Wednesday July 4 2018

New VR technology set to transform yachting and shipping industries

The global yachting and shipping industries are queuing up to adopt the very latest in immersive virtual reality visualisation, mapping and design technology developed at The Landing, MediaCityUK.

New VR technology set to transform yachting and shipping industries

The global yachting and shipping industries are queuing up to adopt the very latest in immersive virtual reality visualisation, mapping and design technology developed at The Landing, MediaCityUK.

VR solutions designed specifically for the yachting industry, as well as for the merchant shipping sector, have been developed by Sam Slater and Richard Hooson, from Manchester, the flagship being their ground breaking Digital Twin application which is set to revolutionise the marine industry.

The pair left their former careers in 2014 and joined forces to create impressive VR experiences for a range of industries. They formed Virtualise 360, or V360, and based themselves at MediaCityUK’s tech hub and co-working space, The Landing, to make sure they had access to specialist start-up support, international contacts and a prestigious MediaCityUK address.

Sam was formerly a project manager and consultant in the nuclear sector, while Richard was a leading VR specialist and so they first set its sights on using VR technology to develop training modules for the nuclear and oil industries.

They later developed a version of their product for the property market which made virtual reality visualisation and architectural design accessible to high end clients who wanted to experience their property in VR before making it a reality. The business was a great success and they began to consider expanding the technology into other industries.

In 2017, a friend of theirs, Greg Beach, who is chief engineer on one of the most technologically advanced mega yachts in the world, the 101 metre I Dynasty, suggested they look at the marine sector as a market in desperate need for their applications. The pair then spent six months exploring the market with Greg and researching the industry before developing a strategy and, eventually, a working demo for the yachting industry.

In April last year, V360 Marine was born with Greg coming on board as a specialist industry advisor and they launched their new digital product in Palma de Mallorca on the very superyacht they used as the subject of their Digital Twin demonstrator. Some of the biggest yachting businesses were there and word began to spread.

Since then, V360 Marine has brought together its experience in developing VR training modules with its work in the marine sector and has developed VR training modules for the merchant shipping industry, such as oil and gas and a dedicated division of the V360 group, V360 Training is not far away to manage the huge demand found in this sector.

This latest technology has been designed to support the changing culture within the shipping industry by making sea travel safer and minimising the number of incidents caused by human error. Modules such as hazard awareness, how to operate safely in confined spaces and emergency response have been specifically designed to reduce the number of deaths, accidents and near misses at sea.

The founders of Virtualise 360 agree that the business development opportunities, invaluable support network and access to international markets offered by The Landing has been crucial to their success. Since they moved in to The Landing, Sam and Richard have completed The Landing’s incubator course and attended workshops, funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and have taken advantage of the wide range of opportunities offered in order to drive the growth of their business.

Sam Slater, CEO of Virtualise 360, said: “We have been on an incredible journey developing our business and we quite simply couldn’t have done it without The Landing. They have offered us a subsidised base in a prime location with access to a range of mentors and advisors, an invaluable support network of other tech start-ups as well as incredible product development facilities.

“On top of all of that, The Landing has provided us with access to markets, investment and the legal infrastructure that we wouldn’t have access to without their backing.

“In the four years since starting our journey we have achieved everything we hoped and more, with the business continually growing from strength to strength. Every day is exciting and we are meeting with so many incredible and inspiring people which just drives us to continue developing the business and looking for new opportunities for the future.”

Paul Billington, commercial director at The Landing said: “Sam and Rick had a fantastic vision that was adaptable to a wide range of industries. This, coupled with their individual experiences and expertise, gave them the tools they needed to develop a successful business.

“At The Landing, we are really proud to support rapid start-ups in the tech sector and to help them develop and test their products as well as introduce them to other tech businesses who can help them on their journey. But it doesn’t stop there, we help our tenants to achieve success in many different ways by removing barriers and driving their growth through access to business development opportunities as well as recruitment and investment.”

"We have been on an incredible journey developing our business and we quite simply couldnt have done it without The Landing."
Sam Slater, CEO of Virtualise

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