Tech in Motion Selects VR/AR Association's Chicago Chapter President Matt Wren as Best Tech Manager Finalist for 2019 Timmy Awards

Come meet Matt and the Chicago delegation at the VR/AR Global Summit Nov 1-2

Congratulations Matt!!

Tech in Motion selects VRARA Chicago Chapter President and BUNDLAR CTO Matt Wren as a Top 10 finalist for Best Tech Manager in Chicago at the 2019 Timmy Awards, which recognizes the top workplaces for tech professionals. Winners will be announced at a live ceremony this October, with two awards per category. “Having innovative finalists year-after-year speaks to the growth of the tech community here, and the event series has the honor of celebrating those leaders of change in each workplace,” says Mandy Walker, Director of Marketing at Motion Recruitment, creator of Tech in Motion. “Each finalist was chosen for exemplifying a ‘Best Tech Manager’ and we’re excited to see who takes home a Timmy.” The selection criteria for the Best Tech Manager is based on the following: (1) Promotes career growth and inspires innovation; (2) Goes above and beyond to ensure a great team culture; (3) Employs a clear and communicated vision to produce a great product.

“It is truly an honor to be selected as a top ten finalist for Best Tech Manager in Chicago by Tech in Motion,” said Wren. “What we’re accomplishing at BUNDLAR by providing the marketplace with easy augmented reality solutions using our do-it-yourself CMS is going to change how organizations benefit from AR in the coming year.” The BUNDLAR Platform makes it easy for businesses and institutions to integrate innovative augmented reality (AR) technology into their communications to benefit their customers, employees, and vendors.

Aside from Best Tech Manager, the other award categories include: Best Startup, Best Workplace for Diversity and Best Work Culture. The Timmys ceremony in October will be free and open to the public, consisting of tech demos, entertainment, and networking. If interested in learning more or attending, visit the Timmy Awards or the Tech in Motion event page. To vote for Matt, visit https://timmyawards.secure-platform.com/a/gallery/rounds/2/details/2322.

New Report: VR/AR Ecosystem for Midwest (Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh) 25+ companies featured, 50+ listed

To get the report email info@thevrara.com

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Foreword

Two decades ago, the terms virtual reality and augmented reality barely existed. These were concepts that you’d only see in science fiction films or television shows. Fast forward to today and you can see the presence of these technologies in nearly every industry. Having roots in the video game space, VR and AR technologies are now present in industries such as real estate, marketing, defense, education, medicine, research, and finance. In the United States alone, nearly 23 million Americans are already using VR technologies and the AR market is expected to reach $61.39 billion USD by 2023. If there’s one clear takeaway from these numbers, it’s that VR and AR are going to be key drivers of business and innovation; both of which are essential in Chicago’s mission to become the next global tech hub. Here at 1871, our mission is to inspire, equip, and support founders to build great businesses. We’re fortunate to operate in a city with leading corporations, phenomenal investors, top universities, and a strong ecosystem of innovators and entrepreneurs. To expand that ecosystem along with our community, we’re always on the lookout for transformative technologies, and it’s abundantly clear that VR and AR solutions are already changing the way that organizations operate throughout the world. As a growing innovation hub, our community serves as a lab for pioneers in the VR and AR space, and we couldn’t be more excited to see what they can achieve with the full resources of the city of Chicago behind them.

As we move into the New Year, we at 1871 are thrilled to play a role in the growth of Chicago’s VR and AR community. Beginning on January 16, 2019, 1871 will host a series of VR/AR Chicago events on a monthly basis. I’m confident that this will be a step forward for Chicago’s VR and AR community, which includes numerous developers, industry leaders, and entrepreneurs, and as a result, will help the city expedite its growth onto the national and world stage as a leader in technology and innovation. I’m also confident that our tech community, which is built upon the pillars of support and encouragement, will be of great benefit to those who visit. The story behind ‘1871’ isn’t about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. It’s about what happened next; when engineers, innovators, and inventors came together to build a new city. We invite you to help us write the next chapter.

—Betsy Ziegler CEO, 1871

CHICAGO

Chicago has earned its reputation as “The City that Works,” an honor that holds true for Chicago’s immersive technology culture as well. With a growing community of Virtual and Augmented Reality professionals and organizations, the focus in Chicago is on delivering cutting-edge XR technology to institutions that can make beneficial use of it. It is Chicago's pragmatic, get-it-done style that will propel the city to be the next global hub for innovation, and XR technology will be a major part of that growth. Chicago is already a world class leader in global business opportunities. Home to several headquarters of the world's largest corporations, top universities, world-class entertainment, advertising, and media and a thriving venture investment community - the environment is primed for VR and AR innovators to engage with opportunities. Add in the city and state government embracing their roles in developing the city as a technology hub, and it’s hard to find a better place to grow new technology solutions. Beyond the venture capital, talent, and technology ecosystem that exists, the one factor that sets Chicago apart from everywhere else is culture. The city is rooted in hard work, dedication, and discipline. It's often referred to as a big city with a small town feel, because anyone with the grit to put in the work has the ability to succeed in Chicago. And the community exists to help people achieve their goals. There are dozens of free networking and MeetUp groups in Chicago dedicated to technology - many VR and AR specific - that meet regularly for the purpose of helping others move forward in gaining education, experience, or finding work or developers to help them take their next step forward. We welcome you to come and visit, and see what Chicago has to offer.

