Bay Area: An Evening Out with VRARA and Tom Emrich

Register here, VRARA members are invited to a dinner that immediately follows drinks & networking.

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VRARA SF is assembling on March 7th for a social evening out with SF's VR/AR community. Join us at the hip and game-filled Coin-Op for happy-hour drinks, food and networking with SF's biggest XR influencers. We'll even have Ready Player One-themed prizes and trivia.

Our celebrity guest is Super Ventures' Tom Emrich (bio below). We're lucky enough to have him along to mingle with us and share ideas and stories. We're taking over a section of the venue including a (no host) bar and we'll provide light fare and giveaways. Coin-Op also has happy hour drink prices from 4-7. More information and registration can be found here.

Following the networking and cocktail hour is a (no host) dinner with Tom for VR/AR Association members at 7:30. If you'd like to join us for dinner, please RSVP with that designation by 3/05. If you'd like to become a member, contact us

OUR GUEST OF HONOR: TOM EMRICH

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Sometimes called the “man from the future” Tom Emrich is a leading voice in augmented reality, virtual reality and wearable tech. He is committed to driving adoption and innovation in technology which is augmenting the human experience.

Tom is an active investor and founding partner at Super Ventures, the first fund dedicated to augmented reality. He is also a community builder having grown a community of over 250,000 professionals dedicated to augmented reality, virtual reality & wearable technology through We Are Wearables, the largest wearable tech community in the world and AWE (Augmented World Expo) the world's #1 AR+VR conference and expo with annual dates in the USA, China and Europe.

Tom has been recognized as a top global influencer for AR, VR and wearables and has presented talks at major conferences such as TEDx, SXSW, TechCrunch Disrupt SF, CVR, WT Conference, Wearable Technology Show, TOM*FW, and FITC. He regularly appears in the media as a futurist and expert including The New York Times, Huffington Post, Space Channel, CNN, BBC, CBC, Readers Digest, Globe and Mail and FASHION magazine.

Tom's passion for this space is driven by his belief that wearable tech plays a critical role in our human evolution. See more on Tom's website.

Register here, VRARA members are invited to a dinner that immediately follows drinks & networking.

Bay Area: Come Learn ARkit (1/20 - 1/21)

Find out more details and register here. VRARA members, contact us for member pricing. 

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Augmented Reality is here and will change the world - come build the future! If you played Pokémon Go, you’ve seen Augmented Reality, but there is so much more. With mobile platforms now supporting Augmented Reality (e.g. Apples ARkit, Google’s ARCore) and AR content platforms rising, this is the time to learn about AR and how to use it.

If you want to use AR technology, but are not sure how, this is your opportunity – we want to enable you to dive in and develop in AR so that you can use AR for your company and yourself, regardless of skill level or background. Come spend the weekend with us learning how to build Augmented Reality apps.

This 2-Day Weekend Workshop includes:

  1. Developing a fully working Augmented Reality app (using ARKit & Unity) in a weekend Quality training in AR from leading developers with extensive teaching experience
  2. Help on how to take this new knowledge forward so you can develop on your own
  3. An understanding of the AR/VR/MR landscape and how it is developing
  4. A new network of people who share your passions

Find out more details and register here. VRARA members, contact us for member pricing. 

Bay Area: Join Us For VR/AR Year-End Roundtable (12/08)

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What a year it's been for VR & AR. As we enter 2018, VR/AR Association SF is assembling the best minds for a mega panel on the industry's biggest challenges and opportunities.

join us in San Francisco on Wednesday December 6 for an evening of networking, food & drinks and elite speakers from VRARA's SF member base (additional details here).

There will be much to discuss and define as we enter the new year: What did we learn in 2017? What does 2018 have in store? And what does it mean for you? 

Act fast because this will be a smaller and more intimate gathering than our normal event series. VRARA members interested in speaking, please contact us.

Register here. VRARA members choose the "member" option at checkout.

Watch our VRARA SF Event in 360

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Last week, VRARA SF held a quarterly chapter event focused on lightfields. What are lightfields and why are they important to immersive media like AR & VR? These were the questions we tackled during the event. 

