Review of Future Realities 2017

Richard MacManus takes a look at New Zealand's second annual Techweek, and the first to go nationwide

Earlier this month, the second annual Techweek was held in 24 locations across New Zealand. The week-long celebration of local innovation featured 287 events from Whangarei to Dunedin. It was a big step up from last year’s Techweek, which covered Auckland only. Originally created by Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development (ATEED), Techweek was subsequently handed over to the New Zealand Technology Industry Association (NZTech) to take it nationwide.

I asked Graeme Muller, CEO of NZTech, what the highlights of Techweek 2017 were for him. He told me he enjoyed seeing our traditional sectors, like farming, embracing technology (note: later in this column, you’ll read a dissenting view). At the Farming2020 conference, held in Rukuhia just outside Hamilton, Muller came across new technologies like sensors, data analytics and automation systems. In other events, he saw “how New Zealand companies are quickly developing great offerings in the latest technologies like AR/VR, Blockchain and AI.” To cap it all off, he said, the NZ Hi-Tech Awards were held at the end of the week and “recognised some of our country’s best.”

I went to two conferences as part of Techweek: MagnifyWorld in Auckland and Future Realities in Wellington. Both were focused on Virtual and Augmented Reality technologies, although Future Realities also featured experts in Internet of Things (IOT) and Artificial Intelligence, plus world-renowned science fiction author Neal Stephenson.

Future Realities was a new event for this year’s Techweek and managed to sell out in both Wellington and Auckland. It was the brainchild of Jessica Manins, who runs the VR production studio and consultancy Blackeye VR. I told Manins that I was particularly impressed with the high quality of the local presenters, who more than matched the overseas stars like Neal Stephenson. It was refreshing to see a local conference supporting local tech talent, instead of relying on so-called big names from overseas.

“We worked very hard on the curation of the event,” Manins replied, “and we wanted to make sure that our local talent had a chance to share their innovations. We often put international talent on a pedestal, but when it comes to storytelling and mixed reality we have some of the best in the world.” She pointed to Stephenson’s interviewer, Greg Broadmore from Weta Workshop, as a great example of “the high caliber talent we have in NZ.” I couldn’t agree more.

Another example of local tech talent was Tim Rastall of NEC, who gave an inspiring presentation showing how VR can be used to view Wellington City Council data. NEC’s 3D maps showed parking availability citywide and earthquake risks by location. It can also be used for urban planning (for example to visualize a new road plan) and simulations. Rastall noted that the VR views were possible thanks to Wellington City Council’s “open data” policies.

I got a chance to try out NEC’s VR views under an HTC Vive helmet at Future Realities, and can confirm it gives a much better view of data than, say, the 2D visualisations of GIS (think GeoMaps on your local city council’s website). While still in the prototype stage, NEC’s software is a great example of what’s possible for smart cities in New Zealand. I’d love to see this rolled out across the country.

It wasn’t just conferences in the big cities that made Techweek worthwhile. Events happened all over New Zealand. Two local podcasters, Mike Riversdale and Raj Khushal from Wellington, took a road trip up the North Island to check out Techweek in the provinces. The highlight was an event called Silicon Mahia, held in the little town of Mahia on the East Coast (about halfway between Napier and Gisborne). The event was convened by the Poutama Trust and featured talks on digital currency, drones, and food technology. Mike Riversdale told me that some of the presentations “challenged the status quo,” for example Dr. Rosie Bosworth’s talk about food technology and how it threatens the local farming industry. “Everyone had their brains stretched with what’s rapidly approaching,” Riversdale said.

Dr. Bosworth’s presentation at Mahia was about alternatives to animal farming. She’s written before about how startups are “successfully producing tasty, healthy and environmentally friendly protein, milk and dairy product alternatives,” along with substitutes for meat “that taste like the real thing.” This is a message that (unsurprisingly) isn’t going down well with New Zealand farmers. Plus, as Raj Khushal pointed out in the accompanying podcast, many people perceive lab-made food to be unnatural. Bosworth’s reply to that?

