CiTi hosts 2nd virtual reality event, calls for VR in tourism

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The Cape Innovation and Technology Initiative (CiTi) has continued the development of its virtual reality (VR) community by hosting two back-to-back, sold-out events on virtual reality and digital currencies.

Disrupt Africa reported in May CiTi had launched South Africa’s first VR community, looking to provide support to the local ecosystem.

The second event saw over 200 VR community members and enthusiasts attend, with CiTi extendeding a call to action to the community asking for developers to come forward with ideas and solutions focused on tourism in the Western Cape.

“There’s no better way to show off both our province’s beauty and the fact that we are the vanguard for technology and innovation than by supporting the creation of a VR solution focusing on tourism,” said CiTi chief executive officer (CEO) Ian Merrington.

“Let’s come up with something that really puts Western Cape tourism on the map through virtual reality.”

Merrington said virtual reality and cryptocurrencies were some of the tech trends the organisation is focusing on in 2015, offering entrepreneurs in e-health, e-learning, fintech, tourism and other sectors support and space to get to market through programmes like BitHub, InnoTech, and Tech Lab Africa.

“The growth of this event shows us that there is a strong interest in opportunities around virtual reality in Cape Town,” said Grant de Sousa, who heads up the VR community and co-founded VR startup Sense Virtual.

“With the help of the Bandwidth Barn we’ve been able to nurture the virtual reality community. Our goal is to establish Cape Town as the hub of VR development.”

Merrington said VR could seem like technology only for a select few, but that the application of it was boundless.

“From booking tickets to e-commerce to social media, training, architecture, surgery, prototyping, and education, we know that VR is going to disrupt nearly every market, and tourism is one that we feel is particularly pertinent for us here in the Western Cape,” he said.

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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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