6 Day Conference Held in Virtual Reality

It’s 2020 and Mobile World Congress has announced its keeping it doors closed because of the threat of spreading coronavirus. Its the sensible thing to do but I can appreciate why people may feel disappointed that they cannot see the latest tech in action. Nor engage with industry leaders or connect with other like-minded people from the industry. I once had the privilege of visiting MWC in 2018 thanks to Lenovo. I was blown away by the sheer size of the event let alone the amazing people and things to see & do inside the venue. I learned so much about from listening to as many people as I possible could whilst there. Unfortunately I was hit with disruption when returning back home from Barcelona to Scotland because Glasgow Airport was covered in ‘Beast from the East’ snow and forced to close for 3 days.

So with potential health & environmental reasons you may find it difficult to attend conferences over an above the traditional more common reasons such as travel & accommodation (if applicable) costs, childcare arrangements, the stress of travel itself and not to mention being organised in advance to ensure you have scheduled the ‘freedom’ to attend if you are able to. Of course there are other factors that can complicate attending real world conferences and events if you have a health condition yourself or perhaps your native language is different from that of the venue too.

But there is an alternative. I’ve written blog posts before about virtual reality meetings, covered the world’s first full day conference in virtual reality and I’ve even spoken at these VR events before. I love them and I’m a passionate cheerleader to encourage more to happen! The financial, environmental & accessibility benefits are pretty clear but they are also fun and memorable too.

Educators in VR 2020 International Summit

The Educators in VR International Summit is the world’s first 6 day conference with +170 speakers with more than 150 events. They have been continually running for 24 hours a day so you can attend something no matter what timezone you live in. The hosts of this amazing summit are Daniel Dyboski-Bryant and Lorelle Vanfossen. My favourite social VR gurus Donna McTaggart and Andy Fidel are playing leading support roles and there are several volunteers who are helping with livestreaming, hosting & moderating duties.

Being the largest virtual reality conference to date it offers such a fantastic wide range of talks including the likes of:

The Basics of VR/AR/XR/MR
Research into Spatial Technologies in Education
Corporate Uses for Training and Education
vLanguage Arts
vCoaching and Personal Development
Diversity and Access
Medical and Science
Computer Science and Math
Corporate Use Examples and Cases
Developers and Creators of Immersive Apps and Technology

I am writing this on the last day of the Educators in VR International Summit so sadly you cannot attend most of the live events but they have been recorded and stored on their YouTube channel. The full schedule of events can be found here.

The community involvement has been spectacular. Folks from all over the world have joined in to speak, support or enjoy learning from industry leaders. Immersive companies have come together too and hosted events across platforms such as AltSpace VR, Immersive VR Education’s Engage, Rumii, Mozilla Hibs and Somnium Space. All of these platforms are multi-user social VR platforms. Some you may not be able to access without a VR headset whilst others you can access on desktop/PC, smartphone or tablets. This is a fantastic opportunity to take advantage of visiting each of them for a tour as well! Something I have been planning to showcase via my YouTube channel for a while now but still not managed to prioritise my time for those videos yet sadly. Videos don’t do these immersive spaces justice anyways so take the opportunity to join a personal tour.

The most endearing thing about this summit are the people who take the time to attend them. By coming along and listening to the speakers you are able to learn things from pioneers who are at the forefront the immersive tech community. Folks attend from all over the world. Yet the most inspiring message of all is that as an attendee or viewer, YOU are part of that. If you then choose to take your new learning and use it for something else then you are helping to move the industry too. What an opportunity to join the next wave of computing evolution and carve your place in the history books, if you so wish! I love that!

Various speakers are coming together to share their knowledge and expertise with you, for free. How about hearing from the ‘Grandfather of Virtual Reality’ Tom Furness and founder of the Virtual World Society in this livestreamed video clip? Or Alvin Wang Graylin, President of HTC Vive. Or how about watching Kent Bye from the Voices of VR Podcast who always has a way of making us smarter after listening to the wealth of knowledge he shares. There’s so many others to watch & re-watch in the future! You can even watch David De Jong (VRAR Innovator for Elder Care at Patyna) and I give a talk on Virtual Reality for Eldercare and Dementia if that is a subject that interests you too.

