The Munich-based start-up VRdirect wants to give companies easy access to new narrative worlds by letting them create real-time virtual reality content – no knowledge of programming necessary.
VRdirect – Real Time Virtual Reality
The future of media is inseparably linked to the question of how we will consume content going forward. Which tools do we use, which playouts? When it comes to new narrative worlds, expanded or virtual realities are already a must. For a long time, Virtual Reality (VR) experiences were associated with a lot of effort and high costs for companies. With their start-up, VRdirect, Rolf Illenberger and his team are now offering a solution to this problem.
"VR is a standard technology"
VRdirect – a platform that enables companies to create professional VR experiences - has been available online since February 2018. What does the platform require? "The companies must work with 360° content", explains Illenberger. A VR experience can then be built with the help of VRdirect, and you don't have to be an expert for this. "Anyone who is familiar with PowerPoint can easily work with our tool."
During the two-year development phase, numerous companies took their first steps with VR, and, little by little, promising areas of application were discovered. For VRdirect, the conditions were good: "The hype was over and so was the disappointment," Illenberger states. "VR is now a standard technology in the corporate world."
Rolf Illenberger. Photo: VRdirect
The training and education sector already provide good examples of application, though the possibility of giving people access to places that are inaccessible or difficult to reach is also very interesting. In the media industry especially, virtual reality offers an unprecedented potential for storytelling, explains Illenberger, who worked at the ProsiebenSat.1 Media group for many years. It was there that VRdirect originated before continuing as an independent project.
"One of our development partners, for example, is the Süddeutsche Zeitung," Illenberger states. Süddeutsche Zeitung, a German daily newspaper, experimented with VR content at an early stage and has offered VR experiences such as ski jumping in Oberstdorf, a tour at Munich's new train stations, or a story about refugees on the most dangerous escape route in the world.
Current projects with VRdirect come from many sources. For example, the broadcasting company WDR created the “WDR 360” time travel app through the Cologne Cathedral, and the broadcasting company Deutsche Welle created an app and interactive VR quiz, "DW World Heritage” which allows users to travel to UNESCO World Heritage sites.
But VRdirect is not only a product for media companies that search solutions suitable for end users. "An important target group for us are B2B customers - large companies such as Porsche, EON, Lufthansa, or Siemens,” Illendorfer states. We offer training sessions, product demos, or company insights to strengthen the brand identity.
Various license options allow the use of VRdirect. These include a basic package in the VRdirect app and a white label solution on your own app or in the VR library.
Illenberger explains that VRdirect's unique selling point is the cloud-based hosting of its content, meaning that it can be used on different devices worldwide. Illenberger firmly believes in the market potential of the platform and sees the advantages of its Munich location. "I appreciate the proximity to many large corporations, media companies, and agencies." According to the VRdirect CEO, there are many local financing options for start-ups. "Our fundraising was almost exclusively done in Munich. The city offers optimal conditions if you have a good idea."