EventsAugmented RealityVirtual Reality

5 Trends to Expect at AWE USA 2019

AWE USA will be held May 29-31 in Santa Clara, California. This year is the conference’s 10th anniversary.


In a few weeks, AWE USA 2019 will bring more than 7,000 AR and VR professionals together for three days of presentations and demonstrations about some of the biggest trends in AR and VR.

Tom Emrich is AWE’s managing director and a widely-known thought leader in AR and VR. So, he filled us in on some of the trends attendees can expect to see at this year’s event.

AWE Conference Trend: Enterprise

Tom Emrich AWE USA 2019
Tom Emrich

AR and VR are no longer for startups and small organizations. Some of the world’s largest brands and organizations are exploring how these technologies can be utilized at a scale never before possible.

Johnson & Johnson, Lockheed Martin, Deloitte and many other companies will present at AWE USA. Bringing AR and VR into large organizations allows for more diverse perspectives among conference attendees.

Sessions will explore business use cases for augmented and virtual reality.

“It was a lot of tech people talking to tech people in the beginning,” Emrich said. “Now seeing brands themselves and organizations that are leveraging these technologies and becoming part of the conversation.”

AWE Conference Trend: Training and Education

AWE USA 2019 conference
#AWE2018 @ArealityEvent

As organizations expand the use of AR and VR, they are realizing the potential that the technologies offer for helping employees learn hard and soft skills.

VR applications are already impacting HR and professional development. Employees can practice empathy and learn the nuances of human interaction they might not always experience in real life.

“Companies are increasingly asking how VR can help employees put themselves in another body and elevate the situation in real life,” Emrich said.

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Related, schools are also beginning to explore how these technologies can enhance classroom instruction and give students experiences they would not get to have otherwise.

AWE Conference Trend: Gaming and Entertainment

For playing games, you no longer need to sit in one place tethered to a console. AR and VR make it possible to have an immersive experience from your phone. They bridge the physical and virtual worlds in ways that AWE’s founders would have never dreamed possible 10 years ago.

“Companies are increasingly asking how VR can help employees put themselves in another body and elevate the situation in real life.”

The same thing goes for entertainment. Everyone, from the Coachella festival to the New York Times, is exploring how to create immersive experiences for their audiences. Representatives from both organizations will present at AWE USA 2019.

AWE Conference Trend: Privacy

AWE conference
#AWE2018 @ArealityEvent
@comogard Ori Inbar

As social media companies continue to face scrutiny for how they store and share user data, AR and VR companies know that privacy and security need to be at the forefront of everything they do.

While there are not specific AWE conference sessions on privacy, Emrich said it will be a recurring theme throughout the event.

“The industry understands that with AR we’re leveraging a camera and gathering new amounts of data,” he said. “Everyone wants to make sure the next wave of technology does right by the user. Safety is paramount.”

AWE Conference Trend: Diversity

Finally, as the spatial computing community grows, thought leaders like Emrich understand the responsibility to make sure no one is being left out of the conversation. The focus on diversity and inclusion is evident in the conference lineup, he said.

“As organizers, we’re very much attempting to encourage and welcome all voices as we’re making decisions,” Emrich said. “We want all voices to be at the table.”

Attend AWE USA 2019

As a media partner, ARPost can offer you a special 15% discount code ARPOST15 which you can enter at checkout. But that’s not all – we are also giving away two tickets to AWE USA 2019. Click here to enter our giveaway and get a chance to win a 3-day all-access pass (worth $1295)! The giveaway ends on May 8 at 11:59 PM EST. The winners will be randomly picked on May 10.

Jenna Spinelle
the authorJenna Spinelle
Jenna Spinelle is a freelance journalist based in Pennsylvania. She loves learning about new ideas and new technologies and sharing that information with others. She holds a degree in journalism from Penn State University, and currently teaches journalism as an adjunct instructor at the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. When she's not writing or teaching, you can find her hosting and producing the Democracy Works podcast.