VR Lab aspires to be a VR hub for all
By Chong Jinn Xiung June 13, 2017
- Opens seven VR experience centres in Klang Valley and Sarawak
- Wants to provide VR content-creation services and sell VR hardware
DESPITE being around for several years, the potential of Virtual Reality or VR has been largely untapped and to members of the public, it is at best a technology that is closely associated with video games and science fiction movies.
That, however, couldn’t be further from the truth according to VR Lab co-founder and chief executive officer Shireen Tan. She says VR presents a host of different opportunities that go beyond the traditional perception that it is purely an entertainment device.
“VR is more than just entertainment. Its use extends far and wide to education, property, events and training just to name a few.”
Tan spoke of her vision for VR Lab to be a platform that advocates and promote VR technology to all. In the same way that smartphones have become a necessity, she believes that VR will one day be part of our everyday lives from powering e-commerce to being part of our favourite social networks.
Headquartered in Bandar Sunway, the company was formed late last year but has been on an aggressive expansion spree, opening up its own brand of VR experience centres across Malaysia with six in the Klang Valley and a seventh in Sarawak.
The experience centres function like a cyber cafe where a group of five need only pay US$11.73 (RM50) for an hour to start their VR experience with an HTC Vive headset. A total of five people is able to occupy a VR room, which works up to just US$2.35 (RM10) a person.
Inside there are a variety of different VR applications that users can experience or play ranging from multi-player games, sports, casual or educational games.
“We are making the whole VR experience affordable for everyone because currently, the cost of owning your own VR equipment would run up to US$3,048 (RM13,000). An HTC Vive headset costs about US$1,172 (RM5,000),” she explained.
The objective, she said, was to have 30 such experience centres up and running by the end of the year. This includes opening outlets in Singapore, Thailand, Australia and Bangladesh.
VR Labs is even looking at the idea of franchising its experience centres to help speed up its expansion.
To Tan, VR has huge potential but it will take a while before the mass market adopts VR due to the high demands and cost for a VR-ready set up. Hence, VR Labs has set up experience centres so as to educate the market and allow the general public easy access to VR.
“Once there is more awareness of VR and its potential, we aim to commercialise VR by creating content for corporates,” said Tan.
“For example, we can craft virtual rooms based on schematics for property developers when they want to sell an upcoming property. Instead of building an expensive showroom they can use VR to let potential buyers walk through the property before it is even built.”
Tan also believes that VR has great potential in the education sector, enabling educators to help children aged three and up to visualise lessons better. Wasting no time to reach out to a younger audience, VR Labs brought its VR setup to children’s edutainment theme park KidZania over the May school holidays.
Taking it even further up to universities, VR Labs said it has already helped install and set up VR labs at local institutes of higher learning, though they declined to name which. Apart from setting up the labs, VR Labs provides a five-day training programme to help them become familiar with the hardware.
Ultimately, VR Labs wants to be a one-stop platform for all things related to VR. Its experience centres once matured, may eventually become a hub for selling VR hardware and even repair or maintain VR devices.
VR Labs is the VR partner for DNA’s inaugural eGames Festival, HotShotz 2017. You can find out more about HotShotz and buy tickets at www.hotshotz.asia