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07/11/2018

Virtual Reality (VR) Software Cost

VR software development cost, there’s no way around it. Design, development, testing, integrations, testing, additional features, testing… Every gear of this complicated machine needs to be oiled and periodically checked, not to mention a constant advancement and pushing the limits of technology. Is software development really pricey? The short answer is ‘no’. The long answer is more complicated but still straightforward.

VR software cost 

The hidden truth about software product development: the cost of the code itself is not that big of a deal. The price comes from the presence of multiple stages right BEFORE writing a code and right AFTER that. You have architecture, schematics, design. THEN you have development, launching phase and maintenance on top of that. The code is just a part of a bigger, very important picture. The website is not a ‘site’ anymore, it’s a web application. To be honest, everything is an application nowadays. To be even more honest – AR, VR and AI are all in their conception phases.

Let’s be clear- there is a pool of developers with commercial expertise in the field of AR/VR but they are not to be mistaken with specialists.** Everyone with commercial implementation experience is invaluable**, proving to the industry that although some expectations of these technologies can be premature, overall they are steadily growing strong. AI, on the other hand… Did you see that excellent bot that fooled everyone, like they thought it was a legitimate human being? The next thing it did was to beat an international champion in a traditional Japanese game called ‘Go’. And finally, it was so efficient that it took over for this child and did for him the entire work of homework. Sounds realistic? Not even close. Not a single bot managed to fool the entire control pool. Still, no AI is powerful enough to beat anyone really good at ‘Go’. And about the homework thing – do you really want your child to skip it? ?

Seriously, though – development of something really new, costs. No one knows how and why some things work when it comes to artificial intelligence. This is the elephant in the room – the more we avoid the topic, the more it becomes crucial to finally do something about it.

The common denominator for both AR/VR and AI should be the question – what does it reduce the cost of? This come from economics and I deeply believe the question is valid. Why should we bother to develop something so ephemeral like a synthetic set of answers and actions, not resembling a human being in any seriously-taken way? Why we should develop a set of virtual worlds and look for ways to improve the experience when we have enough problems in the real world? What problems do these technologies solve?

Actually, a lot. Let’s take autonomous driving, for example. The car has to steer in a certain matter, drive with a certain speed, obey the laws, manage not to kill a driver and passengers, as well as other drivers and pedestrians. Is AI here developed to think like human beings think on the road? No, the AI is trained to predict. Instead of implementing an enormous load of code lines, we have to think of it as a giant pool of variables and one way to choose the best possible scenario. ‘How would a human driver react to a certain situation on a road? That’s how I should react’. This should be a model internal dialogue for artificial intelligence in the automotive sector.

But to learn and react, one needs data. And this costs as well. According to 2017 report from Forbes, data costs on average $9.7 million. Transformational technologies like artificial intelligence and Internet of Things (IoT) requires data. Data requires storage, processing and evaluation. This takes time and of course – VR software cost money.

The next topic is little unpleasant but important. As humans, we tend to have biases. A lot of them in fact, I won’t be listing those. Be aware that we’ve already written on this topic and the findings are not necessarily optimistic. There is a long way ahead of us, meaning research, development and tweaking. AI must not operate on a finite number of permutations, it should think for itself. Not mimicking human behaviour, but rather think independently. This levels of advancement are currently beyond our reach, but we’re getting there. And ‘getting there’ actually means research, that costs too. Surely managing the learning loop can prove useful, but that’s more tomorrow’s solution than anything else. Plus you can only optimize costs for so long.

The next thing is the time. Development takes a while but it’s ‘taking’ not ‘swallowing’. Meaning you want this to go the right way and potentially wait for results. Rushing into development, without making due diligence (project research, documentation, etc.) could and often will result in higher overall costs. You should always ask ‘How can I optimize the development period?’ instead of ‘How long will it take to code a project?’. There’s actually a famous industry proverb called ‘Brooke’s law’. A software engineer and computer scientist Fred Brooke published a book ‘Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering’. It was back in 1975, ideas from it still apply today. The central theme of this book are famous words:

Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

It’s funny but also ominous. If you want to succeed with your project, don’t hesitate to be efficient early on. Documentation-wise for example.

AR/VR and AI software product development is where we’re all learning. Meaning learning curve and challenges that goes with it. Choosing a right partner for a project means looking them up. Compare notes, experiences, expertise. Find out what they have to say. If the partner knows the craft, it can not only excel at a project but also save you time and money with optimization, high-quality documentation and proposals code- and functionality-wise.

Here’s what our experts from friendly startups have to say about it.

Piotr Sobolewski, CEO of Knights of Unity:

AR and VR are still emerging technologies, they still lack specialists with multiple years of expertise – everyone is going through a learning phase. Some developers have 1-2 projects, some of them have several. When choosing a partner for a project it’s a good idea to check if you’re talking to someone who’s experiences are not limited to a few prototypes. You want someone with commercial implementation.

Lower cost of a service today often means higher costs in the future. Badly prepared solutions, without a modular approach to the code architecture, allowing for the seamless product development and lacking a professional code documentation are the most common mistakes of underseasoned teams. The customer pays the price for that. This kind of product unfortunately can’t be expanded upon and ultimately lands in a trash bin.

Being in the shoes of a CEO, I would ask myself – do I want to risk that the solution that I’m currently paying for, will be short-lived? Or do I think about a commercial use of my product and that equals code quality. If the second option is closer to the reality, I would advise to take the cheapest option.

Dominik Nowak, CEO of Husarion:

Robotics and building the autonomous machines requires multidisciplinary team with almost complete spectrum of IT technologies, often electronics and mechanics as well. It’s hard to find good specialists from each of these fields, it’s even harder to have them all at once. Plus, not many of them will have experience related to robotics. You can name only a few companies specializing in these kind of things.

If you would like to build the team from scratch, you would need a lot of time and money. Plus you should take into account that first projects would be less than ideal. I don’t know many companies that can afford this level of confidence in itself, especially in times of fearless competition in robotics and autonomous systems. Using multidisciplinary teams like CSHARK and Husarion greatly reduces risk factors.

Poles occupy podiums of various developer rankings. Poland has a deep pool of talented engineers from different walks of professional life. IT outsourcing in Poland guarantees quality, so the customer doesn’t risk anything while completing his or hers team.

kamil kwecka Co-Founder & Board Member CSHARK
Kamil Kwećka
CSHARK's co-founder and board member. Tech expert with over 10 years of software engineering expertise and technical background. He believes in a practical agile approach. Always with a positive attitude, he writes about business, FinTech, software, startups and leadership.
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