5 cutting-edge virtual reality startups in India to watch out forSohini Mitter
VR is here to stay. And these startups are looking to exploit its true potential.
Among the much talked about emerging technologies is Virtual Reality (VR) that creates an interactive, 3D experience in a simulated environment with the help of computer software.
Until about a year ago, VR was largely associated with gaming. That technology giants like Facebook, Microsoft, Samsung and others were putting their might behind VR-enabled headsets helped grow VR gaming ecosystems significantly, but at the same time, it sidelined VR into a niche, geeky, gamer-driven tech.
But, all that is changing now as the world wakes up to the diverse use cases and enormous potential of VR technology. VR is said to have the ability to transform entire industries like retail, real estate, automotive, ecommerce, film and entertainment. It can bring down costs, improve customer experience, change buying behaviour, and more.
There’s been a spurt of VR startups in India too. According to a report by GrowthEnabler, a data and intelligence firm on disruptive tech startups, the VR industry is estimated to grow by 76 percent in the next five years. By 2021, the VR/AR market could be worth $100 billion-$120 billion.
In April, T-Hub and Facebook India’s Innovation Hub Accelerator Program announced a cohort of nine VR startups that will be a part of a three-month accelerator programme, where they will gain access to training and research, mentorship, workshops, and the opportunity to test their concepts at Facebook’s VR Innovation lab.
YourStory drew up a list of five exciting VR startups in India.
It is among India’s leading ‘mixed reality’ startups that creates gamified VR content for a host of platforms including iOS, Android, Oculus (owned by Facebook), HTC Vive, and Windows. One of its first VR demos was for Oculus Rift and it was featured among the top 10 weekly downloads on RoadToVR, a leading international VR e-journal.
Grey Kernel’s flagship product, IRA VR, is among the top-rated VR apps on Google Play Store. It helps the end user access VR experiences on the smartphone with the help of a VR-enabled headset. The app has over 10,000 downloads and is rated a decent 4.3 out of 5 by Android users.
The startup not only creates in-house content but also curates experiences from specialised VR studios in India and abroad. It even develops client-specific VR solutions in education, automotive, real estate, and ecommerce.
Meraki is among the country’s first virtual reality studios that produces content for consumers and enterprises. It creates 360-degree VR films for experiential marketing for news and entertainment, sports, events, tourism, real estate, adventure, and wedding industries.
While most VR startups are building products, Meraki combines cutting-edge VR technology with creativity and imagination to deliver content. Some of its prominent clients include Star Sports, which beamed the latest IPL season in 360-degree VR on Hotstar, Channel V, Network 18, and Percept Pictures.
The startup is also into original VR content programming. It created two virtual reality shows, Strangers Again and A Mumbai Summer, for Samsung’s Milk VR app that is dedicated to 360-degree video content. Meraki is also the studio behind I Am Keonjhar, a first-of-its-kind VR documentary on India’s tribal districts.
GazeMatic brings to reality the concept of teleporting. The startup has developed a VR voice-calling app, The Caller, that allows users to teleport themselves into any land when they are on a call. The VR mode is enabled on both sides of the call.
By its own admission, The Caller wants to be “the Skype for VR”. GazeMatic says it is working on a platform, TeleportCall VR Live Streaming, that allows both callers in separate locations to virtually go and attend live events together.
The Caller app recorded over 5,000 downloads in a month of its launch, and garnered users in India, US, UK, Germany and Russia. More than 20,000 calls have been made on it so far. It is available for free on Android and iOS, and is readying for a launch on Samsung VR and Oculus app stores.
Loop Reality is one of the nine startups that will be a part of the T-Hub and Facebook VR Innovation Program. It has developed an immersive VR solution targeted at the HR and talent management industries.
The product, PerspectAI, enables data-driven talent acquisitions and assessment, and helps bring down biased decision-making at workplaces. It helps conduct VR-based assessments to measure cognitive abilities and personality traits of potential recruits, and analyse if he/she fits within workplace and can adapt to its culture.
Loop Reality reckons this measures “true human potential” and helps improve the quality of hires, build efficient teams, and streamline talent assessment strategies.
This startup, backed by the India Angel Network, builds VR solutions for the architecture, engineering and construction businesses, which impact the real estate sector. SmartVizX has developed a technology that allows interactive walkthroughs of a construction site, view of the surroundings of the property, amount of sunlight in rooms, and so on.
All this can be experienced in a simulated environment even before the project has reached completion. This makes the buyer’s decision-making process much simpler, and also eliminates the gap between expectation and reality.
SmartVizX counts top developers and construction companies among its clients. It also intends to extend its proprietary VR technology to other sectors like edutainment and healthcare. The startup has also received funding, acceleration and mentoring under the NASSCOM 10000 Startups initiative.