Well the first annual MetaCenter Global Week conference in Orlando, FL was a smashing good time and we had an absolute ball attending! Christi spoke on a panel about human connection with art and tech, we both worked directly with HTC Viverse and MetaCities to build the official VR lounge for the conference, we were also taken out to a very lovely dinner by the HTC team, and we capped the whole thing off with one absolute rager of a block party headlined by Lost Frequencies!
11/10 would attend again!
This year was a little different as Synapse Orlando and Immerse Global Summit joined forces to host a bigger and better conference showcasing the best bleeding edge tech and innovation in the world while still bringing together global and regional leaders to celebrate, discover, and engage with one another. Represented were companies from all over the industry in XR, AI, Gaming, Fintech, Space, Simulation, Blockchain, Defense, Health, Sustainability, Sports & Entertainment, Smart Cities and so much more! The breadth of networking potential alone was worth attending. The venue is also an absolutely stunning marvel of architecture and class!
Our Favorite Highlights
Monday Night’s VIP reception
Before anything even got started, speakers and VIP ticket holders were invited to a Monday evening rooftop mixer party at the Dr. Philips Performing Arts Center where the week’s festivities would commence. This was a great way to kick off the whole event as we got to reconnect with so many friends in person while making new ones to then keep bumping into throughout the week! These things are always more fun when you already know everyone! Little did we know that we were in for a total VIP week…
Meeting an Industry Legend
We were lucky enough to be introduced to and have a wonderful conversation with the amazing Carolina Cruz-Neira (pictured just above on the right). Carolina is an academic scholar and the creator of the famous CAVE virtual reality environment system. If you are not familiar with this marvel, please do look it up! She has also pioneered many award winning VR projects and given our conversation seems to have no plans of slowing down anytime soon!
“This elevator needs a project manager!”
– Maxwell McGee
Liam Broza (Ethereal Engine), Linda Ciaravelli (Housecall VR), Paige Dansinger (Better World Museum), Brittany Marine (MCGW), Nathan Pettyjohn (VRARA), Ben Erwin (Poly’s WebXR Awards), Julian Reyes (Virtual Worlds Museum), Alison Aplin, Ariane Fikki, Paul Segura, Ang’l Artiste, Eboni Epiphany, Poppa Hoppa
Christi’s panel: “Human Connection Intersection of Art and Technology”
On Tuesday morning, Christi joined Philip Noyed (Neo Art Space), Eric Gunther (Sosolimited) and Scarlett Arana (BitBasel) for an insightful panel discussion, where she spoke about the power of XR for creating accessibility to shared experiences. Her resonating takeaway:
We often speak of “virtual world” versus “real world” but instead should use the term “physical world” as our immersive experiences are still very much real. We are sharing space with others, making connections and memories, which have real-world transfer and carry forward with us.
After the panel, we checked out co-panelist Philip Noyed’s Neo Art Space! Philip created the ultimate Phygital (Physical / Digital) experience with his Rainbow Pyramid installation combined with his Neo Art Space VR app. The experience was mellow and trippy with incredible visuals all hand-drawn using Tilt Brush. You were allowed to explore an absolutely gargantuan virtual space filled to the brim with beautiful shimmering artwork and abstract environments. There were even some lovely interactive elements along the way!
Thank you to Philip for snapping this picture, it was one of the only ones we got of us using any tech this time. And what a cool vibe he had set up here too!
Rooftop Speed Networking
This was so much fun — thank you to our host Chad Weir for nudging Christi to jump in! Have you ever heard of speed dating? Well it was basically that, but for business networking! Everyone jumped to one side of a table and got a few minutes to chat with the person on the other side before moving onto a new potential partner and repeating the process. It really helps to have a quick little QR code type of contact card for this!
We Launched The MetaCenter Orlando Neon Aqua Theater
We’d worked with Chris Crescitelli in the past on the UNESCO #ActNow projects when we recreated the Al Wasl Dome and the Uluru National Park. This time he came to us through MetaCities along with a team at HTC to create an official Orlando-themed virtual lounge experience for the MetaCenter Global Week conference. It was a bit of rush job with a very quick turnaround of only three weeks but we pulled it off and honestly what we ended up creating is already one of our favorite designs to date. We can’t wait to evolve the space over time for next year!
We launched our gorgeous new world inside of the HTC VIVERSE platform, in close collaboration with their WebXR development team, in order to host concurrent virtual sessions and live music by DJ Celeste. The events were presented by MetaCities in collaboration with HTC VIVERSE, MetaCenter Global Week, the VR/AR Association, Immerse Global Summit, Synapse, Innovate Orlando, and BitBasel. What a team!
Read the Official VIVERSE Press Release
Dinner with Industry Royalty
Here’s something quite unexpected! On Wednesday night we were treated to a lovely Japanese steakhouse dinner with HTC’s Eddie Hagans and Kho Pei, Chris Crescitelli from MetaCities, and the VRARA’s own Nathan Pettyjohn to celebrate the successful launch of our MetaCenter Orlando virtual world. We had some amazing conversations and made some lifelong friends in the process. Here’s to a bright future in the world of WebXR!
After Hours Live: Mayor Dyer Presents: Local Jam
After dinner, we walked over to catch the Local Jam. We totally expected DJs but were instead met with live performances of some good old classic rock tunes. Another unexpected twist in the evening but a pleasant one! We had some more rum drinks and let loose for a bit as we mingled with our new friends who were at the same event.
More From MetaCenter Global Week
Here are some other pics from around the conference!
After Hours Live Block Party: Lost Frequencies with special guests DJ MIMS, DJ EPPS, & DJ Biggie Pauls
As the business networking days ended the party networking nights would begin and each one was such a fantastic way to keep the momentum rolling throughout the week. We capped it all off on the final night by dancing our hearts out to @DJ MIMS and @Lost Frequencies at the live street level block party. It was an absolute rager and a really really great experience that will stick with us for a long time! So many beautiful tech nerds just dancing and sweating to the insane mixes. Ourselves very much in the middle of it all!
The Ride Home
As we were leaving the party and heading back to our AirBnB, a mere half mile away, we spotted a very strange looking vehicle we later learned was called a Pedicab. Basically a bicycle powered rickshaw, but this one was totally decked out with lights and music. It might have been just a short ride home but hey… why walk when you can do this?
By the way, that’s our good buddy Charles Ace that Cause is waving at when the video first starts. We’d been hanging out earlier that evening at the party and he took off just before us. His face as we passed by was priceless!