With Facebook purchasing virtual reality (VR) specialist Oculus VR last year for some $2 billion USD there’s little doubt that the technology is going to have a huge impact on communication. That said, in the year that’s followed there haven’t been any major advances in this area, while VR videogames and films continue to grow in importance. However, next week’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Spain will play host to the reveal of a new system from Summit Tech that could prove to be one of the first big steps for VR communication.
The Canadian-based company will be showcasing 360 degree video calling with the use of VR head-mounted displays (HMD) at the event next week. As Summit Tech notes, this will allow users to share a real-time VR experience, something that’s so far only been seen in a handful of social platforms such as Riftmax Theater. The system uses GIROPTIC’s 360cam, a new 360 degree, full HD handheld camera compared of three sensors. The camera itself is set to launch in spring 2015 for $499 USD.
Compatible VR HMDs are Summit Tech’s system are yet to be announced, although it is mentioned that the concept works with both smartphones and PCs. With this in mind it’s possible that 360 degree video calling could work cross-platform with the likes of the Oculus Rift HMD on PC and Samsung’s Gear VR smartphone-based HMD, though the company is yet to confirm this specifically. It’s also not clear if the platform could become compatible with other 360 degree cameras such as bublcam in time.
MWC 2015 takes place from 2nd – 5th March. Samsung itself has an Unpacked event taking place on in Barcelona on 1st March where it is hoped the company might reveal a new version of Gear VR that is compatible with the Galaxy S6 smartphone. VRFocus will continue to follow any and all updates in VR, reporting back with the latest.