#586: Oculus Connect 4 Highlights & BigScreenVR Raises $11 Million

Facebook’s Oculus Connect 4 developer conference happened last week, and I share some of the highlights including my hands-on impression of the standalone Santa Cruz headset, the latest updates from Facebook Spaces, and a number of updates to be delivered later in 2017 and 2018 including a new VR 3DUI called Dash. Dash is built with React VR, and will be providing immersive computing functionality including being able to pin windows applications within the context of VR apps.

darshan-shankarOculus’ Dash functionality is starting to overlap some of the feature set of BigScreenVR, which just raised another $11 million dollars proving that immersive computing may be one of the first real killer apps of VR that could drive adoption. I had a chat with Darshan Shankar, who was optimistic that major companies like Microsoft and Facebook are starting to bake some of these screensharing features within their core functionality since it shows that immersive computing is a compelling use case. Shankar sees screensharing as a legacy feature that is helping BigScreen bootstrap a user base that is willing to have other immersive social experiences in watching movies or other events in VR, and he talks about some of his plans for BigScreen on mobile VR and making BigScreen the goto cross-platform, social VR application.


Here’s the keynote from Oculus Connect 4:

Here’s the Facebook Spaces tour of Puerto Rico that Zuckerberg later apologized for. The tour had a tone-deaf quality that uses the tragedy of Hurricane Maria into a marketing pitch for virtual reality & Facebook Spaces.

During the Oculus Connect keynote, Zuckerberg reiterated that he sees that VR has the potential to provide a more optimistic vision of the future, but at the same time Facebook Spaces has not implemented any way of expressing sad facial expressions. You can use the Oculus Touch joysticks to have your avatar look surprised, shocked, confused, listening, and happy, but they haven’t implemented sadness yet. So having cheery and smiling cartoon avatars take a virtual tour of a disaster area made it clear how big of a disconnect there is between Facebook’s optimistic view on the potential of VR versus the emotional weight and intensity of the harsh reality of the real world.

If Facebook really wants to get a billion people in VR, then they’re going to have to come a long way in telling the story of how VR can get us more present and connected within our mundane realities. Also Facebook will eventually need to eliminate the abstractions in how we express emotions in VR, but they’re going to need to address the many open questions around the privacy of our biometric data and what their plans are to move beyond their existing business models of surveillance-based capitalism.

In my previous interview with BigScreenVR’s Shankar, he told me that BigScreenVR was built with privacy in mind with peer-to-peer encryption, and by not having any information shared or stored on the BigScreenVR’s server. The privacy features of BigScreenVR is a key factor in why it’s been able to be so successful in driving adoption. While Facebook Spaces has a lot of amazing features, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not the permissive and vague privacy protections of Facebook will prove to be a limiting factor towards Facebook’s goal in reaching one billion users in VR>

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Music: Fatality & Summer Trip

