An “AWEsome” Summary of AWE EU 2022
What is AWE?
The HQ for everything Spatial Computing, including: Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR), collectively referred to as Extended Reality (XR); as well as enabling technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), bio-interfaces, haptics, 5G, streaming and more.
Every minute engaged in AWE contributes to the acceleration of the XR industry, ultimately driving us closer to the goal declared by AWE’s cofounder:
“If we are able to harness the power of XR and AI to help fight some of the greatest challenges facing humanity, then by 2030 Spatial Computing will be a trillion-dollar industry. The XR community is therefore faced with a moral responsibility to further human progress through technology, and with that comes a huge economic opportunity.” – Ori Inbar, AWE co-founder.
AWE EXPO is a series of major conferences and exhibitions (USA, EU, Asia) featuring the leading XR companies and speakers and the best networking in XR. And just last week, AWE EU 2022 was hosted in Lisbon, Portugal. Here you can find a summary of what happened on the two days this expo lasted
AWE EU DAY 1 RECAP & HIGHLIGHTS
As is standard with AWE events, things were kicked off by AWE co-founder, Ori Inbar, whose opening keynote explored how XR technology has a proven track record of making dreams a reality for people all over the world. Whether it is in the form of a virtual reality experience enabling people to see places they would never otherwise get the chance to visit, or augmented reality bringing Pokemon to life and fulfilling the lifelong dream of becoming a real Pokemon trainer for many people, XR really does seem to have an answer for everything.
Well, that is the hope anyway, as Ori went into more detail in the first day’s keynote about the AWE XR Prize Challenge, which is aimed at finding XR’s answer to one of the most critical problems facing humanity today – that of climate change. The ‘XR Prize Challenge: Fight Climate Change’ was first announced at AWE USA 2022, and is designed to encourage companies to come up with AR and VR innovations and solutions that can help to tackle the issue of climate change.
If we don’t work to tackle climate change now, chances are, the dreams of future generations will be much harder to accomplish. So with that in mind, Ori announced that the XR Prize Challenge is now open for submissions.
The XR Prize Challenge: Fight Climate Change is a global competition harnessing AR and VR (XR) solutions to help fight climate change. It is hosted by AWE and the world’s most impactful XR community. AWE is inviting submissions from teams and individuals, and especially collaborations between XR technologists and climate change experts from around the world to compete for a $100,000 cash prize awarded to the best submission that demonstrates a creative, functional, and impactful XR-based solution to help humanity in our fight against climate change in these 4 categories:
- REPLACE: Replacing wasteful material practices
- VISUALIZE: Visualizing the causes & impacts of climate change
- EDUCATE: Educating about solutions to climate change
- OPTIMIZE: Optimizing design & execution of climate solutions
Straight after Ori’s keynote address to kick things off at the year’s biggest European AR/VR event, Oliver Wohler, Head of Enterprise EMEA at Pico, and Alize Amrani, Enterprise Marketing Manager EMEA at Pico took to the Main Stage to introduce the newest offering for global businesses from Pico.
Pico has of course been making headlines in recent weeks with the announcement of their newest ‘Pico 4’ VR headset for consumers (and also making further headlines due to the extremely high global demand for what some are labeling the “Quest Killer”). However, today’s Main Stage address from the company is certainly going to add to their ability to generate headlines, as they announced the launch of Pico 4 Enterprise all-in-one VR headset.
Other Main Stage Speeches
Throughout the day we also had Main Stage talks from companies such as TeamViewer and META Materials. TeamViewer, who of course are known for their remote connectivity and workplace digitalization solutions, were discussing the industrial metaverse and ways in which augmented reality and AI can help to redefine the nature of frontline work in the 21st century.
From AR-related software to the hardware side of things, we had META Materials talking about the processes and platforms involved in lens fabrication, and how the company provides AR wearable developers with a platform for seamlessly integrating lens nanostructures into thin lightweight prescription glasses.
In between all of the Main Stage action, starting things off on the expo floor was the press walkthrough, which gave select members of the press the opportunity to tour the vast floorspace at the FIL exhibition center in advance of the doors opening to the rest of the AWE EU 2022 attendees.
This year’s press walkthrough stopped by a total of twelve booths of companies showcasing some very impressive AR and VR hardware and software solutions, including: Vitruvian VR, Panasonic, Wonderland Engine, Dispelix, Squars, InterDigital, Epson, TeamViewer, SyncReality, Pico, Dolby and representatives from the Korean metaverse and start-up delegation.
On the Enterprise stage HaptX’ co-founder Bob Crockett discussed some of the hurdles that the company has faced on its journey from developing its first single glove prototype, to the incredibly complex haptics system that it offers today. According to Crockett, two of the biggest obstacles that exist when it comes to the enterprise adoption of haptics technology include the cost, and also the fact that enterprises themselves are still actually trying to figure out the best way in which to implement the technology.
Another thing that Crockett highlighted was that there is a very big difference between “nice to have” versus “need to have” when it comes to building a product. There is a cost to every single feature that goes into a product, and with something as complex as haptics hardware, this cost can quickly skyrocket. Therefore, it is extremely important for start-ups and organizations looking to grow their product offering to be mindful of where company money is going and to focus only on the necessary, according to Crockett.
It has been another amazing XR-packed day of AR and VR talks, entertainment and experiences at AWE EU on the final day of the event in Lisbon, Portugal. After what was a hugely successful and busy afterparty the night before on the rooftop bar at the FIL Exhibition and Congress Centre, there were many fresh faced attendees eager and ready to go first thing this morning, with rooms once again being packed full to capacity for several of the talks.
Playground & Expo Floor
First up on the AWE Playground people got to finally try out the Vitruvian VR immersive flight simulator, which had queues for demos the entire time. In fact, they actually ran out of slots on day one after the first 20 minutes of the show floor opening up to attendees!
Other Playground experiences included a fun AR sci-fi mobile game from LightClash AR, which gave users a multiplayer shooter game experience. People also got some early morning exercise in at VRWorkout’s space.
And of course, there was the Pico 4 Enterprise VR headset. Needless to say – the device is absolutely incredible, with full color passthrough and a super lightweight design that honestly felt effortless to put on. Meta definitely has something to contend with now that this device is on the market.
Voices of AWE
As well as touring the expo floor, filming for AWE’s ‘Voices of AWE’ content series was also wrapped up on the second day. Several exhibitors graciously offered up their time to talk about their experiences at AWE EU that week, sharing with everyone all of the ways in which AWE events have helped to facilitate networking, as well as assist AR and VR companies on their growth journeys.
Start-up Pitch Competition
This day was also the day that the Start-up Pitch Competition took place, which saw eight fantastic finalists pitch their ideas in order to convince a leading panel of judges made up of industry executives and venture capitalists that their AR/VR start-up idea should be awarded the title of “Start-up To Watch.”
The winner of the Start-up Pitch Competition for AWE EU 2022 was PatchXR, whose PatchWorld music creator platform for the metaverse blew the judges away this year. PatchXR’s platform is for anyone who wants to create musical worlds, produce or attend virtual concerts, build custom instruments and jam together with friends.
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