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Hotels & Resorts

 February 17, 2016
Victoria, BC's Hotel Zed Enters The "22nd Century" With Fully Immersive 360 VR Video

 The Hotel Zed in Victoria, BC isn't changing their stripes and shifting away from their funky, fun, and retro approach to your non-standard guest experience, but they are adding a 360 VR video to the mix, providing a fully immersive experience of the property to anyone with a smart phone or tablet.

Through a life-like (or life-altering) video, the Hotel Zed is pushing the boundaries of the visual world. The 360 VR Video was shot and edited from cameras that allow the viewer to see a fully uninterrupted 360 degrees, and includes the property's lobby building, Ping-Pong lounge, and colour-popping guest rooms. The property partnered with Vancouver-based Wondr, a virtual reality video production company, who has previously worked with organizations like Variety Show of Hearts and Smallworks Laneway Homes.

"Although we're not really speaking to you from the future, we feel like we're boldly going where no one has gone before," says John Espley, director of marketing and communications for the Hotel Zed. "While it feels like this type of technology would belong on a holodeck on the USS Enterprise, it's available on any phone or tablet. Sit down in your living room, hop on your device and walk through our lobby's front door."

While guests will still enjoy retro touches like rotary dial phones, vintage tanker desks and rides in one of the two VW 1960s buses, the 360 VR video adds to the bleeding-edge technology found in the rooms like high-speed (free) Wi-Fi, media hubs and LED TVs.

For the geeks in the crowd, the video may be viewed through a head mounted display (HMD), which will enhance the feeling of being immersed in virtual reality. HMDs displays range in price from entry level devices such as Google Cardboard ($5 to $20); slightly higher quality plastic versions ($30); or more expensive high-quality systems such as the Samsung Gear VR ($99) or the Oculus Rift ($599).

According to Wondr, tech forecasters believe the audience for VR will be just shy of 40 million devices this year. Light mobile VR (Google Cardboard) is expected to make up 71 per cent or 27 million people. Premium Mobile VR (Gear VR etc.) is expected to make up 7 per cent or 2.5 million people. PC VR (Oculus Rift, HTC Vive etc.) are anticipated to be 17 per cent or 6.6 million and Game Console VR (PS4) is estimated at 5 per cent or 1.9 million people.

Just don't try using the in-room rotary phones to view the video; if you're in doubt of how to use a rotary phone at all the Hotel Zed happily provides instructions, kids...