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. Hello, my name is Kent Bye, and welcome to the Voices of VR Podcast. So last week was Oculus Connect 4. It's the developer conference for Facebook's Oculus, where they get all the developers together and announce their latest hardware roadmap and talk about the latest and greatest immersive computing platforms. So the big news that came out of Oculus Connect 4 was a couple of new standalone headsets. So we have the Gear VR, which is mobile VR, then we have the Oculus Rift, which is a PC tethered VR, and in the middle you have the standalone headsets. You can kind of think of the existing video game market where you have mobile gaming, console gaming, and PC gaming. And I think there's going to be a similar ecosystem that starts to develop for virtual reality. And Oculus is starting to try to carve out that middle area, which is equivalent to that console quality, but it's more of the standalone, tablet-less headsets. And so it's actually a little bit closer to the mobile VR in terms of performance, at least for right now. So the Oculus Go is the equivalent of taking the Samsung Gear VR and not bothering with all the additional Android related content and so they could just focus everything for virtual reality and give a great standalone experience. They weren't actually showing any demos of the Oculus Go but it should be coming out sometime next year and the developer kits should be sent out in November and the price point is around $199. John Carmack was talking about his use of how he's been using this Oculus Go headset and he says that it makes a huge difference if you're able to take off a headset and put it on and you just resume right where you left off. And so if you were watching a movie or playing a game then it will pause and then you can jump out of VR and jump back into it. So if you want to do a quick contact switch. So Carmack was just talking about the importance of trying to reduce the steps and the friction of you getting into virtual reality then the other thing that they had announced and that I had a chance to actually demo was the Santa Cruz demo, which is a 6-degree-of-freedom headset. It's also a self-contained headset. I think it's probably got a little bit more beefier processor. It's got four cameras on the front and it's got 6-degree-of-freedom hand track controllers. And it did an amazing job of being able to track my hands. I think if I were to put at the extent of my hands just beyond my peripheral vision, it started to lose tracking. For any normal use case, when you have your hands in front of you, I think it's going to account for a lot of the different applications for virtual reality. So that was the thing that I was most concerned about is that, you know, were you able to have a good hand tracked experience? And I think that it was actually a lot better than I was expecting. The thing is, is that the processing power for that type of experience was just slightly better than a mobile VR experience. Nowhere as near as a good of quality as a PC VR. So Mark Zuckerberg announced the goal for Facebook that they want to get a billion people in virtual reality. And I think that they're going to start to do that by focusing on these standalone headsets. It starts to put into question a little bit in terms of, you know, there was more emphasis on the standalone than the Samsung Gear VR. I expect at the Samsung conference that's coming up here, that Samsung may be announcing their own standalone headset and Samsung's also releasing their own Samsung Odyssey headset, which is going to be a Windows Mixed Reality headset. So Samsung may have their own trajectory and path into VR, and I'm not sure how much Facebook wants to rely upon Samsung to be able to bootstrap their entire strategy of getting people to a billion headsets. That said, at this point, I'm having a little difficulty seeing the specific applications that are going to drive adoption of virtual reality above and beyond people already having a cell phone and be able to do a drop-in, something like the Samsung Gear VR. They did announce a new thing called Dash, which is the equivalent of being able to bring up your computing resources within your user interface for Oculus Rift. So that's the PC-based. Didn't announce anything equivalent for either the Oculus Go or Santa Cruz. This was what Nate Mitchell went through in his portion of the keynote. But the idea is that they want to turn your computer into more of an immersive computing platform and make it easier to pin applications into this immersive space. So this is something that BigScreenVR has been working on as well. And I had a chance to catch up with Darshan Shankar at Oculus Connect to talk about what he thought about these announcements. Generally, he thought that it was great because it's just a validation that this path that he's been working on for the past three years that the major companies from like Oculus and Facebook and even the partnership that big screen has with them does mixed reality is that it's just showing that this is a compelling use case for virtual reality. So we'll be diving into why Darshan thinks that this type of interface into your immersive computing platform is one of the killer apps of virtual reality. But if I take a step back and look at the Oculus Connect 4 and the announcements that were made, most of the other announcements that were made were things that weren't actually launching right away, which I found a little bit odd and strange. It was a developer conference, so you would expect that as the developers are all coming together, they would want to have ready all these new features for the developers to go off and start building with. Most of the new features that they were being announced were being delayed into, you know, launched either later this year or into next year. So that was everything from, like, new avatars or Live 360 coming to Facebook Spaces or Facebook Venues. All these features that they're giving a sneak peek of, but they weren't ready to launch, which I found a little bit weird. The other thing that they were featuring and talking about there, which I had a chance to try out, was the Facebook Spaces update. That came out back in April and they've announced a lot of new features and functionality that they were rolling out with some demos that they were showing at Oculus Connect 4. And I got to say that the functionality has come quite a long way in terms of all the different things that you're able to do. And if anything, the Facebook spaces is a great way to jump in and start to do some immersive computing and communication, being able to have like drawing tools and bringing in like 360 photos. And, you know, they were showing a demo of being able to go to a live 360 video, but it just was a great platform to be able to hang out with other people and to explore immersive media. Now, one thing that I noticed that was a little weird is that they have the emotions abstracted in a way that if you want to give facial expressions, you have to actually push a combination of the two joysticks on the controllers, and that will give you different facial expressions. But that's a level of abstraction such that I think it's going to be a little bit difficult for you to make the connection to push these different combinations in order to express different emotions, especially when you can't necessarily even see that you're doing it. So the other thing that was a little strange was that there was no way to be sad in virtual reality. And I wanted to play some quotes here from Mark Zuckerberg, because overall, it seems like Facebook is trying to invest and go all in in virtual reality. But there's, I don't know, something's a little bit off when I hear Mark Zuckerberg talk about virtual reality. And I just wanted to play these clips here.

