In a spacious warehouse on Eden Terrace, the augmented reality/virtual reality “AR/VR Garage” has been set up, with rooms of headgear, consoles, and space to play.

The building will be a hub for technology companies and individuals looking to create projects using the equipment, and is part of Auckland Council’s GridAKL innovation precinct. The council has invested $20 million across 10 years for the precinct.

Home to the likes of game developers, screen and film producers, animators, educators and digital storytellers, it will also help to grow New Zealand’s young industry and entice jobs and investment.

Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development chief executive Brett O’Riley said the Garage would provide research and development space for teams around the world to collaborate, and a dedicated area to showcase New Zealand AR/VR innovation.

“The Garage enables companies to have a global advantage from Day One, and that is hugely important in this fast-paced technology sector,” O’Riley said.

“They can scale up much faster, connect with the big international industry players, and showcase their work to major international tech investors.

“VR is becoming a crucial enabling platform for a whole range of sectors, including skills training and education. The future is definitely now.”

The AR/VR Garage is part of a global group, the VR Society, and will be its Oceania base. The society last year secured more than US$170m for its global members.

The facility already has a rapidly increasing commercial pipeline with more than 15 projects, some of which already have international partners. The hub already has 10 tenant companies, and will have another 10 by the end of October.

Partners of the facility have enabled its tenants to have subsidies, connect with potential working partners, source local and international contracts and provided access to technology and tools.

The AR/VR Garage was officially opened by Minister for Science and Innovation Steven Joyce, and Auckland Mayor Len Brown.

Source: Bay of Plenty Times

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