Wednesday, 02 August 2017 00:47

VIDEO: HP has your back with professional wearable VR PC backpack and VR PCs

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HP has launched a new “VR portfolio, including the world’s first professional wearable VR PC” and touts itself as “the partner of choice for immersive customer experiences".

Apple may well have showcased its iMac Pro at the WWDC 2017 keynote, billing it as an ideal VR creation environment, and it will clearly be a major player in the VR content creation space, but HP has just delivered some competition.

HP has announced what it calls “a unified approach and commercial solutions for virtual reality (VR), positioning itself as the partner of choice for businesses looking to reduce concept to production cycle times, improve training procedures and deliver fully immersive customer experiences".

As part of this strategy, HP says it is “unveiling the world’s first professional wearable VR PC – the new HP Z VR Backpack”, which will launch in September, with HP stating it was been “crafted to bring the full potential of VR to-life” and that “it is the world’s most secure and manageable wearable VR PC ever created".

Xavier Garcia, the vice-president and general manager of Z Workstations at HP Inc, said: “Virtual reality is changing the way people learn, communicate and create.

“Making the most of this technology requires a collaborative relationship between customers and partners. As a leader in technology, HP is uniting powerful commercial VR solutions, including new products like the HP Z VR Backpack, with customer needs to empower VR experiences our customers can use today to reinvent the future.”

Naturally, HP bills the opportunities for commercial VR ”as being “limitless for businesses in product design, architecture, healthcare, first responder training, automotive and entertainment” and that “emerging technologies like VR create breakthrough experiences for customers – from reinventing the buying experience in automotive showrooms to changing the way hospitals train their staff".

HP’s proud boast of a 'winning approach to VR'

HP says its “approach to virtual reality is founded upon its rich history of product innovation and deeply rooted customer relationships”, and that it “works as an extension of its customers’ businesses, which enables it to deliver the most immersive technologies that help businesses lead their industries".

Unsurprisingly, HP boasts its technology “not only provides commercial-grade reliability, but also established world-class partnerships that bring together the complete VR ecosystem with Intel, NVIDIA, Technicolor, HTC Vive and others".

The company also says it is “investing in immersive virtual and augmented reality technologies to give customers and partners superb tools for commercial VR use cases".

The company says its effort solidifies its “long-term commitment to VR and helping customers use VR to reinvigorate their business".

As part of this commitment, HP says “13 immersion centres will open later this year in Sydney, Palo Alto, Houston, Boise, Fort Collins, Stockholm, London, Paris, Barcelona, Boeblingen, Beijing, Tokyo and Singapore, and have been designed so customers can have an immersive experience using HP VR technology and receive consulting and learn how to best deploy VR devices within their business to streamline workflows".

So, what is more on the HP Z VR Backpack’s promise, which HP says includes 'the mobility to transform'?

HP says its new Z VR Backpack “provides the freedom to move and maintain total immersion with high-octane visual performance and docking capabilities that transform it into a manageable, powerful desktop PC experience".

We are told it will be a “catalyst for more powerful VR experiences across many enterprises and businesses including the following use case examples:

  • Businesses can use VR to deliver safe and effective simulated training in dangerous environments, in medical training or for heavy/large equipment operations. In all these environments costly mistakes can be avoided with effective VR training solutions using the HP Z VR Backpack.
  • In architectural building development, virtual walkthroughs at scale for client reviews can help quickly close the deal.
  • In product development where product concepts are reviewed, executive agreement and sign off for new product styling can be done in virtual product showrooms.
  • In commercial entertainment, new location-based entertainment centres featuring exhilarating virtual reality experiences can now be realised with the HP Z VR Backpack.

Billed as being “workstation-class” that brings the “full potential of VR” to life, HP says its “fully immersive and untethered VR Backpack is light with an ergonomic backpack design and hot swappable batteries to provide unrestricted freedom within an immersive experience".

HP boasts the Backpack “has high-end processing power and the latest high-fidelity graphic solution to help prevent disruptive dropped frames so users can work in VR for as long as needed.”

Naturally, this means an Intel Core i7 vPro processor which “provides the power to process applications quickly and includes the vPro chipset”, and that it is “the first wearable VR PC in the market with the NVIDIA Quadro P5200 with a huge 16GB video memory".

Finally, HP says the Backpack’s docking solution “lets digital creators quickly transition back and forth between high-powered desktop for content design and wearable VR PC to validate creations".

There’s even an HTC Vive Business Edition HMD (that is sold separately) which is also “part of the HP VR portfolio".

The HP Z VR Backpack is scheduled to be available in September, with its datasheet available here.

Here’s HP’s video on the Z VR Backpack – more on the rest of the HP VR product portfolio after the video.



So, what else is within HP’s VR Product Portfolio?

HP says its “versatile, high-powered devices empower customers to create and consume VR content” and that its “commercial grade products are designed for mission critical business applications that require high levels of security, manageability, reliability and ISV certified applications".

There’s the HP ZBook 17 Mobile Workstation which HP says “delivers ultimate power and performance and can be configured with the optimal horsepower and graphics solutions to bring VR content to-life in an ultra-smooth 90 FPS VR experience".

Then there’s the HP Z Desktop Workstations with HP says “are designed to create visually stimulating, accurate and compelling VR content. HP Z Workstations desktops feature the latest processors and graphics cards and are built to stay quiet, cool and reliable for graphic-intensive tasks".

Next up is the HP EliteDesk 800 G3 Tower, which HP says is “a VR-certified PC, features high performance and expandability in a stylishly redesigned 26 percent smaller chassis for the modern workplace. It is ideal for companies wanting to future-proof their technology and deliver state-of-the-art capabilities".

Last, but not least, is the OMEN X Compact Desktop which HP says “brings gamers an immersive experience. The factory-overclocked GPU from NVIDIA and versatile form factor means it can dock and undock quickly for gaming anywhere or can be used as a backpack for an untethered consumer VR gaming experience".

Project Mars

Finally, there’s HP’s new “HP Mars Home Planet” project created in “partnership with NVIDIA, Technicolor, Fusion, Autodesk, Unreal, Launch Forth and Vive. The collaboration will create a global online co-creation community to reinvent life on Mars for one million humans, in virtual reality".

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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