FATHOM V R BY HOLLY RESIGNOLO
TThere is tech in the high country. We often think of Colorado mountain towns businesses as an entity that works within property management, ski and board shops, real estate, boutiques and restaurants; but if you look harder you will find quite a few unique entrepreneurs pursuing high tech business startups. James Hay and James Lee are doing just that. I had the opportunity to meet James Hay four years ago in Telluride. He was working on the development of Slopeviews, a virtual product that would allow a 360 degree view of ski areas and their ski slopes. The idea came to the partners after having a beer at a local brewery and having a discussion with a gentleman who really wanted to be able to integrate Real Estate info into Google Street view. It sparked an idea in James Hay. He wondered if anyone was doing street views of ski areas and their ski runs. The two started looking into panoramic cameras and video and went on to create the world’s first immersive ski map. The product was awarded top exhibitor status at SIA but the recession had really dried up ski area budgets. Bandwidth needed to access these images and present the product adequately was also an issue. Slopeviews was ahead of its time. Rather than give up they stuck with the technology. New cameras came out along with better software which they helped Beta test; that was about two and half years ago. Today theses cameras are available but not on the consumer level. Technology, however, has caught up and allows these images to be captured and viewed easily by the consumer. The imagery is captured is beyond a 360 degree view too. The two have coined the term for these videos as HDS - High Definition Spherical. In November they launched Immersive Resorts, a platform for the travel and tourism industries for consumers who want to shop for their holiday and have a more interactive experience in order to make more informed decisions about where they want to spend their time and money. It is
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also an avenue for DMO’s and Tourism bureaus, towns, and chambers to advertise their destination and market it in a way that no one else is doing. No comprehensive site doing what Immersive Resorts is doing with all of their technology. Their map technology includes real area images that people can zoom in on and discover unique points of interest that will enhance their time in that area as well orientate them as to where they are when they are in that location. I had the opportunity to check out their Virtual Reality spherical imagery and videos. The experience was fantastic. With a full head set on I was able to immerse myself into an area of Iceland where the area’s beautiful wild horses were running free and watch/experience this event from a helicopter. Another video was going to a SUP Yoga class. Stepping onto the SUP board was intense. I sincerely felt I was there. In all of the videos I could look up and down and sideways. Really I could look every which way and take in the details of that particular landscape. I can see that value of this experience to influence things I would like to see or do in the future and I envision this technology going beyond the tourism sector into many other purposeful avenues of business. They also started Fathom VR for creative ad agency campaigns and marketing agencies for clients using the same technology for their clients. The recently recorded the Color Run at Copper Mountain and created a very cool video that allows the viewer to feel like they are there amongst the participants. The colors and images were vibrant and engaging, what a great tool for advertising. Fathom VR is the future of technology and the partners are excited to give the towns and resorts a level playing field where mom and pop shops have new technology to work with as well as the large business firms in the area. It has been an intense learning curve for both James and James and we are excited to watch them grow here in Colorado’s mountain towns.