CAPHE Researchers Meet Kenya’s VR Community

With employers in Kenya fast embracing virtual and augmented reality, the country’s capital is home to a growing number of creatives working to meet that demand and to explore those technologies as vehicles for creative expression.

CAPHE researchers got a taste of that vibrancy during their secondment to the African nation, participating in several demonstrations at gatherings arranged with leaders of the local industry. A mixer aimed at raising the project’s profile attracted a number of company executives and independents. Meanwhile, researchers toured facilities and met with practitioners in sessions aimed at providing them a view into local market developments.

Among the leading providers in Kenya is Black Rhino, a company that bills itself as an Extended Reality Agency that has operated for nearly a decade on the Kenyan market. The company prepare custom-built AR and VR packages for local and multinational companies, non-governmental agencies and across a range of sectors.

Black Rhino also operates a training facility for young creatives in the basement of a Nairobi shopping mall, where the company hosted CAPHE researchers for demonstrations of its applications. During the session, researchers head both from company officials and developers, as well as others participating in the local industry.

Among them is Hutchery 360, a provider that works in the entertainment and retailing sectors. Principal Lyosi Mwedekli creates store environments for fashion brands and imports box-style headsets that allow smartphone users to enter his company’s virtual worlds.

Participants also attended a presentation at the Baraza Media Lab, which serves as an incubator and learning centre for creative start-ups, their employees and those looking to gain a foothold in the industry. Walid Kilonzi, a principal at the Fallohide agency, detailed his company’s efforts to cultivate creatives, including through its PNGs Only bootcamp that lets them make art using its platforms.