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Competition: Immersive Audience Experiences

Marc Lee’s ‘10’000 moving cities’ installation
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The UK’s Technology Strategy Board – Innovate UK – has announced a £17 million contest for new immersive experiences aimed at mass audiences

Open to creative industry collaborations featuring at least one SME, the competition seeks innovative proposals for immersive experiences – also known as virtual reality and augmented reality – for audiences of more than 100,000 people.

The contest will see four winning projects each receive a slice of a £16 million funding pot to pay for further research and development. An additional £1 million will be awarded to early-stage projects that test customer requirements for immersive experiences.

According to the brief: ‘Immersive experiences such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality have the potential to revolutionise the way we interact with the world. Industries that could benefit include advertising and marketing, architecture, fashion, film and television, gaming, publishing, museums, and music and performing arts.

‘The UK has world-class creative industries and expertise to apply new immersive experiences and make the most of this market opportunity. This competition is part of a wider £33 million investment that includes demonstration projects, research and development and an industry centre of excellence.’

Immersive experiences are an emerging form of artificial environment where users feel as equally as immersed as they do in real life.

Current early applications include 3D cinema, augmented reality games like Pokémon Go, and various other experimental immersive environments such as Cosmopolis by Maurice Benayoun and Marc Lee’s ‘10’000 moving cities’ installation (pictured).

Last month, Populous unveiled plans for a giant spherical 18,000-capacity music and entertainment venue in east London featuring the ‘largest and highest-resolution media display on Earth’ as well ‘crystal-clear acoustics’.

The latest competition – divided into two categories – aims to boost innovation within the UK’s creative industries and encourage the development of globally-leading technology and research.

Demonstrator projects will be expected to deliver significant advances in the field of immersive experiences, showing a high-level of innovation and scale and the ability for replication across the creative industries.

Schemes will be expected to cost between £5 million and £10 million, last for two years and have up to 70 per cent of their costs met privately.

Early-stage schemes bidding for the separate £1 million funding pot will meanwhile be expected to explore human-centred design and audience behaviour to develop concepts for new products and services.

The deadline for applications is midday, 1 August.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

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