Additional Speakers Confirmed for VR/AR Global Summit

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MaryKate Mahoney is the Global Head of VR for Healthcare at HP Inc. In her role she works to enable cutting edge capabilities for the different uses of virtual reality across the healthcare industry, both in the hands of the clinician and in the hands of patients. Today her main focus is finding solutions backed by clinically proven results and bringing those to market. MaryKate is eager to connect new experiences that will improve wellness and health engagement globally.  She holds a bachelor’s degree Centre College and received her M.B.A. at Washington University in St. Louis.

Hussein Hallak is CEO and Founder of Next Decentrum, a blockchain education company. Evangelist at Launch Academy, one of North America’s leading tech incubators with over 600 tech startups incubated and over $150 Million raised. Serial entrepreneur and startup founder with over 25 years of business experience.Developed 20 startups and mentored and trained thousands of entrepreneurs. Creator of Intro to Blockchain, The Blockchain Course, Blockchain Business Fundamentals, Make the LEAP, The Startup Course, and the Lean Entrepreneur Acceleration Program. Strategic advisor for several successfully funded tech and crypto startups including Fintrux, Interfinex, Traction Health, and Peace Geeks. Marketing advisor for leading conferences including Fintech & Funding, Traction Conf, CIX, and Van Funding. Graduate of the Oxford Blockchain Strategy Programme. BSc in Electronics Engineering. Featured in Forbes, BBC, Entrepreneur, Roundhouse Radio, and Notable.

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James Basnett, Founder @ Answer Agency James is a futurist and often travels between the years 2018 and 2038. He  focuses on the synthesis of human and technology systems and he helps organizations map emerging technologies to their future states. At Answer Agency, James builds innovation teams and supports them in bringing new products to market with the right strategy to scale. He has worked with global brands including Verizon and Lululemon to bring their AR and VR visions to reality. 

Dr. Patrick Pennefather

Patrick, recently appointed at UBC’s Theatre & Film program in Production and Design, is passionate about bridging partnerships between various stakeholders in the academic, cultural, service and digital media industries. He’s developed a successful rapid prototyping methodology focused on mentoring teams co-constructing scalable digital prototypes with over 45 companies and organizations (Microsoft, EA, Ubisoft, Blackbird, Finger Foods, Kabam and more) over the past ten years with sessions focused on aligning priorities, research initiatives, vision, strategy, problem-solving and scalability. Institutionally, he has designed and implemented learning with the Master of Digital Media Program, BCIT, Ryerson University, University of Wuhan, Chinese University of Communication, North Chinese University of Technology, UBC and SFU. Within the digital media industry he has facilitated small teams internationally, with Riot Games, EA, Microsoft Big Park, Fujitsu, Procon Mining Safety, Crystal CG China, the City of Fukuoka, NGX, Ballet BC, British Columbia Museum Association, Arts Club Theatre, and British Columbia Lottery Corporation. His research interests and scholarly activities are focused on rapid prototyping for mixed realities as well as designing spatial audio in physical and virtual environments. Whatever the pursuit, he draws from his work as an award-winning sound designer and composer for live and mediated productions having worked on over 250 productions in Canada, the U.S., Europe and Asia.

In the moving target rapidly becoming categorized as xR (substitute x to denote any virtually mediated human computer interface that merges with, augments or hijacks reality), through the MDM Program, Patrick has worked on research-driven projects, public VR projects for good, iPad/mobile VR projects for older adults as a development partner with AgeWell NCE, AR projects with British Columbia Lottery Corporation, small stage dance producer, Virtro VR and UBC Film & Theatre/Arts Club Theatre. He has also written about xR development, is currently researching rapid prototyping xR pipelines, has published in a variety of journals with others in the field of project-based learning and VR, and has presented scholarly work in VR in the area of improving public exposure of VR experiences to the general public.

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Telus to speak at the VR/AR Global Summit in Vancouver this week

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Telus will join a panel called, "Behind the Smart Glasses: An Enterprise Journey to Augmented Reality with Telus & Atheer." The panel is designed to provide the audience with some insight about the exciting and pioneering work of two companies.


  • Parm Sandhu, Director of Network and System Operations, TELUS. TELUS Corporation is the fastest growing telecommunications communications company and #1 health IT provider in Canada. You'll hear from Parm about why TELUS is exploring the use of AR to improve the speed and quality of service work on its network across the country - and how the company arrived at the decision to do so.

  • Amar Dhaliwal, Chief Operating Officer at Mountain View, California-based Atheer Ltd. - which is one of the veteran companies in the still-young Augmented Reality enterprise software business and boasts a growing list of corporate customers for its AR platform technology. Amar will discuss about why companies across the industrial spectrum are looking to AR to solve many of their most urgent business challenges - and look at how those companies use AR to make money, save money, reduce risk and improve the productivity and safety of their workforces.