[00:07:46.714] Darshan Shankar: Virtual reality is about imagining the world as it could be. And last year, we talked about how VR can put people first and put us at the center of the experience more than any other computing platform out there. And that's because VR is unique in creating this sense of presence, like you're right there with another person or in another place. Whenever people say that we're building virtual reality because we're not satisfied with the one we live in, my answer is, of course we are. And that's a good thing. And we believe that the future can be a lot better. Optimism is good. Now, it's true that nothing is ever going to replace being with someone in person or doing something physical. But when we can experience those things, when we run up against the limits of reality, VR is going to make our reality that much better. So we're setting a goal. We want to get a billion people in virtual reality.

[00:09:02.951] Kent Bye: So for me, when I hear that, I personally don't think that it's a great argument to give to people to say to them that we're creating a better, more optimistic world in virtual reality. And that's going to be, you know, some ways better than our real reality. I think in some aspects that can be technically true, but on the whole, my experience with VR is that the more that I do VR, the more that I get present to what it means to be living in reality, and that the more I want to be engaged in reality, but also use virtual reality to get into these flow states that help cultivate a deeper sense of being present within these virtual worlds, but also coming back into real reality and being super present. So just the framing of we're going to go into virtual reality and create a better and more optimistic world, but yet we're not going to give you the ability to have a sad emoji within virtual reality. To me, that just shows the lack of emotional depth and presence that the company has in terms of their overall strategy. It calls into question for me, what are they doing in terms of advocating that? How do they think that this is going to be necessarily a compelling argument for people to escape their lives and come into a better world with virtual reality? Part of the context of leading up to this Oculus Connect 4 conference was that Mark Zuckerberg went on a Facebook Spaces live stream in virtual reality where they took a virtual tour of Puerto Rico. And what was odd was that they were taking this tour in VR and kind of talking about it as a product pitch for the Facebook spaces, but doing it in the context of, you know, the tragedy that happened with a hurricane down in Puerto Rico and they actually do like a high five in virtual reality at one point and it just was a little tone deaf and the fact that they were just casually talking about this experience and saying it like as if they were there saying this is just like we're there I think that they would have had a whole other experience if they had actually been there. I think that the weight of the situation would have carried a lot more emotional intensity. And I think that the lack of ability to express somber, sad emotions in VR with these kind of cheery cartoons within virtual reality, it just was this disconnect between the depth of emotional presence that is really required in that situation and what can be conveyed through the technology visually, but also they weren't really embodying that level of empathy. So I think that was coloring the context under which some of these discussions were happening. So to me, it just is a little bit more concerning because there's all sorts of issues with privacy within virtual reality that I haven't heard a lot of addressing of these larger issues. And last I had an interview with Nate Mitchell back at GDC and talking to him a little bit about that. But, you know, there wasn't anything that was presented at this Def Outlook conference that gave me any indication that Facebook is trying to be forward looking about some of the privacy concerns that may be happening, having more and more of our body put into virtual reality. So I think we'll have to wait and see whether or not these standalone headsets are going to find a niche market and a use case to really be compelling enough for people to buy. It sounds like that the Gear VR and the Oculus Go are going to be binary equivalent. So anything that you can run on the Gear VR, you're going to be able to run on the Oculus Go. And that the next generation of the Santa Cruz is going to be Stuff that you could do maybe in your living room and you probably have to have like a room scale space that's pretty cleared out so that you can start to do some of these more, you know, room scale tetherless applications. Not having a tether and a cord makes a huge difference when it comes to the depth of embodied presence that you can have. And it's more of a question of what kind of applications are you going to be able to do that's going to be super interesting and engaging. So I'm excited to see what developers are going to be able to start to develop in that way. But I think that the Santa Cruz will be maybe having a developer version sometime in 2018, but they didn't give any specific launch date beyond that. So with that, I'm going to jump into this interview that I did with Darshan Shankar about Big Screen VR, which is an application where you have access to all of your computer resources. And it's a social app, but also a lot of people have been using it to watch movies and hang out with each other as they play 2D video games. So they just raised another round of $11 million and have lots of grand plans for expansion. So, this interview with Darshan happened on Wednesday, October 11th, 2017 at the Oculus Connect 4 conference in San Jose, California. So, with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:14:03.477] Darshan Shankar: My name is Darshan. I'm the founder and CEO of Bigscreen. We make a virtual reality application for the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets. The application's a bit hard to describe in words. We've been on the podcast before. But we build some sort of collaboration, productivity, computing application. It allows you to put on your VR headset and consume a lot of content that you already love. So you can watch your favorite movies in VR. You can watch your favorite TV shows, YouTube. You can play your favorite PC video games in VR. But it's also collaborative and social, allowing you to hang out in a virtual living room or in a movie theater with your friends, regardless of what headset they're wearing. It's completely cross-platform. You get to hang out and do all of these activities with them. You get to hang out with your co-workers and collaborate, all in a shared space. So there isn't quite really a word that captures what BigScreen does, but that's what we do.

