One month after the sixth edition of VRDays2020, here’s a report on the event written for us by Cecilia Lascialfari, focusing on the platforms used and the highlights of the first 100% online edition.
VRDays2020: The Report of the Sixth Edition
On November 4th, 5th, and 6th, the 6th edition of VRDays Europe 2020 took place for the first time in an online format. Due to the travel restrictions caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, physical attendance of the event in Amsterdam was not possible, as it had been for all previous editions of the festival.
To ensure the event could proceed, the VRDays team decided to organize the fair entirely online, selecting various platforms to host the scheduled events.
Among the new features this year was the appointment of Laurent Chrétien, the former CEO of Laval Virtual World, as the President of VRDays, while Benjamin de Witt assumed the role of Festival Director.
The platforms used by VRDays 2020 were:
For participant registration, the Imagina app was chosen. It was available for both desktop and mobile devices and provided an overview of all the events that took place during the three days. With the ability to receive notifications about preferred events, it also included the entire fair program.
The video-sharing platform Vimeo was selected for live streaming the conferences coordinated by Benjamin De Witt, who was physically located at Kromhouthal in Amsterdam.
Zoom also played an important role. This platform was used for the Immersive Funding Market meetings, which involved direct meetings between companies and startups held concurrently with other events.
LAVAL VIRTUAL WORLD
The virtual world of Laval Virtual World, accessible through avatars via browser or with a headset, developed on the Virbela platform, hosted both the Halo Awards ceremony and the Virtual Trade Show, which featured exhibition pavilions where exhibitor booths were organized. Laval Virtual World reached its peak of success in March 2020 with the French event of the same name, which fully utilized this VR environment to host the annual technology fair that usually takes place in Laval, France.
TIVOLI CLOUD VR
Another platform accessible via a browser with avatar presence was Tivoli Cloud VR, providing an exciting and well-managed experience, including dedicated features for headset owners.
ALTSpaceVR hosted the Philosopher’s Salon, an open forum for discussing fundamental XR topics. The Philosopher’s Salon was presented and hosted in the VR Pavilion Finland, by the XR Center of Helsinki.
CHURCH OF VR
The annual Church of VR event showcased eighteen interesting projects, all visible through Oculus headsets, both physically in Amsterdam and from anywhere in the world. This year, access to the Church of VR was completely free. The 2020 projects can be viewed at this link: Church of VR.
Halo Awards is an event within VRDays that recognizes the best XR projects and developers in Europe. This year’s award ceremony, presented by Laurent Chrétien and Benjamin De Witt, took place on the evening of November 4th within the Laval Virtual World platform. For information or to learn how to participate next year, visit the VRDays website at this link: Halo Awards.
This year, VRDays organized Satellite Events, establishing direct connections with various locations around the world, including France, Italy, Turkey, Brazil, Romania, London, Japan, and Colombia. Selected participants from partner organizations in these countries were given priority access to the Laval Virtual World environment through VR headsets, allowing them to attend conferences, visit exhibition pavilions, and meet industry experts at the fair’s booths.
These are the partner locations of VRDays where Satellite Events took place:
“Laval Virtual Centre” in Laval, France
“VRE-Virtual Reality Experience” in Rome, Italy
“KARMA Mixed Reality Lab” in Istanbul, Turkey
“XRBR” in Curitiba, Brazil
“Centric IT Solutions” in Iasi, Romania
“Women in Immersive Tech” in London, England
“Tama University” in Tokyo, Japan
“UMYK VR” in Bogotá, Colombia
Highlights of VRDays
Among the conferences that took place within the Kromhouthal during the three days of the fair, here are some of the most interesting ones:
#1 – The roundtable discussion on “Sex and the pervirtual” addressed the topic of sex combined with virtual reality, analyzing how this technology can also help in the medical field to address sexual issues.
#2 – “XR Art. Ceci une pipe?” tackled the theme of the pandemic and the challenges faced by museums in a historical period where physical tourists are no longer present within the museum space. A new way of creating art was presented, using VR/AR to create works that will populate the museums of the future.
#3 – During the “XR Gaming” conference, industry leaders in gaming discussed the numerous challenges they face today, explaining the best solutions to counter the problems created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are the themes of the other roundtable discussions:
Stanford VHIL Special | Training & Simulation – Rescue | VR & Tele-Rehabilitation | VR: Tool for Research | Virtual Beings | The Magic of Virtual Production | VR in Education | Future of Storytelling, Virtual Conferencing | Cross Tech – from AI to 5G and Blockchain to Immersive Tech | The Next Museum | The Future of Work | Creator’s Corner | Creative Potential vs Privacy | Mental Healthcare during and following the Covid-19 Crisis | Enterprise XR.
All the streamed videos were recorded during the event and are freely available on the VRDays website at this link: XR Talks.
A few days before the start of the fair, the print and digital version of the VRDays magazine, “New Horizons,” was presented. The articles covered the themes of the event and were written by some of the most important names in the XR industry.
On the opening page, we find a statement by Laurent Chrétien, President of VRDays 2020 and CEO of Laval Virtual World, explaining the importance of making VRDays 2020 a virtual event as a commitment to a better future.
The second page is dedicated to a statement by Benjamin De Witt, Director of the VRDays 2020 Festival, thanking the VRDays team and all the people who participated in the realization of such an extraordinary event.