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New Kiwi VR/AR Association launched to attract billion-dollar investment

New Zealand virtual reality and augmented reality industry may now get a much-needed boost, as a new association has been launched with the aim of attracting billions of dollars worth of investment in the area.

Inaugral Chair Matt Coleman launched the New Zealand Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality Association (NZVR/AR Association) today, how the charter will help those in the industry collaborate, upskill, connect to others across the globe and attract investment for their initiatives.

Coleman is also the founder of Magnify, a startup and tenant in Auckland's VR/AR Garage. He believes the VR and AR market across the Asia Pacific is set for a huge boom and may be worth $40 billion in the next five years alone.

“Within the next five years virtual and augmented reality will change the way people live, work and play. Apart from the obvious entertainment applications, VR/AR will impact every industry including transport, healthcare, military, banking, real estate, human resources, education, manufacturing and transport. The list goes on," he says.

As chair of the new Association, Coleman will help run operations with the help of Kevin Sheehy from Genulin Interactive Healthcare. So far Association members include VR/AR company Sphvre, Converse AI TAG the Agency, Reality Virtual, Staples Productions, Stargate Interactive and more.

“New Zealand has the entrepreneurs and highly skilled digital specialists who can deliver the VR/AR experience to all these industries. Our association will accelerate investment and job growth in the country’s VR/AR industry by connecting all the players together," Coleman says.

Coleman believes that Pokemon Go has demonstrated what augmented reality is, however there's much more to it than just gaming, with many local initiatives going on right in our own backyard.

Those activities include Sky City's augmented reality feature. The feature encouraged Sky Tower visitors to scan the horizon and find hidden towers or statues around the world.

Visitors to Auckland and Christchurch Westfield malls also had the opportunity to experience the Green Fairy Adventure for children through VR Oculus goggles.

“Virtual reality is a game changer in healthcare and education, where people can be immersed in the human body to understand it and explore disease," adds Sheehy.

“This is just the beginning. Soon this industry will explode and like smartphones it will be hard to remember a world without VR and AR in our everyday lives.”

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