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University of Portsmouth invests in its immersive, extended reality

Technical solutions specialist White Light has announced that the University of Portsmouth has invested in its SmartStage technology ahead of the launch of its new Centre for Creative and Immersive eXtended Reality (CCIXR) in 2021.

Photo courtesy of White Light Ltd – from left to right: Professor Trevor Keeble, University of Portsmouth Dean; Alex Counsell, University of Portsmouth Technical Adviser; Pippa Bostock, University of Portsmouth Business and Development Project Manager; Richard Wilson, WL Director; Andy Hook, WL Technical Solutions Director.

The university has recently secured £3.6 million in funding from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to create the facility which will be the first in the UK to support innovation in virtual, augmented and extended realities. The Centre will use SmartStage technology for innovation, research, and delivery of the faculty’s curriculum.

“SmartStage epitomises everything that we are trying to do with the CCIXR, as the UK’s home of ground-breaking, innovation in immersive XR technology,” said Pippa Bostock, business and development project manager at the University of Portsmouth. “It is crucial for us to demonstrate to everyone coming into the Centre, what creative technology can do for them, in a rapidly advancing digital world. With SmartStage as its technological centrepiece, the Centre will be the very first establishment in the UK to bring this whole immersive pipeline together.

“Furthermore, putting our students inside a range of content to elevate their learning experience, will equip them with an indispensable set of transferable skills,” she said. “We are hugely excited to partner with WL, Vicon and Digital Garage (as well as many other industry partners) to bring this vision to life and to cultivate and inspire the creative industries’ future generations.”

CCIXR will offer 12 “state-of-the-art XR areas of development”, which the university hopes will further enhance its international reputation for expertise in creative technologies. White Light said that the flexibility of the SmartStage will allow users “to push the boundaries of integration with different technologies, far transcending the parameters of other solutions”.

Andy Hook, White Light’s technical solutions director, added: “We have been deploying XR solutions globally for more than three years now, with SmartStage leading the way for success in corporate and broadcast markets, as well as education. The infrastructure for the CCIXR will help expose students to industry-leading equipment, such as disguise xR servers, which will allow them to unleash their creativity through a mixture of immersive display technology.

“Our commitment to R+D is enabling us to continually develop cutting-edge new iterations of this technology for our diverse client base, helping them to secure maximum ROI,” he said. “We are extremely proud to be pivotal to the UK’s very first centre of excellence and innovation in this field. Collaboration in R+D for the CCIXR and beyond will be a huge part of our ongoing partnership with the University of Portsmouth.”