John Lewis, Columbia Records and Crossrail searching for VR and AR partners

John Lewis, Columbia Records and Crossrail are among a raft of brands searching for British digital entrepreneurs as part of a collaboration with innovation company IC Tomorrow.

The businesses along with IC Tomorrow have today (15 July) launched a competition inviting augmented reality and virtual reality start-ups to apply for a share of £210,000 in funding to trial ideas across fields such as music, retail, healthcare, education, construction and tactile technology.

As well as a share of the funding, the six winners will enjoy partnerships with Pearson, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) with Enteric HTC and Royal London Hospital, and King’s College London with Konica Minolta and Ericsson.

The winning entrepreneurs will keep 100 per cent of their IP and will receive mentorship and promotion to help bring their solutions to market.

The six categories and their respective partners include; Smart construction – Crossrail; Immersive retail – John Lewis; Enhanced medical training and care – Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), Enteric HTC and Royal London Hospital; Next-generation vocational education – Pearson plc; Tactile experiences – King’s College London, Konica Minolta and Ericsson and Amplified music experiences – Columbia Records.

John Vary, innovation manager at John Lewis: "John Lewis is relentless in its approach to exploring new and innovative ways for our customers to engage with our brand, so the 'immersive retail' concept captured our imagination immediately. This challenge enables us to push the boundaries of what is possible with virtual and augmented reality, and it's a pleasure to continue supporting the UK start-up community."

The deadline for applications is 12pm, Tuesday 18 August 2015. Shortlisted entries will be invited to a live pitch and Q&A with a panel of judges. The final trial launch for successful applicants is scheduled to take place in summer 2016.

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