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Make it a (Virtual) Reality: CES

For two years running now the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA has proved to be a significant event in the virtual reality (VR) calendar. In 2014 Oculus VR revealed its Crystal Cove prototype for Oculus Rift head-mounted display (HMD), laying the foundation for the second development kit (DK2). Now in 2015 not only has Oculus VR brought its latest prototype, Crescent Bay, to the show but a wide range of other companies are offering VR products. With the consumer release of some of these HMDs expected later this year, perhaps 2016 could prove to be the most significant year for VR and CES yet. How? By letting fans visit the show for themselves.

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CES can be a frustrating show to sit at home and watch. While huge masses of journalists and potential business partners swarm into the Los Angeles Convention Center to cover all that’s new in the world of technology, fans have to make do with simply wondering what using these technical marvels are like to use. What if that could change next year? What if users could put on an Oculus Rift or Gear VR and attend CES themselves?

Admittedly it’s surprising that this concept hasn’t been seen at this year’s show. A 360 degree video of either Samsung or Oculus VR’s booths would be a great way for either company to showcase the potential applications of their products. Moving forward as VR video live streaming becomes more viable this is going to be an essential part of these shows. Imagine being taken on an Oculus VR-led tour of the CES show floor, getting demos of some of the latest gadgets and being able to check out virtual renderings of each device with your own hands.

VR companies could even create virtual versions of their own stands so that users could walk around and interact with some of the products on display themselves. Image being able to check out the shape of Sony’s new 4K TVs for yourself or seeing how one of the many smartwatches on display looks on your own wrist.

It’s a simple idea that could be applied across all industries. Looking forward, imagine visiting the likes of E3 or San Diego Comic Con without having to fly out to their respective cities. Watching a press conference as if you’re part of the audience would be certainly be something that many fans would want to experience. No doubt this application of VR is coming, let’s just hope it’s sooner rather than later. Perhaps Samsung’s Project Beyond will open the door to this possibility.