If you’re a regular reader of ARPost, you probably get excited for the Augmented World Expo each year. You may wonder why there aren’t more such events in other places. We’re based in the US, as are most of our readers, so that’s the AWE event that we cover, but there are other AWE events worldwide and we can’t contain our excitement anymore for AWE Asia 2021.
Some of the most prolific and exciting XR developers and manufacturers are in Asia, and many of them are attending, sponsoring, and speaking at AWE Asia in the Marriott Hotel Financial Centre in Chengdu, China, on September 27-28. ARPost won’t be able to cover this event in the depth that we’ll cover the American conference, but we’re still excited.
The Long Road to AWE Asia
For the last two years, the Augmented World Expo has existed entirely online so that it could continue educating and inspiring the XR world during the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, the Augmented World Expo was well-positioned to turn this obstacle into an opportunity. For example, during AWE USA 2020, HP’s Joanna Popper announced the HP Reverb G2 in Altspace.
“We want to find a way to eliminate the barriers of a three-day conference in one location,” event organizer Ori Inbar told ARPost in a May interview.
A similar remote event model was even used to increase the number of regional meetups held by AWE throughout the year. Some were on platforms like Zoom, but others were in VR on platforms like Spatial. Inbar said that these events didn’t only increase in frequency, but also in quality.
“Almost every week you have two or three of these events going on, and it creates this kind of ongoing drum-beat,” said Inbar. “Our mission is really to get to the point where the whole year is an AWE event… no matter where or when you join, log in, and check it out, there is something going on.”
While these remote events aren’t going anywhere, Inbar said that the “pent-up demand” for in-person events was a deciding factor when AWE decided last spring to open up the conferences with a hybrid model in 2021. The events will still be streamed online as they had been for the last two years, but there will also be a live conference component.
“I think people are so excited to meet in the same room,” said Inbar. “Of course, we’re trying to make this a big come-back event.”
Taking place almost two months before AWE USA, AWE Asia will be a come-back event as well as a learning opportunity.
A Sneak-Peak at the Event
When we spoke to Inbar in May for our article on the future of remote events, he called the decision to return to live events by autumn of 2021 “a pretty audacious bet.” Since then, we have seen the large success of the vaccines as well as the dark cloud of virus variants.
In light of increased caseloads in China, the AWE Asia Organizing Committee announced during the writing of this article that the event would be postponed from the original dates, September 2-3, to its current scheduled time later in the month. Fortunately, the hybrid model and AWE Asia having a smaller schedule than AWE USA will help keep the event safe.
While there are fewer presenters and speakers registered for AWE Asia than for AWE USA, the roster is promising. Sponsors include optical solutions leader ams OSRAM, haptic glove maker HaptX, and AR glasses manufacturers RealWear and Rokid, with many more.
The full itinerary isn’t public yet, but the website for AWE Asia reports over 50 speakers, over 60 exhibitors, and thousands of registered attendants over the course of the two-day event. Registration is still open, and as of this writing, early bird tickets are still available. Early bird pricing doesn’t expire on a certain date – instead, there are a limited number of discount tickets.
Once those early bird tickets are sold out, standard tickets go to $US96, and VIP tickets go to $US400. Both tickets include access to all speaker stages and the expo floor, a souvenir, and refreshments. The VIP ticket includes all of these as well as two lunch buffets and a cocktail reception, special seating, and access to exclusive locations and events.
The Return to In-Person
AWE Asia is going to be bigger and better than ever, and it’s slated to happen in person. The event puts the spotlight on some of our favorite XR companies from the other side of the globe, and we’re excited to see what they announce.