As a follower of this blog you will already know that I enjoy attending social VR events. This time I was asked to participate in one!
AWE is an annual event held in San Francisco that is attended by industry pioneers with their latest hardware and software solutions. It is THE event to attend for anybody who is interested in the immersive technology industry. In fact Forbes describe the event as ‘The most essential AR/VR Conference and Expo’. This year is was AWE’s 10th anniversary and thanks to a VR Community initiative it was the first year that it was brought all over the globe thanks to the power of virtual reality – summary below take from MATRIXCORE’s website:
The #AWECORE Mobile Matrix Experience + Global Immersive Events:
AWE is going virtual with a jam-packed calendar of social XR events conceived of and organized by MATRIXCORE. The experience is highly accessible, supporting mobile, desktop and VR platforms. Connect with the global VR/AR community. Learn more and view the schedule of panels, masterclasses, live AWE keynotes, exclusive Q&As and networking events at https://www.matrixcore.co/
Accessible with cross-platform collaborations
Not only could attendees join using virtual reality headsets, desktops or mobile devices but there was also a mixture of virtual reality platform hosts helping out too. This is the first time that I have attended an event in VR that spread itself out across the industry. In other words, you could attend x session in platform 1 then attend another session in platform 2. The Social VR platforms that were included in this 3 day virtual reality #AWECORE conference were: AltSpaceVR, Rumii, Facebook Spaces, Mozilla Hubs, High Fidelity, Rec Room, VRChat, The Expanse VR and NeosVR. Major kudos to each of them for coming together and making this epic inaugural conference possible.
What’s the point?
Having a virtual reality conference in parallel with your real world conference is such a beneficial use of time. Not only does it open the doors to new attendees but it also allows for vast brand marketing. A win win in my book. As an attendee you are able to be in the same virtual room with extremely inspirational pioneers in the field. You are able to learn. You are able to put up your hand and ask a question using your own voice. You can connect with the speakers. You can network and meet other audience members as you would in a real world event. You can come and go and not distract other attendees or speakers. As a speaker, it allows you to share your story with people who have previously not heard of you before. Again brand awareness and association is a pretty huge benefit too. It has just the same benefits as a real world speaking opportunity – great for your reputation & ability to speak in front of an interested audience.
For both attendees and speakers – you can be there regardless of your geographical location. You save money on travel (flight) costs, accommodation costs, tickets costs, childcare costs, insurance costs and save yourself the stress & time that is involved in all of those steps too. You arrive on time, focused and ready to start.
AWECORE Topics and Talks
The Hosts and Speakers
The VR Health panel & Experience
I was honoured to participate in a panel discussion alongside Sarah Hill from Healium by StoryUp XR and Veena Somareddy from Neuro Rehab VR and hosted by Chuck Webster from Health Systems Chat in AltSpaceVR. I attend a lot of social VR events, meetings and occasional conferences so to be able to be part of the panel in Virtual Reality was a personal milestone for me. Chuck had created a VR space that was a replicate of the AWE location to help us feel like it was the real deal. I of course took the obligatory selfie as a keepsake!
AWECORE and Social VR (meetings, events & conference) Benefits
The most obvious is that you are opening the global accessibility doors by hosting panels and events in virtual reality! I, for example, could not have made it to Santa Clara at short notice. Attendees can save time, money and stress of attending an event if it is hosted in VR. Locations can be fully customised, branded and created entirely as you wish! You are able to learn and rub avatar shoulders with the experts in the industry. Some of which you may never have the opportunity to meet otherwise. You can ask your questions directly because you are there, you are present. It doesn’t matter what you are wearing in real life! It doesn’t matter where you are in the real world! You can be yourself and not need to worry about, well, anything*. You can access events by fully immersive channels with a VR headset or in pancake mode via a desktop, tablet or even mobile phone.
Stats and impact – coming soon…
Thank You to the AWECORE organisers, contributers, participants and attendees!
The amazing Andy Fidel was the Social VR event lead on this with a small team – Donna McTaggart, Jay W, The Outsider from Neos VR helped organise alongside Andy and I played a tiny part in that too.
Thank you to all the Social VR Platforms for providing Metaverse Spaces for us all to connect and enjoy these events.
I believe this medium is the future of events and conferences. I say it time and again but it truly is magical. Being able to pull a headset on and be part of engaging educational sessions with other people from all over the world is best experience aside from being there in real life of course. Next best is being in attendance using a pc, laptop, tablet or mobile device. History has been made with this event. We have seen VR events in varying duration (Merging Realities being the longest of my knowledge being a full day event & also last year’s VR Day celebrations which was also cross platform) but #AWECORE has been 3 days of interactive events that was mindful of accessibility, gender equality and meaningful content. Well done again to all those involved or who participated or attended!
Hope to see you in the Metaverse again real soon -)
* Should caveat that you should be aware of your real life surroundings whenever wearing a VR headset for health & safety reasons.