“There’s nothing natural about a chicken pumped full of hormones.”

Perhaps at next year’s Techweek, we can get Dr. Bosworth on a panel with Fonterra representatives at the Farming2020 conference, so that both viewpoints can be thrashed out. It’s not all Kumbaya when it comes to technology disruptions.

Despite the provocative discussions and fun times in Mahia, Mike Riversdale had some misgivings about what he and Khushal discovered on their Techweek road trip. “Everyone seemed to be living in their own bubble,” he told me, “doing amazing stuff, but not connected to those doing similar work – or those who could assist.” He hopes that people make an effort to get outside their local bubbles and reach out to others across New Zealand. “With all that enthusiasm during one week, let’s hope we don’t have to start again in 2018,” he said.

I asked NZTech CEO Graeme Muller what we can expect for Techweek in 2018. “Next year I would love to see a few more towns around New Zealand getting involved, and in particular their schools,” he replied. The schools that took part this year “found it really valuable having their local tech companies engaging with students and teachers.”

I second that, and also I’d like to suggest that city councils get even more involved next year. Techweek is already well supported by our central government and some city councils, but I’d love to see more tech projects get the green light in our towns and cities. For example: it’s great that Wellington City Council has a prototype VR viewer for public data, but how about a commitment to bringing it to the people?

Techweek should not only be a celebration of local tech talent, but of innovation being implemented locally too.

Originally posted on Newsroom.co.nz 

 

 

 

Childhood Fantasy meets IoT

 

 

We live in an era where the most outlandish childhood fantasies are no longer impossible. As kids (assuming you are not one anymore!) we all had wild imaginations and big dreams. I remember mine often involved amazing creatures and some sort of super powers, like being able to see through walls or move objects just by staring at them.

Today, thanks to virtual reality and augmented reality, having ‘super powers’ is becoming increasingly feasible - it's possible to fly around a city on the back of a dragon or walk with fairies. Of course it’s not real, but it looks and feels real!

Technologies that monitor brain activity like electroencephalogram (EEG)are now massively accessible and IOT (Internet Of Things) is no longer just a geek's buzzword. And what we’re able to do with these technologies is incredibly exciting. Here at IBM we have used some leading edge technology and some of our own technologies to move a Star Wars BB8 droid, and I am thrilled to be able to showcase it at Future Realities for New Zealand Tech Week.

How does it work? A headset known as ‘Emotiv Insite’ captures brainwaves from the user and, after some training, maps these to specific actions (or programmable activities). Once a thought is captured by this software, it can then be used in the real-digitised world.

We then used IBM Watson Internet of Things to connect … things. The platform is capable of connecting millions of disparate devices in any location around the globe. In our demonstration we will show this in a simple but powerful way, using a person’s thought to make the BB8 droid move.

It is quite extraordinary and is already make this big kid’s dream become reality.

 

 

Giovanni Vigorelli, software technical specialist IBM New Zealand

The future is here now

 

 

Cars that know you, avatars that sense your emotions, a completely virtual shopping experience and the ability to control a droid using your mind. Just a few years ago, these would have seemed like far fetched futuristic concepts out of a science fiction movie. But they are here. Now.

A number of key technologies have progressed exponentially over the last few years; Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR), Internet of Things (IoT) and most importantly Artificial Intelligence (AI), or cognitive computing as we like to call it at IBM.

VR and AR enable us to enter a digital world. We can be immersed in a realistic simulation of an environment and control it through movement of our body. IoT brings together connected devices, buildings and everyday objects to create an ecosystem by collecting and exchanging captured data. AI has given access to previously untapped sources of ‘unstructured’ data, such as images, audio, video and text so we can analyse, predict and make better decisions.

These technologies are exciting, but the real beauty comes when we combine them to solve the biggest of challenges. The key has been using our cognitive technologies, Watson, as the platform, or the ‘brain’ of the operation. It bridges the gap between man and machine and enables us to process data that was previously invisible.