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I’ve given a few talks in virtual reality now and it still makes me smile to see the floating emojis people give you. If you use a virtual reality headset to attend these events then you will be no stranger to the sensation of ‘presence’ or the feeling of actually being in the room with real people. The differences between each platforms avatar is fascinating and I find it interesting to look at how people choose to customise their avatar appearance. The event spaces allow for personal branding or sponsorship marketing materials to be in view too. The Educators In VR International Summit organisers even created a VIP Lounge for speakers to meet prior to their scheduled talk time. Having that space to ‘check-in’ and chill before heading to your talk venue/room was a lovely touch! I took a few photos of that for you below. As you can see we had a beautiful sunrise and could help ourselves to a little beverage to steady the nerves if we wanted 😉

It would be wonderful if the number of attendees was something that could be tracked. If you follow the hashtags #EducatorsInVR #2020EdInVR or #edinvr to follow what people had to say about the events, photos or even slides for talks. Overall it was an incredible summit, well organised and full of a wealth of learning! Congratulations to everyone involved and I hope that this becomes an annual occurrence. If you would like to support them then you can check out their Go Fund Me page.

You can connect, subscribe and follow them on the following channels:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/EducatorsVR

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/educatorsinvr/

Website: https://educatorsinvr.com/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/DrZigs

Discord: Discord.me/educatorsinvr

Tribute and inspiration for this summit was for our friend, Chris Long. Chris was an engaging member of the VR community who actively worked towards pushing the industry forward.

Hopefully see you there next year []-)

VR Awards 2019 – The Virtual Reality Event Showcase

Gratitude to the organisers, hosts & sponsors for bringing these awards to the community

The VR Awards was held in London on 11th November 2019 and I had the privilege of being there… in virtual reality thanks to AltSpaceVR! I will share my video footage with you as soon as I can.

An excited me attending a VR Awards ceremony whilst in virtual reality at AltSpace VR!

Rising VR Company of the Year

Winner: Fable Studios

Finalists: KageNova, Immotion, HOLOGATE, Maze Theory, Periscape VR, Lume, Enduvo and Atlas V

VR Education & Training of the Year

Winner: Working At Height by Vodaphone and Make Real

Finalists: Breaking Boundaries in Science by Filament Games, IsReality by Isbank, Virtual Training Ship Simulation (VTS) by Orka Informatics, Training: Replace low valtage fuses without life-threatening skills by Nanopixel & Fluvius, BODYSWAPS by Somewhere Else, Class VR by Avantis Systems, DHL: Gamification of the Cargo Loading VR Training Process by Immerse & DHL, Exoplanet Explorers 2 by Engine House VFX and Mighty Masters by MOYOSA Media

VR Healthcare of the Year

Winner: Fundamental Surgery

Finalists: GE Healthcare: Increasing training opportunities for radiographers through VR by Immerse, Oxford Medical Simulation by Oxford Medical Simulation, Augmented Baseplate Shoulder Simulation & Patient Specific Planning by Precision OS Technology, Fear of Heights (clinical acrophobia) by Oxford VR, VR for Psychosis Research and Treatment by Virtualware & King’s College London

Love that social vr events allows you to customise your event location like this! Allowing your audience to interact with your theme like this is fantastic!

VR Enterprise Solution of the Year

Winner: Virtualware Immersive Room by Virtualware by VIROO

Finalists: Lloyds Resilience & Vitality by Make Real & Lloyds Banking Group, MixCast VR Marketing System by Blueprint Reality, Autodesk VRED – VR Collaboration by Autodesk, Athena by Goodpatch and VR Command Center by Elara Systems

VR Social Impact Award

Winner: The 100% – Maggie’s Story by Springbok Entertainment

Finalists: Dementia Yn Fy Nwylo I / First Hand by Galactig, Anne Frank House VR by Force Field Entertainment, X-Ray Fashion by Vulcan Productions, RSA Consequences by BBDO DUBLIN, Children Do Not Play War by VILD Studio, Ghost Fleet VR by Vulcan Productions, Common Ground by East City Films, Mercy by Oculus For Good & Mercy Ships and The Right Choice – ICRC by Visualise, Don’t Panic & ICRC

Standing beside some of the most innovative immersive companies

Innovative VR Company of the Year

Winner: Emblematic Group

Finalists: Make Real, Fundamental Surgery, AmazeVR, Backlight, SpinView, Ballast Technologies and Avantis Systems.

