Published on March 16th, 2020 | by Emergent Enterprise0
VR Takes The Stage As Conferences Cancel
Due to the spread of COVID-19, conference events around the world are being cancelled. As an alternative, some conferences are moving to a virtual platform and virtual reality is suddenly in great demand. Charlie Fink reports on this movement at Forbes with a look at some of the actual events and also an overview of some of the VR solutions on the market. Once companies get a taste of VR conferencing and collaboration, even after the virus is contained, will they want to return to the old model of physical face-to-face events? There will most likely be a variety of outcomes as some will return, others will not and some will offer both. The age of the virtual speaker is upon us. An in-demand expert can join a conference as a 3D avatar and share expertise to audiences of no limit. Get ready to attend your next conference in your PJs.
Photo above: Educators in VR summit took place in AltSpaceVR, a virtual world Microsoft rescued out of bankruptcy in late 2018. (Credit: Educators in VR)
It started with the cancellation of Mobile World Congress, one of the biggest international tech shows of the year. GDC, SXSW, Coachella, and E3 followed suit, as attendees of a Biogen conference in Boston were exposed through a colleague who had flown in from overseas. Now big companies like Google don’t even want their employees going across town. They’re all working from home. “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis,’” President John F. Kennedy famously said. “One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger—but recognize the opportunity.” This crisis is good for VR, because we need to be apart, but we want to be together. People are the killer app.
Several weeks ago, the first Educators in VR Summit took place in Microsoft’s AltSpace VR. Over six days 170 speakers took the virtual stage in 150 events over six days. Over 2,000 people attended. Organizer Daniel Dyboski-Bryant characterized the event as an unqualified success. “We achieved everything we set out to do and more. We worked with all our preferred platforms. We let our community and volunteers shine. We shined a spotlight on the industry and proved the viability of this tech for education and large events. We got high level attention. And we had a fantastic time.” Dybroski-Bryant also complimented AltSpace, which is free, for providing unprecedented customer support for a free, non-profit event.
“The Educators in VR summit was an amazing community-driven effort to showcase what that could look like.” said Katie Kelly, Program Owner at AltspaceVR. “I did a rough estimate and factoring in the travel time and CO2e estimates that would have been spent. This summit took about 9 thousand cars off the road for the week of the summit and saved attendees around 5 million miles of travel. So whether we’re combating a global outbreak, climate change or remote work – there’s a lot that AltspaceVR and other VR platforms can do to help.”
HTC is moving its annual Vive Ecosystem Conference (VEC) in China to a virtual world built by Engage, a product of Immersive VR Education. VEC, rebranding it as V2EC, is made possible by advances in network technology enhancing real time rendering and enabling a host of important new features for virtual worlds and telepresence, such as cross platform accessibility, which allows users on any kind of VR and AR device, even a smartphone, to be present in the simulation. HTC 2020 VEC will take place on 19th March 2020 at 1:30 am GMT (6:30 pm PT) with official registrations opening tomorrow on the ENGAGE website.