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City Plots its Future in Virtual Reality

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio

NEW YORK CITY—As part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to create 100,000 new good paying jobs in the city in the next decade, the city is spending more than $6 million on a virtual reality trip that it expects will result in hundreds of future jobs.

The city announced on Tuesday it selected the New York University Tandon School of Engineering to develop and operate a hub for virtual reality and augmented reality at the Brooklyn Navy Yard with a workforce development center at CUNY Lehman College in the Bronx. The 15,000-square-foot lab at the Brooklyn Navy Yard will directly create more than 500 jobs over the next 10 years, and further position New York City as a global leader in the VR/AR industry, city officials say.

The new lab, expected to open in late 2017, will partner with CUNY Lehman College’s VR/AR Training Academy and Development Lab in the Bronx to connect New Yorkers with VR/AR jobs. Plans for a city-supported VR/AR Lab were included as part of Mayor de Blasio’s New York Works plan released earlier this month.

Financed by $6 million in investments by the New York City Economic Development Corporation and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, the lab will be the first publicly-funded VR/AR facility in the country to support startups, talent development and research and innovation.

“Augmented and virtual reality represents a huge new industry, and we want New York City to be second to none. We’re investing in the space, the talent and the research needed to make New York the global hub for this emerging technology,” says New York City Mayor de Blasio.

The VR/AR industry is growing, having seen nearly $3 billion in investments nationally over the past two years, according to a report authored by Citigroup. The report projects that the global VR/AR market could grow to $2.16 trillion by 2035 as different industries and applications make use of the technology.

 

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