Out of Home Entertainment of the Year

Winner: War Remains by MWM Immersive & Flight School Studio

Finalists: Ralph Breaks VR by ILMxLAB & The VOID, VRSlide by Ballast Technologies & Wiegand.Maelzer, Golem VR by DIVR, Chained: A Victorian Nightmar by MWM Immersive, Curse of the Lost Pearl: A Magic Projector Adventure by Dreamscape Immersive, FaBIOS Fantastic Fun Factory by Holocafe, Sol Raiders by Zero Latency, Arizona Sunshine LBVR by Vertigo Games & Jaywalkers Interactive, TOYLAND : CRAZY MONKEY by Ymagis & Backlight Studio, Beyond Medusa’s Gate by Ubisoft Blue Byte and HUXLEY 2 – THE ADVENTURE BEGINS by EXIT Adventures

VR Marketing of the Year

Winner: The Infrunite Slide by Oasis Pocket Adventure

Finalists: Porsche “Hall of Legends” VR Experience by UDG Ludwigsburg, Nerdindustries & Porsche, Qualcomm Snapdragon Tech Summit 2018 Invitations by Qualcomm Technologies, S 1000 RR VR by NUMENA & BMW, Ledvizor VR-presentation spac by Proektmarketing +1 & Ledvizo, VR experience for Santos de Cartier launch by LR Studio & Cartier, Lone Echo II: Trailer Experience by Ready At Dawn and Ford ‘WheelSwap’ VR by Happy Finish, H+K Strategies & Ford

VR Film of the Year

Winner: Wolves in the Walls by Fable Studios, Third Rail Projects and Oculus Story Studio

Finalists: The Bond by Axis Studios, Crow: The Legend by Baobab Studios, Cycles by Walt Disney Animation Studios, The Great C by Secret Location, Lucid by Breaking Fourth Limited, Traveling While Black by Felix & Paul Studios, Aripi by Simpals Studio and Grenfell: Our Home by Parable, Channel 4 & 59 Productions

VR Experience of the Year

Winner: Vader Immortal: A Star Wars VR Series – Episode 1 by ILMxLAB & Oculus Studios

Finalists: Awake by Start VR & Animal Logic, Curfew: Join The Race by REWIND & SkyVR Eleven Eleven by NBC Universal & Digital Domain, The Scream VR by Cinétévé Experience & ARTE France and Where Thoughts Go by Lucas Rizzotto

This photo will be a historic tribute one day showing us how far we have come with VR Headsets

VR Hardware of the Year

Winner: Oculus Quest by Oculus/Facebook

Finalists: Reverb VR Headset by HP, Rift S by Oculus/Facebook, Teslasuit by VR Electronics, Vive Pro Eye by HTC and XTAL 5K HMD by VRgineers 

VR Game of the Year

Winner: A Fisherman’s Tale by Innerspace VR & ARTE France

Finalists: Angry Birds VR: Isle of Pigs by Resolution Games, ASTRO BOT Rescue Mission by JAPAN Studio & ASOBI Team, Blood & Truth by Sony London Studio, CREED: Rise to Glory™ by Survios, Falcon Age by Outerloop Games, FREEDIVER: Triton Down by Archiact, Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice VR Edition by Ninja Theory, PROZE: Enlightenment by SignSine, Shadow Point by Coatsink , Transpose by Secret Location and Vacation Simulator by Owlchemy Labs

Lifetime Achievement Award

Winner: John Carmack

Yeay! Standing beside an incredible pioneer and creator or the virtual reality movement! The outstanding, one and only John Carmack
A selfie with all of this year’s winners – sorry my big head blocked quite the section out…

Well there you have it, an amazing achievement for all nominees, finalists and winners. Congratulations everybody! It’s inspiring to see the industry growing further every year.