Irvine CA– With the Oculus Rift on the brink of consumer release (Q1 2016), the innovation team was eager to hear more about the latest breakthroughs that had yet to be announced. Our Innovation Technologist, Jason Sankey, and I got the chance to sit down last week and figure out just what the June Oculus Live event was all about. An event that had the allure and mystery that usually can only be found at an Apple Live event.

Not only was Oculus purchased by Facebook last year for an astounding $2 billion, but last week Oculus had yet another unique partnership to share. That partnership was none other than one of the biggest names in gaming; Xbox.

Oculus + Facebook + Xbox = Talk about a powerful trio of tech experts….

This new collaboration points to an interesting turn in which Oculus positions itself firmly within the video gaming industry. The first takeaways to come out of this announcement and collaboration with Xbox is that each Oculus Rift will be shipped with a wireless Xbox controller and will more user friendly.

While the focus of the event was on Oculus’s play in the video gaming industry, there were some other significant announcements that captured our attention:

  • The latest model will be light enough to be held in one hand and has been optimized for people who wear eyeglasses
  • Among the demos showcased, there was an emphasis on third person gaming capabilities
  • Spatial audio integration 
  • “Oculus Home,” a social aspect of the Rift that allows you to view when other people are online and make purchases directly within the headset. 
  • “Oculus Touch,” handheld motion controllers that let you see your hands in virtual reality (allows users to pick up and point at objects).


Oh yeah, the Rift has also integrated headphones that have the ability to quickly detach in case you’re more of a Beats guy/gal.

It’s not all about video games. But it is all about “gaming.”

Two of the trends we have been keeping a close eye on this year are “virtual reality is finally reality” and “let’s play.” Both of which, point to the proven success of gamification in our industry and the ability to use gaming dynamics to solve modern day problems. The release of the Oculus Rift to the public in 2016 will be the first time that a high quality virtual reality experience has been placed into the hands of the average consumer. Products such as the Oculus Rift offer truly immersive experiences that will (and already do) provide users the ability to transport to places often times seem unimaginable. The announcement of the “Touch” opens up a whole new realm of possibilities that can be applied to the healthcare space. Everything from surgery simulators to simple educational tools can be drastically improved using these exciting new devices to empower users to think beyond traditional tactics and norms.

About the Author:

As Managing Director of Innovation and Insights for Syneos Health Communications, Leigh is responsible for building and scaling a global team of healthcare experts who together help life science leaders better understand the complex lives, influences and expectations of their customers. Specifically, they uncover actionable insights that fuel empathy and creativity; lead co-creation events that let marketers learn from peers, trends, and new possibilities; and help clients identify the most valuable and useful new customer experiences to create.

Leigh has worked with Fortune 1000 companies to craft their digital, mobile, social and CRM strategies for nearly 20 years.She’s worked for category-leading agencies in retail, public affairs, B2B technology, and higher education. Prior to moving to Syneos Health Communications, she held several leadership roles at our largest agency, GSW.  There, she founded an innovation practice fueled by the zeitgeist and spearheaded digital and innovation thinking across the business.

Leigh has taken a special interest in complex healthcare products that can change lives in meaningful ways. She was recently a strategic lead on the 3rd largest launch in pharmaceutical history: Tecfidera. Before that she had keys roles with Eli Lilly Oncology, Abbott Nutrition, Amgen Cardiovascular, and Eli Lilly Diabetes.

A critical part of Leigh’s work is trends and new ideas. Every year, she convenes a group of trend watchers from across our global network to identify the shifts most critical to healthcare marketers. This year, she led over 250 experts to experts to focus on the most important changes in the commercial, consumer, marketing, digital and healthcare landscapes. (See reports at

Leigh is a sought-after writer and speaker. Recognized as one of the most inspiring people in the pharmaceutical industry by PharmaVoice and Top 10 Innovation Catalysts of 2017 by MM&M, Leigh also was recognized  as a Rising Star by the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association (HBA) for her overt passion, industry thought leadership and significant contributions in new business, strategy and mentoring.