The WebVR Incubator is almost at its end. We started the project to help the WebVR community grow, work with talented web developers and learn from each other. It helped us understand what challenges WebVR developers face and on what we should focus on when building a WebVR browser. It was inspiring to see how diverse the usage of WebVR could be – from WebVR UI frameworks, WebVR storytelling to WebVR Visual tools (VRandus).
This is the second blog post in the series featuring two teams developing WebVR authoring tools. We already talked about VRandus who are developing the next generation of WordPress (WebVR Visual Editor). Now, we will tell you more about Uptale – the only team, participating remotely in the WebVR Incubator.
Uptale aims at transforming the training and learning sector through WebVR. VR is a technology that can have a tremendous effect over how we learn and comprehend complex problems. Imagine if teachers were able to create their own immersive experience in а few clicks. For example, a math professor could easily visualize segments and intersection point in stereometry with the help of VR. It would be more natural to learn about the Paleolithic age by transferring yourself into a 360 scene instead of just reading about it. The problem that prevented immersive learning from becoming widespread was that building VR experiences required deep technical knowledge and cost a lot. Uptale’s WebVR authoring tool resolves the problem by lifting the barriers for non-technical creators.
Last February, the team launched a Beta of their WebVR authoring tool that allows educators and trainers to create interactive 360 VR experiences without writing code. Since then, the team has focused on improving it through working with large companies such as L’Oreal, Danone, LVMH and Vinci Energies, and learning about their training process and needs.
The team was happy to send us more information about their project:
Can you introduce yourself as a team?
We are four co-founders:
Seb: I am Sébastien, 33. I previously worked as Lead Engineer at Microsoft for eight years with David. I am CTO at Uptale.
Aurélie: I am Aurélie, 29, I used to work with large enterprises to help them transform digitally. I am the VP of Business Development & Pedagogy.
David: I am 33, French, I used to work at Microsoft for eight years as a lead engineer. I am the CEO of Uptale
Dwayne: I am Dwayne, serial entrepreneur. My last company was a Creative Agency, which I have founded and managed for six years. I am VP of Sales & Marketing at Uptale
What do you think about WebVR as a technology?
Uptale: WebVR is a very accessible technology for both developers and end users. It offers maximum agility for VR and real scalability potential as all browsers have accepted to implement it. One big advantage is that it is not a proprietary language or platform, which makes it a safe bet for the future as it won’t take part in the market war (Samsung, Oculus, HTC Vive, Sony...).
The downside of WebVR as an open standard may be the velocity on two sides. First, the different browsers take time to implement the standard and don’t always communicate their plans. Second, defining a new standard for a new capability takes way longer than building and shipping it on a proprietary platform.
How will it develop in the next years?
Uptale: Our hope is that WebVR will slowly but surely deliver every features the VR world expect and, at some point, become the one right place for Virtual Reality.
How did you decide to develop for Virtual Reality?
Uptale: We wanted to work on an exciting technology to enhance human learning, and VR was the right choice for us. We went to Laval Virtual, one of the biggest trade show about VR in France, and we found several companies offering sophisticated and costly solutions to address the needs of the education and learning industry. We, therefore, decided to start working on a much more accessible way to create and broadcast immersive pedagogical VR experience.
Why did you choose to develop with WebVR?
- We are building an entirely web and cloud based solution because we want our content to be easily accessible from anywhere with any device. When a company decides to make a new immersive learning experience available to all its employee, all it has to do is send them the URL. Trainees will then be able to visualize it on whichever device they’re using.
- Virtual Reality democratization is something very recent and, even today, we do not know which technologies and frameworks will survive in the near future, and which ones will become real standards. WebVR is a specification initiated by Mozilla and getting implemented by all of the popular modern desktop & mobile browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Edge, etc.), but also by VR headset browsers (Oculus, HTC Vive, etc.). There is also a big community of developers building on top of WebVR APIs. For these reasons, we believe that WebVR is a pretty safe bet for the future.
- Most of the Learning Management Systems (LMS) that corporations use are compliant with any Web experience. That makes our immersive learning modules easily pluggable into the system already in place in the company.
Tell us more about your current project with WebVR?
Uptale: We currently have two activities:
- We want to evangelize the Education & Training market about Immersive Learning, thus we produce experiences for big companies such as L’Oreal, Danone, LVMH or Vinci Energies. We’ve started in such a way so we could use our authoring tool ourselves and make it grow, being in the shoes of our future clients.
- Our second, and main activity, is to provide a 360 VR interactive WebVR authoring tool, to let trainers, teachers, and learning organizations create their own immersive experience in few clicks.
How long have you been working on it?
Uptale: We’ve been working on it for a year, and launching the beta version of the 360 VR authoring tool in February 2017.
What is your vision for the future development of your project?
Uptale: We are going to embark more cognitive services and technologies in our platform in the future.
What was your incentive to join?
Uptale: It’s the first time we see an incubator related to WebVR with great mentors and the ability to join it remotely. We wanted to be connected to a community to resolve common issue and challenges.
Define WebVR in one word
Author: Gabriela G, Twitter