Shared virtual reality (VR) company Igloo Vision has expanded its operations in the US as part of plans to increase sales in the country.
The Shropshire-based company will now have operations in Los Angeles and near New York.
Igloo Vision creates 360 degree projection environments – known as ‘Igloos’ – which allow groups of users to share immersive virtual experiences without having to wear headsets.
In the UK Igloo’s customers already include high-profile names such as BP, the Ministry of Defence, Ford, Welsh Water, Vodafone and Marriott International.
Founder and managing director Colin Yellowley will head up the US operations.
He said: “While the headset market is perfect for consumers and individuals, the commercial VR market needs something different and is changing rapidly from being an awkward and isolated experience to one where a business’ potential customers, partners or employees can sit relaxed or stand together and view and interact with it.
“Shared experience makes VR more engaging and more powerful – especially in commercial environments.
“We have a real opportunity here to be a home grown UK business who exports innovation and takes a leadership position in an exploding global market.
“We’re continuing to see strong growth in the US market and the new offices will enable us to serve existing and new customers better.
“US customers are now putting big budgets into creating 360o and 3D VR content, whereas the UK remains more cautious in its adoption.
“Yet the UK is still creating the world’s best VR content and the skills to do so remain here, at least for the time being.”
The timing is crucial as the company’s CEO Dennis Wright believes the UK is at risk of losing its technological lead in VR.
He said: “The US market is investing heavily into VR technology, and as a leading supplier of VR projection technology we need to ensure that we’re at the heart of that investment.
“The UK has the best skills and content developers in the world.
“As a nation we need to adopt a US mentality and attitude to growth and success or risk losing out as the VR market develops further State side.”