Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering IAO, the Virtual Dimension Center (VDC) and Animationsinstitut of the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg are collaborating to ease access for Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in SME businesses with the "Applikationszentren V/AR" project. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are on everyone's lips worldwide today. The state of Baden-Württemberg has been an excellent location for Virtual Reality in Germany since the 1990s. This applies to the research scene (Fraunhofer, University of Stuttgart) as well as to industrial applications and the state's competence centres (VDC Fellbach and St. Georgen).
Nevertheless, the apparently low-cost new generation of VR is not a self-propelled product for the economy: Big players in the game and film production sector are currently implementing new V/AR technology through a high use of resources. Similar results in product development, training or service assistance systems can’t be achieved by the predominantly medium-sized economy in Baden-Württemberg. Business models, technologies and distribution models of the new manufacturers of V/AR systems are also tailored to the consumer market in the entertainment sector (games, films) with high volumes. Despite the high profit potential, the requirements of users from the economy are only insufficiently taken into account.
With this background, the Application Centre project has set itself a wide range of tasks: it will focus in particular on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the introduction and application of new V/AR technologies. The national and international visibility of Baden-Württemberg as a "V/AR state" shall be promoted. The aim is to effectively represent the interests of technology users from the industry vis-à-vis major manufacturers by creating a critical mass.
To this end, numerous actions are planned as part of the project. These include application lighthouses V/AR, workshops at Fraunhofer IAO and VDC, a start-up forum, match making (also in the sense of a user-manufacturer dialogue) as well as novel narrative applications, for example for V/AR-based training.
The project called "Applikationszentren Virtual und Augmented Reality" is funded by the Ministry of Economics, Labour and Housing Baden-Württemberg. At the government press conference on 7 November 2017, the state government announced measures and budgets to implement its digitalisation strategy. The project is part of the Initiative Wirtschaft 4.0, which emerged from this digital strategy. The duration of the project is two years.