Less than a month since he launched VR Park, an entertainment site with virtual reality machines, programs and games, Syrian and serial entrepreneur Riad Taha explains how IT and AI drive his business projects.
Photo: Riad Taha launched the first entertainment park based on virtual reality / Credits © VR Park Luxembourg
On 16 October Syrian-born and refugees Riad Taha and his brother Tarek launched VR Park Luxembourg, the country’s first entertainment park based on virtual reality.
Located in front of Belval’s university, the 500-sqm site provides 18 machines including 360-degree rotating chairs, VR flight, sailing, driving and surfing animations, games and educational programs, as well as an augmented reality projection game for kids. A 7D Cinema with 12 seats will be launched soon.
Taha also runs Techno-Tik, a smartphone and computer repair shop he founded with his brother in Ettelbrück in 2016. He is also the managing director of RCTLux, an ICT solution, consultancy and distribution business he founded in 2015, which specializes in services and products from Luxembourg and Europe to the Middle East and North Africa. He is also the board member of LABA, the Luxembourg Arab Business Association.
Riad Taha, how did you come to this project of matching VR and entertainment?
I was always interested in new technologies, more specifically in artificial intelligence (AI), which was one of my main specializations during my university days. I have been following the development of virtual reality (VR) for years, and I always wanted to match it with entertainment.
How do you connect AI with VR and entertainment?
Some of our machines are robots that work with computers and are interact with human beings. Sometimes the machines control the players; sometimes the players control the machines.
Your park is located in the midst of the country’s most important academic and research campus: why did you choose to dedicate it to entertainment and leisure, instead of applying it to research, testing or pedagogic purposes?
Some of our movies have an educational purpose indeed. In the future, we will contact the Ministry of Education and see what educational movies or programs based on VR schools, universities and research centers could need, and how we could develop these together.
Once we would agree on collaboration, I would contact my suppliers and ask them to develop specific programs that fulfill the Ministry’s expectations.
“We now employ 8 people and hope to grow our team up to 12. My objective is to create new jobs, contribute to the growth of our economic system and add educational value to the country.”
How long would it take then to implement these machines and programs?
Between 6 to 12 months, depending on how complex the concept and programs are. Some of our machines can include up to 100 games and programs. Some movies are not just a series of moving images; they offer more value-added information such as extra explanations, texts, voice over and illustrations. As a result, it takes time to design and develop these programs.
Where do you get your material, machines, games and movies?
Everything comes from China. My suppliers provide me the whole infrastructure, as well as the content of the movies and of the games. They also design, develop, program and update these.
Do you think that Luxembourg could set-up a cluster of expertise in VR programing?
It could indeed. It depends on the country’s needs. VR is now increasingly growing in many fields. I focus on entertainment, but I do plan to extend it to other industries and purposes.
As a serial entrepreneur, what would be your next entrepreneurial project?
Based on my IT background, I have other technology projects in mind that I am considering implementing in Luxembourg. It is too early to talk about these today. I am now focusing on developing VR Park. We now employ 8 people and hope to grow our team up to 12. My objective is to create new jobs, contribute to the growth of our economic system and add educational value to the country.