The immense space that the Enversed Virtual Reality Experience Center has on the 7th floor of the Veemgebouw (Strijp -S in Eindhoven) is not only amazing to see. It is also the only location for Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality (VR, AR, MR) in the world that is specifically designed for (business) visits, said Tim van der Grinten, one of the founders.
“The entire floor, a total of 3000m2, must become one big living lab where companies, educational institutions or other organizations can use our concept. Ultimately, we want to realize the brilliant combination of technology and social interaction and franchise that concept abroad,” he says ambitiously. In any case, they have a term: “Social VR, that’s what we are going to develop here.”
“Of course, there are people who are active with this technology and are interacting with it. That is why we are looking for our own voice.”Tim van der Grinten, Enversed
The (virtual) bar is certainly not low at Enversed. Especially considering that the company has only been active for a year. But the team, which now consists of ten permanent employees and 25 flexible workers, has a vision; ‘to create an ecosystem for an immersive (captivating) experience’. Or, as Van der Grinten explains: “We do not only want to offer a mono-system of arcades, but within such an environment we add the connection of business and culture.” That idea was partly due to necessity, he says. “Initially we wanted to start with the design and execution of our own projects, but of course they should be pre-financed. And we especially wanted to remain independent. So we thought that we could double our income; firstly, from projects, and secondly, from lectures and interaction with companies.” In addition, there is another advantage, says Van der Grinten: “This is how we stay grounded. If you are only interested in stocks and shares and in your own field of work, you will lose touch with reality.”
So Enversed started with an innovative concept for ‘Social VR’. Businesses and other organizations can use their virtual supplies for legitimate purposes, such as team building, training, brainstorming sessions, hackathons or events and congresses. It works on both sides, it seems. “Companies can use VR, AR and MR in our spaces to deal with social procedures in a different, innovative way. And because they do this, we learn more about how those technologies can play a part in those procedures,” explains Van der Grinten. No, this concept is not unique, he acknowledges. “Of course, there are people who are using this technology and are interacting with it. That is why we are looking for our own voice, our individual character as a company. The Brainport ecosystem certainly helps. That very open method of cooperation is really valuable at this stage of our development. So far, we have been introverted in finding our own expertise, but now we are committed to making connections with other VR companies in the area. Finally, we also want to build international branches. For this we are working together with students in the Enversed Academy.”
24 hour meet
Alongside these connections, Enversed is now opening themselves up to other companies in the Brainport region. For example, through lectures and introductory sessions. They are very busy with this at the moment, says Van der Grinten, while the first of a total of eighty guests enter on behalf of 24 hour meet (24 hours in operation). First, he tells the story of Enversed to this mixed group of SMEs before they themselves can experience what is possible here (professionally) with VR. His enthusiasm is contagious, especially when he gets started on the future possibilities: “AR will quickly become outdated, we are heading in the direction of MR. For example, with transparent glasses so you can watch each other while the digital environment is visible around you. We expect a breakthrough in this in about two or three years.” It seems to be, for the time being, too abstract for those present. It is time then to experience the current possibilities with an easily accessible virtual archery game. For 24 hours in operation this is a great way to ‘involve members in the developments that exist’, says director David van Iersel. “From the care sector to creative industries, there is always a common thread; keep innovating. This living lab of Enversed is a great place to try it.”