[00:14:51.113] Kent Bye: Well, I think of it as a spatial computing interface, because we are able to use a virtual reality headset and have access to all of your computer programs on your PC. So anything that you can do on a PC, you can do in BigScreen. So it seems like a lot of people are watching 2D movies or playing 2D video games and it's a way for them to collaborate and hang out with their friends and to be able to do things that they would do with their friends if they were together. The thing that I'm really curious about is what are the things that are coming for us to really take advantage of the unique affordances of this spatial computing paradigm. Right now, we just have a mouse and keyboard interface to the computer. Are there, like, conversational interfaces? Are there ways that we can start to do, like, intermediary ways of doing volumetric hand movements that somehow get translated into these 2D programs? And so, just curious to hear what you have cooking up at Big Screen VR.

[00:15:44.110] Darshan Shankar: I think it's a combination of everything. It's all of the above, where we are working on some conversational stuff. We released a voice-based experiment a while ago, allowing you to open up different environments to do kind of micro actions that are really fast, where picking up a controller just in order to do something really quick is actually a lot of friction, takes a lot of time, and might not be as intuitive as just talking or saying something. We do a bit of gaze-based stuff. We do physical interactions where you're grabbing buttons, poking them, interacting with actual objects. And we also work with the keyboard and mouse, because for each use case, you want something different. When you're sitting in a movie theater, you don't actually need to use your keyboard and mouse in order to perform an action. That's actually quite limiting. That's a very old way of doing things. But you might just want to quickly say something and say, like, turn on the lights, or change the channel, or open Netflix. But if you are working, if you're using big screen as a productivity collaboration tool for you and your co-workers to sit side by side and do a code review or a design review, you want your keyboard there. You don't want to type by verbally talking out every character of a piece of code and it would be impossible to use a conversational interface to design something in Photoshop. So it's all of the above. I don't necessarily think of it as one or the other. It just depends on the use case that we're designing for. And today, a lot of our time and energy is actually being spent towards video content consumption socially. So big screen does allow you to pull up your desktop, which allows you to do everything. But we are laser focusing in on a few of our core use cases that people are spending a lot of time doing today. Movie watching is a big piece, and we'll have a lot more announcements about that over the next six or 12 months. And for that, when we're tailoring it just for that experience, the way we do our environment design, the way we do our interface design, and how we approach a problem is very much tailored for that. So you'll see a lot more voice-based stuff, you'll see a lot more rapid interactions, maybe even gaze-based, that don't require you to use a keyboard and mouse.

[00:17:39.572] Kent Bye: And what about WebVR? Because I feel like there's things that I want to see or do and hang out with other people in a WebVR experience and be able to volumetrically pull in. But are you going to take a WebVR approach or are you going to take an SDK approach where you're going to allow other people to bring in other volumetric interactions and objects so that they can start to have different things that are happening within the context of the shared space?