For more detail, you can watch the entire video below. And to show that we're walking the walk with VR, we've captured the event in 360. Watch it embedded below or view in cardboard mode (stereoscopic, head tracking, etc.) in a compatible headset.

We'll have more coverage soon, including individual session video (traditional 2D) with soundboard audio. Until then, special thanks to all of our sponsors and speakers

Bay Area: Come Talk About Lightfields and Volumetric VR (9/13)

Register here. VRARA members, choose the member option at checkout. 

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For the VR/AR Association's next San Francisco chapter event, we'll dive into lightfields. Join us on September 13 for an evening of networking, food and illuminating discussion.

We'll examine the future outlook, as well as work being done today for volumetric photo capture in interior spaces like real estate. 

What's a lightfield, you ask?

Several technologies are required for VR's holy grail: the fabled holodeck. We already have graphical VR experiences that let us move throughout volumentric spaces, such as video games. And we have photorealistic media that lets us look around a 360 plane from a fixed position (a.k.a. head tracking).

But what about the best of both worlds?

We're talking volumetric spaces in which you can move around, but are also photorealistic. In addition to things like positional tracking and lots of processing horsepower, the heart of this vision is lightfields. They define how photons hit our eyes and render what we see.

Because it's a challenge to capture photorealistic imagery from every possible angle in a given space -- as our eyes do in real reality -- the art of lightfields in VR involves extrapolating many vantage points, once a fixed point is captured. And that requires clever algorithms, processing, and whole lot of data.

Join us on September 13 to learn more about this key lynchpin in VR's future

Please note that this is the rescheduled occurrence of our June event of the same name. Registrants for June's event will be admitted free. Please respond to this email for a comp code. VRARA members also get in free, as always (choose "member" option at checkout).



Speakers

  Alex Song , Director of Engineering, VR, Lytro

Alex Song, Director of Engineering, VR, Lytro

  Colvin Pitts , Senior Architect, Lytro

Colvin Pitts, Senior Architect, Lytro

  Eric Trabold , Chief Business Officer, Avegant

Eric Trabold, Chief Business Officer, Avegant

  Ryan Damm , Lightfield Thought Leader, Co-Founder, Visby

Ryan Damm, Lightfield Thought Leader, Co-Founder, Visby

  Emily Olman , SF Chapter Co-President, VRARA; Founder,  Hopscotch Interactive

Emily Olman, SF Chapter Co-President, VRARA; Founder, Hopscotch Interactive

  Mike Boland , SF Chapter Co-President, VRARA; Chief Analyst,  ARtillry .

Mike Boland, SF Chapter Co-President, VRARA; Chief Analyst, ARtillry.


Learn more about the VR/AR Association, San Francisco Chapter here


Bay Area: Come Talk About Lightfields with Us (9/13)

Register here. VRARA members, choose the member option at checkout. 

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For the VR/AR Association's next San Francisco chapter event, we'll dive into lightfields. Join us on September 13 for an evening of networking, food and illuminating discussion.

We'll examine the future outlook, as well as work being done today for volumetric photo capture in interior spaces like real estate. 

What's a lightfield, you ask?

Several technologies are required for VR's holy grail: the fabled holodeck. We already have graphical VR experiences that let us move throughout volumentric spaces, such as video games. And we have photorealistic media that lets us look around a 360 plane from a fixed position (a.k.a. head tracking).

But what about the best of both worlds?

We're talking volumetric spaces in which you can move around, but are also photorealistic. In addition to things like positional tracking and lots of processing horsepower, the heart of this vision is lightfields. They define how photons hit our eyes and render what we see.

Because it's a challenge to capture photorealistic imagery from every possible angle in a given space -- as our eyes do in real reality -- the art of lightfields in VR involves extrapolating many vantage points, once a fixed point is captured. And that requires clever algorithms, processing, and whole lot of data.

Join us on September 13 to learn more about this key lynchpin in VR's future

Please note that this is the rescheduled occurrence of our June event of the same name. Registrants for June's event will be admitted free. Please respond to this email for a comp code. VRARA members also get in free, as always (choose "member" option at checkout).