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Forbes calls it the "People's XR Conference" - the VR/AR Global Summit is Sept 21-22

See more and get tickets for the VR/AR Global Summit here

September 21st and 22nd the people’s XR conference, the VR/AR Global Summit, hosted by the VR/AR Association (VRARA) returns to Vancouver. The summit will bring together the XR industry from around the globe to discuss topics including education, entertainment, enterprise, healthcare, retail, training, blockchain and more. Featuring keynote addresses, engaging panels, educational workshops, networking opportunities, demos, and product launches and parties. “The VR/AR Global Summit continues the mission of the VR/AR Association of facilitating growth, knowledge andconnections across the globe, and across industry verticals,” said Nathan Pettyjohn, Founder and President of the VR/AR Association, who is now CMO of Quantum Capture.

Vancouver is home to over forty thousand Film, TV, VFX, Animation, and Video Game professionals is one of the world’s VR/AR hotspots. Sony Pictures Imageworks, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), MPC, Double Negative, DHX Media, Animal Logic and Bardel Entertainment all have offices there. Vancouver also has one of the top Video Game clusters in the world — one that includes major publishers such as, Electronic Arts (EA), Microsoft, Capcom and Nintendo.

The list of over 100 speakers is as long as it is impressive. Featured speakers include Pettyjohn, Frank Soqui, GM of VR at Intel, Joanna Popper, head of VR at HP,  Darren Bennett, Creative Director, Mircosoft, Kyle Roche, GM of VR at Amazon, author and futurist Cathy Hackl, Timoni West, Director of XR Research for Unity, Tom Emrich of Super Ventures, and author and columnist Charlie Fink (disclosure: I also advise the NY Chapter and participate in the LBVR working group).

I call it the VRARA Summit “the people’s XR conference”  because the VRARA is comprised of chapters all over the world, which convene to network, demo, and exchange best practices in their cities. Those chapters are comprised of tech enthusiasts and professionals who would otherwise have to travel to a metropolis like New York or San Francisco to attend a meetup. In addition to community, white papers, and an extensive membership list, VRARA members can rent expensive VR and AR equipment. All this critical to the development of a nascent medium.

The conference last year was attended by over 750 XR professionals on the Industry Day, with the entire event attracting 5000 people over 3 days for the expo.  At the end of 2016, the original owners of the show decided not to continue with CVR and the VRARA saw the opportunity to fill the gap, and the VR/AR Global Summit was created.  The VRARA will build on the momentum of CVR, plus use its global reach to bring together brilliant and creative minds in Vancouver in September. The show retains the same Executive Producer and will see the return of great speakers, sponsors, and exhibitors from the previous year. “Archiact started CVR in 2016, and recently rebranded to Vu: Defy Reality. We had a big vision for CVR/Vu and we knew its mission was broader and grander than Archiact. Now the event has reached this point, and we are happy to hand it off to VRARA, who have renamed it VR/AR Global Summit. We know that the VRARA can take it to the next level, which is bringing together people who are passionate about VR & AR, and accelerating global adoption across many business sectors. Best of luck to the VR/AR Global Summit in 2018 and all the coming years,” says Derek Chen, President of Archiact.

VRARA has over 4,100 companies registered and over 50 chapters globally, and 20 industry committees. VRARA programs & initiatives are designed to accelerate your growth, knowledge, and connections. “VR/AR Global Summit is designed to bring together both industry-leading solution providers as well as the brands and companies looking to deploy these types of technologies to improve and enhance their business. In addition to enterprise, we also have an exciting gaming and entertainment program at Global Summit," says Kris Kolo, Global Executive Director, VRARA.

Charlie Fink is an AR/VR consultant, columnist, speaker, and author. As a 27-year-old junior executive at Disney, Fink created "The Lion King". For this sin, he was promoted to VP of Story Development for feature animation. In the 90s he oversaw the expansion of Virtual World

Charlie Fink is a former Disney & AOL exec and Forbes columnist. In the 90s, he ran VR pioneer Virtual World. He's the author of Charlie Fink's Metaverse, An AR Enabled Guide to VR & AR.

Source: Forbes

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VR Scout: The VR/AR Global Summit Puts Content First

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by Dan BurgarKate Wilson (source: VR Scout) 

In 1996, Bill Gates first coined the phrase “content is king”. Today, his statement is truer than ever.

Every day last year, the average North American consumed over 10 hours of digital media. On-demand streaming and the internet have transformed how individuals interact with screens, with most spending more time in front of a monitor than any other activity – including sleeping. Constantly seeking the rush of engaging with new material, consumers aren’t gripped by their hardware – phones, TVs, or laptops – but are drawn in by unique, well-crafted content. 

