The IDC Spotlight: June

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The International Data Corporation (IDC) is the premier global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications and consumer technology markets. We will be posting regular news on their research into immersive technology here over the coming months.

The AR and VR headset market in the UK grew 37% year on year in the first quarter of 2017. The total number of units shipped reached over 89,000, which represented nearly £31 million. VR headsets represented 96% of the total number of units shipped in 1Q17, driven mainly by early adopters. AR headsets, on the other hand, were mainly shipped for commercial applications.

The IDC Mobile Business Survey 2017, published in March, interviewed more than 1,000 companies in Europe, and found that AR and VR are priorities for many businesses. The results couldn't be more clear about the opportunity for and interest in both AR and VR, with 58% of enterprises undertaking activities in the areas of AR or VR. In the U.K., this is even higher at 66%. These activities could be a trial/experiment (24%), a pilot project (27%), or full deployment (15%). Among the main reasons for U.K. companies adopting AR/VR are to increase efficiency (40%), improve client-facing interactions (34%), and increase safety (33%).

IDC forecasts that the number of AR and VR headsets shipped to the U.K. will grow 109% year on year to nearly 1 million units by the end of 2017, representing £300 million in revenues. 

Interested in finding out more? Visit the IDC website

Rewind's Sol Rogers announced as ImmerseUK's new Chair

ImmerseUK – an industry-led, cross-sector network to help position the UK as a world leader in the application of immersive technologies – has today announced REWIND Founder and CEO Sol Rogers as its new Chair.

 

With world-class expertise, research and innovation taking place across the UK in industry verticals such as transport, health, films and games, ImmerseUK’s aim is to bring these sectors together to ensure UK business takes full advantage of the opportunity immersive technology provides. It achieves this through enabling knowledge transfer, making connections, facilitating collaboration and tapping into new areas for growth.

 

Managed by the Knowledge Transfer Network, ImmerseUK has seen rapid and significant growth since its launch in December 2016, with membership reaching near 1,000. Innovate UK has also confirmed two years of funding for the network.

 

Sol’s leadership and experience will ensure that the network’s ambitions for the UK immersive technology economy can be fully realised. Immediate priorities for the coming months will focus on business-to-business and business-to-research collaboration and innovation, an analysis of the UK’s immersive tech economy and ecosystem and benchmarking, as well as increasing access to funding, finance and investment.

 

Sol Rogers commented: "I feel honoured to be selected as the inaugural Chair of the ImmerseUK Steering Group and be a part of its mission to shape the future of the UK immersive industry technology sector. Having grown REWIND into a recognised industry leader in VR and AR content development, I am looking forward to taking a wealth of experience and learning into the role to guide ImmerseUK through an exciting period of growth and development for us all." 

 

Fiona Kilkelly, Creative Industries Specialist, Knowledge Transfer Network, said: “We are delighted that Sol has agreed to be the Chair of Immerse UK. With his experience and in-depth knowledge of this emerging sector, he will lead and help shape the network and its priorities, to ensure there is value to all members and the UK economy as a whole’’

Immerse UK

The Virtual Reality Show April 20th-22nd

Immerse UK is hosting three events at the first Virtual Reality Show at Islington's Business Design Centre. 

Where's the money? R&D Funding for Immersive Technologies

1:30pm April 20th
Immerse UK and KTN will be hosting a panel session on  R&D funding for immersive technologies as part of the show on April 20th.   Join us to look at how, outside of VC's and angel investors, UK businesses get their hands on funding and grants for R&D and innovation. This panel, chaired by Immerse UK, will look at publicly funded programmes, competitions and initiatives targeted at immersive technologies, which provide opportunities to develop ideas without sacrificing valuable equity or IP.  More information is available here

 

1-2-1 Sessions with KTN Experts on cross sector opportunities for Immersive Tech businesses

3:30pm April 20th
Book in for a 1-2-1 sessions with panellists and KTN sector experts from areas such as defence, health, design where businesses can find out more about the various AR and VR  funding opportunities available in a multitude of industries.  More information is available here 121 Page

Immerse UK Members Networking Drinks

5pm April 20th
Join is for our Immerse UK Virtual Reality Show networking drinks, learn more about our rolling programme of work, new opportunities coming on stream, meet other members of our network and conference delegates from across all industries in the UK economy.  Register here

The Future of Retail Conference  

April 21st

Explore how to make the most of the new technologies available today which are driving innovation in retail developments,  look at the emerging AR/VR applications coming on stream and the impact and opportunities for UK retailers. You can register here


Give Me 5: What It Takes to Attract VC and private investment in Immersive Tech.

