality time machines near historical monuments in your area.
If you’ve ever visited the Greek Islands and wondered what it must have been like to be standing there during ancient times, San Francisco-based Owlized has your solution: a virtual reality time machine called OWL VR.
OWL VR resembles the old-fashioned coin-operated binoculars you might recognize from tourist attractions like the Empire State Building. Rather than dropping in a quarter, however, pay with a credit card or phone, look into the VR lenses and witness a powerful 360-degree VR movie showing the history of the immediate surrounding area, as if you were standing there in the past.
“Travelers love experiencing the history of their favorite destinations, but too often struggle to connect emotionally with those places. The old tools we typically use — interpretive signs, guide books, audio tours and the like, are informative, but rarely capture our imagination or create memorable experiences. By integrating cutting-edge virtual reality technology into a rugged, outdoor viewer, we are offering millions of travelers the magic of time travel, but also, in many cases, their very first VR experience.”
– Aaron Selverston, CEO of Owlized
Owlized has raised more than $800,000 in seed funding and gained significant traction with their prototypes, which have been leased to municipal clients to show residents the future of proposed transportation and climate adaptation projects.
The first OWL deployments were free to the public. But, the upcoming OWL VR include a fee and users will pay an estimated $3-5 for a 90-second experience. That revenue will then be split three ways between the host site, Owlized, and a partner VR studio.
“More and more people look to new technology to learn, or to experience, or to do something cool. I think there will be more and more people who will want to come and experience the park through learning with Owlized.”
– Mia Monroe, a park ranger with National Park Service’s Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
With one billion people traveling internationally every year, and hundreds of millions more traveling domestically within the United States, the tourism market may be one of the largest untapped markets for VR startups.
The Owlized team includes a world-class roster of media and tech industry veterans with decades of combined experience at companies like Disney, AOL, Oracle, Sprint and National Park Service. Their advisory board includes MIT Media Lab co-founder Michael Naimark and UC Berkeley Computer Visualization lab founder Lon Addison.
Now the company wants help to scale the technology to every tourist attraction in the world. Today, Owlized is announcing the public launch of an equity crowdfunding campaign.
The crowdfunding campaign will help the company complete product development, manufacturing and testing of OWL VR and cover project-related costs.
While many tech giants are pumping billions of dollars into seeding the head-mounted VR market, Selverston says the biggest immediate opportunity may not be with gamers and early adopters of new technology, but with everyday people visiting the most popular destinations on Earth.
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We’ve seen a tremendous amount of disruptive change coming from the Virtual Reality Industry. Owlized is only the first step towards a prosperous future. It is surely certain that this kind of content will accelerate based on future trends.
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