INNOVATORS VS COVID 19
Good Times for AR and VR
We talked to Tim Mittelstaedt of VRTX Labs about interactive real-time visualization and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tim Mittelstaedt: Thanks for asking. My family and I protect ourselves and our friends as best we can. We stay home and work very well from there. At VRTX Labs, we have been doing almost all meetings virtually since February 2020, and it’s working pretty well.
Tell us about you, your career, how you joined VRTX Labs.
Tim Mittelstaedt: I’m into Virtual Reality since 2015 and founded my company in 2016, focusing on Virtual Reality and 360° movie-production. I joined VRTX Labs later this year. VRTX is focused on real-time visualization – mainly at the moment for Augmented Reality projects. We worked together from day one – so it was a perfect fit, and it’s a lot of fun.
How does VRTX Labs innovate?
Tim Mittelstaedt: Through being open. At VRTX, we are all very open to new technologies and love to try innovations. We take all ideas seriously. Through this relaxed attitude, we combine experience and existing solutions with further questions. We often take ideas from the games industry as a model for serious applications. Gamification is an essential component of our applications – be they for customers or our projects.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Tim Mittelstaedt: Of course, some customers have paused projects in this pandemic. But since we work with technologies such as Augmented Reality or Virtual Reality, which allow us to experience products and services from a distance, we have experienced a further upswing despite Corona. The pandemic forces many companies to digitalize. Here we could help many companies to get through the crisis, to communicate with employees in VR, or to sell products with AR also over distance.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Tim Mittelstaedt: With all the ideas you have, focusing is the biggest problem. I think it is right to have many projects simultaneously, but deciding which projects to bury is often the most challenging thing. This year I came to the limits of how much you can do in parallel. That was a learning experience. From 2021 I want to focus a little more on a few projects.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety?
Tim Mittelstaedt: This year, I have finally discovered yoga for myself. I am surprised how well it brings me down and how it reduces worries. Music and sport are also important ways of dealing with stress. My partner, in particular, often calms me down, and we have a great time together. Excursions and discovering places you don’t know yet – even in the immediate vicinity – give you variety even in times of pandemics and lockdowns. I didn’t realize what a beautiful environment our hometown Hannover has.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Tim Mittelstaedt: Agencies that build with AR Facefilter or training in VR are our competitors. In point cloud services, which we are mainly concerned with, there is little competition so far. With our focus on innovative ideas, we try to be always one step ahead of the competition and enter completely new, as yet untapped markets. Especially the immersive media such as VR and AR still offer many opportunities.
Your final thoughts?
Tim Mittelstaedt: I believe that immersive media like VR and AR will make a significant breakthrough in 2021. With the LiDAR sensors in the new iPhones, augmented reality will become even more useful and accurate. It could lead to the development of proprietary AR glasses soon, and VR will become cheaper and easier to use with standalone devices. So both technologies are on the threshold of becoming mainstream. We are already looking forward to it.
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