The best way to show 360 videos with a VR headset

The most requested virtual reality feature for professional use is “kiosk mode for apps and 360 video”. In this mode a closed-off environment is created that restricts the user to a single application or video without access to the full operating system. This simplifies the usage of VR headsets for both the end-user as for the representative.

Some brands offer a kiosk mode ‘out of the box’, but even then it can be difficult to set up. On this page we take the most common VR headsets used for presentations today and take you step-by-step in preparing the headset for presentations. They are all standalone mobile VR headsets that run without a PC. Keep in mind setting up the device can require a computer.

Kiosk mode for Gear VR

The Samsung Gear VR remains one of the most popular VR headsets for public display and promotional purposes. The easy-of-use and availability of this product have made the Gear VR into a mainstay of virtual reality events. Unfortunately there’s no official kiosk mode available, however the underlying Android system allows us to alter the regular boot sequence.

Screen pinning

The easiest method to prevent users to exit a running app is called screen pinning. First go to the Settings > Security & Location of the device. Scroll down until you find Screen Pinning and toggle the switch to ON. It’s possible to set a pin code to exit pinned screens.

Open the Gear VR app and subsequently the Recents overview to see the running apps. Now scroll down in the list and select the Pin icon. This will prevent the user to exit the application. By holding the Back button for a couple of seconds the pinned screen can be shut down, with the optional pin code.

Caution: It’s not possible to lock the system completely, the app can still be closed from within the Oculus menu.

Kiosk mode for Oculus Go

This VR device is almost identical to the Samsung Gear VR device and uses Oculus Home on top of an Android system. Oculus (Facebook) also does not offer native support for a kiosk mode at the moment, there are some workarounds that could work. Unfortunately Oculus tends to release updates that could interfere with software hacks that circumvent the standard system.

OculusGo KioskMode is a commercial software product with the exact purpose of turning the Oculus Go headset into a presentation device. It seems Facebook and the software developers play a game of cat and mouse by updating their firmware and hack respectively. There are other software based options but this would require extensive knowledge of programming. A dedicated VR presentation company could provide a simple and elegant solution for corporate use.

Kiosk mode for Vive Focus

While the HTC Vive is the flagship virtual reality product, HTC also developed a standalone device called the Vive Focus. The advantage of this VR headset is the official support for a kiosk mode, the problem is the cumbersome setup to get this feature to work. Let’s run down the required steps:

First the Focus has to be registered to the Vive Enterprise Advantage program through their Enterprise portal. If you do not have an account you can create one using e-mail verification or an existing social media account. In the Vive Focus section you can Register New Devices. The serial number of the device has to be entered, then the activation code has to be entered and then the Focus headset can be registered.

That was the easy part, now comes the mandatory but fortunately one-time setup of the device. A Micro SD card is required. On the Kiosk Mode pagina in the Enterprise portal you can download the configuration. Follow all the required steps as indicated on the page, using a PC or laptop. The folder structure on the SD card is very important. After successful installing it will take the device a couple of minutes to restart and the kiosk mode will be enabled.

Now you can enter Settings > More Settings > Personal > Kiosk Mode on the device and select the apps you want to use in this mode. With more than one application selected there will be a selection menu visible. An optional pin code can be set. By selecting Enter Kiosk Mode (after pressing the power button) you can activate this mode. Exiting also works by pressing the power button.

Kiosk mode for Pico

The Pico G2 4K makes it easy to use kiosk mode and even offers two distinct settings. In Full Kiosk Mode you can launch an app, in Video Kiosk Mode you can launch a video. However, like the other systems setting up the device is not as straightforward as you might expect. At the moment of writing the Video Kiosk Mode is not explained on the Pico website.

You will have to contact the company for more information, or ask you supplier. For the Full Kiosk Mode Pico offers an online guide to enable it. It does require the user to build a specific APK for Android, subsequently you will have to request a username and a password from Pico. They will send you a signed APK that you can sideload onto your device. In order to deactivate this function the APK can be uninstalled the same way.

Kiosk Mode is a very popular feature of VR headsets for business use, unfortunately the companies offering the hardware can make it difficult to setup your system for this purpose.