Join NYC Media Lab for networking events to learn about the Verizon 5G EdTech $100k Challenge. RSVP Today!

Submit your application here


Imagine a hologram teacher, who can beam in to educate on lessons they are experts in. Imagine 5G-enabled VR that can help students with diverse learning needs engage. Imagine high speed capabilities that encourages students to connect to peers worldwide. The Verizon 5G EdTech Challenge is a nationwide open call to find cutting-edge educational technologies that will transform middle school education. 10 Challenge winners will each be awarded a $100K grant, and will partner with Verizon to develop and test their solutions in the 5G environment starting in spring 2019.

NYC Media Lab invites you to join several upcoming information and networking events. There, you'll meet leadership from Verizon, learn about the potential of 5G, and explore how to craft a proposal. 

Join us in NYC:

Thursday, November 8th (6PM-8PM) at Alley Powered by Verizon. RSVP:

Friday, November 9th. Ideation Session at The New School. RSVP:

Join us in Boston: 

Tuesday, November 6th (6:30PM-8:30PM) at Alley Powered by Verizon. RSVP:

Thursday, November 8th (4:30PM-6:00PM) at Harvard Graduate School of Education. RSVP:

Join us in Washington DC:

Wednesday, November 7th (6PM-8PM) at Alley Powered by Verizon. RSVP:

Start the application today...

Let us know you're interested in the Challenge. On Verizon 5G EdTech Challenge application page, submit your team, organization or university details. It'll only take a couple minutes:

Recap of NYC VR Expo

VRARA NYC Chapter highlights from the NYC VR Expo included speakers and demos by VRARA Members: - Augmented Reality for Pharmaceutical/Biotech Manufacturing and R&D - Makers of the Vuze 3D 180 & 360° VR cameras -  A is projector-based augmented reality powered by computer vision. AR for the Office. AR for Retail. AR for Restaurants. AR for Developers

Also, presentation of the NYC VR/AR Ecosystem Report, featuring 25 companies (with over 100+ listed!)


NYC VR/AR Ecosystem Report. 25+ companies featured, 100 listed. Get your Copy here!

To get your copy, enter your email here:

NYC is a metropolitan hub for national & international businesses, institutions, and organizations. This report represents the brilliant minds all over the VR/AR ecosystem, from original content creators & creative distributors to innovative hardware companies to ambitious researchers. See NYC Chapter page here

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Forward 1

It’s a thrilling time in the Big Apple for the burgeoning virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) industries. New York City is home to a thriving, frenetic, ever growing and spectacularly talented eco-system. It’s alive in all aspects of market drivers across academia, advertising, banking, finance, communication, medicine, movies and television, and Wall Street. Great vision and enthusiasm is driving the creation of new startups, corporate ventures, academic research, medical applications, and entrepreneurial initiatives taken on by technologists and all manner of domain experts building and creating, providing the next generation of applications driving new business and sometimes just plain having fun, enjoying a number of arcades that have popped up across the city. Listed here you will find a wide variety of VR and AR products and services from consumer to enterprise applications that are best in class! Please do check out what we have to offer, you won’t be disappointed.

— Adaora Udoji, VRARA NYC Chapter Advisor

Table of Contents

  • Foreward

  • Avatar-Plus

  • Beth Stewart Voice Over - Truth or Dare VO

  • Brave New World

  • Brick Simple

  • Chris Pfaff Tech Media

  • Confideo Labs

  • Hack and Paint

  • Halo Labs

  • Hello World Communications


  • Inception

  • Lampix

  • Live CGI

  • MediaCombo

  • Memetic Arts

  • Nice Shoes

  • NKLS

  • Oblix

  • OffWorld Laboratories

  • Rutgers Prep

  • Sketchfab

  • SMACAR Solutions Inc.

  • SR Socially Relevant Film Festival New York

  • TECH+Expo & Forum (produced by The Architect’s Newspaper)

  • ThirdEye

  • Touchstone Research

  • ViuSpace

  • VRSim

  • Other 100+ Companies

Forward 2

The story of immersive and augmenting, wearable computing is going to be one of the most epic business stories of our time. The biggest companies in the world are at the table. The stakes are nothing less than the evolution of humankind. Change happens very slowly, and then all at once. It's an exciting time to be in this industry because no one really knows how this is going to turn out. A vibrant New York tech scene making its presence felt nationally. Our universities are turning out scores of talented engineers and entrepreneurs, ready to create the businesses of tomorrow. No one can change the world or build something of consequence by themselves. The only way to make something happen is to get out of your hole, get out of your social media bubble, and meet actual people in real life who share your vision of how to implement this new immersive media. The VRARA helps you to do that. You are looking at a very valuable networking tool: these are members who have stood up and said they want you to know what they're doing. If you like it, have a question, or think you can help, reach out to them directly. Make a new friend. Learn something. That's what I do all day, and I've never gotten tired of it.

— Charlie Fink, VRARA NYC Chapter Advisor

Forward 3

Before the money and the magazine covers, every tech scene has the same origin story -- a scrappy group of weirdos huddled together, building something strange and wonderful. The NYC VR/AR scene deviates from this only insofar as we're not squatting in garages; alas, that's Manhattan architecture for you. But to call the scene intimate is an understatement -- hit up a handful of meetups and you'll see the same people, passionately talking about their latest creations. And we're all doing it on shoestring budgets, more or less, although we're finally starting to see some big deals and high profile projects come to fruition. What NYC lacks in Hollywood glamour or Silicon Valley VR cash, it makes up for in heart and attitude. The NYC VR/AR scene is vibrant and alive, a core group of true believers hell-bent on changing the way we see the world. In twenty years, when the first round of documentaries are released, we'll all look back on our outfits and cringe, but think about the magic we made, and smile.

