January 11, 2021
Moderated group VR experiences have an excellent test environment in assisted living and memory care facilities, where the user interface and user experience design are tested by a willing and readily available audience of differently-abled individuals. Rendever is one of the leading startups focused on developing synchronized VR resources for the aging, group-living and group-support market. Their work is especially important now, when COVID-19 has isolated so many seniors in their rooms and in their homes.
I spoke with Grace Andruszkiewicz, director of marketing and partnerships for Rendever. The company has developed a networked VR system. With a moderator optionally leading the way, the system enables immersive group experiences that spark conversations, challenge participants and trigger memories.
Using Pico HMDs and other devices including microphones, a moderator can guide a group on a trip, help them solve puzzles and mysteries, or take a walk down memory lane. Rendever has integrated its system with Google Street View, so the travel opportunities are endless. In addition to in-house content development they have partnered with other content providers to develop a rich suite of offerings to meet the needs of the seniors, therapists and other staff and community experts.
For example, Rendever has partnered with AARP, which has developed VR resources distributed through its Alcove VR app. Rendever also partnered with the New England Patriots to provide an on-float VR experience of their 2018 Super Bowl victory parade through Boston.
Rendever charges an initial set-up ‘implementation’ fee and then a monthly subscription for access to its entire library of experiences. The company adds 4-5 new experiences a week to keep it fresh. The local staff at the licensing facility runs the group experiences. Rendever is developing a program service, similar to Peloton’s subscription group exercise program, where individuals sitting at home can participate in explorations and challenges with others.
The company is also developing a way to link independent networks together, so there is the potential of building large communities of seniors who can connect with each other, share stories and resources, and stay mentally active by learning from each other.
For ETC member companies, working with companies like Rendever is a largely untapped avenue for developing and testing content and technology (Verizon is a Rendever corporate partner), establishing new revenue streams and performing a social good. Many seniors view VR as a magical and wonderous experience. VR not only immerses us, but also allows us to re-establish and exercise abilities that we may be losing in the physical world.
The pandemic has forced on the industry an accelerated opportunity to shape this resource for the benefit of future generations.
For more information, check out the CTA Foundation video interview with with Kyle Rand, co-founder and CEO of Rendever. The company will also be participating in the all-digital CES 2021 this week. Rendever’s press site has details.
Rendever’s Virtual Reality Platform for Seniors Transitions Hardware of Choice to Pico Interactive’s G2 4K Enterprise Headset, Press Release, 12/8/20