Canon has announced that it is developing a virtual reality (VR) software platform that it is calling Kokomo. It is designed with the intention of changing human communication by combining VR with “immersive” Canon camera-powered video calls.
Kokomo is described by Canon as an “innovative” software solution that will provide users with a way to meet friends and family “virtually in-person” by using a compatible Canon camera, a VR headset, and a compatible smartphone.
“Kokomo will allow users to see and hear one another in real-time with their live appearance and expression, in a photo-real environment, while experiencing a premium virtual reality setting in captivating locations like Malibu, New York, or Hawaii,” Canon explains.
Canon says that the app will use Canon cameras and its imaging technology to create realistic representations of its users so it feels as though users are speaking face to face rather than on-screen or through avatars (although technically, even if it is a photo-realistic digital recreation of a person, it is still technically an avatar). Canon calls what it is creating the Real “Together” Experience.
“With Kokomo we’re tapping into Canon’s innovative spirit and heritage of high-quality imaging to enable people to have real, authentic interactions when they get together in VR. Every ImmersiveCall should be a memorable experience,” Kazuto “Kevin” Ogawa, president and CEO, Canon U.S.A., Inc., says. “Kokomo will enable people to create memorable, meaningful connections.”
Kokomo is currently being demonstrated at CES using the Canon RF5.2mm f/2.8L Dual Fisheye lens. The company says that Kokomo is slated to be available in 2022 and it plans to add new destinations, functionalities, and features to the Kokomo app, along with expanded compatibility with Canon cameras.
Canon did not specify which cameras, smartphones, and lenses would be considered “compatible” with the Kokomo system, however, it is highly likely that at least the EOS R5 and the aforementioned RF5.2mm f/2.8L Dual Fisheye lens will be among the Canon products that will work with the VR system. Since it is still in development, Canon also has not provided any information about how the software will be monetized, either through a one-time or subscription-based system. If it is anything like the software needed to operate the new dual fisheye lens, however, a subscription model seems likely.