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article imageHTC unveils a 'business edition' of its Vive VR headset

By James Walker     Jun 9, 2016 in Technology
HTC has announced it is building a business-oriented version of its Vive virtual reality headset designed with enterprises in mind. HTC wants to see virtual reality become part of the workplace, including applications not focused on entertainment.
HTC said the Vive Business Edition is designed to capture the "huge demand" from industries worldwide that want to use virtual reality in their line of work. The system will come with its own dedicated support channels, a commercial licensing agreement and a 12-month limited warranty, giving enterprises peace of mind for their VR hardware.
Companies will also be able to buy multiple Vive headsets at a cost of $1,200 each. HTC will offer "large quantities" in bulk purchases, allowing industries to equip entire teams with a Vive. Consumers are currently limited to just one headset each as demand for the headset remains strong.
The Vive Business Edition features the same internal hardware as the consumer version of the Vive. Enterprises don’t receive any extra core capabilities or functionalities besides the extended support and option of volume buying. The Vive Business Edition will include the headset itself, two controllers, two base stations to track the user's movement and four face cushions.
HTC said the system is a direct response to demand for the Vive in business applications. "With Vive BE, we are answering the overwhelming demand from global industries for a complete VR experience, to provide innovative solutions for their business needs," said Daniel O'Brien, vice president of VR at HTC. "Expediting the growth of partner organizations through application of Vive technology is an incredibly important part of our ongoing VR strategy, and will ensure Vive continues to be at the forefront of the enterprise sector."
The Vive Business Edition represents HTC's intention to see virtual reality enter every possible area of life. The company has committed to the future of the technology, turning the Vive into one of its flagship products amid declining sales of its core smartphone business.
While take-up from most industries is likely to be slow, companies who want to experiment with bringing virtual reality into their business will now be able to do so with an officially supported package. In return, HTC gets to test the Vive in a market that it sees as instrumental to virtual reality's success, demonstrating the technology isn't just about immersive gaming and 360-degree videos.
Virtual reality could prove useful in a number of real-world scenarios, ranging from 3D modelling and architecture design to practicing medical operations on virtual patients. HTC is working with several commercial partners to bring virtual reality into businesses. The Vive has already entered the automotive, medical and design fields.
According to HTC, the Vive Business Edition will launch in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Germany and France this month. It will come to other regions globally "in the coming weeks." At $1,200, the business kit is considerably more costly than the $800 consumer version but the dedicated support network could appeal to enterprises new to VR.
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