This week, Nokia Technologies announced the commercial availability of the OZO virtual reality camera at a launch event in Los Angeles as the company looks to attract Hollywood attention to its expensive new hardware.
The Nov. 30 media event featured a live performance through the band Best Coast, broadcast in full 3D 360 VR from the roof of the Capitol Records tower in Hollywood to downtown Los Angeles over Internet protocol seven miles away.
The company is paying attention to define a new category in professional VR capture, via introducing to the market innovative features such as real-time VR preview, wireless operation, and full 3D 360 audio and video broadcast capabilities.
The first in a planned portfolio of digital media solutions from Nokia Technologies — the company’s advanced technology and licensing business — OZO captures stereoscopic 3D video through eight synchronized global shutter sensors and spatial audio through eight integrated microphones.
Priced at $60,000, the OZO is out of reach for the vast majority of consumers, and Nokia is pitching the device at commercial and artistic video professionals.
The OZO features spherical and stereoscopic video capture with spatial audio array, a progressive scan video sensor with global shutter, and the angle of view for each lens is195 degrees.
Available in Lava Gray, the OZO boasts WiFi enabled remote control operation, a fanless cooling system, a rechargeable lithium ion battery, and weighs nearly 10 pounds.
What’s more, video and audio content filmed using OZO are able to be published for consumption on VR hardware like head mounted displays , and the platform works with third-party tools as well.
“We’re at the dawn of an exciting new medium that will transform the way people connect to stories, events, and the world around them,” Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, wrote in a statement. “OZO is a powerful tool designed for the professional creators who will answer the most exciting and intriguing questions about the possibilities for virtual reality.”
But Nokia is not the only player in the 360-degree camera market. At this year’s at Google’s developer conference, Google I/O, GoPro announced it is building a similar camera array for stereoscopic, spherical content capture that could then be published onto VR headsets.
Adding to the competition is startup Object Theory, a software development company focused on the creation of mixed reality applications for Microsoft HoloLens — a set of glasses designed to project holograms onto real-world objects.
A survey of 2,250 US consumers focusing on expectations and preferences on VR, which was released earlier this month by Greenlight VR and Touchstone Research, found only 11% of consumers would spend $1,000 on a VR platform.
An April report from analyst firm Digi-Capital forecast that combined augmented reality and virtual reality markets could hit $150 billion in revenue by 2020, with AR taking the lion’s share around $120 billion and VR at $30 billion.
“We think VR’s addressable market is primarily core games and 3D films, plus niche enterprise users,” according to the report. “We think AR’s addressable market is similar to the smartphone/tablet market. Therefore AR could have hundreds of millions of users, with hardware price points similar to smartphones and tablets.”