HTC cuts price of Vive virtual reality system by $200, could spur more enterprise pilots

HTC Vive now goes for $599, and the company may be speaking to enterprises as much as consumers.

UPS is using VR headsets to train delivery truck drivers UPS wants to start training its student delivery drivers to identify road hazards using VR headsets. ** IT experts at UPS created "VR training modules" for VR headsets like the HTC Vive. ** The headsets will simulate the experience of driving in a city while delivering a memorable lesson. ** Students using the modules must verbally identify road hazards such as pedestrians and parked cars. ** The 360-degree view inside the headset is realistic down to the finest details, UPS said. ** UPS plans to launch VR training in September 2017 at its nine UPS Integrad facilities in the US. ** The VR training modules will replace the touchscreen devices UPS Integrad facilities currently use. ** UPS currently operates eight UPS Integrad facilities in the US and two others in Europe. ** These facilities teach students the fundamentals of driving delivery vehicles and delivering packages. ** But the company is exploring VR and even AR for training tractor trailer drivers.

HTC cut the price of its Vive virtual reality system by $200 in a move that follows discounting by Facebook's Oculus Rift.

In a blog post, HTC said it would offer its Vive system for $599. That bundle includes headset, sensors, and motion controllers. Oculus in July said that its Rift and Touch were available for $399 for a limited time. Both Oculus and HTC are chasing Sony's Playstation VR, which has sold more than a million units so far and goes for $399.

If you're looking at the consumer market, it's easy to argue that HTC's price cut doesn't do much. However, HTC noted that the Vive hardware has attracted enterprise partners such as Intel, UPS, Volkswagen, and Salesforce as enterprise partners.

UPS has outlined how it is using virtual reality and Vive for driver training. At $599, the Vive has become more affordable for businesses looking at proof-of-concept pilots.

HTC added that more global brand partners will be announced in the second half of the year.

Certainly, Vive hopes to play in the gaming space, but the win for HTC may be the enterprise. Yes, augmented reality will initially have more use cases, but HTC Vive can garner traction for training, maintenance ,and other enterprise tasks. Indeed, developers are already gravitating toward Vive and Rift.

Another key reason HTC has a shot in the enterprise: It is one of the few early players focused on corporate uses. Microsoft HoloLens rhymes with virtual reality, but is more augmented reality. Google Glass is more augmented than virtual reality.

Add it up and HTC's price cut may be more about business than landing a mass of consumers.


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