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These Nine VR Start-ups Are Changing the Media World

By Richard Löwenstein

Young companies are already developing tomorrow's media today. Nine start-ups from Bavaria show the great potential of Virtual Reality in the future media world.

Hologate

Hologate was founded in 2017 and describes its entertainment idea as Location-Based Virtual Reality: the Munich-based company has already equipped more than 300 event centers around the world with on-site, ready-to-use VR gaming systems. They guide adventurous viewers around the globe as they connect with other players and explore fantasy worlds (such as the universe in the game "The Boat," which draws on the TV show and its namesake) or flip the "Angry Birds" from the well-known video game through multi-colored backdrops. The viewers don’t just passively watch its progression like any ordinary video game, but they find themselves immersed in it, which noticeably increases the adrenaline rush.

And the success story continues: Hologate Blitz won "Best Location Based Entertainment Experience at CES Las Vegas 2020.

Hologate reaches people around the world with Location-Based Virtual Reality (i.e. fixed VR stations) in over 300 event centers. Photo: Hologate

Holoride

The Munich-based high-tech start-up Holoride is working with Audi, Porsche, and other industrial companies to develop innovative forms of entertainment for our mobile society. The Holoride software connects to data streams of modern vehicles’ position and traffic information. This data controls the camera in virtual backdrops, which allows passengers to observe these scenes via VR headsets while driving. They can, for example, experience a virtual drone flight through a natural landscape while they feel the real movement of the car as it brakes and turns.

VRdirect

The quickest way to your own VR presentation is via a simple 360-degree photo and the "VRdirect" app from the Munich-based start-up. With the app, the user can import a 360-degree photo and adapt it to VR-enabled headsets, smartphones, and web browsers. The app also serves as a hub for managing data and VR project updates.

Icaros

Since 2015, Icaros has been combining its high-end balance board with common VR headsets for entertaining and effective fitness training. Athletes lie flat on the balance board, subtly shifting their weight to play games of skill and reflex that strengthen mind and body. Founders Michael Schmidt and Johannes Scholl create health apps and aim to develop their start-up into an Experience Company.

A balance training device is at the heart of Munich-based start-up Icaros, which aims to become an Experience Company in 2020. Photo: Icaros

Vuframe

Experiencing products via VR headsets easily is the goal behind the web-based cloud solution "SmartVu" from start-up Vuframe, which was founded in Regensburg in 2015. SmartVu customers upload 3D data from all major CAD applications and 3D engines via an app into the SmartVu cloud; the app compresses the data and makes it available for various applications on all common VR and AR devices. 3D and programming knowledge are not necessary.

SPREE Interactive

No more complicated and fragile virtual reality technology: the company SPREE Interactive from Nuremberg designs virtual entertainment programs and builds comfortable cable-free independent headsets that are very easy to use and maintain. Their goal is to create Location-Based VR (with one example being for large theme parks) that is synchronized with real-life experiences and allows us to escape the humdrum of our everyday life. With their VR headsets in place, roller coaster riders and bumper car passengers will experience their ride in a completely new way.

TimeRide

In the heart of the Bavarian capital, people have the opportunity to experience history up close. Munich start-up TimeRide has since September 2019 been inviting visitors to its store to take a 45-minute VR journey. The journey leads through eleven historically important Bavarian sites and events. Alongside a fictional narrator and time traveler, the viewer can float via their VR headset past the Limes Germanicus border, visit Augsburg during the Fugger era, and experience the royal castle of Neuschwanstein from a bird's eye view.

On board King Ludwig II's "Peacock Carriage," travel enthusiasts experience eleven locations of Bavarian history via VR headset. Here: the first Oktoberfest. Photo: Chr.Rudnik/ TimeRide

VR ON

Virtual meetings save time and money in addition to protecting the environment. The software “STAGE” of the start-up VR ON is a perfect and easy-to-use solution. The Virtual Reality Business Software of the Munich-based company gives people located in different cities the opportunity to work together on designs and virtual prototypes, exchange, and make collective decisions. Protocol and management functions for moderator and access rights as well as encryption systems complete the package.

Braveyourself VR

Gain self-confidence and practice speaking in front of others with the help of VR technology: this is the focus of the VR agency Braveyourself VR, which was founded in 2017 in Munich. With its "Public Speaking App” the company has invented speech training, which closely emulates reality as the user learns to speak in front of a virtual audience. There are four different virtual stages to practice on. The session can be recorded and remotely analyzed by the community and / or professional coaches. The special thing about it? It doesn’t matter where the training takes place, the only thing needed is a VR headset.