The same is true of the VR industry. The past 24 months have seen the rapid proliferation of headsets, with companies vying to create the sharpest, most realistic display. Now, the hardware cycle is drawing to a close. After the release of Magic Leap One earlier this month – the most anticipated launch in the sector – the industry’s best minds have shifted to content.  

That trend has been keenly anticipated by the VR/AR Global Summit. One of the largest industry events in North America, the conference will spotlight how tech giants and startups are creating new ways to visualize and interact with virtual worlds. It’s a focus that conference speaker Andrew Melchior, an executive producer who has married the music of Björk and Massive Attack to VR, believes will help the industry go mainstream.

“Bibles sold printing presses,” he says. “Shared experiences such as the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth and the televised moon landings made people buy TVs. Real time mapping, fart apps, and music players sold iPhones. It goes on and on. Already a Battle Royale [has] happened in the past five years for buying first option broadcast rights for AR content across sport, music, comics, and films. I think this is a good thing, as the gigantic pockets of Apple, Google, Magic Leap, Huawei and such like will help fund the creative endeavours of a whole new content ecosystem.”

The VR/AR Global Summit is poised to bring together apps from different corners of the sector. Speakers from goliaths like Amazon, Ford, and IKEA will rub shoulders with Vancouver up-and-comers including and LNG Studios, each showcasing programs that put hardware like HTC Vive or Microsoft HoloLens through their paces. Highlighting the content from these creators will, Summit speaker Charlie Fink believes, help usher in a world where head-worn displays are commonplace.

“Conferences like the VR/AR Global Summit proliferate on the cusp of disruption,” says the columnist and author. “Like internet conferences in the 90s, mobile conferences in the aughts, social media conferences earlier this decade, or XR conferences like this one today, everyone is desperate to understand what’s happening. 

“Making hardware is incredibly hard, expensive, and time consuming,” continues Fink. “Magic Leap is tackling this as a humble start up with $2.3B. Peoples’ eyes are popping out, but these guys are going up against Apple and Microsoft, hoping to develop a third way. [But] Magic Leap, like all the devices that came before it, is dependent on the ecosystem of independent developers and entrepreneurs who build cities at the foot of the mountain, so to speak. 

The increased recognition of content development has lead to some of the most inventive uses for VR and AR. In the past year alone, the technology has enabled individuals to remotely pilot submarines in virtual reality, monitor stress levels based on eye movement, and help athletes improve their game. While it might not yet boast a killer app like email, e-commerce, or social media, VR and AR are quietly transforming the way users interact with the analogue world. 

For Christopher Lafayette, an advisor on VR and AR in Silicon Valley who will be talking about the need for diversity and inclusion in the industry at the Summit, the most interesting integrations are occurring in the medical and manufacturing sectors.

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“Manufacturing environments are now seeing early entry employees operate machinery with augmented guidance at a very fast learning pace,” he says. “Products are being built and delivered quicker to consumers. This is a signature component of future city development. MedTech is significant, too, specifically in the VR vertical. Surgeons, psychologists, occupational therapists and nurses are given new immersive tools to deal with pain management, PTSD, experimental treatments, pre-surgical discovery, and surgery operations. It’s personally one of my favorite aspects of this industry.”

At this point in the technology’s life cycle, says Cathy Hackl, futurist at You Are Here Labs and partner at Mixed Reality Ventures, the VR/AR Global Summit is right to focus on content rather than hardware. Hosting discussions that will cover education, 5G technology, blockchain, esports, and location-based entertainment, the September 21-22 event will feature two full days of talks, panels, workshops, investor events, and pitchfests, all offering fresh examples of both commercial and enterprise creations. In Hackl’s view, the most exciting part of the sector is trying out new experiences. 

“I speak all around the globe and I urge creators and devs to join our industry for a simple reason,” she says. “While the hardware is universal, there will always be a need for culturally relevant content in VR. This presents a great opportunity for creators, developers, journalists, and artists, across all cultures and nations.”

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VRARA Training Committee to Present Industry Research Results and Best Practices at the VR/AR Global Summit

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Co-Authors/Contributors: David Trainor (Sentireal), Matthew Wallace (VRSim), Sara Blackstock (VRSim)

The VRARA Training Committee have conducted a survey to capture the industrial landscape for one of the major use cases for Virtual, Augmented and Mixed Reality – namely training and development of employees. A total of 108 people responded to this survey and provided valuable insight into how VR, AR and MR (collectively XR) are becoming an integral part of industry-based training. A number of interesting trends have emerged from the survey responses. In this article we’ll explore these trends by considering the responses to the individual questions in turn.

Initially we were interested in seeing what training roles and activities were represented by the survey respondents:

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The vast majority of the respondents already have some active role in the training process. Managers, Influencers and Decision Makers were well-represented and the training technology Developer community featured strongly too.

