The VR field is growing rapidly and a lot of people are taking their first steps as app developers.
After her talk at VR World Congress 2017, we caught up with Dual Good co-founder Anna Stoilova to talk about the journey of VR app development.
The company has recently developed a CPR training tool that utilises VR technology. What began as a hackathon idea has expanded into a fully-formed application, with the potential to expand into other areas of first-aid training.
So what are Anna’s key takeaways from her experience of VR app development?
“You only need 23 hours to build a prototype”
Everything started with a hackathon in 2016. From start to finish, the company built a working prototype in under 24 hours.
“This wasn’t our first hackathon, it was our third. As an indie developer, we were interested in participating in events like this. Initially we started by participating in game hackathons, and this was our first one that was on the med-tech theme.
We just started try something new and different really
There will be a lot of opportunities in the medical sector. Other than us, I know another person that has a VR app for rehabilitating disabled people and from what I have heard she is doing really well. So, there is definitely potential for investment there.
“It is the natural continuation of VR I think. These apps are taken by NHS and medical training organisations because they are more immersive, they are more engaging. I definitely see a future there. In the same way as flight simulators were not a reality and now they are compulsory. I see the same thing happening with medical apps.”
Flight simulators were not a reality and now they are compulsory. I see the same thing happening with medical apps.
Do you see VR making a move from predominantly entertainment-based to more enterprise focused applications such as training?
“Yes, I am optimistic about that even more than I am optimistic then I am about the VR gaming. Obviously the prices of the headsets at the moment are quite expensive. I am talking about Vive because we are developing for Vive because it allows for full immersion.
“I think businesses are going to take VR first and then it is going to go down to consumers. This is why we are working b2b at the moment.”
“It is never too early to look for investment.
Of course, it depends on the type of investors that you meet.
“I think we were very lucky to find investors that are quite open-minded, but even in our case there were 8 selected accelerated participants and we were the only VR startup. The rest were traditional mobile apps. So even if though there is a lot of potential, some investors may not be as generous.
“It’s ok to not be an expert”
Because VR is relatively young and growing so fast, do you think there is a lot of room for people to put their own stamp on it and not having to go through traditional academic routes?
“I am an example of this because I come from graphic design industry and I have 2 degrees in graphic design. For some reason it was just so much easier to network and meet friendly people and get to know key players in VR. I’m not saying that going and meeting people is everything, but because everyone is learning at the same time, everyone is welcoming
If you analyse and learn as you go, you will be fine!
“As long as you’re smart and analyse what are good and bad habits in VR, what must be done and what shouldn’t be done. If you analyse and learn as you go, you will be fine!”
“Analyse first – build later”
“It’s good to be lean and agile. I think it’s quite key to be lean because it all comes down to investment and resources.
It is similar to building a mobile app, in that a lot of people spend massive resources in creating a product that actually doesn’t have a market. There is a potential mistake where a company spends months building an app which they won’t be able to sell.
It is about reacting to the market instead of building something and then trying to fit it on to the market.
Whereas if you are lean, if you have an agile approach, then you can shift your idea, pivot they call it, if necessary. Depending on your clients, you can develop your app in a specific way so that you know there is a market and customer for it.
“It is about reacting to the market instead of building something and then trying to fit it on to the market. This is the approach we are implementing. We started doing a CPR app, but if there is potential we can do a first aid app. It really depends on what kind of customers we gain. we can do it B2B or B2C depending on the market.”
“Gamification is key”
“Medical apps seem to be lacking this, but we see gamifcation in everything.
So far it has been really established in everyday mobile apps, from your google maps to your calendar.
So, an approach that’s friendly, that encourages people to train will take off in the medical training field. People don’t have to time to just read a lot. They need to be encouraged.
“Maybe people have become a bit lazier or a bit more spoiled with commercial apps trying to make their life easier. Whereas medical training apps don’t. If that changes, then the training would be improved I think.”