Timelooper Takes You to the Past
New trends in virtual reality technology and new apps give a little peek at the future revenues for this industry. Virtual reality is mostly used by travel agencies to promote their destinations and related activities but it can now generate more and fresh revenues as Andrew Hennigan discovers.
Last year, virtual reality started gearing towards the mainstream and in part due to the availability of cheaper virtual reality headsets like the Google Cardboard and more affordable virtual reality content. This year, this trend is fast progressing as both apps and cheap smartphone viewers are becoming widely available.
Not too long ago, Tourism Australia released a huge promotional campaign that was grounded in virtual reality and it distributed this content through a free app for the cardboard viewer. Also this year, the Club Med is using virtual reality to aid people with their experiences at resorts from a distance. We’ve seen people use virtual reality to explore large water bodies like oceans and seas and scuba diving. All of these virtual resources add to the overall revenue that can and will be generated by virtual reality.
Change is constant and this is what drives innovation and creativity. With this new innovative app called Timelooper, a lot more has arrived on the scene of VR. This app is basically a virtual time machine and it helps users travel back in time by watching animations of historical events with the aid of their smartphones and VR headset. This app is currently being test run in London and New York and what makes it so peculiar is the manner in which it is tied to the physical location and how it can generate revenue for itself and its business partners.
“Timelooper is an open virtual reality platform for cultural and historic locations,” says founder Yigit Yigiter. “We create content in-house and host third-party content, and when we monetize content via the app we share revenue with the content owner.”
Just like all other app startups, Timelooper expects multiple revenue sources. “The app is free but we will have in-app purchases like premium content, advertising and a few other revenue streams,” he says.
Some of the London locations featured in the Timelooper app include, the River Thames, Tower Bridge and the tower of London. Visitors were able to equip themselves with the app and a cardboard headset which helped them relive what the Tower looked like almost a century ago.
Ruth Polling, a London Blue Badge guide expects that the Timelooper app will make her visits more compelling to tourists.
“Much of my work as a guide in London is with family groups and they are looking for a personal service,” she says. “As a storyteller I am paid to engage visitors with London’s amazing history. To be able to tell the story of an event and then be able to actually show it happening using Timelooper’s virtual reality adds to that personal service.“
Timelooper makes us realize that one way to generate revenue from virtual reality is to create proprietary content and sell it as a premium product. It also shows that the same app can pull in revenues from multiple sources like sponsorships, advertising, premium content and commercial licenses.