Immerse UK in partnership with PwC, ICAEW and the Realities Centre.

26th April:
6:30pm Registration at PwC, 7 More London Riverside, London, SE1 2RT

Join us for an evening of discussion, information sharing, top tips and pointers on what you need to know and who you need to know when looking for start-up and early-stage investment – including grants, crowdfunding, business angels and VC.  We will focus on 5 questions for UK business seeking venture capital and private investment in immersive technologies with  Aftab Malhotra, Co-Founder, GrowthEnabler, Dave Haynes, Investment Director, Seedcamp, Katie Lewis, Director, The Accelerator Network, Shaun Beaney, Corporate Finance Faculty, ICAEW.

Many thanks to PwC, ICAEW and the Realities Centre for developing this event and sharing their expertise.
The event is free to attend and you can register here.

 

 Investor Showcase at VR World Congress

The Investor Showcase at VR World Congress will host 10 VR / AT / MR related companies pitching to a select group of VC’s, fund managers and angel investors.

Carefully curated from applications from throughout the UK, Europe and further afield, the companies will be looking for funding from £25k - £2m for their projects. 

These projects will come from the fields of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Merged Reality and 360 content, and will include (but are not limited to) the main themes of VR World Congress 2017: Health, Retail, Culture & Tourism, Content Platforms, Gaming, Transport & Mobility, and AI / algorithm based visualisation. 

If you’re a company or startup looking for investment for your Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality or Merged Reality product or application, apply to take part in the VR World Congress Investor Showcase, sponsored by legal firm TLT, on the 12th April at VR World Congress. 

Investors attending will also be able to take advantage of a full free day pass to the conference to see the exhibition and talks after the Investor Showcase - if you are a certified investor or high net worth individual (see here), or are acting on behalf of potential investors of venture funds, please apply to attend via https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vr-world-congress-the-investor-showcase-tickets-32496809833.

For more information on the conference as a whole please check out the VR World Congress website, or contact Abby Frear on abby@techspark.co for more information relating to the Investor Showcase

New Innovate UK investment of £15 million in Emerging and Enabling technologies targets Immersive Technologies

New Innovate UK investment of £15 million in Emerging and Enabling technologies targets Immersive Technologies

As part of the Innovate UK Delivery Plan, Innovate UK is to invest up to £15 million in innovative projects that inspire and stimulate the products and services of tomorrow.  Immersive Technologies are one of a number of priority areas identified.  Innovate UK are central to Immerse UK's success to date and we have been really pleased to support Innovate UK in the development of this funding programme and contributing to engaging businesses, ensuring we get the best quality applications from across the UK immersive tech sectors.

The aim of this competition is to help UK businesses broaden their innovation activities, disrupt existing markets and find new revenue sources. It should support the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as well as large companies.

Grants can be awarded to projects led by a UK-based business of any size. An SME can apply on its own for funding up to £100,000. Consortia must involve at least one SME and projects are expected to last from 6 months to 3 years and range in size from total project costs of £35,000 to £2 million.

You can learn more about how to apply at one of our upcoming briefing events, details below.

IMMERSE UK SUB-GROUPS FEBRUARY 2016

IMMERSE UK SUB-GROUPS

FEBRUARY 2016

Immerse UK was established in November 2016 and now has over 500 members across all sectors of the UK economy. Around 70% of these members are in business, 20% are from universities and research centres, 5% from government or public sector backgrounds, and a further 5% from not-for-profit and cultural organisations. 

Following on from the first members' meeting in December 2016, key areas were identified as being a priority for the membership. These were: 
- Access to finance, funding and investment
- Content, production and user experience
- Connecting industry and universities (skills and research)
- Industrial applications
- Mapping activity in the UK

As a result of this feedback, Immerse UK established sub-groups for each of these areas of activity in early 2017, recruiting individual members to chair the groups.

