Experimenting with new technologies like Augmented and Virtual Reality can invigorate your development process, sparking creativity and accelerating innovation. However, investing in a bunch of new hardware for the sake of creative research and development is hard to justify because of the high initial costs and the uncertainty of how long you may use it.

Breaking down these barriers with flexible access to technology allows for building projects that break the mold. Imagining unknown realities, transporting visitors through time and space, and augmenting luxury dining with an immersive experience are just a few of the examples that Grover’s customers and partners have produced by exploring the possibilities of new technologies with a low financial risk by simply renting instead of buying the latest tech.

The new flexible access model for tech

Grover, a Berlin-based startup with partners all over the planet, offers over 1500 different tech products for 1, 3, 6, and up to 12-month rental periods for a fraction of the purchase price and lets you send them back when you no longer need them. In addition to cutting edge technologies like AR and VR, Grover has laptops, smartphones, speakers, drones, cameras, and more.

Grover’s recently-launched B2B offer has seen immense growth in the last 6 months, as the business use cases for renting tech instead of owning it are plentiful. Imagine developing an iPhone app, giving the developer an Android for cross-platform testing, and finding that Android users love your product. Or your sales team has to travel a lot and work remotely: send them off with MacBooks or Surface Books to make sure everyone has the hardware they need to work seamlessly anywhere. You can also attract top talent by offering employee perks like the laptop of their choice for your developers, or add-ons like smartwatches or e-scooters for commuting.

Partners in innovation

Working with new technology can not only expand your customer base, upgrade your productivity, and make your office more fun: it can also find you new partners. Our partners at Demodern, The School of Machines, Making, & Make-Believe, Sublimotion, and Time Rift Tours have created great examples of innovation with the latest technology while slashing hardware expenses.

Demodern, an independent specialist provider for creative technologies, has been developing innovative digital communication since 2008. They partnered with Kolle Rebbe to present a virtual reality experience for their client Lufthansa at the ITB, the world’s largest tourism fair. Using an HTC Vive Pro provided by Grover, visitors to the Lufthansa area could sit in a swing and be transported above the clouds of Vienna, Cape Town, San Francisco or New York.

An early demo of the VR Swing by Demodern

Future Landscapes is another of Grover’s partner projects, an intensive four-week program by The School of Machines, Making, & Make-Believe in cooperation with the Moore Institute at the National University of Ireland Galway and Galway 2020. Participants are encouraged to imagine unknown realities through new interactive experiences created with Mixed Reality, AR, and VR, using Unity3D, ARKit and Vuforia. Grover supplies smartphones and virtual reality headsets for the participants, some of whom have never developed anything in VR before.

A workshop from The School of Machines, Making, and Make-Believe

A similar endeavor was the Off the Wall art challenge, created by Berlin-based multimedia artist Miguelangelo Rosario, in which 18 artists from backgrounds including street art, painting, fashion, and theater arts, tried VR for the first time and were trained to use Tilt Brush and Gravity Sketch. Putting technology into the hands of artists from so many walks of life produced fresh and diverse artworks viewable through ARize, an augmented reality app developed by a team in the Netherlands.

One of the more exotic partnerships to use Grover hardware was Sublimotion, a gastro-technological experience that takes place in the Hard Rock Hotel at the Playa d’en Bossa, Ibiza. Developed by a team of Michelin star chefs, musicians, illustrators, fashion designers, craftsmen, and even an illusionist, the performance guides an audience of twelve through a multi-course dinner that includes virtual reality.

The Sublimotion experience

Accelerated innovation for every industry and Grover’s VR store

Time Rift Tours is another partner who Grover started working with in 2016. The founder, Steven Boylan, spoke at our first Virtual Reality Meetup about how quickly they could put together their time-travelling tour experience with Gear VR headsets from Grover. They modelled the Berlin wall throughout the years based on historical records and photographs, and give walking tours along where the wall used to be to groups wearing the headsets, guided by a tour guide with an iPad who controls what year in history they see.

This partnership not only allowed us to support an unconventional and educational business in Berlin tourism, but to build a virtual version of Grover’s store supported by TRT:Labs. Most users do their rentals through our website on desktop or mobile, but now they can be transported to a purple-tinted Grover world where they teleport from platform to platform and can pick up, rotate, and inspect some of the items in the Grover catalog in virtual reality.

As these partnerships demonstrate, VR and AR tech are accelerating innovation in many different industries, including travel, the arts,cuisine, and entertainment, but even a simple e-commerce website can jump into the future by experimenting with these new technologies. And with Grover as your hardware partner, growing new ideas into innovations realized with the latest technology is easier than ever.

If you want to learn more about how renting your hardware could accelerate innovation for your business, talk to us at the Grover booth at WeAreDevelopers World Congress 2019.

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