Over the last year, the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab and OMERS Ventures have been working on a study in an effort to understand Canada’s VR ecosystem.
That study, called Pulse on VR, has officially launched to coincide with VRTO, which celebrated the best of emerging VR tech from Canada and around the world. Ana Serrano, chief digital officer of the CFC, presented the results in a keynote to end the conference.
“Pulse on VR reached more than 200 companies across Canada employing almost 1,400 people working on VR projects,” said Serrano. “Of these 1,400 employees, more than four in 10 are working for companies focused solely on VR products. We know there is a growing industry here and this is just the start. Pulse on VR will help us track the evolution of this industry. It will provide us with the insights to see how the public and private sectors can work together to ensure Canada creates and retains its competitive advantages in this immersive media sector.”
???????? We're hanging out at #VRTO today, taking a trip back in time to 35 yrs of VR ???????? pic.twitter.com/ZFXKIZXVTC
— WomenWhoCodeTO (@WomenWhoCodeTO) June 25, 2017
The study, which was executed by Nordicity and supported by FedDev Ontario, focused on the VR ecosystem in five Canadian provinces, with additional insights gathered from California.
It provides a snapshot of areas like VR employment, the use of VR, and VR content creators, and allows users to make comparisons between regions. Eighty-three percent of companies in Canada are currently working in the entertainment sector, though generally, many VR companies (85 percent) are optimistic about the sector becoming more mainstream in the next five years. Currently, sixty-seven percent of VR customers are the general public, with VR enthusiasts and businesses coming in second and third place.
“As we start to map out who’s in VR, we’re going to start to map out who’s in AR… and it’s critical to understand that ecosystem.”
– Ana Serrano
“While the VR sector is in the early stages of its development, many Canadian startups, especially in the content and services segment, are building strong global brands,” said Prashant Matta, senior associate of OMERS Ventures. “Over the next few years, we expect an increasing level of startup activity in applications beyond entertainment.”
The study also identifies challenges to VR adoption, with the top roadblocks including maturity of the market, availability of private and public financing, and the rate of consumer adoption.
While presenting the study’s findings at VRTO, Serrano indicated that the importance of understanding Canada’s VR landscape is in seeing Canada’s overall ecosystem as immersive.
“VR is just a very lucrative goldmine, essentially,” said Serrano. “As we start to map out who’s in VR, we’re going to start to map out who’s in AR… and it’s critical to understand that ecosystem. Even if it might not necessarily be as big as AI, that’s the front end to what a lot of the AI stuff will be like. We need to understand who’s who in that space, what they’re doing, and how we start integrating that ecosystem into larger ecosystems that we’ll start doubling down on.”
The study is ongoing, and is open to both new and return participants to join and update their data, thereby contributing to an accurate, comprehensive snapshot of the evolving field. The next round of data will be shared in Fall 2017.
View and contribute to the entire study here.