IBM’s Watson is a set of cognitive technologies that can think like humans. Watson can ingest unstructured data, understanding its meaning through sensing and interaction. It can reason, generate hypotheses, arguments and recommendations, and unlike a traditional computing system, Watson is not programmed. Rather, it learns.

Watson has been used for a wide range of applications over the last few years, from curing cancer to partnering with DJs to create a hit song. There are also many examples of how Watson has been used alongside VR, AR and IoT technologies and we are excited to share some of these at the Future Realities  as part of NZ’s Tech Week.

 

-Isuru Fernando, Analytics and Cognitive Principal, IBM New Zealand

A glimpse of our speaker talks happening in both cities

We thought we might tempt you a little with two of the talks you'll be hearing in both Wellington and Auckland. We're amped. 

The future is here now

Elinor Swery & Isuru Fernando

Technology has helped us go further, go faster and solve problems previous generations could not imagine. Despite this, traditional technology solutions still lack a human element. Computers can not understand unstructured data (textbooks, formulas, literature, conversation, audio and images) and can not interact with people in a natural and intuitive manner.

This talk will introduce Watson: IBM's set of cognitive technologies that can think like people. Watson can ingest unstructured data, understanding its meaning through sensing and interaction. It can reason about it, generating hypotheses, arguments and recommendations and unlike any computing system, Watson is not programmed. Rather, it learns.

 

Tele-presence and Tele-existence; Mixed Reality conferencing

Dr. Mark Billinghurst

One of the basic human needs is to be able to connect and communicate. Mixed Reality technology such as Augmented and Virtual Reality allows people to connect in ways never before possible. Using Augmented Reality a person can see through the eyes of another and help them complete tasks in the real world. Shared Virtual Reality experiences allow people to come together from thousands of miles apart and collaborate as easily as if they were face to face. Combined with sharing of physiological and emotional cues, AR and VR technology is the basis of Empathic Computing, systems that help people share understanding. This presentation provides an overview of how AR and VR technologies could change the future of collaboration, giving examples of current research projects, and identifies areas for future work.

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We only have a few more spaces left so book your ticket now and don't miss these amazing talks and onstage demonstrations (yes there will be cool mind-control stuff)

Purchase your Wellington Conference Ticket

Purchase your Auckland Conference Ticket

What is so different about the Internet of Things? Why now?

 

What Is So Different About The Internet of Things?  Why Now?

Bringing a new technology to market and making it a success is somewhat contingent on the factors that make user adoption and success more likely. We'll have a look at application success later, in the meantime we can take a close look at the key components that make IOT possible.

(Image: ARM)

The ultimate enablers of an IOT world are the low level components that make a solution viable for remote sensing. There are several pieces of this story that have made astounding progress.

Remote Processing

The viewpoint of the 'second half of the chessboard' has a critical implication for the cost of devices. The usual commentaries focus on the doubling of computer power every 18-24 months, and hence data storage or network capacity.

Make no doubt processor power impacts IOT also, in order that the volume of data generated can be aggregated, stored and analysed (or analysed and then stored in some cases), and decisions enabled from resulting knowledge. The importance to IOT is how extraordinarily cheap processing power has also become for remote devices.

Well known is the Raspberry Pi (over 7 million devices sold, with a reported third going to industrial applications), there is now a version available for US$5 – better value than a latte folks! There are alternative options to the Pi that trade off power, cost and interfaces. Some of these are specific to IOT applications. The common factor is incredible processor power at almost trivial cost. Also, not to overlook is that very many of these devices utilise processor cores from ARM, the company that dominates mobile processing.

Communications Everywhere

iot-wireless.png

Apart from hardware choices, the next major headache for developers has been the selection and cost of providing communication between a remote device and wherever data is needed for taking decisions.

