The first day of AWE 2021 was intense and particular at the same time. “It’s been 893 days since we last met and now we are back!” as Ori Inbar said in his opening keynote.

It’s still: “If we learned one thing during nearly two years of Covid is that people can do nearly anything in XR: shop, work out, travel and even party remotely. Here is one thing we can’t do: meet the heroes! Connect with people on a deeper level.” Ori said.

Ori Inbar on the Mainstream of AWE 2021 during his opening keynote.

Ori Inbar, CEO and Co-founder of AWE kicked off the event by taking a look at the early days of our industry by doing an impersonation of Max Headroom, the first virtual host on TV. Headroom is a British fictional artificial intelligence (AI) character, introduced in the 80’s.

AWE 2021

All the halls were full of people, who despite everything managed to be present at AWE 2021.
During the last year we have met many people online, and it was really exciting to be able to see them in person!
The first impression is that you are not sure if that person is the one you know online, but it’s enough that your gaze crosses the other person’s eyes to confirm that “Yes! It’s really her / him!”. And hugs are allowed live, even if with a mask!

Cathy Hackly and Antony Vitillo

Colleagues? Relatives? Friends? What feeling binds us after months of knowledge and digital contacts, with messages and sharing of statuses on social networks, meetings in VR, and online events?

Then Tom Emrich passes by, just off the main stage of AWE, whom you know as an ICON GURU of the XR world thanks to the internet, and you get excited as if a movie star had passed you by!

Tom Emrich at AWE 2021

The only thing we can be sure of is that the connection that is established between people online is as true as the one that is established in presence, and perhaps facilitated by a more casual approach of people.
How many would never have had the opportunity to participate online in events on the other side of the world and meet people they would not have met except with travel difficulties? I’m one of them!

Antony Vitillo, Cecilia Lascialfari, Gavin Newton-Tanzer at AWE 2021

And finally, there is no better way than a lunch or dinner to meet people! Share feelings, sensations, knowledge, information and establish new working relationships or new relationships for future projects.

Louis Cacciuttolo, Eloi Gerard, Anne McKinnon at AWE 2021

They are not seen but behind the scenes there are them, who take care of the video recordings, the putting online of the speeches, the lights on the stage, the coordination of the speakers, the coordination of the people inside the exhibition! All the STAFF who are working with AWE have a very important role in the success of the event. Thanks to all of them.

Workers at AWE 2021

After Ori Inbar presentation, John Hanke from Niantic’s CEO and Founder, take his speech “Building the real-world meta verse for everyone”. John Hanke’s keynote focused on how we can build a Real World Metaverse for Everyone followed by the big announcement the company made just yesterday about

Opening the Lightship Platform Globally, empowering developers to build their visions for the real-world Metaverse.

At this link you can find a summary of the Day 1 of AWE and the video on the Youtube Channel of AWE.
Charlie Fink participated with his speech “Remote collaboration Platforms: Whats next?” on the first day of AWE, but it will be tomorrow too.

Charlie Fink at AWE 2021

Amy Peck from EndeavorVR with Brian Crosby of Marvel Entertainment LLC, Mikey Trujillo of Marvel Entertainment LLC, David Pèerez Balaguer of Madhouse Productions , Carmen Costa of Madhouse Productions presented “Marvel Mission: Escape Rooms”.

“Marvel Mission: Escape Rooms” – Amy Peck, Carmen Costa, David Pérez, Brian Crosby, Mikey Trujillo

And tomorrow will be the time to try and wear the technology on the Exposition Area. Today we just peeked during the set up of the stands and we saw that there are interesting AR / VR devices waiting!

Exhibitors area at AWE 2021
Exhibitors area at AWE 2021
Exhibitors area at AWE 2021
Exhibitors area at AWE 2021

Tom Emrich, 8ThWall, gave his speech on “Is history repeating itself? How the past wave of computing can inform what may happen in this next one”? With talks of a metaverse, anticipation of smartglasses and AR/VR use on the rise, the next wave of computing is coming fast and furious. But where are we in the cycle and what is necessary for it to all come together? A great panel.

Tom Emrich on the stage at AWE 2021

Mike Boland from Artillery Intelligence, has present “AR’s Space Race Revs Up” One of AR’s foundational principles is to fuse the digital and physical. The real world is a key part of that formula… and real-world relevance is often defined by location. This means that one of AR’s primary battlegrounds will be in augmenting the world in location-relevant ways. That could be wayfinding with Google Live View, or visual search with Snap Scan and Local Lenses. And these players aren’t alone: Apple, Facebook, Niantic and other AR leaders continue to signal geo-spatial AR ambitions. Who’s doing what to gain pole position and win AR’s Space Race? Mike Boland break it down through numbers & narratives.

Mike Boland at AWE 2021

And also many other speakers took the stage of AWE, like national and international speaker Christoper Lafayette as he covers the intriguing world of Non Fungible Tokens and what they bring to the XR Ecosystem. Christopher covered the topics of, “Non Fungible Tokens Defined, Today”, “How are NFTs made: Art vs Natural Assets”, “Where are they stored?”, “NFTs in Virtual Worlds”, and “Relevant Industries”.

Antony Vitillo on the stage at AWE 2021

Antony Vitillo from New Technology Walkers presented “How to Design a Fun Effective XR Game”. Fitness is one of the biggest trends in XR, and even big corporates like Facebook are getting interested in it. This talk, which comes from the developers of the fitness game HitMotion:Reloaded, shows you how to enter this field by designing an immersive fitness game that can be fun and provide at the same time an effective training. It detailed the choices that you have to take while designing such a game both in AR and VR, and what are the future perspectives of the technology.

Cathy Hackl and Cecilia Lascialfari

Cathy Hackl from Futures Intelligence Group, presented “Shaping the Metaverse” with Christina Wootton from Roblox Corporation, John Buzzell from Epic Games – Unreal Engine, Dirk Lueth from Upland, Lindsey McInerney from AB InBev.
Mainstream attention is finally focused on the convergence of technologies that the AWE community have been shaping for the past decade, and the “Metaverse” is having a moment. The idea has seemingly captured everyone’s attention, with many rushing to define it and stake their claim. When you cut through the hype, who are the people truly shaping this future? Cathy Hackl has presented for a short talk on the State of the Metaverse, followed by an inspiring discussion joined by leading voices featuring Roblox, AB InBev, and Nike. They covered how culture and many industries are evolving – from fashion, sports, gaming, and beyond.

186 women in XR at AWE 2021

And still 186 women in XR were celebrated to the stage at AWE2021… Women. We need women in the XR world who can remain women, and give the Metaverse an extra boost!

A strange things from AWE 2021

We need particular characters and above all futuristic objects! Like this object that no one has yet discovered what it is or what it is for… If anyone found out please let me know!

Networking and food at AWE 2021
Networking and food at AWE 2021
Networking and food at AWE 2021

And finally, networking, networking… because that’s the only way to design a better future!
See you tomorrow for the Exhibition Area, the Auggie Awards, and the After Party! #AWE2021

Cecilia Lascialfari
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