This is the fourth post in our series: Discover Korea’s Tech, where we will talk to a mix of Korean startup entrepreneurs who stood their own ground with their technology, in Korea’s economy notoriously dominated by gigantic companies. Stay tuned over the coming month as we talk to Korean entrepreneurs. You can follow our updates @technodechina for new stories in the series. 

The big debate around virtual reality is how we monetize on it. VR advertisement is seen as a one way to monetize VR content, but it is unclear how much the ad will gain traction from viewers. Korea-based VisualCamp has a solution to advertisers who wants to measure how effective a VR ad is. The company has developed a technology that enables users to input signals with their gaze in VR.

“VR content should take off before we talk about VR advertisement, of course. VR advertisement follows the VR content boom,” Charles Seok, co-founder and CEO of VisualCamp says. “Once we have eye-tracking technology, it will drive the VR advertisement market closer.”

Main competitors include Japan-based startup Fove,EyeTribe, EyeFluence and SMI. EyeFluence, the eye-tracking company was acquired by Google last month. Charles points out that other eye tracking companies are focused on PC-based VR headset, which will limit its reach because of its high price. VisualCamp says its technology is more affordable and accessible since it supports mobile-based VR headset both supporting Android and All-in-one type. “We developed an eye-tracking algorithm that occupies CPU lower than 10%,” Charles says.

“VR advertisement market will take off on mobile-based VR. Since smartphone-based VR headsets are rather affordable to customers, it will get a lot of paid advertisement,” Charles says. “PC-based VR advertisement market will come in slower, since PC-based VR HMD is still too expensive.”hmd-%e1%84%8e%e1%85%a1%e1%86%a8%e1%84%8b%e1%85%ad%e1%86%bc%e1%84%89%e1%85%a1%e1%84%8c%e1%85%b5%e1%86%ab-20160823_165823

Eye-tracking technology adopted in different sectors

“In the commerce sector, advertisers can figure out if a viewer would purchase the item or not in 3D shopping malls, using VisualCamp’s eye tracking solution,” Charles says. For example, when brand products are used in a 360 movie, the company can measure how effective is the brand’s advertisement on different scenes.

 The prediction is about 75% accurate in the current stage, which the company looks to raise its accuracy as high as 90%, as they develop through their technology. The technology can also find out if the viewers feel the advertisement model is appealing to them or not, using the gaze analysis.

“When VR commerce, say, Alibaba’s BUY+ is realized, eye tracking technology can actually help increase purchase conversion rate,” Charles says. “When a user’s likeliness of purchasing the item is high, then the company can send out a coupon.”

The technology has other possibilities to be applied to other sectors such as games, education, 360 movies, advertisements, and research.

“In a poker game, you will notice if the guy next to you is a professional or not. In education sector, you will notice if the person is illiterate or not using gaze analysis,” Charles says.

The Korean company is working with Chinese VR company Nibiru, a Nanjing-based company that develops 2K virtual reality headset solution to bring in its technology to China. Its competitor Fove has received funding from Samsung Ventures last year.

“In China, all the VR components, like software, hardware are moving forward. South Korea has a strong content base and technology, but consumers and companies are still slow in adapting VR,” Charles says.

VisualCamp was selected by Red Herring as one of the most innovative 100 technology startups in Asia this year. The company is supported by K-ICT Born2Global Center, a major Korean government agency under the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP).

Image Credit: VisualCamp