Connectivity used to mean expensive dedicated wired lines (many telcos have made such services obsolete instead offering fibre access). 2G and 3G has been attractive as remote data devices can piggyback on the public infrastructure rolled out for consumer service, but often the subscription costs have been unpalatable for remote sensor applications with numerous devices. Another alternative has been private or proprietary communication services, such as point-to-point wireless data modems – these are helpful to solve the problem of geographic coverage. 

The current and future options for wireless communication are the second important enabler for IOT. Communications is an incredibly diverse subject, with the common goal of efficient use of scarce radio spectrum that is useful and economic.

Hence there are many different solutions, each with advantages and disadvantages. How do you select between Bluetooth, BLE, ANTZigbeeZ-waveThreadSigfoxLoRaWAN3G, 4G/LTE, cellular NB-IOT, wifi and long-range wifiIngenu, and a further list of proprietary and private systems that are all contenders? Many of these are directly positioning themselves as suitable for IOT applications. Nothing wrong with that. The engineering questions to consider: Will it work in the application, will it be cost-effective and how do I actually implement it? Time to read datasheets and get the spreadsheets out.

Power Budgets

A further consequence of these trends in computing and communications is the intersection with progress in battery technology. It is now entirely practical to consider IOT devices that have batteries that will last the service lifetime, or work in combination with energy harvesting from the environment, e.g. solar, water, wind, or even harvest electrical energy. Don't overlook that non-rechargeable cells can meet the lifetime needs with simpler designs.

It's possible to consider service-free devices and battery lifetimes that exceed that of the application. In some cases it may be found that largest cost in a product design is providing power. More datasheet reading and spreadsheet work to do.

Sensors and Actuators

Creating real world IOT applications also means having the ability to interact with physical stuff. This requires sensors, transducers, actuators and the like – components that interface between the physical world and the electronic system.

For instance measuring heat, pressure, chemical presence, position, taking a sound, image or video recording, or making a change in the world by motor, actuator, light, sound. It is these devices that enable systems to monitor and interact with the real world. Detecting if you need more milk for your fridge, if a predator is stalking a Kiwi bird, if smog levels are rising or falling, or where your expected parcel actually is.

(Image: IBM)

There are literally tens of thousands of sensors and transducers available from vendors for every imaginable application. Those manufacturers also recognise the impact that IOT is having and strive to produce new versions at lower cost. It is also an opportunity for new vendors to create transducers for novel applications – biochemistry is an example.

A Connected World

In summary, the components for IOT are in a sweet spot enabling new applications: Low cost, low power, high performance, readily connected, and massively scalable. Combine this with advances in cloud computing, security and analytics and you get the ability to rapidly develop remote device applications – systems that interact with the physical world, are autonomous with sophisticated analytics. The long established trend of more processing power at lower cost will underpin the growth of IOT applications.

Industry, consumers and investors are increasingly aware of the capability, value and novelty that is possible and want to be a part of what is being created. For industries, business and consumers not sure of what impact IOT can have on them, now is the time to start looking.

Go create!

John McDermott, IoT Auckland Meetup

John McDermott, IoT Auckland Meetup

MIxed Reality - The New Emerging Platform

 

The 8 year, $130 billion prediction

Changing the face of commerce and the community

      There are changes happening in the global consumer markets driven by technology that is available at the very personal level.

      Attend Future Realities 2017 to find out more  -  The NZ IoT and Mixed Reality Conference

      Through social media, an informed generation have signaled an expectation that if businesses want their attention they must be prepared to not just attract and inform, but also entertain – on their terms.

      Social media platforms have been quick to adapt to the potential opportunities of this new immersive technology, adopting its use to generate greater market reach. Global piloting of mixed reality applications for Smart cities is proving to be extremely effective, by measurably improving use of resources and meeting public needs.

       

      FR14.jpg

      Research and Validation

      Global investment research Giant Goldman Sachs have determined that economic industry growth from VR/AR/MR will come from ...

