Few of us have the chance to visit North Korea, while for the rest, DPRK remains one of the most mysterious country, which we understand much better after visiting the country. Well, the situation is changing!
In September 2016, Marcus Olsson, the co-founder and CEO of Swedish tech startup SceneThere which produces custom 360-degree video experiences, visited North Korea as a volunteer with Choson Exchange to lead workshops on innovation and entrepreneurship as a workshop leader. He realized that there is more to DPRK than what he has read in the media and created the world's first interactive VR experience from North Korea, to encourage better understanding of this country.
"I was invited to educate about startups, and entrepreneurship," says Olsson. "It was a very rare experience to be able to meet a culture which has not been exposed to the internet and many of the services we're used to in the world outside of North Korea. The startup mindset – agile thinking and so on – is a completely new concept for them. But they were very smart. They came up with ideas and concepts that they didn't yet have words for."
Also, he was surprised by how easy he can get permission to use the rig, his 360-degree camera which consists of six GoPro cameras lashed to a pole. "The rig went through border control without me having to explain it too much," he says. "Since I was invited as a lecturer, I was able to film in a way that would not have been possible with a tourist group, or as naturally unstaged as if I would had been a journalist."
So, with Pyongyang VR, Olsson hopes to give tourists a better glimpse of how life is in DPRK. "I'm hoping to show a side of North Korea that has not been shown before," he says. "It's important to make a difference between the story of the leadership and the story of the people. We've been educating the people in entrepreneurship because we believe this will create positive change."
The best way to enjoy this virtual-reality tour is on Samsung's GearVR by downloading the SceneThere application from Oculus Store as this link. Or if you don't have a VR-headset, you can still experience North Korea in SceneThere's interactive 360-video player via this link.
If you also are an entrepreneur or business professional like Marcus Olsson and believe in positive change, join us for a trip, visit and share your expertise with the local business community. We are recruiting for our next workshops in July and September. For further details, get in touch with us!