More than 30 online conferences, more than 150 international experts revealing the latest innovations make the VRDays the place for the global VR/AR community to meet again.
How do you connect with your community in times of crisis and isolation? How can we share knowledge, inspire each other and create new partnerships when we are not able to travel? Faced with these questions, the same that have been faced by organizers of many other events around the world, the team behind VRDays Europe decided to move the annual 3-day event online.
After all, Virtual Reality is all about new challenges and nothing better than mixing the potential of VR, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality – usually presented under the XR umbrella – with the online characteristics of many events created after the pandemic forced the world to find new ways to connect.
The barriers created by the pandemic may seem like a hard nut to crack for many event organizers nowadays, but as the proverb says, “necessity is the mother of invention”. So, for VRDays Europe, an event focusing on immersive technology in business, science, and art, the organizers will use platforms such as Vimeo, VirBELA, Zoom and Oculus TV. The large number of satellite events introduced in 2020 also contribute to assure that the global VR/AR community will come together again.
Conference live streamed on Vimeo
Over 3 days, 30+ conference sessions will be held on different (online) platforms to connect the worldwide VR/AR community. 150+ international experts are set to talk about the latest innovations in the immersive tech industry and how they shape the world of tomorrow. Among the final contributors announced are Amy Seidenwurm (Oculus VR for Good), Blake Kammerdiener (SXSW), Francesco Giordana (Netflix), Jason Lovell (PwC, UK), A.I. Artist and Storyteller of the Future Karen Palmer, Kavya Pearlman (XR Safety Initiative), Sophie Kleber (Google), Sallyann Houghton (Epic Games), Timmy Ghiurau (Volvo Cars), Tim Massey (VICON), Toby Coffey (National Theatre London) and Veronica Yip (NVIDIA).
The annual Vision & Impact Conference, which normally takes place in the Kromhouthal in Amsterdam, will now be live streamed on Vimeo from this location. It is the place where XR experts virtually are brought together from all over the world to present practical cases that impact us today and set the vision for the future. During panel discussions and keynotes, topics of great importance to the community and wider industry will be tackled such as The Future of Work, VR in Education, Virtual Conferencing and much more.
Brand new in 2020 are the 30 Satellite Events that VRDays is co-hosting. Communities of VR/AR enthusiasts can take part in these small-scale corona-friendly events that are happening across the world and on digital platforms like Microsoft Mixed Reality and Somnium Space. According to the organizers, they offer workshops, talks, networking, and special VR experiences.
Facebook and the Church of VR
One key element of the event is the Church of VR, announced as “a free-to-access and unique experience where the audience can interact with award-winning creative projects, fully immersed in VR and, for the first time, available through Oculus TV. Visitors are able to experience Church of VR with any Oculus headset from home, or when attending one of the Satellite Events. The Cosmic Laughter of Cucci Binaca, The Principle Dancer, and Saving My Oasis are projects that are set to have their world premiere in Church of VR. On top of that, you’ll find the best of Church 360 concepts and other award-winning ideas.”
The concept of a church and a religious movement around VR may sound exciting, but may not be the best choice at the moment, due to the heated discussion about Facebook’s decision to make mandatory the use of a Facebook account by owners of new Oculus headsets, meaning the Oculus Quest 2. Those not happy with Facebook’s decision – which will cause the company problems in regions as Europe, where General Data Protection Regulation is taken seriously – will, no doubt, connect the name Church of VR to the new rules from Facebook…
There may be strategic reasons behind the decision to limit the access to the Church of VR to Oculus headsets, but in terms of widening the consumer interest for VR is a bad choice, even more so now that Oculus headsets are locked to a Facebook account. There are other VR headsets available from Valve, HTC, HP and others – and more are coming – so I believe organizers of this type of events have to rethink their strategy and opens the experience to the whole market, if they want it to grow. After all, many of the “experiences” available are compatible with different headsets, so it makes no sense to limit the number of users who can view them.
An event you can visit from home
The online event will also offer an experience like a modern day Second Life: the Laval Virtual World. Instead of a physical trade show in the Kromhouthal, visitors to VRDays can now attend the virtual version of it with a personalised avatar from wherever they are. Meet and connect with each other and the hottest XR tech companies of this moment. The expo is held in the Laval Virtual World and powered by VirBELA.
The Laval Virtual World was born in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis. While the whole world was confined, this virtual world has helped to pursue the missions of Laval Virtual: gather, inspire, valorize. In April 2020, conferences, the Awards ceremony and business meetings were held. Today, it’s a federating place for the international VR/AR community. This year at VRDays, you will visit the most innovative XR companies from your safe home or work environment.
“VirBELA is excited to partner with VRDays to provide an engaging and immersive virtual event experience, allowing guests to interact virtually and network as they would at an in-person event.” Ted Laatz, VP of Events, VirBELA.
With a print magazine, Satellite Events across the world and on immersive platforms, live streaming conferences, a funding market in Zoom, a virtual trade show and Oculus TV, VRDays is showcasing what an event of the future looks like. With the support of Cleanbox Technologies, City of Amsterdam, Creative Europe, Creative Industries Fund NL, HP, Laval Virtual, Oculus, Vicon and Vive X, VRDays Europe will continue to give the XR community the possibility to meet, connect and share knowledge, wherever they are in the world.
The VRDays Europe, the annual 3-day event focusing on immersive technology in business, science, and art, connects the worldwide VR/AR community from 4 till 6 November, exploring new ways to do online events. No wonder this year’s edition is named “New Horizons”. Follow the link to VRDays’ website to know more about the event and pick the conferences you want to follow.