With three concurrent tracks, a packed showcase, mixers, and of course the opportunity to reconnect with XR friends (maybe to discuss Richard Dawkins’ keynote presentation), Vision Summit 2017 had so much great content this year that there were some tough choices to make regarding which sessions to attend -- so we’ve recapped some highlights, all of which are now available on YouTube!
During the keynote, Brandon Bray of Microsoft announced that all Vision Summit attendees would receive an Acer Windows Mixed Reality Headset Developer Edition. Along with the Acer headset giveaway, and due to Microsoft's generosity, all attendees will now also receive the newly announced motion controllers as well! We’ll follow up in June with further instructions on how to order these.
We're also happy to say that through our support of GameChanger Charity, whereby we are donating a portion from every ticket sold, we raised $17,000!
If you’re a developer, you definitely won’t want to miss Sarah Stumbo and Mike Wuetherick of Unity in Building Cinematic VR: Timeline and Other Techniques. You may also want to check out Lessons from Oculus: Overcoming VR Roadblocks, as well as Unity + Octane: The Path to Holographic Rendering, or Tony Parisi’s panel on WebVR.
To hear tips from creators themselves, you can learn about Eagle Flight, QuiVr, and Racket NX in Multiplayer Design in VR Gaming. Augmented reality developers won’t want to miss Melissa Painter and Luke Ritchie think Beyond the Screen: Using the Real World as Your AR Canvas, and anyone craving new techniques should check out Sense of Self: The Effects of Size, Sound, and Sight. And for all those writers out there, watch Narrative Design in VR for some insight into storytelling best practices in this new medium.
And if you’re in the mood to have your mind blown -- head straight to Artificial Intelligence and XR.
It’s hard to choose just a few highlights, but below are some pieces of wisdom from a variety of talks this year at Vision VR/AR Summit 2017. Enjoy!
1: You should submit your XR work to The Sundance Film Festival.
From AR operas and tactile-based storytelling to immersive art and physical installations, Sundance is welcoming creators from all sorts of mediums, but particularly virtual, augmented, and mixed reality. New Frontier, established in 2007, was created to ensure the festival was supporting the explosion of platforms and, consequently, all the new ways we express stories. Hear from Kamal Sinclair, Director of New Frontier Lab Programs, and Hussain Currimbhoy, Festival Programmer, in Film Festivals and VR: Sundance Institute and the Future of Interactive Media. Submissions open on May 17 and close September 15!
2: Hospitals are spending tons of money on training -- but VR can help.
The average size hospital will spend over $400,000 a year on training, usually mannequin-based. It’s resource-intensive and logistically difficult, among other things, but VR training transcends many of these weaknesses and gaps. This panel of doctors from Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, who participated in the pilot program, along with creators from BioflightVR and AISolve, discuss one of the most practical applications for VR (that also, it should be noted, offers high potential for VR developers to make money). The opportunity is now. Don’t miss Docs and Devs: Combining Expertise to Improve Life-Saving Medical Training With VR.
3: Think all you need is product placement? Think again.
Only 6% of all digital ad spend in movies, TV, and gaming came from product placement in 2016 -- and to do that, shows had to integrate tens of thousands of products. VR will need an innovation standard to serve as a framework for where advertising is trying to go on this new platform; Agatha Bochenek introduces the concept of the “Virtual Room,” consisting of an environment, objects, and interactions. Whatever it is, it makes sense for the brand and tells the brand’s story. At the end of the day, consumers don’t want to pay for 100% of the content they want to consume -- which means advertisers have to make up the difference. To learn more, watch Julie Shumaker and Agatha Bochenek give the full presentation for Advertising in VR: The Money is Coming.
4: Congress is ready for XR.
Did you know there is now a VR Caucus in Washington, D.C.? Announced at Vision by ESA President and CEO Mike Gallagher, this group of (bipartisan) members of the House of Representatives came together to establish support. Keep in mind, the de facto “video game caucus” started four years ago with 40 members and is now up to 110, which is the 17th biggest caucus in Congress -- bigger even than that of movies and the internet! Having one dedicated to XR is crucial for when the inevitable occurs (e.g. VR inadvertently plays a role in someone getting harmed and comes under criticism). The industry’s success relies on a productive dialogue to prevent over-regulation; four different states so far have introduced bills to control or regulate Pokemon Go. If you aren’t familiar with the ESA -- the group that engages with public policy issues impacting the industry so that companies/creators can speak with one voice -- be sure to watch the full fireside chat between Gallagher and Unity’s CMO, Clive Downie: Capital Hill and VR.
5: XR is a global phenomenon.
The Colombian government, whether it’s celebrating women BMX champions or promoting environmental awareness, is taking VR seriously -- but credit card limitations around higher-end PC headsets may be holding back industry growth. VRCO (Virtual Reality Colombia) is a community of 750 developers and visionaries helping to make an impact. An ocean away, China is fast becoming the biggest AR/VR market for businesses and consumers, and in the other direction, Europe has incredibly talented devs but a segmented talent pool. See Daniel Rojas Roa, Camilo Montanez, Sarah Kinga Smith, and Eddie Lou explain more in XR Around the World.
6: Your ethical responsibility as a VR creator is bigger than you think.
Your audience has handed over their trust (and physical safety) to you -- do you have their best interests in mind? Ethics are required to maintain the social contract we have with each other, and they also keep society running smoothly. “We all agree we’re going to play fair.” So is it ethical to produce content that hurts 52% of the population? Check out Gentry Lane’s talk, Sex, Violence & Propaganda: Ethical, Conundrums in VR for more tough questions around content creation and what devs might need to think deeply about as they craft their experiences.
7: Artists are using XR technology to create things never experienced before.
Whether it’s an algorithm for creating poetry via augmented reality in a museum, a skybox of a stylized iceberg, or literally sticking your head into art and seeing it from the inside -- with VR, we can now include more senses in an experience. More importantly, we can replicate forms of art that have historically been difficult to distribute, or digitize performance and installation art. Take a look at some incredible artistic creations by Estella Tse, Artist in Residence with GoogleVR, Shem Nguyen, co-founder of Breachgate, and Kate Parsons and Ben Vance of Float in Artists and the Role of Art in an XR World.
All in all, Vision Summit had over 100 speakers and nearly 50 sessions -- thanks so much to our truly brilliant and thoughtful speakers (especially those who traveled from around the globe) to join us and share their incredible and inspiring projects. Keep creating!