[00:18:03.023] Darshan Shankar: There's two things. WebVR is super interesting for a wide variety of reasons. First of all, distribution, being able to rapidly send something to somebody, the ability to rapidly create things that don't have a high barrier of entry to actually, like, content creation. There's a lot of interesting things about WebVR. It's still very early, but it's very, very promising. There are two ways in which WebVR is applicable to big screen. The first way it's applicable is in you being able to invite somebody or share your experience while you're in our higher-end application to other headsets or non-VR users or whatever it may be. So right now we work on all the high-end PC headsets. Over the next 6 to 12 months we'll be on all the standalone headsets that was just announced this morning. We'll be on the mobile VR headsets like the Gear VR and all that as well. And we want to make it easy for people to be able to invite a friend into their experience to watch a movie together, to collaborate, to have a meeting, whatever the use case is. For that, it might be very easy to send a WebVR link to somebody. That gives them a quick kind of lower fidelity version of big screen so they can quickly just get to see what you're talking about, and perhaps later transition into downloading the full application, the full suite, if it's convenient or if they need that. So that's one use case where perhaps you have a coworker that you just want to quickly hang out with in big screen. And having them put on their Rift and use our main high-end application might be a lot of friction. And a quick WebVR link on their phone might be the fastest way for them to jump right into big screen. That's one way. The second way in which WebVR is applicable to big screen is WebVR content consumption while you're still in BigScreen with other people. So WebVR could be used as a way of collaboratively consuming that WebVR experience together with people that you're in a BigScreen room with, because we are building some browser-based technologies. A lot of what we do is C++, C-sharp, but there's also a lot of web components in what we do. And we want to have a web browser that, in addition to your desktop, in addition to a lot of the other pieces that we're building, we want you to have a browser that you can interactively open up any web content. And if it's web VR content, we want to handle that in a more seamless manner. So perhaps you put on the headset, you'd load up a web VR web page. Now you're inside that environment, inside that world, running those scripts. This is definitely a bit longer term for us. This is not something we're going to be releasing next week or even next month. But it's something that's very interesting.

[00:20:20.758] Kent Bye: Yeah, I'm curious to hear your thoughts on both Oculus Dash but also Windows Mixed Reality. It seems like that the Windows operating system is going to be building in a lot of these immersive and spatial computing metaphors within the context of how they are building their operating system. And BigScreen is something that is built on top of Windows and is a separate application. And so it seems like a lot of this is going to be released for everybody who has an Oculus Rift and potentially everybody who has Windows Mixed Reality and the Windows operating system. So how are the ways that BigScreen VR is going to really differentiate itself from a lot of these big companies that are going to be doing the same thing?

[00:20:58.710] Darshan Shankar: So I've always viewed the desktop as our legacy application within the Big Screen platform. It was the way that we built Big Screen and could get started. So if you think about our most popular use case today, it's movie watching in Big Screen. Big Screen is now three years old. If we wanted to jump right to movie watching, we'd have to go and get partnerships with all the movie studios and we'd have to sign licenses that we wouldn't be able to possibly afford and we'd be a tiny company with no reputation so they wouldn't bother doing it. But instead, we built this bridge, this initial bit that allowed people to get the experience and now we have the Well, now we have the funding, the user base. Now we have everything to go and get those licenses, to go and work with movie studios, to do much bigger things, laser focusing in on specific use cases of our platform. But the desktop allowed us to get started. And we also proved why the desktop is very, very useful, why having an infinite window of content makes a lot of sense. But we always knew that single player component, every platform headset vendor was eventually going to do it. They should have done this years ago. And now they're going to do it. And that makes total sense. They need that. That's a basic feature that every headset ought to have. But we're already beyond that as a company. That was just a great place for us to get started. We've been spending the past year moving away from that, but the other piece is also cross-platform. So you're going to have every platform vendor building things for their own platform, but it's not in their interest to build something for the other headsets. So that's why we're actually a launch partner on the Windows Mixed Reality headsets that are coming out in a few days. That's because we work across all the headsets. So you might have a Windows Mixed Reality headset, you might be able to see your desktop and all of your spatial computing content in front of you, but when you want to spend time with somebody on a Vive, how are you going to do that? You're going to use big screen.