— Cortney Harding, VRARA NYC Chapter Advisor

Forward 4

The New York area represents the largest concentration of Fortune 1000 headquarters in the world, and a diverse body of companies. The sheer magnitude of New York's reach in the business world is often incalculable. This is true for the VR/AR industry as well, as hundreds of New York market firms - from headset manufacturers to production companies to software developers - represent both legacy efforts and recently-unveiled initiatives to change the way that people view the world and receive information. From the pharmaceutical corridor of New Jersey to the media rows of Manhattan to defense contractors in Long Island and platform developers in Connecticut, there are myriad numbers of companies that are redefining virtual and augmented experiences. The VR/AR Association's ecosystem report for New York is a thumbnail sketch of the activity represented in the broader market, but will shed light on the sector's growth in the largest market in the United States.

— Chris Pfaff, VRARA NYC Chapter Advisor

Final Agenda for the Mixed Reality Marketing Summit Nov. 5th in NYC

Use discount code VRARAFlash for 25% discount on your ticket!

See the event website here

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NEW YORK, NY – October 17, 2018 – (HISPANICIZE WIRE) – Organizers of the world’s first Mixed Reality Marketing Summit announced the full and final agenda of the Mixed Reality Marketing Summit slated for National Geographic Encounter in Times Square New York City, Nov. 5th. (Register at The summit is a co-production of Mixed Reality Ventures and the VR/AR Association New York City Chapter.

Below is the full and final agenda, session descriptions and speakers of the Mixed Reality Marketing Summit:

From Science Fiction to Reality: How Hollywood is ushering the future for entertainment & why brands need to take notes

Speaker: Brett Leonard, Hollywood director, “Lawnmower Man”

Brett Leonard has been at the forefront of the VR revolution bringing us Hollywood blockbusters like Lawnmower Man and Virtuosity. He will tell us why science fiction is now a reality and where content and marketing are heading.

Why Mixed Reality is Now Truly Ready for Primetime

Speaker: Raj Puran, Director of Client VR Business Development & Strategic Partnerships, Intel

After three decades of awkward equipment and many experiments, mixed reality is finally here and ready for prime time with streamlined devices and immersive experiences that will transform the way we shop, enjoy sports, experience films, communicate, create content, travel, exercise, visit doctors, date, and much, much more. The implications of this next tech revolution are staggering for marketers.

The Power of Play & The Rise of Camera Marketing

Speaker: Carolina Arguelles, Head of AR Monetization Product Strategy for Snap

While the past 10 years have been about Social Media Marketing, the next 10 will introduce a new form of marketing — Camera Marketing. People everywhere are exploring the world through their camera and want to create content on behalf of brands because it’s fun, useful, or relevant. At Snapchat we believe play is powerful and have built an ecosystem of products around the camera, including Lenses an AR format. Since the launch of Lenses, Snapchat has aired more than 100,000 AR experiences resulting in more than 250,000 years of playtime. What we’ve learned is that a mobile strategy without the camera is not a mobile strategy.

Creating Content in the New Era of Mixed Reality Marketing

Speakers: Chris Bobotis, Director Immersive, Adobe; Gabriele Corcos, celebrity Chef

Moderator: Amy LaMeyer, ARVR Academy

Just when brands thought they had figured out story telling for the digital age comes mixed reality, and yep, story telling with mixed reality is vastly different, and, when done right, much more engaging and effective. In this session, we’ll discuss how brands need to approach story telling with mixed reality.

Start with Strategy: Planning Your Brand’s Road Map for Mixed Reality Marketing

Speaker: John Buzzell, President of You Are Here Labs

Mixed Reality is a fairly new medium for marketers. How should your brand approach this space? We’ll discuss the key considerations needed for planning your brand’s future in mixed reality, from identifying key opportunities to developing a roadmap.

VR’s Killer App: It’s a Platform, Not a Product

Speaker: Matthew Cooney, VR AR Technologist

While some may consider VR a mature technology, a significant dearth of quality content is preventing users from spending a significant time (and budget) on VR experiences. But is an over-emphasis on creating the next big campaign the problem? Understanding what will accelerate mass adoption of VR means evolving your understanding of how it will be used. In this talk, we’ll look at how organizations can shift their perspectives on VR to maximize engagement, minimize costs, and ultimately, generate profit.

Q&A with Dorothy Dowling, CMO of Best Western

Speaker: Dorothy Dowling, CMO, Best Western Hotels

Moderator: Kerry Flynn, Digiday

Best Western’s Dorothy Dowling is one of the nation’s most innovative and most respected Fortune 100 CMOs in the nation. In this fireside chat, Dorothy will unpack why Best Western has become a brand pioneer in the AR/VR space and what they’ve learned about creating customer journeys that are effective and deliver ROI.

The Evolution of eCommerce with Immersive Tech

Speaker: Arun Batra, General Manager of Digital Operations, Wayfair

Immersive Commerce is about to get very real. In this exciting session, we’ll take an in-depth look at the way shopping is evolving in the MR space.