Next, we were interested in seeing what experience the respondents had in utilising XR within their training activities:

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Over 90% of respondents indicated that they had already used XR in training or would consider doing so in the future. Of course the nature of the survey would naturally attract a high proportion of respondents with an existing interest in or enthusiasm for immersive training, but this is still a gratifying result nevertheless. The few respondents that said they would NOT use XR in training cited cost, lack of content, device availability and benefit/value/cost relationship as the reasons for not using the technology.

Next, we were interested in seeing what devices and software the respondents a) used b) had tried and c) use most regularly:

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These three questions highlighted the relative popularity of the VR medium for training, compared with AR and MR. With VR-based training, mobile VR solutions and the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets featured strongly. With AR-based training, newer mobile AR software frameworks from Apple (ARKit) and Google (ARCore) have started to gain a significant foothold. Dedicated AR glasses did not feature strongly in our survey results but Microsoft’s Hololens device proved a popular choice for MR-based training.

Next, we were interested in how often the respondents used VR or AR in terms of hours per week:

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Here we can see that the significant majority of respondents (69.6%) spend 5 hours a week or less actively using VR, AR or MR. This may correlate with the concept of using these technologies for short “bite-sized” training experiences rather than prolonged training activities.

While usage rates will vary widely depending on circumstances and training budgets, the training market needs to increase adoption by demonstrating the effectiveness of VR, AR, or MR as training media. This not only includes incremental hardware improvements, but also a concerted effort on content improvements to deliver simulations worthy of a trainees immersion. Significantly, trainers will be given valuable insight through the use of big data across time and trainees.

Next, we were interested to what extent the respondents thought that certain attributes were strengths or weaknesses of VR and/or AR, when applied to training activities.

This series of questions revealed that respondents rated immersion, presence and simulation capability as key strengths of VR-based training and rated showing information in context and presenting expert information as key strengths of AR-based training. Interactivity and progress-tracking were highlighted as strengths of both VR and AR.

Next, we were interested in what activities the respondents felt would a) most benefit and b) least benefit from XR training:

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Clearly the survey respondents feel that manual skills and mechanical/industrial operations will especially benefit from XR-based training, with the realistic simulation capability of VR and the interactive real-time guidance provided by AR/MR being particularly relevant. In certain skilled trades, XR has made significant inroads into the training communities, such as coatings application or welding. For example, some level of training with VR/AR is the defacto standard for welding training throughout the United States.

Although process-driven activities scored particularly highly on this question, some creative activities such as art and precision crafts also feature strongly, indicating that XR-based training does have a role in activities that are not necessarily driven by process and compliance. However other creative activities such as art and activities involving human relationships, such as organizational leadership and management, are indicated as weak areas for XR-based training.

Next, having identified some strong and weak applications for XR-based training, we were interested in the opinions on weaknesses of the media and technologies themselves:

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Understanding where the perceived weaknesses or deficiencies lie in current forms of XR-based training is key to addressing those issues in future versions of the training technologies. Clearly the survey respondents feel that cost is still the major barrier to introducing or increasing the use of XR within training programs.

Reduction in headset costs and innovative business models around content access should help to address this. Availability of the technology has also been highlighted as an obvious weakness, suggesting that hardware providers should consider future manufacturing and distribution processes and software providers should consider subscription and distribution models beyond the “app store” format. In discussing barriers to entry and expansion, the potential relationship between barriers should be considered. For example, cost might not be considered prohibitive if greater libraries of content or potential for re-purposing training solutions existed.

Resistance to change is also highlighted as an issue, suggesting that the efforts of the VRARA Training Committee in evangelizing and promoting XR training are still well-placed! Finally, lack of relevant content was highlighted by the survey respondents. Considering the results, the concept of relevance should also be extended to consider the depth and proven validation of the efficacy of that content.

The overall set of results for this survey question echoes the earlier sentiments citing cost, content, availability, and overall value proposition as barriers to entry/expansion within XR-based training.

Finally, we were interested in what types of company/organization the respondents felt would use XR training most successfully:

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Respondents have clearly prioritised some types of organization that have a longer and better-known association with immersive training and simulation, including the military, emergency response organizations and organizations dealing with safety-critical processes. Interestingly schools also featured heavily in the responses, indicating a crossover in the “enterprise training” and “education” sectors. It should be noted that the value proposition in these sectors is improved by factors outside of the immediate value proposition of VR, AR, or MR. Education budgets, worker compensation, rework cost and employee health costs serve as a constant driving force to explore innovations that can deliver in terms of safety and efficiency.

The VRARA Training Committee would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond to this survey. It’s produced a very interesting and insightful snapshot of the XR industry as it relates to enterprise training markets.