If you would like to be involved in any of the sub-groups, please contact Carrie Wootten on carrie.wootten@ktn-uk.org


Access to Finance and Funding
Immerse UK will work with investors and funders in the UK and other countries to make them aware of the opportunities and needs of SMEs building businesses on the applications of VR/AR and other immersive technologies across a range of markets. As well as advising public sector agencies such as Innovate UK and Horizon 2020, where we've already had significant success, we'll work to connect members with angels, VCs, and commissioners. 

Two events are currently being planned:

1 – One with VCs in collaboration with PwC – date tbc.

2 – Another with the European network, the NEM Initiative, to explore the feasibility of establishing a pan-European network of financiers focussing on VR/AR – date tbc.

Mapping Immersive activities in the UK
One of the objectives of Immerse UK is to map current expertise and activities related to VR/AR technologies. This map will support understanding of current UK expertise and facilities, to help companies gain access to the support they need, and also to link our members.
 
We are currently investigating a piece of software to assist with this aim, but if anyone has expertise, or has experience of creating/using a suitable off-the-shelf software, please contact glyn.lawson@nottingham.ac.uk.


Content, Production and User Experience
Two main themes were raised in the members’ discussion in December 2016 around content:

-        Standards and “how can AV/VR & MR be explored to the boundaries of its potential experience, rather than using the grammar and content of games, web or 2D content”

-        What are the specific affordances of AR, VR, & MR that are more than the sum of the parts from TV, Film, Games, Industry and internet?

In the conversation around production, issues raised included the reduction of costs, and the need to educate and engage content providers working in all media.

The working group in this area is also being co-ordinated for Immerse UK by the Digital Catapult and KTN.


Connecting industry and academia (skills and research) 
Universities are well represented within the membership and Immerse UK continues to attract members from across academia.

An initial event is being planned at Ravensbourne on 5th April 2017.

An eventbrite link will be sent to members shortly, but if you would like to get involved in the group, please contact Carrie.

Industrial Applications - co-ordinated for Immerse UK by IET and High Value Manufacturing Catapult
 

The IET will be working with the High Value Manufacturing Catapult to organise Immerse UK’s activity in this area, with the first event held in January 2016.

The Applied Visualisation Forum was held at the British Motor Museum on 26th January. The forum encouraged those working in the field of visualisation and virtual reality (VR) to share their expertise, good practice, hardware and software advances, application in VR, Augmented Reality (AR), Data Capture, Visualisation,
 

Immerse UK is in the early stages of planning events focused on the many different sectors using immersive technology, starting with the construction industry,  if you want to be involved or have any event planned that could aid this process please contact Carrie.

We would also like to make a call for contribution towards the blog page on our website, we would like to share articles, event blogs, immersive stories and innovation from our members. Please send your blogs to brian_vr@outlook.com

We cannot promise to post all content, but we will do our best to keep it as diverse as possible  

ImmerseUK News letter Jan 2017

Happy New Year.

2017 is shaping to be busy for Immerse UK. Over 100 new members have joined the network since Christmas and we took part in our first event of the year yesterday. The Advanced Visualisation Forum, organised by the IET and the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, attracted over 150 people working in the field of visualisation and virtual reality to share expertise, good practice, hardware and software advances at the British Motor Museum in Gaydon.

The Forum is the first of a number of events and activities being planned for the coming months. If you would like to participate in any of the working groups developing these and other activities, please contact Carrie Wooten (carrie.wooten@ktn-uk.org) at the KTN. The current groups are:

Access to Finance and Funding

Mapping Immersive activities in the UK

Content, Production and User Experience  

Connecting industry and academia (skills and research) 

Industrial Applications

Communications

Augmentor: Supporting Next Generation World-Class Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality Startups

Augmentor is a new 10 week equity-free programme supporting start-ups working with immersive technologies. Powered by Digital Catapult and early stage investors Seedcamp, it is focused on supporting companies developing innovative and commercially-focused applications of augmented, mixed and virtual reality.

From March to May 2017, in partnership with HTC and Immerse UK, the programme will deliver technical and business mentorship, workspace for teams at Digital Catapult Centre London, full access to state-of-the-art immersive facilities, wrapping up with an investor showcase event to be held in May.

The 10-week programme includes:

·      Free workspace at Digital Catapult Centre London

·      Guidance and support without ownership dilution

·      The programme is equity free and there are no fees associated with participation

·      10-week programme of mentorship with a wide spectrum of technical, G2M and product experts.

