From someone who sells the world's most expensive experience- Heli Skiing
I was out running yesterday, thinking about Race Yourself, the defunct AR Google Glass app company I briefly joined in 2013 where you run against your own avatar to improve performance. I was wondering when that sort of AR might be a reality, then this led my thoughts onto the area of VR.It seems more promising judging by the amount of recent funding raised, and the explosion of startups building the ecosystem including the biggies like Jaunt, and Occulus.
I then thought about the specific application of VR to heli skiing. I feel pretty well qualified to speak about this, given that I own a helicopter ski travel company, I sell heli skiing which happens to be the most expensive experience on the planet probably (only a seat on a SpaceX might cost more, but that's not here yet). As such, there is an extremely large dichotomy between the number of people who say they want to go heli skiing and those who actually do. 100:1 or even 1000:1 I'd say. This makes it really hard to sell helicopter skiing. One of the key reasons is the gap between the person's opinion of the value of the experience and how good it actually is. The other reason I believe is the fear of the unknown that people have, which has been made worse by the ski film industry showing athletes doing outrageous jumps out of helicopters.
And so, I've been wondering a few things about VR and heli skiing and this dichotomy. Firstly I've been wondering whether it's really possible now or soon that a VR experience can be built for heli skiing. I'm keen to collaborate with Jaunt and others on building this. Secondly I'm wondering whether the experience would be much like real life, given it's such a 3D feeling (almost 4 dimensional as many think it's spiritual also), and whether a VR experience would serve to encourage people to really do it, (i.e. heli-skiing) or whether it would make them think they'd done it and so that's enough. It will really be an interesting application of VR. At $1 a second being the price to run a helicopter on average, and so many people wanting to experience heli skiing I suggest there maybe a point to VR. Until then, I'm going to keep evangelizing about the real thing!