Home Business News London VR start-up launch targets $15.5bn market

London VR start-up launch targets $15.5bn market

by Peter Smyth Tech Journalist
18th Jul 19 7:53 am

Gravity Sketch, a London based tech start-up, has today launched the first portable version of its immersive 3D sketching and collaboration tool. Gravity Sketch 1.7 comes after the release of Facebook’s new Oculus Quest, which makes an all-in-one solution for creatives sketching in virtual reality possible. Designers can now collaborate remotely on the same 3D sketch in real-time from anywhere in the world.

The company, based in Brixton, is seeking to transform how professional designers work, particularly in the automotive, consumer goods, and entertainment industries. CEO and co-founder Oluwaseyi Sosanya sees today’s 3D design process as broken.

“The vast majority of ideas are 3D: our cars, homes, clothing, entertainment. However, we start our initial creation process in 2D with pen and paper.” But moving from a 2D representation to a digital 3D model is a complex process involving multiple parties and often results in miscommunication and the duplication of work, Oluwaseyi said.

“Due to time constraints and poor communication, many compromises must be made.”

Gravity Sketch aims to solve these pain points through a connected creative platform that allows design and engineering teams to create, collaborate and communicate together in 3D in real-time. Users can transition seamlessly between computing platforms, including virtual reality, desktop, tablet and mobile devices to create digital 3D assets. These assets can then be exported and imported directly into CAD (computer-aided design) software for rendering and finishing touches.

The relationship between Gravity Sketch and Oculus is a crucial one for realising this vision.

Oluwaseyi said, “Previously, design teams needed to use purpose built VR studios and VR head-mounted displays tethered to expensive gaming computers in order to use Gravity Sketch.

“With this launch, creatives can leverage the tool and sketch right from their desk or the comfort of their home. You can just pop the headset on and start sketching. It cuts out so many steps for the setup process.”  And because the Oculus Quests costs half the price of a smartphone ($399) “the barrier to adoption has dramatically reduced!” explains Oluwaseyi.

Although Gravity Sketch is an enterprise software, it is now available on Oculus Quest through the Oculus Store for £22.99, which is part of the team’s focus to support the broader creative community with easy accessibility to the tool set. Gravity Sketch is also cross-buy on Oculus, meaning users that purchased it for Oculus Rift will have full access on Oculus Quest. Gravity Sketch is already used by over 50,000 creative professionals and 60 universities worldwide. However, their creative community provides the company with a conduit into enterprise design studios where Gravity Sketch is witnessing increased demand and interest.

This launch extends a growing partnership which saw Oculus feature Gravity Sketch at this year’s F8 (Facebook’s annual developer conference) as one of the first enterprise tools to launch on Oculus Quest through the Oculus for Business programme.

Enterprise clients are currently piloting the new version on Oculus Quest and are already seeing results. Ford Motors has reduced the length of the concept development in the design phases for a vehicle interior and exterior from four months to just 20 hours thanks to Gravity Sketch. Michael Smith, Design Manager at Ford said “we realised we can get ourselves into the mind and virtual body of our customer” adding “because we’re operating on a human scale, we’re designing at a human scale. The vehicle is 1:1”. Gravity Sketch now has several contracted automotive customers, and are speaking with more about the use of Gravity Sketch on the Oculus Quest.

The market opportunity is significant. According to the market intelligence consultancy, EMBS Group, the global VR creation tool market could be worth anywhere from $7.5bn to $15.5bn by 2025. Meanwhile, the global virtual reality headset market is forecast to grow to $38.7bn by 2024 with a CAGR of 41% between this year and 2024 from research conducted by consulting firm Lucintal.

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