A New Year Q&A with Target3D co-founder, Allan Rankin.
Q. As we move into 2019, what advances in technology are emerging? A. We’re seeing advances in head mounted display (HMD) technologies for Virtual Reality (VR) which offers location-based tracking from the headset itself, opening up the potential for a tether-less low infrastructure environment. Whilst it’s still to be proven in the real world it’s a really exciting development. Q. Tell us about trends in the mocap, VR and AI world... A. We will continue to see more people using mocap for professional applications like engineering and biomechanics. We are noticing a trend where people are starting to write their own integration software which may supersede some off the shelf biomechanics and engineering packages.
Larger gaming engines like Unity 3D and Unreal are adding in more functionality which is being adopted across all sectors not just the traditional VFX and gaming applications.
The client base across all sectors we are talking with suggests a much wider adoption of VR and MoCap, beyond Research and Development (R&D) and people are starting to use it for more traditional applications, suggesting it’s more accessible than ever before, and will continue to be so into 2019. A good example of this is the go karting VR by Blacktrax.
Q. Any new products on the horizon? A. For 2019, you’ll notice we’re broadening our product offering having become authorised suppliers for STT Technologies, whilst we will be cementing our complimentary relationships with companies like VRgineers, Manus VR and StrikerVR. We have become the one stop shop for integration components for your mocap systems. If you need gloves, haptics, simulator chairs or backpack computing, our range will cover your needs.
Q. What are the differences in the mocap industry now compared to when you started Target3D in 2017? A. The location-based VR (LBVR) centres are more seriously adopted now by the big players in the mocap market, such as OptiTrack, Vicon and Qualisys, whereas when we first started out, mocap was quite segmented into its applications. To illustrate the point, biomechanics is going into experimental production, engineering and simulated installations. The cross pollination of application is something we expect to see more of.
Q. What are likely to be Target3D’s biggest markets in 2019? A. VFX games and robotics remain strong with lots more penetration into the experiential market place. Experiential and production companies want to widen their narrative experiences for their brand clients, bringing more unique ways of promoting products and services.
Our next main focus is in Performance VR. Real Time theatre with a combination of VR and Mixed Reality is utilising mocap to enhance visitor experiences. Virtual content being driven in real time, with live actors in mocap suits, is the next frontier of performance VR companies. These new age pioneers and artistic creators are making the new medium a reality.
Q. What’s your biggest selling product now? Do you think this will be the same next year? A. OptiTrack continues to be best selling and best performing. It’s robust and so will is likely to continue to be the best quality product into 2019 and beyond.
Q. What is your forecast for Target3D by the end of 2019? A. We’re expanding – in 2018 we doubled the workforce and there will certainly be more growth in the new year. 2019 will also bring our new, bigger than ever, permanent home of mocap for Target3D, so watch this space! With this new location we will be better able to demonstrate and develop bespoke solutions for out clients. Enabling our clients and partners to get hands on with technology before they invest is a hugely important service we are perpetuating. So, if you need to understand mocap or 3D tracking better, get in touch with us and we’ll do our best to demonstrate and provide the best solution for you.
Q. Not to get too political but we can’t mention 2019 without Brexit - how will it impact on Target3D, or in the UK mocap/tech world as a whole? A. Brexit has opened our eyes to the necessity to forge stronger ties with our European family. Of course we – and all UK companies – will have to make difficult decisions if it occurs but absolutely we’re keen to retain strong ties with our European partners and friends. We’re nervous but always optimistic. The mocap industry is robust enough to grow despite any initial difficulties Brexit may cause.
Final thoughts? I’m buoyed by the professionalism of the companies we have worked and interacted with since our inception. The right business partners, the right industry partners and with the right dedication I am more convinced than ever that everything is possible. By having the right outlook it’s truly possible to grow a positive entity – staff, suppliers, and partners.
I would conclude by re-affirming that we are in a rapidly developing world with new technologies and developments in hardware and software always keeping us on our toes. It’s heartening to know that UK business in both University Research and serious engineering and manufacturing companies, that people are forging on, creating new ways to use solutions not typically designed for their markets. We are excited to be a part of helping people navigate these options and look to provide value at every stage. 2019 for us means steady but continued growth.
To understand how Mocap and 3D tracking can help your business to flourish in 2019, speak to Allan and the Target3D team here.