VR/AR firm boss: Orlando’s tech talent pipeline ‘unparalleled’

A company that recently expanded into Orlando has the U.S. Air Force’s attention.

3D Media, which develops customizable virtual and augmented reality tools, announced this week that the Air Force’s rapid sustainment office will extend its contract with the company.

The extended deal could be worth more than $1.5 million over the next 12 months for the Louisiana-based company.

CEO Daryl Roy said the decision to locate an office in Central Florida was more than just an effort to get close to the military and defense industries.

“Orlando has a talent pipeline that is unparalleled,” he told Orlando Tech News. “UCF being the keystone but also Full Sail University puts out phenomenal talent, as do all of the other schools that contribute to the ecosystem.”

Roy, a U.S. Army veteran, plans to add seven people to the company’s staff because of this contract.

The contract with the U.S. Air Force is known as a Small Business Innovation Research phase II modification contract.

Phase II contracts generally mean a company has shown that the work it does fits in with what an agency expected from a particular project during Phase I work.

Roy said as the cost of jumping into virtual reality has gone down, interest has gone up.

“In many cases, cost was a barrier and the industry faced serious hurdles,” he said. “As companies and venture capitalists started to invest heavily on the hardware side, it became higher quality and it started to become cheaper.”

Deputy program executive officer Nathan Parker of the Air Force Rapid Sustainment Office said in a news release that his office is constantly seeking ways to apply new and emerging technologies.

“The training solution Daryl and his team developed is already proving to be effective,” he said. “This follow-on contract will focus on user expansion and enable 3D Media to deliver a more robust platform we can deploy across the Air Force to improve both training and flightline maintenance.”