—Matthew Wren Chapter President, Chicago, VR/AR Association

CLEVELAND

Cleveland has emerged as a biomedical leader thanks to healthcare networks and hospital programs that are consistently ranked best in class on a global level. A renaissance is in full swing with downtown development and a thriving culinary scene, fueled by our nationally recognized chefs and the rapid growth of bespoke food and beverage companies. Cleveland’s renowned art museums, orchestra and theater district inspire and empower creative commerce in the region. The city and its lakefront provide popular shooting destinations for huge film franchises including Marvel's The Avengers and The Fast and the Furious. Our storied and massive philanthropic network is empowering and funding entrepreneurs, community developers, educators and change agents to remake Cleveland for the Experiential Age. The arrival of the XR Channel of communication will trigger a shift in human resource demand from the Corporate-Coder towards the Creator-Composer. Innovative Northeast Ohio educators are adapting the learning landscape with cross-disciplinary degree programs that arm students with the 3D Modeling, Illustration, Animation, Sound Design, Architecture and Game Design/Development skills they will need to deliver compelling, value-added virtual and augmented reality based experiences. Welcome to the XR BELT

—Reynaldo Zabala Chapter President, Cleveland, VR/AR Association

PITTSBURGH

Pittsburgh is situated at the nexus of technologies that will shape the future. Dubbed “Roboburgh” for its strengths in robotics, it is also a powerhouse in artificial intelligence and machine learning. Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center and Schell Games provide a solid foundation for XR in gaming, entertainment, and education; the region’s history of manufacturing—particularly in conjunction with robotics—makes it ripe for implementation of XR in industry. Moreover, Pittsburgh is widely regarded as a major healthcare and biomedical innovation hub. Add to the mix the local culture of entrepreneurship, community-mindedness, and social responsibility, and the city emerges as a potential rising star in XR. The Pittsburgh Chapter of VRARA aims to build upon these foundational strengths, to support practitioners and users, and to create networks that will propel research into and implementation of XR in the region.

—Karen Alexander, PhD Chapter Co-President, Pittsburgh VR/AR Association & Mark J. W. Lee Chapter Co-President, Pittsburgh VR/AR Association

To get the report email info@thevrara.com

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 info@thevrara.com 

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 info@thevrara.com

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Recap of VRARA Chicago Event

By Gina Joseph

We knew Chicago was already on the road to becoming a legitimate tech hub when we started InContext back in 2009. But never has it been so obvious just how innovative the city has really gotten than learning about some amazing startups at the VR/AR Association Chicago chapter launch event that took place yesterday evening.

As we previously wrote, InContext CTO Tracey Wiedmeyer was asked to head the Chicago chapter of the VR/AR Association, and represent the immersive Midwest scene. Last night we kicked off the chapter at the Aon Center, with speakers and demos from VR/AR companies DOME3DRelativity VRQuriosity, and VIATechnik. Highlights included hearing about DOME3D’s 360 video work with Warren Buffett, and learning what goes into creating live 360 VR for Lollapalooza.

The discussion also got into the ethics involving VR and what it will mean for journalism, how it will affect online viewing, and, as Relativity VR’s Tim Woensdregt put it, how VR is “the great empathy machine.” We got to learn about how architectural firms are utilizing VR, and experience what it felt like to be on top of one of the parade busses after the Blackhawks won the 2015 Stanley Cup.

The kickoff of the VRARA Chicago chapter was just the start of what will be many events to come. InContext will host a VRARA event in Minneapolis in the near future, so stay tuned for that, Minnesotans! Future Midwest VRARA events will include panelists, more demos, and of course, food and drinks to keep you energized, so be sure to stay on top of what’s coming up. In the meantime, contact us here at InContext  or on Twitter at @vrara_chicago for more information on how you can be involved in the VR/AR Association Chicago chapter. We hope to see you (virtually or IRL) very soon!

