Users can explore the Swinburne Sarawak campus and the surrounding city of Kuching with ‘Kuching VR’, a 360-degree virtual reality (VR) smartphone app released by Swinburne Sarawak.
Launched at the university’s Sarawak campus this week, ‘Kuching VR’ lets users experience Sarawak’s landmarks and tourists attractions in addition to the city campus.
Professor John Wilson, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of Swinburne Sarawak, says the release of ‘Kuching VR’ showcases Swinburne’s expertise in the field Extend Reality (XR).
“We have an expert faculty, the tools and the graduates to showcase our capabilities in this high-demand industry, so it is no surprise that many global companies like Shell and Microsoft engage our faculty and students,” says Professor Wilson.
“It is our view that in the future, we will interact with the virtual and real world in a seamless manner as depicted in some Hollywood movies today.
“This new modality of human and machine interaction will pave the way for new and exciting experiences thus requiring graduates skilled in the creation of XR content.”
Leveraging global trends
Kuching VR is was funded and governed by the Swinburne Marketing and Student Recruitment department to create global awareness about Kuching and Swinburne in particular.
Leveraging the trends in global smartphone adoption rates, increasing smartphone computing power and faster mobile data speeds, the department decided to look inwards and engage its talented faculty and alumni to develop the application.
Director of Marketing and Student Recruitment, Jagdish Singh, says this app will be used in all marketing activities by the university and its partners to build awareness and preference for Swinburne and Kuching.
“XR may sound new but it has been around for a number of years,” says Mr Singh.
“Whilst we have always had the capability to produce the content, our decision was to wait until other trends merge to provide the right environment for adoption of this technology. Smartphones today can rival computers and with the technology available in a mid-tier smartphone, we feel the time is right for this application.”
The app was developed by Trifold Enterprise, a company set up by a group of young Sarawakians and recent graduates of Swinburne’s multimedia design program. Trifold Enterprise is the first EX company in Sarawak that works on VR, augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) creative content development.
Commenting on the demand for graduates from the university’s multimedia design program, Mr Singh says: “When you look at applications like Snap which calls itself a camera company and with the launch of its Spectacles in addition to companies like Valve, Oculus, Unity, Google and NVidia working together to establish a cross-platform standard via OpenXR, it’s a positive sign towards the demand for graduates with these skills.”
“Our industry partners are already at our doors asking for more graduates as there is a shortage of these skills for industries like movies & entertainment, gaming, technology and creative content production agencies,” he said.
Celebrating the launch
Officiating the launch of the application was the Chief Minister of Sarawak and Swinburne Sarawak’s Pro-Chancellor YAB Datuk Patinggi Amar (Dr) Abang Haji Abdul Rahman Zohari bin Tun Datuk Abang Haji Openg.
Invited guests included heads of department from various federal and state government agencies, industry partners, and the Board of Directors Swinburne Sarawak. Also present were the heads of schools of the university as well as students of Swinburne Sarawak.
“Users of the application can download Kuching VR onto their Android smartphones and explore Swinburne Sarawak in an immersive way. They will be able to view many different parts of the university to get an idea of what the campus is like. We are launching it soon on the Apple App Store,” says Mr Singh.
To download the app via Google Play, see: Kuching VR