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Shropshire virtual reality business doubles turnover with US success

 

Shropshire-based Igloo Vision, a virtual reality experience developer, has doubled its turnover and won a new high-profile contract with support from the Department for International Trade (DIT).

Igloo Vision creates immersive 3D projection domes and cylinders. Any virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) or 360° content can be displayed and shared among groups of people, making it suitable for shared experiences, simulation and visualisation. Previous clients include Ford, BP, the UN High Commission for Refugees, Marriott Hotels and Vodafone.

The latest contract win is with a global consulting firm that has installed Igloo systems at two of its US-based innovation centres, and is aiming to roll them out to all of its offices worldwide.  The firm is using these Igloo systems to demonstrate the enterprise applications of VR to its clients, particularly for group-based simulation (such as training applications) and visualisation (such as architectural and engineering applications).

The new contract is one of several recent successes in the US.  As a result, Igloo Vision is on track to achieve £3.3 million worth of American export sales in 2018, and expects this number to reach £19 million within the next five years.

The success comes on the back of the business exhibiting at two of the world’s biggest technology and creative events held in the United States: AWE, the world’s largest AR/VR conference, and SXSW, the creative and media festival, with funding from DIT.

AWE USA, or Augmented World Expo, is the world’s largest AR/VR conference, attended by tech giants including Intel and Google. SXSW, held annually in Austin, Texas, is a global celebration of film, music, and media festivals and conferences. Its ‘interactive media division’ showcases emerging technology, where Igloo Vision met key contacts and buyers in the sector.

Igloo Vision already works across five continents and exports make up around two-thirds of its annual turnover. It has tripled its global workforce in the last 12 months, with a current headcount of 50 people. As well as its headquarters in Craven Arms, it has offices in London, the New York Metro area, Los Angeles, Toronto and, most recently, Melbourne.

Dennis Wright, CEO of Igloo Vision, said: “We create products that need to be experienced to appreciate their full effect – and that’s why the Department for International Trade’s support has been so helpful.

“For some small or new businesses, finding the funds to attend an overseas exhibition or take part in a trade mission can be out of the question. But it is those trips that can provide the opportunities to build relationships or secure contracts.

“The Department for International Trade and our International Trade Adviser, who was our day to day point of contact throughout the process, have been a great help to us in providing funding to attend SXSW and AWE. Being chosen to exhibit as one of the best new names in your field is a huge boost to a company’s credibility and visibility.”

Ian Harrison, Head of Exports for the Midlands at the Department for International Trade, said: “Part of what makes Igloo Vision so outstanding is the way its products can be adapted to bring people together – from intimate rooms of under ten people to crowds of up to a thousand. Technology may be logistically easier to export than, say, food and drink products, but it is identifying the target market that can be difficult for new names in a fast-moving and competitive sector.

“It’s great to see that with the help of our International Trade Advisers, Igloo Vision has found success in the United States, which is a key exporting partner for the UK. They have since been partnering with some of the biggest names in technology and are standout examples of British exporting excellence.”

Companies can find information about exporting and a current list of opportunities by visiting: great.gov.uk or by contacting:

DIT West Midlands

E: info@tradeWM.co.uk

T: 0345 222 0159

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