INTERVIEW WITH ANNA ROSA LAPPALAINEN, COO AND CO-FOUNDER OF VIZOR
VR Observer was fortunate enough to sit down with Anna Rosa Lappalainen, COO and co-founder of Vizor, a platform for creating and sharing VR content on the web.
Go to their website on your phone, it is awesome. I’m still playing with it.
VRO: Tell us a little about yourself, what is your background and what brought you to Virtual Reality (VR)?
ARL: I am the chief operations officer and co-founder of Vizor, a platform for creating and sharing virtual reality (VR) content including 360-degree tours, immersive stories, virtual visits and WebVR experiences. I currently lead and oversee Vizor’s financial operations and business development efforts in the U.S. Having three startups under my belt and a decade of experience from digital travel and advertising agencies, I am familiar with key VR influencers and can provide in-depth insight on the trends within the VR space.
VRO: How would you explain what VR is to someone who has never heard of VR?
ARL: VR is a new medium that gives people an illusion of presence- of being there. People are able to look around and interact with three-dimensional environments, eliminating passivity and encouraging engagement.
VRO: What has been your single greatest challenge in working in Virtual Reality?
ARL: The greatest challenge has been the lack of rules. Everything we knew about design has been thrown out the window. We have to invent the standards for everything – the way things should look, the way they should interact, the way things sound. It’s exciting and scary at the same time.
VRO: Tell us how you addressed it, and what you learned as a result.
ARL: Trial and error. We produced and continue to produce as many VR projects as we can. Each project gives us new insight on what works and what doesn’t. Luckily with over two years of producing VR projects under our belts, we’ve gained a lot more knowledge of the space and are continuing to improve the tools for content creation that will push forward the medium as a whole.
VRO: What is the most surprising thing you have learned observing people interacting with VR? Lessons learned?
ARL: We spend a lot of time trying to orchestrate our scenes out perfectly with audio and visual cues. However, when we present the scenes for people to try out, it’s always a different experience for each person and it’s surprising to see what people will look for or try to do. So the main lesson learned is that we have to demo our platform with a variety of people in order to get an accurate scope of what people want in an immersive experience.
VRO: What impact will VR have on storytelling and how we consume media?
ARL: I think it will have a huge impact because this new medium enables users to be fully immersed in an environment rather than just consuming content from a flat screen. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what this new medium can do and I’m excited for what is to come.VR is like the Wild West right now, no set rules or boundaries.
VRO: What excites you most about this? Is there a downside?
ARL: The most exciting aspect about having no set rules or boundaries is the limitless ways VR can be produced and consumed- there is a constant sense of discovery. As we continue to enhance our platform and toolset, we are also lowering the bar of entry for people to create and consume VR content. Anyone is in the position to invent a new tool or even a new standard of interaction. The downside to this is that no one really knows what will work. This can be challenging when dealing with commercial projects.
VRO: How would you define success for Vizor? What is the ultimate goal?
ARL: Success for us is twofold: first, the adoption of WebVR, which is beginning to take off now with strong support from likes of Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Samsung, and Mozilla. Secondly, the majority of WebVR content will be built on the Vizor platform and powered by our leading technology.