Virtual Reality

Vertex Wireless Creates Virtual Reality Applications to Improve User Experience

Vertex Wireless is a mobile distribution and solutions provider based in Chicago, Illinois. They distribute service and warehouse parts for nearly every original equipment manufacturer (OEM) in North America, however, 90 percent of their distribution is with Samsung products. As a Samsung partner since 2007, they provide custom provisioning and firmware, specialized device based solutions and they are an authorized service provider.

As devices became more commoditized, Vertex Wireless recognized a need for customization and application development. In 2014, they acquired Conversa Solutions, a leading engineering and software development firm. This brought Android engineering and virtual reality application development in-house, allowing Vertex Wireless to provide a more dedicated, robust user experience for this growing content medium.

Showing VR Content Should be Easy

Preparing a large number of phones for a VR demonstration to a large audience or tradeshow can be extremely cumbersome, especially when time is tight. Each individual device will needs to be checked that it has the right apps, is loaded with the content and is individually tested. For many organizations, this can be very time consuming and if the viewer has a bad experience — it’s a wasted effort.

Vertex Wireless offers ezVR, a software and device provisioning stack created to simplify the end user VR experience. It does this by providing complete control over the mobile device, synchronizing the experience across multiple devices and gives the ability to run them from anywhere in the world.

By setting up the Samsung technology to operate as a VR-specific device, ezVR can devote 100 percent of the system resources to VR playback. They strip out all other functionality out of the phone, so it is unable to make calls or send text messages. Since VR content itself, especially 360 video, can involve playing large and resource-intensive files, it’s important that the technology isn’t overloaded with other tasks. ezVR can leverage efficiency to make video run smoother, reduce overheating on legacy devices and prolong battery life.

When working with the Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus, pushing accidental buttons can be distracting for new users. They might unintentionally bring up a menu, pause the video or even exit out of the app. With ezVR, users can disable any or all buttons on the control or the VR headset. The device firmware is designed to load any custom, branded apps immediately as the phone is placed into the headset, eliminating all other distractions.

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ezVR gives the administrator control to start, stop, pause, fast-forward, rewind or adjust the volume on as many as thousands of devices, over the air, from any remote location. This can decrease the amount of on sight staff needed to facilitate an experience or demonstrate VR content to large audiences.

Beyond this, devices can be easily synchronized to deliver an experience at the exact same time, even remotely. In one instance, a training facilitator could be showing instructional 360 video to viewers in their New York and Los Angeles offices, while controlling the experience from Chicago. With these capabilities, companies can run interactive presentations, hold meetings or run trainings no matter where their clients or employees are.

Finally, it can be hard to predict how content will display once it’s finished. ezVR solves this problem by allowing admin to see a mirror image of a user’s device, letting them track what users are seeing and looking at in the headset in real time.

Why Work With Vertex Wireless?

When distributing VR content, there are a mind-boggling number of devices, headsets and software platforms to choose from. No two are alike, and not every platform works for every use case. Organizations have the challenge of finding devices that are compatible with their content, and demonstration solutions with long-term reliability.

As a distributor and provisioning solutions provider, Vertex Wireless is able to offer a turnkey solution that gives organizations a seamless, optimized integration experience. As a partner of Samsung with deep knowledge of Android development, they bring an increased level of VR expertise. Furthermore, working with an outside company can help companies to decrease overhead costs.

The Future of ezVR

Vertex Wireless has ambitious plans for ezVR, including a content management portal, which allows customers to upload content to the cloud for distribution to headsets. They also see ezVR being a boon to content creators, who will be able to utilize the platform to increase repeat business when organizations have the need for new or updated content.

More than anything, their goal is to help create a better experience for the VR end user. The VR industry is still evolving as a mainstream medium, and by removing these roadblocks to distribution, ezVR will help more organizations properly generate effective 360 video content.

Ready to get started with your own VR content? Dive into our Ultimate Guide to 360 Video Production for a full walkthrough of 360 content creation, from pre-production to post.

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Matt Rowell

Matt Rowell is the president and co-founder of 360 Labs, a VR production company based in Portland, Oregon, specializing in cinematic quality 360 content creation for brands and enterprise since 2014. As an accomplished digital media producer with over a decade of experience as a professional photographer and 15 years as a web developer, he works to help organizations realize their goals in the VR space. Follow Matt on Twitter: @MattRowellPDX

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