Speakers

  Alex Song , Director of Engineering, VR, Lytro

Alex Song, Director of Engineering, VR, Lytro

  Colvin Pitts , Senior Architect, Lytro

Colvin Pitts, Senior Architect, Lytro

  Eric Trabold , Chief Business Officer, Avegant

Eric Trabold, Chief Business Officer, Avegant

  Ryan Damm , Lightfield Thought Leader, Co-Founder, Visby

Ryan Damm, Lightfield Thought Leader, Co-Founder, Visby

  Emily Olman , SF Chapter Co-President, VRARA; Founder,  Hopscotch Interactive

Emily Olman, SF Chapter Co-President, VRARA; Founder, Hopscotch Interactive

  Mike Boland , SF Chapter Co-President, VRARA; Chief Analyst,  ARtillry .

Mike Boland, SF Chapter Co-President, VRARA; Chief Analyst, ARtillry.


Learn more about the VR/AR Association, San Francisco Chapter here


SF Chapter Event: UX and Design Underpin Good VR

Among the individual disciplines that drive VR innovation, UX and design are foundational. This was the central takeaway of VRARA SF's latest chapter event, co-produced by ARVR MunchnLearn

And through discussions of UX tactics such as ray casting, locomotion and teleportation, a theme emerged: The industry needs collaboration and strength in numbers. 

In other words, in these early days of experimentation for the best (and least nausea-inducing) user experiences, developers should work together and share best practices. 

"Experiment, and don't be afraid to break things," said Digital Myths Studio's Rafael Brown. "And when you find things that work, share it back with the rest of us."  

The packed house at San Francisco State University's downtown campus also heard from Oculus' Brian Sharp and Unity's Dylan Urquidi, through the eventful 2.5 hour program. 

SF Chapter Presidents Mike Boland and Emily Olman kicked off the program with insights on the VR industry, and of course updates on the chapter and its members. 

You can see that opening presentation below, and stay tuned for more videos. Special thanks to all the speakers and to our event partners, especially ARVR MunchnLearn


Learn more about the VR/AR Association, San Francisco Chapter here


Bay Area: Come Talk About Lightfields with Us (6/14)

Register here. VRARA members, choose the member option at checkout. 

For the VR/AR Association's next San Francisco chapter event, we'll dive into lightfields. Join us on June 14 for an evening of networking, food and illuminating discussion.

We'll examine the future outlook, as well as work being done today for volumetric photo capture in interior spaces like real estate. 

What's a lightfield, you ask?

Several technologies are required for VR's holy grail: the fabled holodeck. We already have graphical VR experiences that let us move throughout volumentric spaces, such as video games. And we have photorealistic media that lets us look around a 360 plane from a fixed position (a.k.a. head tracking).

But what about the best of both worlds?

We're talking volumetric spaces in which you can move around, but are also photorealistic. In addition to things like positional tracking and lots of processing horsepower, the heart of this vision is lightfields. They define how photons hit our eyes and render what we see.

Because it's a challenge to capture photorealistic imagery from every possible angle in a given space -- as our eyes do in real reality -- the art of lightfields in VR involves extrapolating many vantage points, once a fixed point is captured. And that requires clever algorithms, processing, and whole lot of data.

Join us on June 14 to learn more about this key lynchpin in VR's future

Register here. VRARA members, choose the member option at checkout. 

Speakers

Ryan Damm, Lightfield Thought Leader, Co-Founder, Visby

Additional speakers to be announced

 


Learn more about the VR/AR Association, San Francisco Chapter here


The Fourth Transformation Will Be About Diversified VR/AR Strategies

First there were mainframe computers, then PCs. Then ten years ago, the iPhone marked the beginning of the smartphone era. Now, the Fourth Transformation is upon us. 

Defined by VR, AR and AI, this transformation is the topic of the latest book from Robert Scoble and Shel Israel; and of their fireside chat at VRARA SF Winter event

To kick things off, we heard from Lenovo which has lots of irons in the fire. This includes VR-ready PCs, a windows holographic headset, an enterprise AR headset and of course Tango.

Altogether it's a diversified VR/AR strategy. That's impressive for a global hardware player, given that VR/AR could cannibalize hardware standards. It's a classic innovator's dilemma. 

