Entering my next dimension
In 2013, I took a call from a passionate pioneer who shared my belief that augmented reality, virtual reality and wearable tech would change humanity for the better. After hanging up the phone it felt like my life had changed forever, and in fact it did. The pioneer on the phone was Ori Inbar, a prominent thought leader, founder, advisor and community builder in augmented reality. We quickly bonded over our mutual vision that the future of computing was spatial and on the work we were doing to nurture the ecosystem needed to make this happen. This led to me to become co-producer of AWE, a world leading AR/VR community and event series Ori founded in 2009, and partner at Super Ventures, the first fund dedicated to augmented reality we started with two other partners at the beginning of 2016.
In reflecting on the evolution of the spatial computing industry and all that we have achieved at AWE and Super Ventures over the past six years, I have decided now is the right time for me to make a career change. And so, after much consideration and thought, I am leaving Super Ventures and AWE to work with organizations on their spatial computing strategy and explore new opportunities in this space.
I am incredibly grateful for my time at AWE and Super Ventures and, in the near future, I will continue to act as a mentor and advisor for Super Ventures and continue my support of building the spatial computing ecosystem as a board member of AugmentedReality.org, the non-profit behind AWE.
I am extremely proud of the efforts the teams behind AWE and Super Ventures have made to invest in the people of spatial computing; both in building the community and in seeding capital into it:
- Our mission at AugmentedReality.org to inspire 1 billion users of augmented reality by 2020 is well on its way as Facebook reported that over 1 billion users have engaged with AR on its platforms and there are now over 1 billion ARKit and ARCore enabled phones
- AWE has grown to an incredible community of 250,000+ professionals dedicated to spatial computing
- AWE celebrated its 10th conference and expo in the USA this year with annual dates now in Europe, China and Israel
- A network of 10 independently organized meetup chapters, AWE Nites, are now acting as local hubs for AR around the world
- Super Ventures has proudly invested in 11 companies that are developing foundational building blocks of spatial computing
The spatial computing space itself has also grown significantly during this time. Virtual reality is no longer a crowdfunding project for developers who have high-performing gaming PCs but a device anybody can use out of the box just as easy as a Nintendo Switch. There are over one billion ARKit and ARCore enabled smartphones and AR camera effects are now as common to use as the camera flash. And the fear that wearables are a fad has faded as we have seen the Apple Watch save lives, consumer smart glasses become more wearable and headworn devices delivering real ROI at work.
Although there is still a lot of work ahead for AR, VR and wearables, the future of spatial computing is upon us. The ecosystem finally has the right ingredients for it to succeed: capital, institutional buy-in, technological advancements, a curious user base (if not just one bored with the device they have in their hand), enterprise proof points and most importantly a passionate community of creators, developers, founders, thinkers, writers, product leaders, designers, artists and more all committed to making it happen.
While my involvement with AWE/Super Ventures is changing, what won’t change is my continued passion, dedication and commitment to spatial computing and my never-ending support for YOU — the amazing community that is designing, creating, testing, questioning and investing in our future. I am eager to continue to discover with you how this wave, and the following waves of computing, will impact who we are as humans.
What also hasn’t changed is my confidence and support for AWE, Super Ventures and all that Ori Inbar, and the teams behind him, have built and their future endeavors committed to making AR and VR a reality.
I owe a debt of gratitude and have so much respect for Ori Inbar and my fellow Super Ventures partners Matt Miesnieks and Mark Billinghurst. I am also thankful for the Super Ventures’ LPs and portfolio founders, the AugmentedReality.org board, the entire team behind AWE including our AWE Community Manager, Molly Portillo, and the amazing AWE Nite Organizers from around the world. Thank you all for being teachers and for your dedication, passion, camaraderie and support.
And thank you, the AWE/AR/VR community. I say this sincerely, you mean the world to me. You are my friends, my family, my co-workers, my colleagues, my mentors and teachers and I am excited to explore new ways to collaborate, co-create and learn with you.
To the future!
Follow me at @TomEmrich on Twitter for the latest in spatial computing. Email me at email@example.com to grab a coffee, chat, or collaborate!