 

Why InContext Solutions Joined the VRARA

By Patrick Niersbach, InContext

VRARA is important because as an industry we need to commit to the long game for VR and AR. Right now those seeds are starting to sprout but it’s going to take a concentrated effort from corporations, solutions providers, universities, students, studios, etc. Without this it will stay in first gear as an enthusiast platform.
— Tracey Wiedmeyer, InContext CTO

At one time, not that long ago, virtual reality technology was a futuristic, hypothetical concept for the most part—there were gamers who were very much into the advancement of VR, but it wasn’t something people saw potential in beyond entertainment. Until it was. The past decade has shown us that VR has a multitude of important uses far beyond gaming—it has infiltrated the business world, and created advancements in health and education.

That’s why we were so excited when InContext was giving the opportunity to join the VR/AR Association and lead the Chicago/Milwaukee chapter. The VRARA, as it’s known, 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.”

As chapter president, InContext CTO Tracey Wiedmeyer is looking to help bring together the Midwest VR and AR communities to further establish the technology’s long term value by setting up a foundation to build upon.

“VRARA is important because as an industry we need to commit to the long game for VR and AR,” he said. “Right now those seeds are starting to sprout but it’s going to take a concentrated effort from corporations, solutions providers, universities, students, studios, etc. Without this it will stay in first gear as an enthusiast platform.”

As members, InContext will be able to participate in Industry Committees and will organize bi-monthly events that will help connect and introduce VRARA members to the local community. The Midwest is quickly becoming a technology hotspot, and Tracey hopes that through the VRARA he can help facilitate conversations that have been isolated in the past.

“In typical humble Midwest fashion, there is actually a lot going on in the space, but no one talks about it,” he said. “If we can share ideas, approaches, best practices, and knowledge, the community can start to build upon itself like any other evolutionary technology.”

For InContext, specifically, being a VRARA member will give us access to the Retail & eCommerce Committee, which gives us the ability to share our knowledge of VR solutions for retail, and learn from others within the space. We're always looking to advance our VR capabilities for clients, and the VRARA offers us a unique chance to establish a supportive community to do just that.

Contact Tracey for more information or to become a member of the VR/AR Association!

Original article here

InContext Solutions Puts Midwest on the Map for VR, Launches Chicago Chapter

CHICAGO - March 7, 2017 - InContext Solutions, the global leader in virtual reality (VR) solutions for retailers and manufacturers, today announced that it has joined the VR/AR Association and will launch the new Chicago/Milwaukee chapter.

The VR/AR Association is an international organization that fosters collaboration between innovative companies and people in the VR and AR ecosystems. Its primary goals are to accelerate growth, promote research and education, develop industry standards and connect organizations while promoting the services of its members, which include Walgreens and Lowe’s.

“InContext Solutions is proud to be the leader in VR solutions for retailers and CPG manufacturers,” said Tracey Wiedmeyer, co-founder and CTO of InContext Solutions. “As a company, we have played a major role in transforming the retail industry. With our flagship platform, ShopperMX™, retailers can take new ideas from concept to store while significantly reducing the cost and time associated with the traditional innovation process. We are thrilled to collaborate with other VR/AR leaders who are revolutionizing the world with VR technology.”

In addition to joining the VR/AR Association, InContext is also launching the new Chicago/Milwaukee chapter. Wiedmeyer will serve as chapter president, and represent InContext in leading the Midwest VR ecosystem to drive mass adoption and to forge new VR innovations. This will include facilitating communication between members, organizing quarterly chapter events, and representing the Chicago/Milwaukee chapter at VR/AR Association national gatherings.

“The launch of the Chicago/Milwaukee VR/AR Association chapter creates a much-needed opportunity to fuel excitement and further promote the Midwest as a hotbed for tech innovation,” said Kris Kolo, Global Executive Director of the VR/AR Association. “We are thrilled to have InContext lead that charge--their commitment to VR software development is impressive, and we look forward to working together to continue advancing the VR and AR communities.”

“Hosting the Chicago/Milwaukee VR/AR Association chapter shines a light on the Midwest as a hub for transformative technology,” Wiedmeyer, continued. “As the chapter leader, I look forward to educating companies on the power of VR, building a deeper connection to the technology and further engaging the community.”

For more information about the VR/AR Chicago/Milwaukee chapter, please visit http://www.thevrara.com/chicago.

Media Contact: Kaitlin Myers, kaitlin@propllr.com, (913) 220-5292

About InContext Solutions

InContext Solutions is the global leader in enterprise virtual reality (VR) shopping and retail solutions, allowing manufacturers and retailers to simulate real in-store shopping situations to ideate, evaluate and activate all types of merchandising, display, layout and other in-store shopping experiences within a VR store environment. Use of InContext’s ShopperMX™ platform delivers substantial cost savings and reduces capital expenditures by allowing clients to test and evaluate ideas in the VR store environment—as opposed to doing so in physical stores—while reducing competitive visibility.

Visit www.incontextsolutions.com.

About VR/AR Association

The VR/AR Association (The 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.