Scott Ruppert
Issue: Volume 40 Issue 5: (Sep/Oct 2017)


It’s no secret that virtual reality has made its way beyond gaming and consumer consumption – breaking into numerous industries, such as media and entertainment, health care, oil and gas, and architecture, to name but a few. As one of the most talked-about technologies today, VR provides users with a virtual space to collaborate and take their content creation to the next level.

Specifically in the M&E space, professionals from film and television to game development are discovering the real and tangible benefits of integrating VR into their workflow. For these customers, solutions for everything from precision design to photorealistic rendering are a mission-critical requirement. On top of this, these professionals require technology and hardware that will allow for the development of a more accurate simulation and detailed VR experience for consumers.

As the M&E space continues to incorporate numerous production techniques into its workflow, consumers are becoming savvier and expect each experience to be better than the previous one. This expectation requires production facilities to produce increasingly complex visual effects – typically in a shorter amount of time and sometimes with a smaller budget.

So where does VR come in? Speed. The use of VR in production allows for shorter development time, lower design costs, and faster time to market. The technology even helps speed up the review and approval process, benefiting both the production company and studio by allowing them to release more visually compelling experiences faster.

Studios also find themselves having to continually meet and exceed audience expectations. In order to fill consumers’ insatiable appetites, M&E professionals are leveraging VR workflows to create more elaborate VR experiences. For example, professionals can utilize VR to showcase, test, and fine-tune their experiences, games, and/or scenes, and load large amounts of project data into their VR environments to deliver best-in-class experiences to the consumer.

In addition, professionals incorporate VR into their workflow for visual production to help bring their visual effects ideas to life through the creation of lifelike animals, monsters, characters, and more – offering consumers the most visually-compelling experience possible. And, they can leverage the technology to create more compelling VR experiences by shooting 360-degree videos, further immersing their consumers into the content.

As VR continues to become a natural extension of the workflow, professionals need hardware that will meet their demands. Of course, the configuration and specific system required to meet those demands can vary depending on the project, application requirements, and workflow.

The good news is that as consumers continue to demand more VR content and higher levels of visual fidelity in their experiences, the hardware selection in the VR space is evolving to meet these demands. For years, professionals haven’t had accessible VR options, as the technology was extremely expensive, required large amounts of space, strictly operated from a CAVE, and only operated through companies that could afford it. Now, virtual reality is more widely available and affordable than ever, and so are the VR-ready certified workstations that can take this work to the professional level.

For those looking to take their first steps into the VR space, entry-level workstations offer pro VR certification for users looking to balance both performance and their budgets. But as VR gains in popularity, hardware companies are ramping up their VR offerings to expand their portfolio beyond entry-level needs – developing high-power hardware that will offer the performance necessary for creating next-level VR experiences.

Professionals looking to leverage VR on the go can take it a step further with mobile workstations. These workstations offer the features and memory required for creating the most compelling VR experiences from any location. Equipped with VR-ready GPUs and full Oculus and HTC certifications, these high-power workstations offer a stunning level of performance never before seen in a mobile workstation.

For M&E professionals, ISV certifications are necessary to achieve the ultimate VR experience. VR-ready workstations allow professionals to seamlessly operate these applications – a requirement for any industry leader looking to open doors to new insights and breakthroughs. And for top-level performance, these workstations must be powered by industry-leading graphics.

“Whether VR is already an integral part of your workflow or you are just beginning to explore the possibilities, reliable, high-performance hardware is a must,” says Bob Pette, vice president of Professional Visualization at Nvidia. “VR-ready workstations powered by Quadro Pascal-based GPUs provide the performance and features professionals need to create the most immersive VR experiences.”

Professional-level graphics and workstations are allowing users to interact with information at the next level. To meet the needs of industry professionals, one thing remains true: As the VR industry continues to expand and make its way into everyday workflow, the hardware must evolve to maintain all the performance, stability, and reliability of a VR-certified professional workstation.′

Scott Ruppert is the Portfolio and Solutions Planning Manager for Lenovo Workstations. In this role, he is defining Lenovo strategy in key areas of emerging technology, specifically professional AR and VR.