Thinking Outside The Headset: The Next Generation of Mixed Reality Marketing

Speakers: Alan Smithson, CEO of Metavrse; Nathan PettyJohn, Founder of the VR/AR Association and CMO, Quantum Capture; Rene Amador, Founder, ARWALL

Moderator: Sam Wolfe, Founder of Pitch FWD

Even though headsets and other versions of lenses are the dominant ways most of us think about mixed reality marketing, storytelling is evolving way beyond headsets to include handsets and other devices. In this session, we’ll learn how app and software developers are creating innovative ways for consumers to experience MR beyond the headsets.

Looking at AR From a Social Lens

Speaker: Chris Barbour, AR Camera & Content Creation Partnerships Lead, Facebook

Imagine an AR world on top of our current world – where every time you raise your phone you see AR experiences all around you. Now, imagine the possibilities that come as a creator. You have the ability to influence and contribute to an entirely new medium by connecting your customers with the wonder and excitement of a new digital world. The potential is there – from digital product demos to virtual pop-up shops customers are ready to interact with your brand in revolutionary ways. The perception that creating AR experiences can be onerous is misleading. In reality, it has never been easier to get started.

Join Chris Barbour, AR Camera & Content Creation Partnerships Lead at Facebook, as he demonstrates how you can get started in AR. Chris will walk attendees through powerful examples of how (with the help of machine learning) marketers, creatives, and anyone with a laptop can create engaging and memorable AR experiences on behalf of their companies, brands and agencies. Whether you’re an AR developer looking for inspiration or a hobbyist trying to wrap your mind around the possibilities of AR you will leave this session excited to hit the ground running, creating powerful experiences in a new digital world.

Agency Roundtable

Speakers: Resh Sidhu, Creative Director, AKQA; Lucas Kappaz, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer, VR Americas; Johanna Salazar-Cumming, Co-Founder & Chief Media Disrupter, Two Goats; Miguel Sanchez, Founder and Creative Director, Mass Ideation

Moderator: Lisa Buyer, Founder, The Buyer Group

Agency leaders talk about the opportunities, challenges and ideas that are top of mind as they help companies embrace mixed reality.

How Pokemon Go! and Disney Started the Next Revolution

Speakers: John Zuur Platten – former creative director at Niantic – Pokemon Go!; Charlie Fink, VR AR Consultant, Author and Forbes Columnist

Moderator: Stewart Rogers

Even though VR has been with us for more than three decades, it wasn’t until Pokemon Go! that the marketing industry finally began to see the possibilities of VR/AR. The creative lead of Niantic joined by a former Disney executive talk on stage in a refreshing and entertaining look back at the lessons they’ve learned building pop culture phenomenas like Pokemon Go! and The Lion King. They will also share what they believe brands can do today to create the next big brand idea with AR/VR.

The Next Wave of Experiential Marketing

Speakers: Joanna Popper, Global Head of Virtual Reality for Location Based Entertainment at HP; Lee Keebler, VR AR Consultant; Spandana Govindgari, Cofounder at Hype AR; Cortney Harding, Founder, Friends With Holograms

Moderator: Keisha Howard, founder, Sugar Gamers

Experiential marketing is getting greatly enhanced by immersive technology. It’s changing location based entertainment, as well as how we market our brands at events and how consumers engage with companies. This panel will explore the next wave of experiential marketing.

Closing Keynote: Future Forward: Where do we go from here?

Speaker: Cathy Hackl, MRV Partner

Cathy Hackl, one of the top women in the AR/MR/VR industry talks about what’s next for marketers and creative professionals.


Other Mixed Reality Marketing Summit sponsors include Intel, Hype, ARWall, Media Village, VR Voice, PRODU, and Exma.

This event is for entrepreneurs, CMOs, agency managers/owners, educators and any professional in the marketing, digital, communications, advertising and public relations industries, who are interested in learning from some of the world’s leading VR/AR marketing leaders and want to future-proof their careers for the coming revolution in mixed, augmented and virtual reality marketing.

Mixed Reality Marketing Summit in NYC Nov 5th

Use discount code VRARAFlash for 25% discount on your ticket!

See the event website here


Mixed Reality Marketing Summit, the world’s first AR, VR, MR conference completely focused on educating marketers, entrepreneurs and business owners on how to successfully enter the augmented reality and virtual reality space, will take place in New York City Nov. 5th. The groundbreaking, one-day summit will equip marketers on how to successfully enter the immersive space or continue experimenting with AR, VR or MR in their marketing mix.  

This event is for entrepreneurs, CMOs, agency managers/owners, educators and any professional in the marketing, digital, communications, advertising and public relations industries, who are interested in learning from some the world’s leading VR AR marketing leaders and want to future-proof their careers for the coming revolution in mixed, augmented and virtual reality marketing.

This event is co-presented and co-produced with the VR/AR Association NYC Chapter

Hear from some of the top voices in VR and AR marketing including the following brands:

  • Snapchat

  • Best Western

  • HP

  • Adobe

  • Facebook

  • Wayfair

  • VentureBeat

  • World Surf League

  • Intel

  • AKQA

  • Digiday and more 

Get your Company Featured in our VR AR Ecosystem Reports

VRARA's 50+ Chapters are producing industry reports on the regional VR/AR ecosystems to promote companies and organizations involved with immersive technologies and media from NYC to Sydney, across the world.  The reports will be promoted by VRARA and our partners reaching potentially a 1M audience. 

