Digital Catapult launches second Immersive Lab in Brighton

Katharine Byrne
Digital Catapult launches second Immersive Lab in Brighton

Technology innovation centre Digital Catapult has opened its second Immersive Lab in Brighton, the firm has announced. Following on from the success of its London-based Immersive Lab that launched earlier this year, Digital Catapult now hopes to broaden its services by providing VR, AR and MR support to an even wider array of developers, studios and film makers.

The lab will be available to businesses of any size as well as researchers and investors looking to test, demonstrate, innovate and experience the latest immersive technology and content. Digital Catapult also hopes it will become a meet-up point for companies and individuals to collaborate and exchange ideas and expertise.

Digital Catapult chose Brighton as the second home for its Immersive Lab after conducting a thorough analysis of the VR, AR and MR clusters around the UK. In it, the company found Brighton had the greatest potential in the region, making it the clear choice for establishing its next lab.

Brighton is uniquely positioned to take advantage of immersive technologies because it is home to many disruptive companies operating in the creative and digital sectors,” said Phil Jones, lead at Digital Catapult in Brighton.

The opening of the Immersive Lab here is part of the wider strategy to bring these organisations together and encourage their collaboration to accelerate the immersive industry's growth both regionally and nationally. Digital Catapult is committed to opening a number of Immersive Labs across the country, where anyone in the community can gain access to state-of-the-art equipment. Each Lab will build on the unique expertise of the local ecosystem, with the Brighton Lab drawing on Digital Catapult's 5G test bed to help the SME community explore how 5G networks can open-up new applications and services using virtual and augmented reality.”

Aurelian Simon, head of immersive at Digital Catapult, added:The immersive industry is growing tremendously and is already valued at $5.4 billion globally for 2016. What's even more important is the UK's significant presence in the global immersive market, as currently being home to the largest number of up and coming VR companies in Europe.

The UK already has a rich heritage in sectors where immersive technologies are likely to have the largest and most immediate impact; the creative industries manufacturing and health. So, establishing immersive labs in key regions across the country like this one in Brighton will further benefit the development of the industry.”

The worldwide immersive industry is set to be worth 162bn by 2020, but as Sir Peter Bazalgette pointed out in his Creative Industries Review at the end of last month, the UK holds just a five per cent market share right now. The US, on the other hand, holds a 75 per cent share, making initiatives like Digital Catapult's Immersive Labs a key step to helping the UK claim a bigger stake in the global market place.

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