Lenovo's Joe Mikhail asserted that despite these potential threats to current hardware standards, it's hard to deny that VR and AR are the future... and Lenovo needs to be there. 

Not only is it blitzing VR/AR, but each product maps to different opportunities. Its AR headset addresses enterprise AR, while the Windows Holographic HMD has consumer use cases. 

In each case, it's about accelerating the adoption curve by getting more devices in more people's hands. The goal there is to seed the marketplace by bringing hardware costs down. 

Lenovo is meanwhile Google's biggest partner for Tango. The depth sensing and room mapping tech fuels Lenovo's flagship Phab2Pro, and will push AR further into users' hands. 

"Hands" is the operative word there, as both Mikhail and Lenovo's Carter Agar believe that mobile is the nearer term AR opportunity that will scale before headsets do (we agree). 

The use cases for Tango include home design and renovation... where getting an accurate read on furniture and room orientations will resonate with consumers and avoid costly mistakes.  

Lenovo is also working with brands to expand the use case. Agar in fact announced a new Amazon partnership allowing users to visualize the perfect flat screen fit before purchasing. 

The entire interview is below, with lots more insights from Mikhail and Agar about how to piece together a diversified VR/AR Strategy. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more San Francisco events.


Learn more about the VR/AR Association, San Francisco Chapter here


The Fourth Transformation: Who, What, When and How?

First there were mainframe computers, then PCs. Then ten years ago, the iPhone marked the beginning of the smartphone era. Now, the Fourth Transformation is upon us. 

Defined by VR, AR and AI, this transformation is the topic of the latest book from Robert Scoble and Shel Israel; and of their fireside chat at last week's VRARA SF Winter event

Having applications and use cases in everything from shopping to healthcare and education, the Fourth Transformation will redefine our lives and work. 

As we discussed on stage, the Fourth Transformation will play out in three waves over the next decade: VR, MR (advanced AR), then the shift to ubiquitous smart glasses. 

We recommend the book, but to hear the breakdown directly from Scoble and Israel, our fireside chat is embedded below. The duo was as informative and entertaining as ever. 

Also stay tuned for more session video, such as our interview with Lenovo about its diversified VR/AR strategies. And more San Francisco events will be announced soon. 

Mobile and Enterprise are the Keys to VR/AR Scale

This article originally appeared in TechCrunch

Though PC and console VR are the sexier formats we’re all excited about, is mobile where VR will really scale in the near term? This is a question I’ve been posing to investors and innovators for an upcoming research report.

For example, despite impending HMD commoditization, IDC projects 2 million tethered VR headsets will be sold this year. That’s dwarfed by the 2.6 trillion global smartphones that represent mobile VR’s addressable market.

Though it’s a stripped-down version (no positional tracking, etc.), mobile VR is improving with things like Google Daydream. Its mainstream-friendly price point and accessibility also make it the gateway drug that VR needs.

The same goes for AR. Rudimentary forms — a la Pokémon GO — are giving the mainstream a taste of what’s to come. And though that’s not “real AR,” it will do the technology a favor through that same gateway-drug effect.

Silicon Valley business strategist Kristie Cu also reminds me that VR and AR align with 5G network roll-outs. That’s good timing, given that massive data payloads will make use of those bigger pipes.

“Between 2015 and 2018 [Orange has] committed 15 billion euros to get this infrastructure out,” she said. “So there’s a lot of money behind 5G, and VR is one of the driving factors in having the bandwidth.”

Cu is joined by Comcast Ventures, Lenovo and several other corporate investors currently vetting or sinking their teeth into VR and AR. And in the process of due diligence, they see a lot.

Comcast Ventures’ Michael Yang has an investment thesis grounded in VR and AR’s long run position as primary computing platforms. But more important is that they scale by crossing geographic and industry borders.

“It’s both consumer and enterprise, especially AR,” Yang told me. “It’s also very global right out of the gate. Other sectors we invest in aren’t as immediately global.”

CV portfolio company NextVR, for example, brings VR to a media staple with massive reach: live sports. Beyond the consumer angle, live sports is broadcast’s saving grace against cord cutting… and VR amplifies that.