Would you be interested to have your company featured in these report or sponsor the report? If yes, then let us know at 

Each report will specifically highlight the following:

  • Size of the local ecosystem market

  • Number of relevant companies in the ecosystem

  • List of companies and company info (size: number of employees, revenue; vertical, customers)

  • Reasons why company is based in the local ecosystem

  • Needs and hopes from and for the ecosystem

If you have any questions or are interested in being featured or sponsor, please reply to this email or email

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100 Companies already part of our NYC VR AR Ecosystem Report

Enter your email to receive this report:

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VRARA NYC Chapter is producing an industry report on the NYC VR AR ecosystem to promote NYC companies and organizations involved with immersive technologies and media. Would you be interested to have your company featured in this report or sponsor the report? If yes, then let us know at 

Given NYC is a metropolitan hub for national & international businesses, institutions, and organizations, this report will represent the brilliant minds all over the VR/AR ecosystem, from original content creators & creative distributors to innovative hardware companies to ambitious researchers.

The report will specifically highlight the following:

  • Size of the NYC market

  • Number of relevant companies in NYC

  • List of companies and company info (size: number of employees, revenue; vertical, customers)

  • Reasons why company is based in NYC

  • Needs and hopes from and for the NYC ecosystem

If you have any questions or are interested in being featured or sponsor, please reply to this email or email

A sample of the report's infographic and list of companies already included is shown below:

  • Brave New World

  • Brick Simple

  • Confideo Labs

  • Inception

  • Lampix

  • Media Combo

  • Nice Shoes

  • NKLS Media

  • Oblix

  • OffWorld Laboratories

  • Rutgers Prep

  • Saber VR

  • Sketchfab

  • SMACAR Solutions Inc.

  • StudioPath

  • ThirdEye

  • Touchstone Research

  • ViuSpace

  • VRSim


If you have any questions or are interested in being featured or sponsor, please reply to this email or email

VR/AR Association NYC Chapter Brings ‘AR for Producers’ to The Alley in Manhattan

By Chris Pfaff

Some of New York’s leading AR technology developers attracted a crowd at The Alley, Verizon’s 5G collaborative lab and work space in Chelsea last Tuesday, May 8th, at an event sponsored by the VR/AR Association’s New York chapter. ‘AR for Producers: How to Engage Audiences on Multiple Platforms’ was well-titled, as most of the audience was comprised of new media and television producers who are looking at AR for a wide range of production elements, including fan engagement, 2nd-screen extensions, and location-based entertainment.

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Eric Schwertzel, head of business development for eyecandylab’s US presence, demonstrated the AugmenTV concept, in which TV content triggers experiences on mobile using an AR app. This is a long sought-after play, and should have traction in sports as well as episodic TV.

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Gordon Meyer, head of marketing for Lampix, demonstrated the company’s projector-based AR solution, which is ideal for retail and public venue experiences.

JR Dawkins, head of business development for Envrmnt by Verizon, showcased the Envrmnt AR Designer tool, the industry’s first true drag-and-drop AR tool. The simplicity of the tool enables anyone – with no coding experience – to create AR triggers on physical objects, and more.

Far beyond what previous generations of AR solutions have provided, the presenters discussed the value that 5G will bring to AR, enabling seamless, low-latency experiences with greater connectivity levels.

For many in the audience, it was their first time in The Alley, which opened last spring, and has gained a following among the technorati of the city.

Lampix launches on Kickstarter: Personal-touch, no-screen tabletop Augmented Reality is here

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Lampix is live on Kickstarter


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What is Lampix?

Lampixis a truly interactive tabletop augmented reality system that uses machine learning and blockchain-based image sourcing to recognize, reveal and react to the visual world.

Connect to what you see

Lampix merges a few simple, familiar elements—and one groundbreaking element—into something new. At its core, Lampix looks like a fashionable LED table lamp, but it houses a high definition projector and camera that does more than just display your screen on a flat surface. Lampix recognizes fine hand movements and intelligently responds to an ever-growing list of real-world objects, inviting interaction on a whole new scale.

Lampix Photo 2.png

Dynamic new scenes beyond your screens

Conference room and cubicles. Restaurants and stores. Kitchen tables and gaming tables. They all can come to life with Lampix. From sharing and collaborating on actual pen and paper documents, to rendering visually stunning worlds for gamers, with Lampix the possibilities for developers are wide open.

Powered by people, built on blockchain

Lampix is limited only by your imagination. That’s why we’ve created the PIX blockchain token system. PIX allows businesses and individuals to request and submit object reference images and category descriptions for the benefit of Lampix users and beyond. By building our robust object recognition platform this way, the system is decentralized and open to all users and developers. This will help generate a vast, always growing database of images to power unique applications across industries.

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Open call for apps + images

We’ve made Lampix Developer Edition as open and simple as possible. Leverage our powerful object detection system with your own HTML5 based apps. Need reference images for your app to recognize specific objects? Set a bounty and let the community come to your aid. When you’re ready to bring your app to market, sell your apps for PIX tokens to generate revenue.

