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Thoughts from the 2022 ARVR Innovate Conference

Optimistic but Pragmatic

The MetaVerse is very much in its early stages

The MetaVerse is very much hyped currently, largely driven by large investments by tech companies like Meta & Microsoft, but also (in my opinion) by a lot of folks trying to associate crypto-technology with the MetaVerse — selling virtual land via NFTs, talking about how the MetaVerse will be web3 etc, whereas the truth is the MetaVerse is very much, at worst, just an idea, or at best, a collection of unassociated prototypes.

James Watson

Immersive Tech is like Dog Years

One great quote I heard from a panel at the event was “Immersive tech is like dog years” — one year equals about 7 years of advancements! That’s a nice way of explaining about how much change this domain is constantly undergoing. Currently the Oculus Quest 2 is state of the art in VR headsets, but that probably won’t last long — with Meta themselves working on ‘Project Cambria’ AKA Oculus Quest 3, along with other tech companies also working on devices.

painting in the air with an AR device

A Virtual Solution doesn’t always need to be actual VR

There was a fantastic example of using technology for your customers in a way that actually helps them, as oppose to be being mainly obsessed with the technology itself. Chupi Sweetman of Chupi Jewellery wanted to create a virtual experience for their customers during the pandemic and first explored creating 3D modelled virtual jewels and rings — only to realise that they would never look the same as actual diamonds etc.

VR is a great platform for the arts

A great panel at the conference, moderated by Camille Donegan, was about the use of VR in the arts — art, music, theatre etc. One panellist spoke of organising an Opera experience in VR during Covid, and being surprised to see many other similar VR experiences. The pandemic seems to have driven creativity in VR, as theatre companies, artists and others sought out new ways to connect with audiences and attempt to generate new or replacement revenue.

Almost no mention of NFTs

As I discussed above, there’s a lot of NFT / crypto / web3 hype associated with the MetaVerse and VR, but interestingly there was almost no mention of it at the conference. Most speakers talked about real use-cases, how to try to find value using immersive technology, increasing revenue, improving user-engagement, making remote working more enjoyable and efficient, or the current shortcomings and challenges in the domain. Nobody was extolling the virtues of coin-based virtual real estate, or how web3 will change the world!

In Summary

I enjoyed the conference, not only for the physical-attendance aspect but also the mixture of optimistic and pragmatic content. Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality do hold a lot of potential value, but finding the right use-cases or opportunities are key, with also the important awareness that the technologies are constantly changing and not ready yet for mass adoption.



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