      1.    VR/AR and MR Hardware and Software sales 

      2.     Growth in smart cities and municipals, followed by commerce

      3.     The integration of VR/AR with IoT tech’ to form Mixed Reality platforms

      The global Augmented Reality market is expected to exceed $95b by 2023

        

       

       

      FR15.jpg

       

       

       

       

      What is Augmented Reality?

      Changes in science and technology is nothing new, but when different disciplines begin to overlap, collaboration fosters new opportunities. At that point evolutionary process takes over. What we use, the way we use it, and the way we work also changes.

       

      This is happening right now with smarter algorithyms, increased smart device and motion capture capability, and easier access to all information everywhere at anytime. This is very much a technologically driven revolution at the personal operating level. It is driven and pitched through a educated creative process that offers an intellectually and physically enhanced end user experience.

         


        Future Realities - The Techweek NZ event to learn about the benefits and opportunities from IoT, AR & VR technologies.

        • Conference
        • Workshops
        • Expo
        • Hackathon

         


        How did A.R. come about?

        Augmented Reality has been around a while, but required advanced technology that put it beyond the reach of the average person.

        It has only been recent advances in smart device technology and capability of algorithms and motion capture technology that put Augmented Reality to within the reach of all who own a smart device.

        Fun fact: 2016:   86% of all New Zealanders now own a smart phone. 

        FR7.jpg

        To use VR (Virtual Reality):

        1.    You need to wear a headset and,

        2.    You are absolutely immersed in a digitally created virtual world.

        3.    Great for gaming, and business systems requiring discrete temporary instruction!

         

         

         To use AR (Augmented Reality):

        1.    You need your personal smartphone, tablet or iPad

        2.    You maintain a real-world presence & interact with digital systems in real-time

        3.    Great for business systems requiring timely point of use information, demanding action, or market interface!

         

         

        Augmented Reality is the natural evolution of the desktop computer.

        FR16.png

        Fact …Peoples’ spatial abilities allow them to process visual information more simply, than if reading the same information from pages filled with text or data

        Augmented technology matches the benefits of the spatial human condition, with the commercial need to effectively access key processes and information at point of use, by visually laddering content in real-time.

         

        FR8.jpg

         Augmented Reality as a life hack brings the target audience or prescribed user one step closer to the action.

        Augmented and Mixed Reality by design, utilizes the benefits of spatially enabled visual content, so users can perceptively regulate data, level of interaction and immediacy of response with media, machines, or marketing at the original point of contact.

         

         

         

        Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality supports
        Media, Marketing and Manufacturing

         On their terms…

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        The new personal commerce experience:

        1. Smart device friendly 
        2. No wires or physical constraints
        3. With user at the right location
        4. With user at point of use
        5. All information instantly available & digitally associated with the real world

         

        AR, VR, IoT connects the physical world with a computed environment.  Driven by data, analytics and algorithms, a new rich experience is created.  The technology roadmap is underway with change occurring at an exponential pace.  Decision makers need to understand the implications and engage.

        Future Realities is the 2017 forum to discover and learn about AR, VR and IoT.  

        National and international leaders showcasing opportunities.

         

        Rob Hanks, Curiat

        Rob Hanks, Curiat

        The future of training in virtual reality

        Virtual Reality training in the workplace provides a novel and memorable immersive experience that enables staff to make mistakes in high risk or challenging situations without any real life consequences. This makes VR training the perfect solution to train staff on how to deal with potential life and death situations as well as lift engagement and memorability for more routine scenario-based training.

        Virtual reality replaces the real world with a digital or filmed 360° environments. Using 360° cameras, staff can be transported into a scene that feels much like the real world. They can move and interact with characters within this environment. In this virtual environment, staff are able to make mistakes, without any real life consequences. Tasks and situations can be repeated with different outcomes depending on the actions they take. Pretty cool huh?

        With a deep sense of presence and heightened empathy, virtual reality can replace or compliment face to face workshops, role playing and 2D training.

