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🤔 What is AWE?

AWE is the HQ for everything Spatial Computing, including Extended Reality (XR) and enabling technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), bio-interfaces, haptics, 5G, streaming, and more.

Since 2010, over 5.000 companies have trusted the community of more than 60.000 professionals that AWE brings together to grow their business in the XR ecosystem.

Operating online and offline around the world, it has activities 365 days a year to offer: major conferences and exhibitions featuring XR companies, online events and meetups in 25+ cities, academy classes, and workshops to upskill the community.

Moreover, AWE’s annual Auggie Awards continue to be the most recognized AR & VR industry awards in the world since, showcasing the best solutions and innovations in Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality.

What follows is a summary of this year’s AWE convention in Santa Clara California, which was packed with more than 400 speakers and was also streamed online. Enjoy!

Day 1: Summary

🗣 Kicking things off with an opening speech, was AWE CEO and Co-founder, Ori Inbar, who focused on the topic of making dreams come true. After showing both his incredible Augmented air guitar skills, along with his bucket list of dreams, Ori’s final check on the list was to “get superpowers” – something that XR can help with. Some of the superpowers that XR technology has enabled to date are X-ray vision, teleportation, matter manipulation, skill mastery, telekinesis, and time travel.

He also announced this year’s convention’s main theme, which was XR industry enabling dreams for users, given that now more than ever, XR is making possible things previously thought to be impossible.  However, there are also the lifelong dreams of the XR industry and those working within it to consider too. Whether it is a start-up dreaming of being acquired; an investor dreaming of landing that next unicorn investment; enterprise users dreaming of making their workplace more productive through XR; or a wider community’s dream of making the world a better place, XR has the power to deliver on all of these. And with that, Ori signaled to the audience that now is the time to use XR to turn all these dreams into a (extended) reality.

In his talk, titled ‘Getting Beyond the Fiction and Seeing the Reality in the Metaverse,’ Unity’s CEO, John Riccitiello, broke down what the ‘Metaverse’ is, what it isn’t, and how brands can get beyond what the term has become. Providing his own definition, he defined it as: “The next generation of the internet that is always real-time and mostly 3D, mostly interactive, mostly social and mostly persistent”.  That’s a definition we can more than mostly get behind.

Paving the way for new technology

🗣 Did you also know that 60% of all Augmented and Virtual Reality experiences are built on the Unity Platform? If not, now you do. It just goes to show how companies like Unity are really helping to lead the way in the XR industry by enabling the creation of content that will eventually populate the metaverse.

Continuing with companies that are paving the way for enabling the future of the metaverse and XR technology in general, next up on stage was Qualcomm’s VP & GM of XR, Hugo Swart, who discussed a variety of XR devices and exciting developer tools, such as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces.

Swart also announced today that its Snapdragon Spaces XR Developer Platform is now available globally for developers to download at spaces.qualcomm.com. “We’re very excited to open this platform to work with all of you. So, I invite you to work with Spaces – to develop and create with Spaces, so that together we can write the next chapter of the metaverse journey,” said Swart.

 At the Developer track later in the day, a panel on ‘Building AR Apps with Snapdragon Spaces,’ went into detail on how developers can save themselves the hassle of having to develop separately for multiple devices thanks to the platform that uses both OpenXR standard, and Unity’s XR Foundation framework.

Day 1 Highlights included:

        👉 A talk from TikTok on the next generation of XR storytelling.

        👉 A panel talk that included speakers from leading industry companies including Magic Leap, Meta, Microsoft, and the University of Rochester

        👉 Niantic’s talk on building the real-world Metaverse with its Lightship platform, which included a live demo of its ARDK

        👉 Snap Lounge: a networking event where visitors were able to try out Snap’s Spectacles AR glasses, making AWE the first event where the public has been given access to try on and demo Spectacles at scale.

Other highlights of the day included Snap’s talk on how its camera software has evolved into a powerful and robust augmented reality platform. In addition to this, the company also hosted the Snap Lounge, a networking event where visitors were able to try out Snap’s Spectacles AR glasses, making AWE the first event where the public has been given access to try on and demo Spectacles at scale.

Of the 80 or so talks that took place on day 1 across the Main Stage and other track stages, more than 25% had the word “Metaverse” in the title and the term was probably mentioned in nearly 100% of them.  So, if day one left any lessons, is that the XR industry seems to be now comfortable with the Metaverse term. Not to go as far as to say that the industry has embraced the word with open arms, but overall, it seems that those on the cutting edge of this technology, have accepted the Metaverse as a given, both in terminology and the fact that it is where the future is heading.

What a fun reality to be alive, right? 😜

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