[00:22:46.808] Kent Bye: Yeah, and also mobile, which begs the question of whether or not you're going to have access to the operating system of your mobile computing so that you can start to look at a mobile app within the context of a virtual reality experience.

[00:22:58.655] Darshan Shankar: We're not ready to talk about our mobile VR stuff. All I can say is that it's coming. And we've deeply thought about all the different use cases that mobile needs to have. So when you look at BigScreen today, we are not just single player, and we're not just multiplayer. People like to use us sometimes by themselves. Sometimes they want to hang out with somebody. And you kind of blend between the two worlds, multiplayer and single player. Similarly, when we release our mobile VR application, We don't want it to be just multiplayer. We don't want it to be just a dumbed-down viewer where you get to hang out with Rift and Vive users who might have the full functionality and you just get a stripped-down version. That wouldn't be ideal. So we are building a lot of utility and functionality so that the second you put on a mobile VR headset, you'll have some great stuff to do and things to interact with and content to consume, as well as hang out with people on the higher-end headsets.

[00:23:45.458] Kent Bye: So you just raised another $11 million in funding in your small team that could last you a long time, but it sounds like you have a lot of ambitions to expand and grow, but also that you've had certain metrics and numbers that you've been able to prove and show to be able to justify that level of investment because you have an audience that's super engaged. Can you share some of those metrics or data that were able to get your investors so excited to continue to make this big of an investment?

[00:24:13.192] Darshan Shankar: So there's a couple of reasons why we raised all that money. We've now raised $14 million. We've raised a $3 million round recently. The same investors from that $3 million round, Andreessen Horowitz, who are investors in Oculus and True Ventures, led another $11 million investment for two reasons. One, this secures our long-term future. This allows us to pursue our really ambitious goals and ensuring that we'll be around for the next five, 10 years. And the other piece is, yes, we did grow a lot very recently over the past year, and we have some very interesting growth plans over the next six to 12 months because of partnerships and work that's been done over the past year, you're going to see a lot of interesting things come out. The numbers, we can't share all of our numbers, but our core metrics went up 200-300% in the past couple of months. The summer was very good for us. We launched a huge update, the Cinema Update, that revamped a lot of our core technology and our IP. That was a year in the making, and that combined with the price drop off the Rift and all sorts of stuff that was being done, we grew quite a bit. So now we have the average user spending about an hour every time they use BigScreen, which is kind of industry-leading in terms of average session time. And they also use BigScreen on average three times a month, which is very high in terms of re-engagement and retention of users. And the power users are the ones that are most surprising. They are users who spend 20 to 30 hours a week, sometimes 40 hours a week, multiple hours every single day using BigScreen, oftentimes with their best friends, binge-watching TV shows together and hanging out together and playing video games together. Now, we've got an entire cohort of users who have well over 1,000 hours spent in big screen. And I don't think there's a single VR application that can say that. So our investors noticed that, and we're quite excited to reinvest in us.

[00:25:50.625] Kent Bye: What are some of the most interesting, surprising things people are doing in big screen?

[00:25:54.914] Darshan Shankar: There's two really surprising use cases of Big Screen that I never expected. One's college students, and the other are people in long-distance relationships, or at least people that travel quite a bit. College students are using Big Screen as a method of isolating themselves away from distracting roommates in their cramped dorm room with five roommates. They use it as a way to focus and study and to get work done or to just watch Netflix on a big screen without getting interrupted by their roommates. They also use it to hang out with their high school friends, friends that are on the opposite side of the country that don't get to see anymore. You now get to hang out with them and watch a movie together, play video games together, really bringing people closer together that are physically separated. Similar story with people in long-distance relationships or people that travel across the country a lot for work. you now get to have a lot of, we see a lot of movie nights, date nights, where people in long distance relationships watch a movie together. And this is actually a very old use case. People have been doing this outside of VR for a very long time using Skype. And now they're starting to do that in VR as well.

