Attendees at the 8th annual Augmented World Expo can try out the latest in VR & AR technology.
AWE (Augmented World Expo), the world's largest and longest running conference and expo dedicated to augmented and virtual reality, last week announced its most comprehensive agenda ever of AR and VR. The three-day conference takes place at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Silicon Valley from May 31 - June 2, and features Keynotes from leading industry figures, like "Shots of Awe" filmmaker, philosopher and futurist Jason Silva, "The Fourth Transformation" author and Transformative Group partner Robert Scoble, and game designer, author and Carnegie Mellon scholar Jesse Schell.
AWE Keynote speaker Robert Scoble, author of "The Fourth Transformation".
Founded by Ori Inbar eight years ago, AWE is one the premiere AR/VR events in the world, welcoming 5,000 attendees, 30% of whom represent Fortune 1000 companies. "They are looking for business solutions, clues about the impact of these new technologies on the consumer side, and the tools emerging to support an ecosystem of hardware and software developers that is developing too rapidly to keep track of without an event like AWE", Inbar told me in a telephone interview last week. "AWE has become the place where Fortune 500 companies find business solutions, strategic partnerships are forged, funds raised, talent hired, and new startups are born."
Ori Inbar, Founder of AWE.
Inbar said that eight years ago, when the idea for AWE originated that, beyond research organizations, there were about 50 actual companies in the space spread around the world, mostly focused on mobile tech and apps/games, a few artists and enthusiasts, some magic mirror/webcam based apps. "The large players were mostly absent at the time. No one in the general market knew what AR meant so we got together to energize each other in this uphill battle to educate the market and try to find our paths. I was running the most popular blog in AR (gamesalfresco.com) and just founded Ogmento - an AR games company. In 2009, we were a few entrepreneurs excited about AR and were looking for an event to congregate and help kickstart the industry. There wasn’t any - so we decided to start one!"
"In 2009," Inbar said, "there were just 300+ attendees, 20 exhibitors (1/16 of the expo space of 2018), and lots of great ideas and concepts - not many real products. Bruce Sterling (who we dubbed "the prophet of AR”) said in the keynote: 'it’s 9am in the Augmented Reality industry - it's your chance to build a pig pie before you start slicing it up... it's time for you to get dressed... good luck to you, I'll be watching you'. Major AR startups like Daqri and Blippar were born at that event. Their founders came to check it out, saw the state of the industry, and decided to start their companies - which today are worth nearly 1 billion dollars."
I'll take one outward facing mixed reality camera and sensor with my VR, please.
Aside from AWE in three continents (US, EU, Asia - a total of 10,000 attendees), Inbar also runs Super Ventures - a fund and incubator dedicated to AR startups. He is also on the board or advisory board for half a dozen AR startups.
Qualcomm and Vuforia made their debuts as exhibitors in 2010. There were speakers from Intel, Nvidia, Microsoft, Google talking about their experiments and vision for the future. Today, reflecting the rapid proliferation of AR and VR technologies across all public and private sectors, new additions to the AWE lineup include major mainstream brands, like Audi, the U.S. Olympic Committee, NASA, Boeing, Lowe's, Shazam, Wayfair, Walmart, 3M, Technicolor and Bosch.
In addition to the massive, 100,000 sf show floor, with 200 exhibitors, AWE features keynotes and discussion panels on the future of AR and VR consumer and enterprise technology led by industry futurists and pioneers, hardware, software and mainstream brands, and investors and venture capitalists. I was told by an AWE rep that "it's possible to see all the exhibits in one day if you run at full speed, but many of them have experiences that take time". If there is an overarching theme to the 300+ panels, Inbar told me it is "super powers to the the people - how we are going to use these new technologies to improve communication and empathy".
Noted industry executives scheduled to speak on the AWE stage include Jim Heppelmann, President & CEO, PTC (more on PTC in my article here), Rikard Steiber, President, Viveport (HTC) (Read my Forbes article on HTC's most recent announcements), Achin Bhowmik (Intel), Zvi Greenstein (Nvidia), Ralph Osterhout (Osterhout Design Group) (Read my piece on ODG on Forbes), along with Tony Parisi (Unity Technologies), Tim Leland (Qualcomm), Jay Wright (Vuforia), Meron Gribetz (Meta), John C.C. Fan (Kopin), Richard Lucquet (Verizon), Gary Radburn (Dell), Ruth Bram (Oculus), and many, many more.
Full immersion VR may be eclipsed by wearable Android phones like ODG's R8.
AWE 2017 sessions cover a wide range of topics including manufacturing, training, transportation, retail, healthcare, aerospace, media, entertainment, marketing and advertising and more.
I am personally kicking off the consumer track at 9am Friday, June 2nd, with an overview of the industry and predictions for 2018, and beyond. This alone will be worth the price of admission, but in case you can't get to Santa Clara, or can't afford to, here's the slide show for my presentation.
Event details and registration are herel http://www.augmentedworldexpo.com.