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Augmented World Expo 2018 was a watershed conference for an industry poised for mainstream adoption, and Unity was there in full force.

Augmented World Expo (AWE) has emerged as the premier XR conference, with over 6,000 attendees, top speakers, a great expo, and awesome networking opportunities. I had a great time all three days last week, giving talks, attending sessions and connecting with friends old and new.

The organizers, Ori Inbar and Tom Emrich, have improved this conference year over year for the four years I’ve been there. I thought they did an outstanding job once again. If I had one critique, it’s that there was too much conference to see! I regularly felt the FOMO because I had to miss talks due to conflicts with other great sessions.

I really think AWE 2018 represented a watershed for an industry that’s poised to go mainstream. From Unity’s point of view, the event was a huge success. I don’t always gush this much about my work on the personal blog, but in this case it makes total sense given that Unity is at the center of so much XR happening today. Here’s a quick rundown of the great things that happened at AWE from a Unity lens.

Keynote

Magician and futurist Marco Tempest did a live performance at the opening keynote that featured voice-controlled, gesture-controlled, glowing micro-drones that literally floated in air and moved on his command. It blew people’s minds. And the controlling software was Made with Unity!

Talks

There were so many talks across the three days. I caught a few great ones, including Charlie Fink’s keynote to end day one, Josh Carpenter’s overview of AR for mobile and web, and Mike Pell’s forward-looking talk on information design for an augmented world. In case you missed the event, the full slate is here; have a look. Truly inspiring!

  • I gave a talk on “What’s Next for AR” to a packed house in the main ballroom. From Unity’s point of view, AR has already gone mainstream and is poised for massive growth. It was great to have the opportunity to share our insights with so many folks at the conference. Here’s a transcript of the talk for those who didn’t catch it.
  • I was also on a lively panel that explored how storytelling is colliding with emerging technologies like XR and AI. It was great to share the stage with deep thinkers and practitioners from Felix and Paul, Google and Facebook, and my ideasister Anarghya Vardhana moderated it with style.
  • Unity AR evangelist John Sietsma gave a talk called “Mobile AR Design: Start to Finish,” that dove into the practicalities of designing apps that have to move with and take in the surrounding environment, no matter where you are.

Awards

Unity won the Auggie Award for Best Developer Tool! Here’s our own Bradley Weiers, XR Product Manager, holding up the gold alongside Daniela from Gravity Sketch.

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MADE WITH UNITY

All of the Auggie Award winners either used Unity in their creations, or have affiliations with the company. Here’s the list:

Best Art or Film: Karim and Noor by Blink Studios

Best Campaign: Acura AR Race by Current Studios

Best Consumer App: IKEA Place by IKEA

Best Creator and Authoring Tool: Gravity Sketch by Gravity Sketch

Best Developer Tool: Unity by Unity Technologies

Best Enterprise Solution: Holoroom Test Drive by Lowe’s Innovation Lab

Best Game or Toy: Star Wars: Jedi Challenge Lenovo

Best in VR: Where Thoughts Go

HAS UNITY SDK

Best Headworn Device: HTC Vive Pro by HTC

Best Input and Output Hardware: Holo-Stylus by Hololight

Best Interaction Software Tool: Manomotion by ManoMotion

Expo

Here’s one of those areas where I simply couldn’t take it all in. Between Brad, myself, and Brittany from product marketing, none of us had enough time to see things on the show floor. I do recall a few though: RE’FLEKT, a longtime Unity developer, had an excellent presence there, showing off their training and repair solutions for the auto industry; Trigger Global showed off The Walking Dead AR experience; and everyone’s favorite (me included), BeatSaber was in the house. All Made with Unity.

Unity has deep partnerships with many of the companies making leading AR hardware. Microsoft and Vuforia both had booths in the expo, and Facebook and Google had featured talks.

All in all, this was a great event for the industry, and for Unity. I can’t wait for AWE 2019!

Written by

VR OG. Entrepreneur. Investor. Co-Creator, VRML & glTF. Head of XR Ad Innovation, Unity Technologies. Pre-apocalyptic author. Music. @auradeluxe

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