        Having led numerous teams we all know that role playing can be valuable but normally makes staff members cringe. No one wants to look stupid...with VR training you can role play in a private environment with no-one on hand to mock you!

        For engineers, educators, and trainers, simulation has been a standard tool used in training and development as it’s low cost. The Aviation industry could not function without simulators and much of the VR training technology on offer today has been developed out of the Aviation and Military industry.

        VR training is extremely accessible as it can be made available via an app or web browser on a mobile phone. This enables staff to do short, snappy training scenarios from anywhere, at any time. This makes it a great tool for refreshing staff prior to potential high risk situations. On your way to a intensive situation? Assuming you aren't the driver you can quickly jump into your VR training scenario on route.

        We believe this is the future of training. Bite sized and immersive.

        It is training that enables learners to train without risk to themselves or others. It's pretty cool.

        Studies show that Immersive VR training can enable individuals to learn faster and more effectively, which improves reaction time, pattern recognition, and decision making in the real world. When faced with intensive situations staff that have trained in simulation situations are better equipped to deal with these situations.

        Some examples of where VR has been used for training include:

        •  Practising of high risk exercises (like bomb disposal)
        • Fire safety
        • Challenging conversations
        • Conflict management
        • Sports training
        • Healthcare

        Being great at something takes practice. Athletes are using virtual environments to accelerate their training. We don’t need to be athletes to know the importance of repetition in learning, be it a new language or skill. For this reason, VR is an excellent addition to training as staff can re-do scenarios until it’s second nature (there might be some tasks you'd rather not repeat..)

        There are many cost benefits for using VR for training including reduced travel time for workshops and in-person training situations. The Military have been using VR for cost effective realistic training environments for a long time and now the technology is at a point where it’s now possible for other companies to leverage it.

        Of course, not all training lends itself to VR so it should only be considered where traditional training methods don’t have the outcomes required or where VR training is used to compliment current training modules.    

        If you're working in training and development or just the curious type, then make sure you come along to Future Realities this May in Auckland or Wellington. We will have two incredible speakers who have been working in VR training.

        They will be giving you the lowdown on their experience creating VR training programmes, demo some work and give you some sweet insights you can take back to your business.

        Jessica Manins, CEO Blackeye VR

        Jessica Manins, CEO Blackeye VR

        New Zealand embraces Mixed Reality and the Internet of Things

         

         

        The number of companies involved in virtual, augmented and mixed reality and IoT in New Zealand is quickly growing as the technology develops. 

         

        8i, a Wellington-based VR/AR technology company was founded in Wellington in May 2014. Its aim is to show humans for the first time in virtual and augmented reality. In October 2015, it revealed it had attracted $20 million in funding from investors, including Samsung, Dolby and American movie star Ashton Kutcher and in February 2017 they raised a second round of US$27M.

        Mixed reality company Magic Leap, valued at US$4.5 billion, has close links with Wellington-based Weta Workshop with Sir Richard Taylor on their advisory board. Weta Workshop have staff working on creative possibilities for Magic Leap at its Miramar headquarters.

         A range of start-ups have emerged in New Zealand the past few years, including PointZero, GeoAR Games, Imersia, Mixt, IOTSTREAM, Curiat to name just a few.

         

        The AR/VR Garage was backed by ATEED and Datacom opening their co-working and lab environment for Auckland start-ups in October 2016 and PROJECTR a similar centre is due to open in April 2017 in Wellington with support from The Wellington City Council.

        The New Zealand VR/AR Association formed in September 2016 and secured the rights for New Zealand to be the official chapter of the international association has 120 members across New Zealand and just last week the NZ IoT Alliance was formed with support from MBIE with Minister Bridges saying that IoT  “is a transformative technology, one that promises to boost productivity across all major sectors of the economy, assist in monitoring our health, make transport and logistics more efficient, help reduce energy consumption and tackle environmental issues.”

        It's clear that the time has arrived for businesses to start exploring applications and pilots using this technology.