Lenovo is meanwhile attacking these opportunities on two levels: It manufactures high-octane PC rigs for VR’s heavy graphical processing needs, and it’s pioneering mobile AR through the Tango-infused Phab 2 Pro.

Lenovo’s director of worldwide innovation, Joe Mikhail, expressed his vision of AR’s future, including his lead role on Meta’s Series B round. He believes the long-run opportunity is enterprise utility.

This is one reason we’ll see AR leapfrog VR in market size. Mikhail says that AR’s value will truly be unlocked with everything from workplace productivity to manufacturing and industrial design (think: 3D modeling).

The name of the game is to improve operational efficiencies, he says, as a means to real bottom-line results — and that’s what will really compel wide-scale AR adoption.

Yang agrees, advising a vertical-focused approach. “For a general-purpose developer, trying to understand a vertical is harder,” he said. “I’m looking for people from oil and gas, or aerospace or construction who envision AR overlays that make processes more efficient and intelligent. That’s the future we’re particularly excited about.”

Mobile is the "Here and Now" VR/AR Opportunity: VRARA's San Francisco Fall Event

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Though PC and console VR are sexier, mobile is where VR could really scale.  This was a central theme that emerged during VRARA’s packed San Francisco Fall event.

For instance, the 2 million headsets that will be sold this year (IDC), are dwarfed by the 2.6 billion global smartphones that are the installed base for mobile VR.

Yes, it's still the lesser version of VR but it's improving. Moreover, mobile VR's mainstream-friendly price point make it the gateway drug that VR needs at this stage.

The same goes for AR: Lenovo’s Carter Agar showed us practical use cases for smartphone-based AR through the recently released and Tango-powered Phab 2 Pro

With Tango’s depth mapping and area learning, use cases range from the whimsical (virtual dominos on a real table) to practical (interior design, guided indoor navigation).

Beyond Borders

Moving on to our panel, three heavy hitters are sinking their teeth into VR and AR through corporate strategic investment: Orange, Lenovo and Comcast Ventures.

A cross-section of the VR world can be seen in Comcast Ventures’ investments over the past year. Michael Yang leads a team devoted exclusively to CV’s investments in VR and AR.

His investment thesis is grounded in VR's vision as the next major platform shift. But more importantly it’s one that scales across geographic and vertical/industry borders.

For example, CV investment NextVR, revolutionizes a media staple with massive reach: live sports. It's also broadcast’s saving grace against cord cutting, which VR will amplify.

Orange meanwhile stands as a carrier at a time when VR/AR data payloads will skyrocket. Its Orange Silicon Valley (OSV) subsidiary tracks emerging tech opportunities.

According to OSV business strategist Kristie Cu, VR aligns with 5G rollouts. And that’s good timing, given that mobile VR and AR’s data throughput will certainly need bigger pipes.

Bottom Line Results

Lenovo meanwhile manufactures PCs for VR’s graphical processing needs. And it’s competing on the AR front, as shown in Agar’s earlier presentation.

Lenovo’s director of worldwide innovation, Joe Mikhail had a lead role on Meta’s series B round, and correspondingly believes AR’s real opportunity is all about enterprise. 

This includes everything from workplace productivity to manufacturing and industrial design, such as 3D modeling, he says. It's one reason AR will surpass VR in market size.

In these enterprise integrations, the name of the game will be to improve operational efficiencies, agreed both Mikhail and Cu; and to demonstrate true bottom line results.

 

Watch VRARA SF Fall Event in 360

During the recent VR/AR Association San Francisco Fall event, we had our friend and videographer Kevin Kunze record the opening data/insights presentation in 360.

We like to walk the walk, and of course filming us talk about VR in 360 is all very meta. See the video below using a compatible browser for 360, or in cardboard mode for stereoscopic view. 

The rest of the session video will be available soon, including our headline panel with Comcast Ventures, Orange Silicon Valley and Lenovo. 

Special thanks to Kevin Kunze at Kunze Productions

 

 

The Beginning of the Beginning: An Evening with the G.S. Warriors, Part II (video)

Following last month's VRARA event in San Francisco, featuring the Golden State Warriors and GoPro, we have the first of the session videos produced and ready to go. 