The next step—join us

The Lampix visual ecosystem needs you. We’re looking for apps to help us blaze a trail for new kinds of interactivity, and images to grow our machine learning visual engine. But first, make a pledge on Kickstarter to help us get Lampix to our product release date.

Back Lampix on our Kickstarter page.

For more information about Lampix, visit

Lampix Announces Its Official Membership in Global VR/AR Association

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New York, NY - Mar 01, 2018 - Lampix, a developer of tabletop augmented reality hardware and software, is pleased to announce that it has become the newest member of the global VR/AR Association (VRARA).

Both the VR/AR Association and Lampix are dedicated to fostering growth in the virtual reality and augmented reality industries.  As a member of VRARA, Lampix will participate in the Association’s initiatives through which Lampix will be connected with VR and AR organizations to accelerate the market with smart growth. “This is an important step ahead of our Lampix Developer Edition hardware and app ecosystem launch later this quarter as we engage the developer community with the tools to create amazing desktop augmented reality experiences that magically respond to objects and gestures,” says Gordon Meyer, Vice President of Marketing at Lampix.

In response to the new membership, the Association’s Global Executive Director, Kris Kolo, commented: “We welcome Lampix to our rapidly growing ecosystem and acknowledge their unique AR hardware/software solution that can enable next-gen user experiences.”

This is an important step ahead of our Lampix Developer Edition hardware and app ecosystem launch later this quarter as we engage the developer community with the tools to create amazing desktop augmented reality experiences that magically respond to objects and gestures.

Gordon Meyer

Vice President of Marketing

“We are excited to participate in the VR/AR Association and look forward to all of the opportunities that membership has to offer,” says Meyer.

For more information, please visit

About the VR/AR Association
The VR/AR Association (VRARA) is an international organization designed to foster  collaboration between innovative companies and people in the virtual reality and augmented reality ecosystem that accelerates growth, fosters research and education, helps develop industry standards, connects member organizations and promotes the services of member companies. 

About Lampix
Lampix is an augmented reality smart projector and camera system that recognizes hands and objects to transform any existing horizontal surface into an interactive one. Lampix uses the power of computer vision combined with high definition video projection to provide a dazzling digital experience on a desk or tabletop. Lampix has engaged with enterprise clients ranging from Bloomberg to PwC to BMW and with large retail chains. In Fall 2016, Lampix was one of the winners chosen from hundreds of participants at Highway 1, the premier hardware startup accelerator competition. In 2017, Lampix won first place in the Augmented and Virtual Reality category at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Accelerator Pitch Event. Lampix was also named Best Augmented Reality Display of 2017 by Next Reality. To learn more, visit us at

The first Mixed Reality and Blockchain Conference in New York

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Dec. 12, 2017 / PRZen / NEW YORK -- Arcona, a new project striving to create an AR layer on the Earth's surface, is hosting BlockchainMix, the first New York area event to focus on how blockchain technology is shaping mixed reality.

The event is being supported by the VR/AR Association, a global community of the best minds in virtual and augmented reality with chapters in major cities around the world.

The industry's leading experts and investors will take part in the discussion. Here is a list of confirmed participants:

  • Dana Farbo, AR/VR/blockchain expert, COO at Augmate, a platform for smart glasses and other wearable devices
  • George Popescu, CEO and co-founder of Lampix, an AR technology platform and editor-in-chief at Lending Times
  • Catherine Barba, tech entrepreneur, investor, founder of PEPS Lab, a retail innovation center
  • Chris Dannen, managing partner at Iterative Capital Management, an alternative investment fund specializing in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology
  • James Haft, entrepreneur, investor, co-founder of Startup Hub NYC, founder and managing partner at Pacific Alliance
  • Michael Mazier, co-founder of LendingCalc, a direct platform for institutional investor

The event will take place at Rise NYC on December 15. To register, please click HERE.

All event participants will automatically be entered in a drawing for a free piece of augmented reality land in Soho, NYC.

The discussion is part of the Blockchain conference organized by the Starta accelerator.

Recap of VRARA NYC Chapter Event ‘Narrative in VR: How to Create Compelling Stories with Virtual Reality’

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On a steamy late-September Monday (September 25, 2017), on the first day of Advertising Week New York, the VR/AR Association NYC Chapter hosted a panel with some of the leaders in VR storytelling, ‘Narrative in VR: How to Create Compelling Stories with Virtual Reality,’ at the NYU Tandon Future Lab.

Moderated by Chris Pfaff, the panel featured Brian Seth Hurst, Chief Storytelling and President at StoryTech Immersive; Raheel Khalid, CTO of Verizon envrmnt; Caitlin Burns, founder/CEO of Caitlin Burns & Associates, and Lewis Smithingham, president and partner at 30ninjas. An audience of 35 producers, artists, and students were part of a lively discussion regarding VR’s narrative structures, and how much of today’s VR industry has adapted game design techniques to better deliver moving experiences.

Brian Seth Hurst showed his groundbreaking piece ‘My Brother’s Keeper,’ which premiered on HTC Viveport at Sundance 2017, and was produced for PBS Digital Studios. Currently the most widely distributed VR film to date, ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ was what Hurst detailed as an invention process, as it is the first live action VR film shot at 120 frames per second, and includes innovation such as 180 framing and Bokeh inside the sphere.

Raheel Khalid showed some of Verizon envrmnt’s latest work, its ‘Virtual Sports Bar’ experience, which creates opportunities for multi-user drop-in experiences. He has helped build new tools for multi-user VR experiences that will enable producers and consumers to shape their own VR narratives in real-time.

