With the help of VR, Japanese startup company Cluster is looking to take the travel out of industry conferences and other events. This week, it’s got the funding that might help it actually do that.
The group has raised some ¥50 million (which works out to around $460,000) to continue work on its VR event and environment platform of the same name that’s already been used to stream shows such as Unity’s Unite 2016 Tokyo VR Keynote. Investors are said to include Skyland Ventures, East Ventures and other angel investors, the former of which had already provided funding for Cluster back in January, when it was known as Fictbox.
In essence, Cluster reminds us of other VR communication platforms such as AltSpaceVR, only skewed far more towards conferences rather than social calls and other occasions. Users take control of robot-like avatars, with a profile picture appearing on a screen on their heads. Over a thousand of these avatars can then populate a virtual conference room to watch an address, perhaps delivered by another user or shown up on a giant screen. Its creators also claim it’s possible to host smaller, private meetings as well.
Crucially, you can sample Cluster for yourself right now. A free download for Windows is available via an official site with support for the Oculus Rift, and it even confirms that a Gear VR version is on the way along with Android and iOS support, both of which would presumably support Google Cardboard. HTC Vive support is yet to be confirmed. A Mac OS version is also available, although this doesn’t support the Rift for obvious reasons.
Accounts can be created through Twitter, and you’ll able to bring your personal feed into conferences with you. Judging by the trailer above it’s also possible to move around conference halls as talks are given and even express yourself with applause throughout. UploadVR itself got started as a meetup, so we’re happy to see any new tech that makes them easier to attend.
Cluster hasn’t got a public roadmap laid out ahead of it right now, though it seems like there’s plenty of room for expansion, and it’s now got the funding to help. Could this prove to be VR’s big communication platform?