First Auckland, now Wellington to get VR facility

National Virtual Reality Complex planned for Wellington

Details have been revealed of plans for a National Virtual Reality Complex in Wellington, following yesterday’s opening by Auckland Council of the AR/VR Garage, saying it established Auckland as an international AR/VR hub.

Jessica Manins newly-appointed director of Wellington’s ProjectR said it would bring together the nation’s top businesses and researchers to develop and test world-first uses for virtual and augmented reality.

It is being positioned as a national hub to rival the Auckland initiative. Manins said: “This new national virtual and augmented reality centre will boost the capital’s reputation as an internationally acclaimed hub of digital innovation. It will cement the film and gaming industries in Wellington, foster global partnerships, attract overseas talent and create jobs.”

She said a feasibility study for ProjectR had begun. It will include developing designs for the complex and has been funded by some Wellington-based IT and technology businesses, who are collaborating on the project.

“We want to make sure it’s fully collaborative and that we’ve talked to all the right people before firmer decisions on structure and capability are made,” she said.

In a statement, ProjectR said: “The current goal is to get operational on an initial site this month and have the complex’s full facilities in place by early next year. Designs for the state-of-the-art complex are being developed at present with initial plans to include two demonstration theatres, a start-up software suite with tools to create new applications, a conference room and desks for about 24 people.”

The statement added: “Manins, the former regional director at Wellington techhub BizDojo, has hands-on knowledge of industry collaboration, a vital feature of the proposed reality centre. She has also spent almost a decade with online talent startup StarNow, so is familiar with the development process, developers, project management and strategic business skills that are needed to oversee work to bring ProjectR to life.”

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