·      Access to state of the art immersive facilities

·      The opportunity for immersive start-ups to showcase their product at a special investor event. 

For more information and to apply check out the website: http://augmentor.co.uk

DIT Creative Industries Summit in Korea

There is still time (just) to apply for a DIT trade mission to Seoul which will provide an opportunity to join a group of experienced leaders from DIT, with long established networks in South Korea. 

Participants will benefit from

·      A bespoke package of market support centred on the identification of opportunities relevant to their businesses

·      The security of a group visit, coordinated travel & accommodation itinerary

·      On hand support from an experienced team including pre-visit support; 

·      Access to a large network of contacts well known to the organisers; 

·      Opportunities for sponsorship, exhibiting and presenting.

 

A financial contribution towards costs may be available for eligible companies especially those in the Northern Powerhouse region.

For further details and an application form contact

e: northeast@mobile.trade.gov.uk

t 0345 1360169

From Silicon Valley to the year ahead

Just before Christmas, KTN’s Fiona Kilkelly represented Immerse UK on the DIT AR/VR Mission to San Francisco. She was there to let US businesses know about the level of R&D and creative development in AR/VR happening in the UK across multiple sectors.  One of the key priorities was to showcase Immerse UK as a focal point for immersive technologies in this country.

 

To find out what she learnt, read her full report here.

Help shape the government's new Industrial Strategy

On 23 January, the government published a Green Paper outlining its ambitions for the new Industrial Strategy. This marked the beginning of a comprehensive public consultation period on the Industrial Strategy. 

Built around 10 pillars, the Industrial Strategy Green Paper has business innovation woven into its very fabric; from addressing the skills shortage by promoting STEM subjects and technical training programmes to positioning the UK at the leading edge of both existing and emerging technologies worldwide. There is ambition for increased trade and inward investment, and for replication of the government-industry partnerships that have allowed the automotive and aerospace sectors in the UK to flourish.

If you would like to see a specific focus on immersive technologies and experience in the strategy and associated challenge funds, we would strongly encourage you to contribute feedback via the government's online consultation platform.

Responses should be submitted no later than 17th April 2017.

Design Foundations Funding Competition

Innovate UK is to invest up to £1 million in early-stage design projects to help businesses identify high-value innovation opportunities and generate ideas. These should be for new products, services or business models that align with customer demand.

While applications can come from any sector, AR/VR and immersive technologies are currently a priority for Innovate UK. Proposals should use design-led methods from first principles to understand customer motivations and behaviour, inspire new ideas, support decision-making and inform strategy.

Innovate UK expects projects to range in size from total costs of £20,000 to £100,000 and to last between 3 and 9 months. A single UK business must lead the project, but you can sub-contract design services for up to 70% of the total project cost.

You can find more information on the scope of the competition and how to apply here

Creative and Digital Business Briefing

For a comprehensive list of current funding opportunities and information on other support, check out the latest version of KTN's monthly briefing on Slideshare..

VRScout

VRScout began in 2014 as a passion project among friends in Los Angeles inspired by the creative possibilities of a new medium. As a means of satisfying our own curiosity, we created VRScout to shine a light on the advancements in virtual reality and the people behind them.

VRScout is now one of the world’s leading immersive media companies, reaching 100 million globally in the first half of 2016 and inspiring a community of explorers and creators through original reporting by our editorial team, video and VR content created in our LA studio, and one-of-a-kind events

News

News:

New Innovate UK funding:  Design Foundations

 

This new competition aims to support businesses in identifying high-value innovation opportunities and generate propositions for new products, services and business models. It is open to any UK company, regardless of size or sector and will provide up to £70,000 of project funding to help you address key business challenges such as:

 

- identifying and tackling the right problems 

- exploring and de-risking the development of initial concepts

- securing buy-in and support for new ideas and

- boosting internal innovation capacity 

 

This project will involve a collaboration with a design company, creative business or innovation consultancy who can bring the right tools to focus on optimal ways to respond to market pull, or put another way, help you deliver what people really need through using a human centred design approach.   The scope covers design for AR/VR. 

 

This programme runs for the whole of 2017. If it sounds of interest, do register for the launch event which is on 17 January 2017. You’ll get further insight into how to apply and you can also network to find the right collaborators, if you don’t already have someone in mind. There are further rounds in May and August so these may be appropriate if you need more development time. Further details on the programme are on KTN’s website.

immerseUK News letter

The network now has just under 400 members. Around 70% of you are in business, 20% are from universities and research centres, 5% from government or public sector backgrounds, and a further 5% from not-for-profit and cultural organisations. 