[00:26:53.808] Kent Bye: Great. And finally, what do you think is kind of the ultimate potential of virtual reality and what it might be able to enable?

[00:27:01.540] Darshan Shankar: I think it's along the lines of what we're doing right now, which is to rethink how we use VR and AR headsets for our day-to-day computing, and to bring people closer together, to collaborate together, hang out together, work and play together. I think that's the ultimate potential. It's not necessarily just games. It's not just watching movies together. It's the new computing medium. It's how we're going to do all of our day-to-day computing in the near future.

[00:27:22.727] Kent Bye: OK, great. Well, thank you so much. Thank you. So that was Darshan Shankar. He's the founder of Big Screen VR and they just raised an 11 million dollar round from Andreessen Horowitz. So I have a number of different takeaways about this interview is that first of all some of the key takeaways that I got from Darshan is that they're using the screen sharing as a way to just merely bootstrap their overall application. They're moving from being able to share your screen privately with friends, to be able to play video games, and moving into more of these collective movie-going experiences. They said that if they wanted to get licensing from different films and have different events, then they weren't going to be able to just do that without having proven that they're able to cultivate an audience and have the amount of engagement and users that are finding the application that useful. So it's starting with people who want to already watch movies with their friends or play video games in a social way, and they're leveraging that to create this social application that then kind of expand out into these other immersive computing platforms and use cases. So the other exciting thing is that they're gonna be coming to mobile headsets here coming within the next six months or so Which means that people are able to share these experiences within big screen So they're gonna be expanding from you know, just having four people into having more people so I don't know what the limit is gonna end up being but they're doing this a peer-to-peer encryption technology so that when you're getting information that is shared from somebody's computer, if you're sharing your screen, then you have this kind of encrypted network. And so there's privacy that's built in from the ground up with big screen VR, which I think is actually going to be one of the things that continues to make big screen such an appealing application for people, knowing that they're able to have this private one-on-one communications without it going through anyone else's servers. So the surprising use cases of, you know, having college students be able to use it to study, having them hang out with their friends from high school and having these long distance relationships or people who travel a lot, being able to connect to their partners and family through an application like big screen and hang out with them and be able to maybe watch a movie or something like that. And I'm personally looking forward to seeing more WebVR applications as well as just other tools to improve this spatial computing platform. I think that a big thing that's holding back big screen is the resolution of the different headsets. And maybe with some of these next generation of the Windows Mixed Reality headsets that they're actually going to have like a higher resolution. So it may actually be a little bit easier to read the text on the screen. Darshan said that Big Screen VR is actually a launch partner for Windows Mixed Reality headsets, which are coming out this week. So that should give big screen VR yet another layer of users and adoption and it does seem like they're going to be going after like this cross-platform Use case so that even though each of the other Major headsets are likely going to be building in a lot of the features and of big screen into their operating system like oculus is coming up with dash using their react VR web VR framework and They're gonna be building it in as well as you know I'm sure that Windows Mixed Reality is going to be building in a lot of these immersive computing features within the Windows operating system. Big Screen already has like three years of evolution of the user interface and the users that have been actively using this platform to be able to go in and watch 2D movies, play video games with people, and I think that we're gonna expect to see a lot more business meetings and you know just people going into big screen to be able to either collaborate and co-work with other people or to just focus and really get their work done. And at the end of the Oculus keynote, Michael Abrash was talking about how one of the things that he is the most looking forward to is these productivity applications of being able to actually go into virtual reality and to be able to do his work within VR. I'm also looking forward to that, where I can start to go in into VR and to get into these different flow states and be able to perhaps increase the amount of productivity, have more focus, and get more stuff done. So I'm looking to see how big screen continues to develop as well as how the entire ecosystem of these other companies start to implement some of the similar features so that we can move into this new immersive computing future. So that's all that I have for today. I just wanted to thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast. And if you enjoy the podcast, then please do spread the word, tell your friends, and consider becoming a member to the Patreon. Just a few dollars a month makes a huge difference and allows me to continue to bring you this type of coverage. So you can donate today at patreon.com slash Voices of VR. Thanks for listening.

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