The 14th annual AWE USA opened on May 31, 2023, with Ori Inbar dueting with his Avatar guided by the ChatGPT.
The focus was on the arrival of Neal Stephenson who took the AWE stage for the first time with Ori Inbar.
Ori, held a half-hour interview with Neil Stephenson during which he explored with him the evolution of the word “Metaverse” up to talking about AI.

This is the title of the talk and its summary: “Welcome to AWE | Metaverse Unplugged with Neal Stephenson” Ori Inbar, CEO and cofounder of AWE, welcomed attendees to the 14th annual AWE USA 2023 event with the theme: XR is Everywhere!
He presented his annual update about the state of the XR industry and where it’s headed, and followed up with “Metaverse Unplugged” – a super-fan conversation with Neal Stephenson – the legendary author who coined the term Metaverse.
You can see the video of the interview here:

The talks on stage followed in an interesting exchange of speakers and companies.
Hugo Swart with Yi Xu, Kalpana Berman, Stephen Hamberger, presented
“Accelerating the XR Ecosystem: The Future is Open”, by Qualcomm Technologies Inc.
This is the summary of the talk and below you can see the video:
Qualcomm Technologies Inc. is excited to be at the forefront of accelerating the XR industry. Efforts to build an open XR ecosystem have helped drive the innovation that has made the XR industry a success for all. At AWE 2023, Hugo Swart, VP and GM of XR at Qualcomm revealed the latest developments with Snapdragon XR platforms and the Snapdragon Spaces Developer SDK and how they are shaping the next generation of AR, VR and MR experiences.

Immediately after Qualcomm, Chi Xu of XREAL presented the talk “Unleashing the Potential of Consumer AR” The journey with XREAL Light, XREAL Air and Beyond.”
See the video below:

All this took place on the Main Stage and from 11am the talks opened in the other halls, dedicated to “Enterprise”, “Web 3”, “XR Enablement”, “Healthcare & Wellness”, “Retail, E-commerce & Advertising”, “Developer”, “Gaming, Entertainment & Media”, “Collaboration, Training & Education”, “Healthcare & Wellness”, “Gaming Entertainment & Media”, “Creator”, “Startup & Investor”, “AI & Virtual Beings”

Charlie Fink together with Rony Abovitz presented the talk: “How we can invigorate XR?” A fireside chat with Rony Abovitz, CEO of Sun and Thunder (founder of Magic Leap and MAKO Surgical), and his podcast co-host, Forbes tech columnist Charlie Fink. Rony discussed why he thinks we’re in a difficult but necessary middle “Gemini” phase (Mercury-Gemini-Apollo) before a deeper convergence of multiple technologies enables a full flowering of the XR seeds we have been planting for the past ten years , and the five decades before that.

And in the early afternoon we attended an interesting talk involving Tony Parisi, Kent Bye, Amy Lameyer, and Alvin Gravlin “Intersection of AI and the Metaverse: What’s Next?” This is the summary of the panel:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already having a significant influence on the Metaverse and the intersection of AI and the Metaverse will become increasingly evident as AI evolves and the Metaverse grows. AI can be used to create more realistic and engaging experiences in virtual worlds, intelligent avatars that can engage with users in a more natural way, and personalized content in real-time. All of this can improve the overall experience for users. Furthermore, AI can be used to create more efficient and scalable infrastructure for the Metaverse, enabling more users to participate and interact with each other. However, there will be challenges as well, such as biases in algorithms that perpetuate harmful stereotypes, false or manipulated content leading to misinformation, and questions about privacy and security. This expert panel will discuss the issues and how AI might potentially transform how we interact with others in immersive spaces.

And how can you not follow the interesting panels by Tom Furness (Virtual World Society), Cathy Hackl (Journey), Jeri Ellsworth (Tilt Five), Joe Micheals (Haptx), Avi Bar-Zeev (XR Guild), and all the others? We need a digital twin to be present in every hall at the Santa Clara Convention Center!

Alan Smithson and Julie Smithson presented their Juicyverse.
“Pioneering Real-Virtual Integration: The Juicyverse Successes Story.”

This is the summary of their talk: Discover the groundbreaking journey of Starburst® and their Juicyverse virtual experience. Explore how they achieved three unprecedented milestones in seamlessly bridging the real and virtual worlds in a revolutionary experience in The Mall. Witness the future of interactive marketing and unlock new possibilities for immersive interactions on the web.

In the Retail, Ecommerce & Advertising session, Neil Redding presented his talk “Why AR is the Inevitable Future of Commerce”. Many of us are enthusiastic about AR and commerce — but is it truly inevitable? In this talk, Auki Labs’ Head of Product Neil Redding leads us on an exploration of the near future of cities, why location is everything, the accelerating growth of ecommerce vs physical retail, and how AR will finally enable what commerce is truly about.

Immediately after the end of the talks there was a wonderful welcome party “Zappar -ol Spritz” organized by Zappar at the Hyatt Santa Clara.

And finally a beautiful Party organized by MIT in downtown San Jose “AWE After Dark”, hosted by MIT Reality Hack.

What to say? Today the Playground is open so I can visit the countless companies that are there this year!
The 2023 playground has doubled compared to that of 2022… the speed at which this industry is growing is incredible!

Thanks Ori Inbar and Thanks AWE Team for all this!
If you have missed any video conference you can watch it by connecting to or on the AWE youtube channel.


Cecilia Lascialfari
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