Over 100 people from across those groups came to our first members' meeting on December 7th at the Digital Catapult. Following presentations from some of Immerse UK’s founding partners as well as two of the key platform providers (HTC and Holovis), there was a series of round-table conversations about our priorities. 

The key topics identified as ones where Immerse UK can make a difference are: 
- access to finance, funding and investment
- content, production and user experience
- connecting industry and universities (skills and research)
- industrial applications
- mapping activity in the UK

Members made many suggestions for what we might do in each of those areas and the Steering Group is now developing plans for the next few months. We have nominated co-ordinators for each strand of activity and we're interested in hearing from members who would like to be involved in working groups to support them or can provide support or resource. 


Working Groups and Future Activity

Access to Finance and Funding
Immerse UK will work with investors and funders in the UK and other countries to make them aware of the opportunities and needs of SMEs building businesses on the applications of VR/AR and other immersive technologies across a range of markets. As well as advising public sector agencies such as Innovate UK and Horizon 2020, where we've already had significant success, we'll work to connect members with angels, VCs, and commissioners. 

We are currently planning an event with VCs for the first quarter of 2017 in collaboration with PwC; we'll send out more information about this early in the New Year. We're also working with a European network, the NEM Initiative, to explore the feasibility of establishing a pan-European network of financiers focussing on VR/AR.


Mapping Immersive activities in the UK
One of the objectives of ImmerseUK is to map current expertise and activities related to VR/AR technologies. This map will support understanding of current UK expertise and facilities, to help companies gain access to the support they need, and also to link our members.
 
We would ideally like to create a web-based map to show the following information for each member: academia/industry; VR/AR facilities; application areas; expertise; sector; etc. We would also like to provide search facility. The map must be: 1. easy to update/populate; 2. accessible; 3. visually attractive; and 4. easy to understand and use. 

We need help from ImmerseUK members to understand the best way to provide this tool.


Content, Production and User Experience
Two main themes were raised in the members’ discussion around content: standards and “how can AV/VR be explored to the boundaries of its potential experience, rather than using the grammar and content of games, web or 2D content”. What are the specific affordances of AR and VR that are more than the sum of the parts from TV, Film, Games and internet?

In the conversation around production, issues raised included the reduction of costs, and the need to educate and engage content providers working in other media.

The working group in this area is also being co-ordinated by the Digital Catapult and KTN. If you are interested in being involved in the development of this please contact me. 


Connecting industry and academia (skills and research) 
Universities were well represented at the meeting last week and Immerse UK continues to attract members from across academia. Glyn Lawson from Nottingham, who has submitted a bid to the EPSRC to fund networking across the academic community and between universities and business, is also leading the working group for this activity. 
 
Industrial Applications - co-ordinated by IET and High Value Manufacturing Catapult
The discussion on industrial applications of vr and related technologies was hosted by Ahmed Kotb who co-ordinates the IET's Applied Visualisation Community. The IET will be working with the High Value Manufacturing Catapult to lead much of Immerse UK’s activity in this area. 


We’re also in the early stages of planning an event focused on the construction industry which is likely to be held in April or May 2017.

Communications
We've now completed the first iteration of the Immerse UK website, established groups on LinkedIn, a Facebook page, and a presence on Twitter. Please do join these groups and contribute to the conversations in them.

Transforming products and services 
Innovate UK has up to £15 million to support the best business-led and innovative ideas for new products, processes and services. This competition is the second of 2 annual Innovate UK open competitions that support good ideas with market potential from any technology area.

Ideas can come from any technology, engineering or industrial area. They can fit in with Innovate UK's 4 priority sectors for growth - emerging and enabling technologies, health and life sciences, infastructure systems, and manufacturing and materials - or be outside them. Proposals must be transformational or disruptive innovation and must have a clear commercial impact and potential for return on investment.

Projects that are likely to lead to a sustainable growth in productivity or access to new overseas markets will be given priority.

More info can be found here.



Immerse UK has come quite a long way in a relatively short time. We plan to do much more in 2017; do let us know if you would like to be more involved in any of those activities.