HTC Vive ISVs and partners build on hardware releases - Main

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Agora, Immerse, Bodyswaps, Axon and Immersive VR Education are releasing new solutions and forging partnerships following the launch of Vive Focus 3 and Pro 2

Quick read

➨ Agora joins the HTC Vive ISV programme
➨ Immerse strikes a new partnership with soft skills specialist Bodyswaps
➨ Axon launches its first wireless virtual reality training simulator
➨ Engage to be included in the software bundle that comes with Vive Focus 3

The story

A flurry of announcements from ISVs (independent software vendors) and other partners followed HTC Vive’s launch of Vive Focus 3 and Pro 2 this week.

ISVs took to the stage at ViveCon 2021 yesterday to discuss their work in training, collaboration, visualisation and more, utilising old and new generation HTC Vive headsets. VRWorldTech followed the training track on Twitter. Check out the thread below.

Here are VRWorldTech’s pick of the announcements made during and around ViveCon 2021, plus news from Immersive VR Education, in which HTC has a stake and supplies the Sessions app for Vive XR Suite.

HTC Vive ISVs and partners build on hardware releases - Agora

Agora announced that it has joined the HTC Vive ISV programme. The company, based in Santa Clara, California, USA, provides developers with APIs (application programming interfaces) to embed real-time video and voice engagement experiences into their apps and games.

Tony Zhao, founder and chief executive officer of Agora says in the announcement: “As a company by and for global developers, Agora couldn’t be more excited to join the HTC Vive ISV partner programme. By pairing our best-in-class RTE (real-time engagement) technology with HTC’s expertise in VR and XR, we are enabling developers to create virtual environments and experiences that we have never seen before.”

As a HTC Vive ISV partner, Agora appears to be particularly interested in working with collaboration, meeting and productivity app developers targeting businesses and professional users.

Zhao says: “We especially look forward to working with HTC Vive developers who are experimenting with enterprise applications to drive employee productivity. Through the pandemic, we have seen a massive uptick in innovation within the space and feel strongly that AR and XR coupled with RTE will drive the next-generation of workplace collaboration.”

HTC Vive ISVs and partners build on hardware releases - Immerse and Bodyswaps

Both HTC Vive ISV partners and experts in virtual reality for training, Immerse struck a new partnership with soft skills specialist Bodyswaps.

Like HTC Vive, UK-based Immerse is building an ecosystem for businesses to create, distribute, measure and integrate all forms of immersive content.

The direct partnership with Bodyswaps, also based in the UK and a developer of virtual reality soft skills training solutions, significantly expands the Immerse library of content, initially covering active listening, communication, gender inclusion, career development, conflict management, giving feedback, and job interviews.

Tom Symonds, chief executive officer of Immerse, comments in the announcement: “We are delighted to have partnered with the team at Bodyswaps. Soft skills are incredibly important, but can be difficult to teach and assess using traditional training methods, especially over the past year. We’re thrilled to be able to help Bodyswaps scale this content among organisations while providing data-driven insights.”

Christophe Mallet, chief executive officer at Bodyswaps, adds: “We are very excited to be working with Immerse to help as many organisations as possible to revolutionise their soft skills training and thrive in a hybrid working world. Looking towards a future in which colleagues spend less time in the same physical space, soft skills will be even more vital to enable teams to communicate and collaborate effectively.”

HTC Vive ISVs and partners build on hardware releases - Axon

Axon, the developer of connected public safety technologies and best known for producing the Taser, launched its first wireless virtual reality training simulator. It will provide immersive virtual reality content that can help law enforcement officers develop critical thinking, de-escalation and tactical skills.

The simulator provides premium content and allows trainees to work through complex scenarios that have been refined and validated by a network of first responders and subject matter experts.

One of the first training modules included at launch will cover domestic violence. It allows officers to actually talk and walk through the scenario as they would in the field, with feedback from trainers and supervisors, allowing them to practice more and enhance their skills, better preparing them for the situations they encounter each day.

Vive Focus 3 will play a key role, enabling both in-person and remote experiences and creating an on-demand platform that can be accessed anytime instead of at a designated training facility.

Axon’s simulator training will also integrate the Taser 7 device and training handguns, so officers can use real hardware in the virtual world, creating muscle memory and familiar responses in the most critical high-risk situations while leveraging a fully-immersive environment.

The Phoenix Police Department will be the first agency to adopt Axon’s new simulator into its existing training curriculum.

Rick Smith, chief executive officer and founder of Axon, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, USA, says in the announcement: “Officers on patrol frequently encounter individuals in crisis. Through the use of this breakthrough simulator, we are able to fully immerse officers into common situations, helping prepare them for a number of different variables with an emphasis on de-escalation.”

“Our mission has always been to protect life, and by giving law enforcement the ability to work through the situations they see in the field daily, we can help create outcomes that are better for everyone.”

Axon is currently accepting orders for the simulator and will ship to US customers in Q3 2021.

Immersive VR Education announced that its Engage virtual reality collaboration and education solution, which is sold as Vive Sessions in China and part of Vive XR Suite, will be included in the software bundle that comes with Vive Focus 3.

HTC, which owns a 20% stake in Immersive VR Education, has also partnered with HP to roll out Vive Sessions on new HP ProBook laptops sold inside China.

Engage is proving extremely popular for education and enterprise use, two primary targets for Vive Focus 3, and has reached the milestone of 100 commercial customers following its launch in May 2019.

Alvin Wang Graylin, China president at HTC, says in the announcement: “HTC believes strongly in the potential of virtual events platforms to transform business, learning and entertainment. We have held both our major events this week, ViveCon and V2EC, in the Engage/Vive Sessions platform, enabling tens of thousands of people to have an interactive spatial experience without leaving their homes or getting on a plane.”

“We are excited to be bundling a three-month free licence of the Vive Sessions product as part of the Vive XR Suite with every new Vive Pro 2 and Vive Focus 3 device that has just launched.”

David Whelan, chief executive officer of Immersive VR Education, adds: “The launch of Vive Focus 3 is the trigger for increased marketing and business development from HTC as part of our partnership, and we expect the take-up of Vive Sessions to increase.”

“We believe these announcements represent a major step in our China rollout. China is the fastest-growing immersive market in the world. We look forward to the many exciting opportunities on the horizon.”

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Images: Agora, Immerse, Bodyswaps, Axon, Immersive VR Education, HTC Vive