On Thursday 31st of March Seinäjoki in Western Finland was the meeting point for companies, students and researches interested in virtual reality. “Virtuaalitodellisuus nyt” (Finnish for “Virtual Reality Now”) seminar and mini exhibition arranged by SeAMK (Seinäjoki College for Applied Sciences) gathered a good number of audience interested in seeing and learning more about where virtual reality is today and what it can be used for. The seminar served a good mix of presentations from pioneering companies in virtual reality while the mini exhibition allowed visitors a real-life taste of how virtual reality is used in different fields; from comics and gaming to marketing and design, from construction and architecture to real estate or research and education.
One of the speakers at the seminar was Juuso Pihamaa from Stereoscape. In his presentation Juuso concentrated rather on pointing out the benefits and competitive advantage companies have reached using virtual reality rather than just showcasing different solutions. Sharing examples and experiences from world’s leading companies like Ford or Rolls Royce Juuso showed how companies have managed to create real competitive advantage and considerable cost savings by using virtual reality in, for example, R&D and production. Using virtual reality in marketing can be a good way to lower the threshold for getting familiar with virtual reality, said Juuso. The results from marketing might not always be that easily quantifiable but it can deliver results none the less. From this Juuso told an example from Stereoscape’s own case, a virtual reality solution delivered to Neste earlier this year. At the exhibition where it was used people queued at the Neste stand to try it out and then left the stand with a smile on their faces.
In Seinäjoki Stereoscape also had a stand at the mini exhibition where Antti Granqvist demonstrated two different solutions. One was the solution created by Stereoscape for Neste where the visitors got the opportunity to travel into an engine of a car together with Neste’s renewable diesel. The other, “Walk the plank” created by WorldViz – one of Stereoscape’s partners – took the visitors for a virtual trapeze walk. Although quite many of the visitors already had some previous experience of virtual reality, a comment that Antti heard often during the day was:
“Wow, I did’t know you could create a feeling that is this real!”
All together the event in Seinäjoki was a positive experience. It demonstrated that there is a lot of potential in virtual reality and that the interest for its commercial use is increasing.
The presentations from the seminar can be watched on Youtube – Juuso’s presentation (in Finnish) starts at ca 51 min.