Caitlin Burns described some of her work on Space Nation, a Helsinki-based organization that uses virtual experiences to train civilians for space travel. She also discussed some of her early learnings in VR storytelling, and how to overcome technological hurdles to maintain narrative focus.

Lewis Smithingham described challenges that he has faced with VR and AR productions, including his work for the ‘Conan O’Brien Show.’

USA Today Network’s VR Ad Studio has Shown There’s an Audience for VR Ads

USA TODAY NETWORK is a member of the VR/AR Association. 

Join our Advertising Committee here.

The in-house studio has been working with brands to develop VR and 360 branded content and with Nielsen to measure the impact of these new ad experiences.

 USA Today Network’s in-house studio, GET Creative, developed 360-degree/virtual reality branded content for Pure Michigan promoting travel and tourism to the state.

USA Today Network’s in-house studio, GET Creative, developed 360-degree/virtual reality branded content for Pure Michigan promoting travel and tourism to the state.

For the USA Today Network, virtual reality and 360-degree content is more than just hype. It’s becoming a revenue driver.

For roughly a year and a half, the Network has been working with advertisers to develop immersive branded content that can be distributed across its media properties.

The effort is spearheaded by the GET Creative unit, which launched in March 2016 as an in-house agency charged with executing projects for advertisers that can be promoted in all media that the USA Today Network operates in — including virtual reality (VR). The Network consists of over 90 local media properties and the flagship USA Today, reaching a combined audience of more than 100 million consumers in the US, according to the company.

GET Creative’s first project was for Honda. The team used VR to promote the carmaker’s ultrafast two-seat Indy race car. The branded VR experience put consumers in the passenger seat of the Indy car, rounding a race track at 200 miles per hour.  That project “showed there’s an audience for VR,” said Kelly Andresen, SVP and head of GET Creative at USA Today Network, in a phone interview.

Most recently, the team launched a 360-degree campaign for Pure Michigan to promote travel and tourism to the state. Viewers can “look around” at the various points of interest profiled in the video.

Experimenting with turnkey VR-specific ad formats & measurement

In addition to branded content opportunities, the Network is experimenting with ad formats designed specifically for VR environments. The first is what the company calls a “cubemercial,” which puts the users inside a room or cube in which advertisers can project videos and other creative assets on all four of the “walls.” The aim is to make this entirely new format turnkey for advertisers by incorporating brands’ existing creative assets.

The Network has partnered with Nielsen to measure the impact of VR on brand metrics. “It’s an amazing medium for advertising,” said Andresen, “likely because it’s so immersive people remember the content and VR has a 2x brand recall compared to TV.”

The studio takes a multiformat approach: creating true VR content that requires a headset like Google Cardboard, Oculus or Samsung Gear VR and 360-degree content that can be distributed across mobile, desktop and app and does not require a headset.

“The multiformat approach expands reach, and we see 360 as a gateway to true VR,” says Andresen.

What’s holding VR advertising back?

Interestingly, scale isn’t what Andresen mentions when asked what needs to happen for VR ads to become mainstream. “We have seen growth in true VR reach and expect to see more with the lower price points and variety of headsets available,” she said.

Instead, she named two critical things that still need to happen for VR advertising to truly take off:

We need new words.

First and foremost, says Andresen, is the need to establish a common lexicon for VR. There is no way to describe a “shot list” and story line to a client, for example, and the point of view for the story line now depends on the user’s frame of reference. The entire industry — producers, story tellers, clients, agencies — needs to be able to communicate.

We need a standard that can scale.

Second is the need for standards for VR ads and one experience that can scale. “All of us are challenged to really think creatively here. I wouldn’t want us to default to things like pre-roll. That’s not a great experience and we know this. An intrusive ad experience in VR is particularly bad because users have nowhere to go. . . Product placement is an interesting approach, but there is a challenge for scale because it’s so specific to the context,” says Andresen. “Our first foray borrowed heavily from linear video, but we see more [opportunity]. Can we move to a standard that’s scalable? Branded content has been a solution in that has filled a void.”

Google introduced an early VR ad concept this summer, and startups like Immersv and Outlyer Technologies are early entrants working on VR advertising.

There is no lack of client interest, says Andresen. Initially, clients are seeking education on the size of the opportunity and capabilities. Budgets are different for every client, with some pulling from video budget, some have an innovation budget, and some — she points to Lexus’s work with Saatchi & Saatchi’s Team One agency — have already made the investment in VR and are just looking for scale.

For its part, Andresen says, GET Creative is in position togrow adoption of this new medium that could end up changing our perceptions of advertising.

Original article

Recap of VRARA Expert Panel at Ad Week New York: What do Agencies Need to Know about VR #AWNewYork


On September 25, the VR/AR Association NYC Chapter hosted a panel during Advertising Week New York of leading advertisers working in VR/AR to spark discussion about virtual and augmented reality and possible use cases in branded work. Moderated by Friends With Holograms founder Cortney Harding (Co-Chair of the VRARA Advertising Committee), the panel featured Rori Duboff of Accenture, Robert Lester of Glow, Doug Barr of Havas, and Christine Lane of McCann.