See below for the full interview with the Warriors' VP of Digital Marketing Kenny Lauer. He discusses the past, present and future of the team's VR efforts. That includes everything from at-home fan experiences to relationships with broadcasters to bring VR sports to the masses.

You can see our written coverage of the event here, and stay tuned for more session videos from the event (and more events...). 

The 'Beginning of the Beginning': An Evening with the VRARA, GoPro and GS Warriors

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One of the lessons we've taken from developments in the VR world is the size of the opportunity. VR will apply across varied use cases in commerce, enterprise, education, entertainment and sports.

The latter was our focus at last night's VRARA SF chapter event. Featuring GoPro and the Golden State Warriors, we went deep on the state of the union and future vision (excuse the pun) of VR in sports.

Chicken & Egg

Panning back, all the innovation in capturing live action like sports, aligns with the VR marketplace's overall need for more content. This is the classic "chicken & egg" challenge, usually involving the interplay of content and consumer adoption. 

But it's also important to specify the types of content that populate VR libraries. There's high-production cinematic content and graphical renderings (like games), but also live action (non scripted) content like sports. 

GoPro's Kevin Custer showed us how the company is cultivating both through lots of innovation around VR mounts. This includes the recently launched Omni as well as the higher-end Odyssey that was developed in partnership with Google and Jump. 

Through this, GoPro addresses a wide swath of the market -- everything from consumers to professional videographers and adventure seekers. And on the high end, broadcasters and filmmakers will use custom GoPro VR mounts to create narratives.

Coexist

On to the Golden State Warriors, we were lucky enough to have the team's digital marketing lead Kenny Lauer... right in the middle of the NBA Finals. Meanwhile, the team has been the most adoptive professional sports organization when it comes to VR.

The Warriors dipped their first toe in the VR water with a live broadcast of this season's home opener and ring ceremony.  But it won't stop there if Lauer's vision for VR is any indication. And he's fortunate to have such tech-forward team ownership

Lauer's aspirations include multiple vantage points, spatial audio, commentary, and personalized graphics/statistics. And its important to note that it's complimentary rather than competitive to traditional broadcasts. Think: add-ons to things like NBA League Pass.

That interplay and co-existence with 2D broadcast is key, and is why broadcast interests like Turner are showing lots of excitement and investment in VR. In fact, live sports is broadcast and cable's saving grace against cord cutting. VR could amplify that advantage. 

Strength in Numbers

But most of all, VR aligns nicely with the team's motto "Strength in Numbers." More of a team ethos than a slogan according to Lauer, it works on many levels. Referring originally to the depth of talent, it also represents the famously loud and present fan base at home games. 

But VR also grows Warrior Nation by bringing immersive experiences to more fans. We're talking Bay Area fans but also expatriated or new fans across the globe who don't get to see the team live. Bringing it to them also engenders cash cows like Jersey sales. 

And this will all be a glimpse into VR experiences in other sports. It works great in basketball because of the pace, action level and relatively small size of the court. For the same reason, Lauer sees it thriving in all sports, but especially hockey and tennis. 

As far as a timeline, the entire discussion is ripe for sporting cliches about emerging technologies (i.e. "we're in the first inning."). Lauer resisted the temptation while characterizing the potential and level of excitement at all levels of the Warrior's organization. 

"This isn’t the end, and it's not the beginning," Lauer said, quoting Warriors owner Peter Gruber. "It's the beginning of the beginning."

VR/AR: The Next Inflection Point

One of the biggest headlines in the worlds of VR and AR is the sheer weight of the market opportunity. Digi-Capital projects a $120B market by 2020.

This was one of the biggest takeaways from Thursday's VRARA San Francisco chapter launch. It included a procession of A-list speakers -- each attacking VR/AR from a different angle. 

Altogether they exhibited VR/AR's breadth of applicability. That includes different verticals and business categories, as well as different parts of the technology stack.

As I mentioned in the event's opening comments, that complex and multi-faceted ecosystem is the mark of any industry that requires what I like to call, a "unifying entity". Enter VRARA. 

