The Augmented World Expo: Go XR or Become Extinct


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The Augmented World Expo (AWE USA), now in its ninth year, is perhaps the largest event for professionals focused on providing science fiction-like abilities through XR (cross reality) and associated wearable technology. This year’s event, held at the Santa Clara Convention Center, showcased over 100,000 square feet of exhibit space and hosted approximately 6,000−7,000 attendees. In addition to the exhibits, there were numerous meeting rooms as well as three large presentation halls that experienced a constant stream of presentations and discussions covering topics ranging from the latest and greatest uses and devices for XR to the business of marketing and monetizing it.

AWE-Keynote-with-hologram450.jpgThe presentations were organized into various tracks, including Inspire, Life, Design, Develop and Start-up Pitches, as well as various workshops. The talks and panel discussions were continuous and set for specific times, so attendees could attend desired ones and see and visit the nearby exhibit halls as they wished. They were presented in the various tracks that best fit the subject material and all included ample time for Q&A—which one could ask on-screen using a laptop or other mobile device.

The Keynote speaker was Ori Inbar, co-founder and executive director of AWE. The keynote literally set the stage first with a greeting by an on-stage hologram of Ori, who spoke and then introduced his live self, who then walked out, bringing the two on stage together. Their conversation focused on the state of XR, and more.

AWE-show-keynote-demo450.jpgI spent the rest of Day 1 listening to another keynote, and more presentations from the various tracks and demonstrations. I chose from introductions and demos of the latest devices including some very interesting new startups to the business of XR including an informative presentation on ways to monetize the technology. After all, if there is no profit in it there is little incentive to do it. A few of my favorites: “Fulfilling the Potential of AR for Enterprise” by Mark Sage, “Introductory AR Workshop” by Will Hellwarth; “NVIDIA Holodeck” by ZVI Greenstein; “The AR Glasses Story, from Soldier to Worker to You” by Colleen Emaus; and perhaps my favorite, backed up with an excellent show floor training demo, “Microsoft’s Vision for Mixed Reality in the Modern Workplace,” by Dioselin Gonzalez.

Qualcomm’s Hugo Swart talked about building an ambient world and the possible convergence of MR devices in the next 10 years. He stated, “XR is the future of mobile computing. It’s going to change the way we work. It’s going to change the way we play. It’s going to change the way we socialize. The question is: How are we going to get there?”

A presentation by NVIDIA was, as always, interesting and informative. They stated that with the HolodeckVR used for car design it is no longer necessary to build an initial model for prototype review and modifications; you can build a XR model for local and global review instead. With the XR model prototype being real, interactive, dynamic and behavior simulated getting through the prototype stage is much faster and far less expensive.

Nvidia-Holo-Deck500.jpgClick on this link to watch the NVIDIA Holodeck video and while watching, keep in mind that the robot-appearing avatars in the video are real people interacting with the XR prototype. If you are interested in XR this is an excellent video to watch! Note that the avatars and the people they represent can interact with the overall vehicle or with any and all of its parts/components. I imagine that competing with a company using this technology while continuing to do it the old 20th century way would add credence to the phrase, “Go XR or go extinct.”

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