         

        Architecture and engineering are some of the first mixed reality applications off the ranks. 

         

        At the launch of the New Zealand VR/AR Association in Christchurch, Trimble demonstrated their mixed reality application as part of a collaboration with Microsoft Hololens. Mixed Reality is transforming the way that architects, engineers, contractors and owners work in the spatial industry as Interpretation errors are common during the design to construction stages often resulting in poor quality, cost overruns and schedule delays. Visualising digital content as holograms in the context of the physical world bridges the gap between virtual and real and eliminates the current workflow in efficiencies. 3D models are common but what mixed reality and holographic technology does is brings the models out of the screen allowing users the ability to interact and engage with design data more intuitively.

         

         The evolution of advertising, entertainment and game design into 360 and VR content is here.

         

        The media and entertainment industry is undergoing a fundamental shift in the way content is created, delivered and consumed, and VR is the next wave of innovation in this space. ATEED have used 360 content to market Auckland as a destination to visit and other regional councils are looking at how some of their large events like WOW can use immersive technology.

        Air New Zealand used a VR experience to celebrate 100 years by taking a look to the future of flight. Wellington based company Sensorium have developed a 180° camera while former Rocket Scientist Lance Lones has created a camera that shoots 16K 3D 360° footage.

        Queenstown Ziptrek Ecotours have used Samsung VR headsets to allow users to experience ‘zipping through the trees to take in the sights, sounds and sensory experiences of a zipline trip.  Trent Yoe presented the product at TRENZ. It is clear that advertising and tourism opportunities exist for creative agencies and filmmakers based in NZ and Future Realities offers an opportunity for this community to collide with the technology community for collaborative advantages.

         The New Zealand Games Industry plays an important part in this sector. With more game developers per capita than any country in the world and VR and AR applications and content being built on Unity or Unreal a traditionally game development platform, the skills required for VR and AR are much the same as game development and therefore offer a way for developers to leverage these skills for paid work while working on original content.  NZ Game Development Company PikPok created a VR game, Into The Dead and at a recent meetup of 150 developers over 50% said they were starting to work in VR.  The NZ Game Developers Association has a strong presence in NZ and they have recently appointed an Executive Coordinator to start working with them to activate their strategy.

        The New Zealand Film Commission has a $200,000 interactive development fund for storytelling using AR/VR. This is potentially the first time game developers have really had an opportunity to get a grant to develop their own IP using VR and AR. It is realistic to expect to see a lot of original games coming out of the country along with the film and creative industry looking at interesting ways to tell stories. 

        At recent collaboration of NZVRARA and the New Zealand Film Industry enabled a number of sold out talks and masterclasses on VR storytelling to take place across the country with Lynette Wallworth and Mike Jones and New Zealand's first ever Mixed Reality Hackathon took place.

         

        The winning team at the NZ Mixed Reality Hackathon with their Hololens application created in 48 hours - EDEN.

        The winning team at the NZ Mixed Reality Hackathon with their Hololens application created in 48 hours - EDEN.

         

        More Iwi are investing in original and unique ways to tell the story of their heritage and culture. With new technology like 8i and networks like Imersia, we’ll be able to use NZ made technology and creative talent to put NZ on a world map as leaders in creative use of this tech should we wish to invest in this sector.  

         

        It is clear that storytelling and the advantage of NZ's reputation in this sector can be leveraged for AR and VR.  

        We have an incredible line up of  local and international thought-leaders including Neal Stephenson, Mark Billinghurst and Dan Ayoub. THis is your opportunity to understand how this technology can be leveraged by your industry.

         

        Connected devices offer a unique opportunity for Mixed reality and the Internet of Things to merge offering up new business models and greater insights at the intelligent edge. With IoT and augmented reality in the top 5 technology trends for 2017 along with Blockchain, Machine Learning and Voice we are excited to present to you Future Realities.

        Early bird tickets are on sale now and start at $99. Be quick.

        This is not an event you can afford to miss.