To kick the panel off, everyone was asked about the worst VR/AR experience they’d ever seen, and what lessons could be learned from the mistakes those creators made. Lester pointed to a narrative piece that missed the mark with scale, where the user constantly changed perspectives and sizes, while Lane pointed to a more common example of a nature piece that succumbed to subpar CG. DuBoff also referenced a piece that got scale wrong, and Barr pointed out common problems with locomotion, especially pieces set on roller coasters, which can sometimes make viewers sick.

While all of the problems present in these pieces are fairly easy to solve, they highlight another dilemma -- how to make sure agencies and brands don’t try one piece, have it fail, and decide that VR and AR are not worth exploring further. Barr referenced a situation where he helped a competitor fix a piece and while his client wasn’t happy about, he believes that a rising tide will lift all boats, and the more good work is on the market, the better. Lester pointed to the need for internal evangelists at agencies and brands, and DuBoff and Lane both said that advocates need to share both good and bad use cases in order for clients to learn and focus.

In terms of moving forward, all the panelists had specific new developments they were excited about, ranging standalone headsets that are rumored to be coming soon to multiplayer experiences to webVR and social VR. In terms of spreading the technology, Barr pointed out that VR has a faster adoption rate than several other well-known devices, while other cautioned patience and the need to use it in training applications to get it to users.

Augmented reality is still fairly new for the most part, as ARKit only recently launched, but all the panelists were bullish on how it would be adopted by brands. Use cases ranged from practical (tape measures, furniture placement) to informational (the MLB app that allows users to view more stats) to the ridiculous (an app that allows users to paint on the world).

The conversation then shifted to the metrics brands care about when evaluating VR and AR pieces, and the need to create stickier content that users will return to again and again. Panelists pointed out the heatmaps are a great way for brands to measure how long viewers looked at something and tweak campaigns to respond to that data. Finally, the panelists were generally behind giving away cheaper headsets as a gateway to VR, even though the quality might not be ideal.

The event was the first in what will hopefully be a series of conversations presented by the VRARA and Friends With Holograms to inform brands about the possibilities and best practices for VR and AR. 

Advertisers considered VR/AR as their number second focus in 2017 for digital marketing technologies:


We invite all to join the discussion as part of our Advertising Committee, join here.

Virtual Reality and its Impact on the Field of Criminal Justice

 VRARA Criminal Justice Committee Seminar Pictured Left to Right: Eric Dustin of FARO, Rory Wells, Esq. of Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Ed Williams of FARO, Eduardo Neeter of FactualVR, Greg Schofield of Toronto Police Service

VRARA Criminal Justice Committee Seminar Pictured Left to Right: Eric Dustin of FARO, Rory Wells, Esq. of Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Ed Williams of FARO, Eduardo Neeter of FactualVR, Greg Schofield of Toronto Police Service

Jersey City, New Jersey – Multiple law enforcement agencies, academics, start-ups, non-profits and corporations from the United States and Canada met today in Jersey City for a first of its kind seminar and discussion on the impact of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality on the Criminal Justice System.  

The Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality Association’s (VRARA) Criminal Justice Committee held its first event today on current and future applications of virtual reality technology, where an individual or group of individuals are immersed in a 3D experience using headsets or glasses.

The meeting covered demonstrations of the latest technology, including laser scanners and VR applications from event co-sponsors FARO Technologies and FactualVR whose developing technology allows to accurately replicate and communicate the facts around crime scenes to aid in investigations, preservation and future testimony in court.     

Co-Chairs of the committee, Assistant Prosecutor Rory Wells and Eduardo Neeter, Principal of FactualVR both addressed the attendees with valuable input.  The topics ranged from training and investigations, to the use of VR at trial and the use of VR for rehabilitation/reentry after serving time in prison.   

“It’s not a matter of “if” but “when” as the technology continues to develop and become mainstream, people will eventually demand that VR be used in every courtroom” stated Co-Chair Eduardo Neeter.

For information on the committee or future events, please email us at:

VRARA & Cisco Execs: VR and AR are Changing Retail

NEW YORK — Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are already being used by retailers to enhance customer experience and those dealers that aren’t taking advantage of these nascent technologies yet should seriously consider jumping on the bandwagon, according to Cisco executives.

Some retailers don’t allow their store sales associates to use email or tablets, or even go online to check inventory, Amit Chetal, digital solutions lead at Cisco, said during an VR/AR panel discussion at the CE Week conference July 13. He classified that as a mistake. It’s important for retailers to instead “empower” their store associates by allowing them to make use of AR, VR and other technologies, and “get rid of that legacy thinking” that may be standing in the way of companies evolving and remaining competitive, he said.

By empowering store associates with all the new technological tools available, they will be able to better serve their customers and retailers will also be able to cut down on associate turnover, Chetal said. At the same time, “security is paramount” with whatever technologies companies decide to take advantage of, so that must be factored into their plans, he said.

It’s imperative for retailers to harness new digital technologies, even if they think that something like the mobile game “Pokemon Go” – which some retailers were able to capitalize on — will be just a short-term fad, Kathryn Howe, director of Retail Industry Digital Transformation-Americas at Cisco, said. It’s important for companies to “look at the disruption” to their businesses and not necessarily just “the disruptor,” she said. Retailers that were able to harness the popularity of “Pokemon Go” quickly did so because they “were ready” and “had security in place,” as well as Wi-Fi.

