By Roland Moore-Colyer
Samsung's Gear 360 camera is being put to use by Euronews to bring immersive virtual reality (VR) news reports to its viewers.
Euronews' VR project will be integrated into the normal news production workflow of its international newsroom, with the idea of producing content which is viewable in 360 degrees.
The 360 degree news report will be published across Euronews' digital platforms, such as euronews.com, its Facebook page, and its YouTube channel.
The 360 degree reports will be viewable on PCs and smartphones and can be navigated at the click of a mouse or tap of a screen, allowing viewers to see more immersive and interactive takes on cultural, political and sports reports.
Given the Samsung Gear 360 is a fairly compact camera and works with Samsung's Galaxy smartphones, Duncan Hooper, Euronews editor in chief at its digital platforms division, said the camera allows for the shooting of 360 degree videos without requiring extensive technical training.
"Because it is small and lightweight, we can take it with us on any shoot and the simple post production process means that for the first time, we are able to turn around VR content quickly for time-sensitive news events," Hooper explained.
The project is being supported by funding from the Google Digital News Initiative Innovation Fund, a collaboration between Google and European news companies to mix journalism with the latest technologies.
Given Google is heavily involved in VR, with its affordable Cardboard VR headset and software platform, as well as adding 360 degree video support to YouTube, it would be no surprise if a its work with Euronews resulted in Euronews Cardboard headsets being offered by both companies or a Euronews section within the Cardboard app, which is available on both Android and iOS devices.
Many technology companies are producing VR headsets and supporting devices; most recently Intel revealed Project Alloy, a headset that mixes VR and augmented reality in one and requires no external hardware to power it.
However, it is still early days for finding ways to integrate VR into business, though that has not stopped HTC from unveiling an enterprise-focused version of its Vive VR headset.