Here are the biggest takeaways from our speakers, in order of appearance:

Tim Merel: Founder and CEO, Eyetouch Reality; TechM&A adviser Digi-Capital.

Digi-Capital has been the source of record for forecasting the VR/AR space. In addition to the $120 figure above, the firm recently pegged 2016 VR/AR investment levels at $1.1B already. Tim Merel kicked off the rodeo by quantifying the world of VR/AR.  Among other takeaways, the winners in capturing that massive market opportunity will be those that develop VR/AR products with native thinking, rather than porting over media from existing formats.

Eric Johnson, Business Development, Google, Project Tango

Google's Project Tango is one of the most intriguing and under-recognized initiatives in the VR/AR world. As Johnson showed through a few audience-grabbing demos, the technology builds 3D rendering of interior spaces. Sort of a Google maps for 3d indoor spaces, it addresses unchartered territory (literally). These interior renderings are meant to provide a canvas, upon which developers can build all kinds of VR and AR experiences. Though the media and tech blogosphere mostly focus on VR consumer gear, this creation of VR/AR content will be a key step in advancing the industry, Johnson agreed.

Mehrshad Mansouri: Director of BD & Partnerships, Software and Services, GoPro

Speaking of content creation, GoPro's Mansouri explored the 3D camera mounts it's building to capture VR-compatible content. At first, this will map to the areas where GoPro shines -- adventure sports and imbedded journalism. But there are lots of other areas Mansouri believes it can go. One notable shift this will drive: the reinvention of visual storytelling. Filmmakers will be forced to learn or pioneer an entirely new craft, when the traditional art of scene framing and blocking go from 16:9 to 360 degrees. Those who adopt sooner and reinvent themselves will be best positioned (a theme echoed by Shel Israel below). On the subject of 360 video capture, a big shoutout is deserved to Samsung's upcoming Gear360 public launch. 

Kelly Thresher: Public Policy Analyst, USPS Office of Inspector General

Next in our batting order, Kelly Thresher dispelled the notion that the USPS is a slumbering government entity, by demonstrating its AR deployments -- both aspirational and applied. The latter includes making print media such as catalogues come to life with graphical overlays. This has several benefits she outlined: appealing to millennials; bringing digital tracking to an otherwise analogue media; and increasing catalogue "basket sizes." All of this notably aligns with an on-demand culture that compels more actionable content and quick buttons to "see", "order" "reserve" or "buy." But it doesn't end there: the next step for USPS is equipping warehouse employees and drivers with AR to do things like locate lost parcels and find the best delivery routes. A favorite example: optimally packing a delivery trucks like a winning Tetris board. Based on the operational scale of the USPS, the many small efficiencies this attains will add up to real bottom bottom line results. 

Shel Israel: Author, Visionary, Nice Guy

Innovation cycles are accelerating and the digital divide is widening. This was one of the many takeaways from the fireside chat with our headliner, Shel Israel. The trajectory of innovation that brought us to this point is chronicled in the pages of Israel's last six books, most notably Age of Context and Naked Conversations. We're talking social, mobile, IoT, and location technologies -- the macro trends that have fertilized the ground for VR/AR. But notably, these will soon be yesterday's technologies, where many individuals will be stuck. Just as millennials were digital natives to these tech evolutions, generation Z will be native to VR/AR. Older generations that adopt VR/AR -- among other technologies covered in Shel's upcoming Beyond Mobile -- will be part of a personally-empowered future. Those who don't will be left behind. But this new version of the digital divide won't map to the factors that governed past digital divides (read: socio-economic). Moore's law and other factors will make emerging technologies widely accessible. So the digital divide will be more voluntary. That doesn't sound like a big barrier but older generations and population sub-groups will still paradoxically shun these technologies for reasons of ideology, fear or habit.  Elsewhere in the world, oppressive governments will throw resources and artillery against these personally empowering technologies. This could define much of the geo-political news and activity we see in the next five years... All new versions of Arab Spring. 

It was a captivating night, thanks to our caliber of speakers. A special shoutout to our host Samsung, Dustin Wish, and a great crowd. Stay tuned for much more, including next week's NYC Chapter Launch