VR and AR represent the “fourth major computing platform,” following PCs, the Internet and mobile devices, Nathan Pettyjohn, founder of the VR/AR Association, said. He recommended that retailers “harness” these and other new technologies to their advantage because “it’s really easy to leverage what’s out there right now.” If they don’t do it now, he warned, “you’ll be left behind.”

Pettyjohn pointed to retailers including Lowe’s and Tommy Hilfiger that have already set up VR headset stations at their stores where consumers, in those two respective cases, can use the technology to see what a new kitchen will look like or feel like they’re at a fashion event where new clothes were unveiled.

Although Google Glass failed, “the technology is getting there” for more successful AR glasses and eventually there is “going to be a very elegant pair of glasses” that are probably, at least initially, going to be powered by our smartphones and that we “won’t look ridiculous” wearing, Pettyjohn said.

Store associates will be able to use those glasses to provide extra information about the products they are selling, he said. He also predicted we’ll “all have AR glasses on” in 5-10 years, and those glasses will “be able to detect millions of data points every second” as shoppers walk through stores, allowing them to receive product recommendations.

Tony Scherba, CEO and founder of San Francisco design and application development company Yeti, also urged retailers to “embrace change.” He stressed that this change “doesn’t have to be a dramatic change and can be a “step-by-step process.”

VR was also touched on later in the day at the conference, during a session called “Get in the eSports Game,” where executives at Intel, distributor/wholesaler Ingram Micro and computer maker Micro-Star International (MSI) focused on the soaring popularity of eSports, but also pointed to the increasing popularity of VR.

“ESports has exceeded every projection” and “continues to grow,” Barry Heller, client platform specialist at Intel, said, noting that his company continues to heavily invest in eSports. In addition to sponsoring eSports competitions, Intel is “continually coming out with new technologies to really take advantage in this space,” he said, pointing to his company’s powerful new processors.

He predicted that “we’ll start to see a tipping point maybe within the next five to 10 years,” in which everybody knows about eSports and the competitors become household names. “It truly is a worldwide phenomenon” that is popular among males and females, he said.

Half a billion viewers will be watching eSports competitions live within the next three years, he predicted. Intel is also investing in VR, he said, predicting that technology will be a major factor in the gaming space as well.

Original post here

VRARA Education Committee & WebGuyz VR Education Platform

By Ross Cohen,, Co-Chair VRARA Education Committee

WebGuyz is an industry agnostic startup on a mission to innovate the way students learn in the education system. WebGuyz's revolutionary SaaS platforms makes up the structure of educational programs, unifying all students and teachers, online and offline. WebGuyz created an entire modern and idealistic approach for education using VR & AR technology from Microsoft HoloLens and Oculus Rift. The solution provides students with a higher caliber of technology and puts them in a VR setting that enables each student with a visual, hands on, educational portal; The environment is controlled by the school’s administrator, and is fully integrated with the school’s curriculum.

Currently the program is running in several schools across the five boroughs of NYC with prodigious success and most importantly impeccable results. Student involved in the futuristic curriculums reported having new born set of skills and eagerness to scale and sharpen. WebGuyz program involves high demand curriculums such as, 3D design, backend managing skills, front-end management, developing applications for IoT devices as well as launching them, and cyber security awareness.

Together, the VR/AR Association (via the VRARA Education Committee) and WebGuyz will expand to more schools, revolutionizing and strengthening the learning process of the education system. The collaboration of The VR/AR Association will bolster the variety of devices and custom programming utilized within the curriculums, additionally improve the program as a whole from the input of industry leading experts within the association. The future for all looks virtually bright, teachers of the school systems will receive more classroom engagement, student attention span increases, and be prepared for the competitive world awaiting them, and the school district reputations rise from happy parents, students, and teachers.

WebGuyz has worked with Microsoft, CISCO, Google Education, New York State Career & Technical Education Organization, NYC Department of Education, Jump Into the Light VR Lab, New York Institute of Technology, and Metaverse.

The modern day teenager has a lower attention span than a goldfish, teenager coming in at 8 seconds and goldfish coming in at 9 seconds. The average attention human span back in 2000 was a whopping 12 seconds, and research proves the impact of this decrease in classrooms all around the country. The students are not to blame, the surrounding environment is the issue, giant social media platforms with massive amounts of content easily accessible with the touch of a finger, and evolving technology that trends for a day before the new best thing is introduced.

Instead of stripping students from their technology (i.e., mobile phones), and trying to control their personal environment in the classroom, WebGuyz strategically innovated an entire modern and idealistic approach using VR & AR technology from Microsoft HoloLens and Oculus Rift. The solution was to provide students with a higher caliber of technology, and to put them in a controlled VR environment, contrary to controlling their personal environments. A VR setting, entering each student into a visual, hands on, educational portal, completely controlled environment by the school’s (or university’s) administration, and fully integrating the school’s curriculums.

Not only do the students enjoy their technology ‘fix’, their attention span will increase as the WebGuyz program embeds into the education system. That’s just the immediate effects, the SaaS learning platforms is the other arm of this operation, working parallel to the controlled virtual reality environment. The learning platform is designed not only to help increase attention span, it increases engagement between teacher and student (a teacher’s dream come true), encourages teamwork (getting them ready for the real world), teaches responsibility and sharpens essential skills of tomorrow and beyond. Providing each student with a head start in a highly competitive and busy career environment.