AWE 2020

AWE Online 2020 Showcases Continued Potential of XR – Five Key Takeaways

Written by Rich Ryan, CEO of Six15 Technologies

Over the course of four days of digital presentations at AWE, the future of the XR industry came into focus. For us at Six15, it seems like we are at a tipping point, where theory and potential are now being put into practical business applications. With eCommerce continuing to grow and the need for new, practical solutions to address ever-increasing challenges, AWE showed how the industry is poised to deliver solutions to bridge gaps to drive growth.

Considering everything that we saw from the last week, these are the five key takeaways that Six15 will be thinking about over the next year:

  1. Remote collaboration has experienced explosive growth, especially for those solutions that were ready for release and easy to implement. Companies offering remote solutions are seeing an over 300% expansion in growth in just the last 30 days, but long term, there is still some uncertainty as to what form the technology will ultimately take. Mass utilization could continue to favor solutions that mimic well-developed technologies such as teleconferences, although disruptive approaches such as gatherings of VR avatars could gain traction as increased telepresence becomes “the new normal.”
  2. Human interaction is still critical. Numerous AWE presentations were produced using human avatars, and being surrounded by the leading group of XR futurists, developers, and pioneers, many shared the same sentiment; “I can’t wait until next year when we can meet again in person”. XR can do wonders to assist, augment, and amaze, but it cannot yet replace experiences like seeing a new technology with your own eyes or interacting with a colleague face-to-face.
  3. Our initial fondness for 5G paired with Edge computing was nurtured into a full-on crush. The rise of 5G will reduce the hurdles of pixel streaming and data bandwidth. It will allow XR data processing to be offsite, providing numerous opportunities for increased efficiency by making the computing power a shared resource, utilized by many users. Offloading the processing from the head will not only enable us to make some amazing HMDs going forward, but will also allow us to supercharge existing products into XR powerhouses.
  4. XR extended well beyond the traditional boundaries of head-mounted displays. OVR Technology exposed us to the concept of enhancing presence in the virtual world through scent. Epic created real-time VFX by wrapping a soundstage in a giant XR display and replacing the Unreal gaming POV camera with a physical one. Companies such as Metastage captured all the nuances of an entire live performance with the goal of allowing the experience to be showcased by a universal audience. The lessons learned in XR are now being applied well beyond the individual, visible spectrum, and into a much broader world.
  5. XR must be both developed and operate in a broad, diverse world. AWE has always brought together people of diverse professional backgrounds, a crossroads of engineering, business, and the arts. But this year there was an increased focus on diversity. An entire track dedicated to this message highlighted the critical contributions minority groups provided and continue to provide to the technology. In the process of developing our own talk, we were reminded that we must take a much broader view of involving contributors from a wide array of cultures, backgrounds, and roles. Only when we gain a diversity of thought, will the technological change reach its full potential.

In case you missed it! Watch Rich’s AWE 2020 Presentation