One of the biggest barriers that currently exists in VR is the complex development expertise that is required to both, create VR content, and to get it visible on the devices. It is also one of the biggest limiting factors in the much broader, mainstream adoption of the technology.
Not only are we struggling with the easy factor in AR & VR, but we are also still struggling to come up with viable business and use cases to support the complex development curve.
Yes, there are a lot of really amazing one shot games and limited visual experiences, but there is still a lot of work to be done in establishing long term platform/ecosystem strategies.
CoSpaces is one of the first tools that makes it possible for anyone to create VR content, without the need to know complex coding or have game engine skills.
The app is paired with a web based platform that easily allows the user to assemble simple 3D elements in a scene via drag and drop, and then view them on the app in both 360 and VR mode.
The web interface is fast, very usable and what stood out immediately was just how quickly changes made in the interface appear, almost in real time, in the app. (They actually admitted that there might be some bugs in their preview dev release, but my first experience was really smooth and slick.)
At first, the uses for app seem rather simplistic, but after chatting with Susanne Krause, their PR Manager, about some of their primary use case and business cases, I started to bet a much better idea of what they were doing and where they were going:
“As far as use cases, we are actually still experimenting and we have found some diverse ones. The first is, more or less, playful/social: Creating something for fun and then exploring it yourself or sending it someone else to explore. This is something that is especially interesting for kids and teenagers. But it can also be used, if you want to use VR as a form of communication, e.g. by creating someone a personal VR birthday card.
One of the professional use cases is quick prototyping, e.g. for VR experiences or movies. With VR it makes sense to already have VR prototypes – but not to invest a lot of effort into the prototyping. This is where CoSpaces can come in handy.
Also, more general, we target smaller organisations that are interested in trying something with VR – e.g. for marketing reasons – but don’t have the funds to hire a VR agency. With CoSpaces they could create smaller projects themselves, e.g. showing their company history as a Virtual Reality exhibition or programming a small VR game for promotional purposes (we are currently working on the possibility to add small game features to your creations).
The browser and the mobile app are going to be free. We will introduce a market place where people can buy objects or scenes that we or other users built and get a small commission from that. “
More Than a Toy
At first appearance, Cospaces, might seem like it was made just for kids, but I can imagine a whole lot of possible business and development use cases for an app like this as well.
For example: I do a lot of UX consulting and information architecture, so I work quite a bit with 2D prototyping and wireframing tools as well as lots of charts and graphs for testing, training and explaining complex scenarios to clients .
Just thinking out loud here, but in addition to basic storyboarding for training and educational purposes, I could also imagine using something like this for visualising more forward thinking applications such as for the complex digital interactions that we will be facing in the near future. Think the Internet of Things, smart cities, autonomous vehicles and the like. A tool like this could be very useful and I think we will soon be seeing a lot more of these types of apps being used in UX, concept and development scenarios.
Currently the app supports Google Cardboard with support for Oculus, Gear VR and HTC Vive in development. It will be submitted to the Google Play store on April 21st and should be launching shortly.
Delightex is a startup based in Munich and St. Petersburg. The company started in 2012 and currently has 26 employees. Their main product is a web and app based platform called CoachingSpaces which allows businesses to quickly visualise 3D scenarios which are useful for training, coaching, personal development and presentations.