The Augmented World Expo (AWE) is returning live and in-person to Santa Clara, California, June 1-3. While sessions will also be available live and as recordings on AWE.LIVE, ARPost will be covering the event from the expo floor. Whether you attend the event on foot, online, or just rely on our coverage, here are just a few of the speakers and events that you can look forward to.
The Day-One Main Stage Marathon
AWE always opens with a welcome keynote from the event founder Ori Inbar. Also, the founder and managing partner of AR funding group Super Ventures, Inbar’s talks are always full of insight, passion, and a few laughs.
Immediately following Inbar’s welcome address is the Unity keynote by Unity Technologies CEO John Riccitiello. As one of the leading tools for 3D content creation, Unity is also one of the engines driving XR content and experiences.
Next on the main stage is the Qualcomm keynote by the Vice President and General Manager of XR, Hugo Swart. Last year during the Qualcomm keynote, Swart announced the company’s acquisition of Clay AIR and the launch of the developer platform Snapdragon Spaces. (For more on Snapdragon Spaces, Steve Lukas will be giving a presentation later on day one.)
Rounding out this two-hour block, XR Association CEO Elizabeth Hyman will present “The Tech Heard ‘Round the World – Embracing the Future of XR.” The talk is likely to discuss many of the themes presented in the recent report that the XRA published with the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Of course, companies don’t need to have a keynote to say something interesting. Major XR companies with talks scheduled include:
- Lenovo (read: ThinkReality)
- Niantic (and 8th Wall)
- Autodesk Inc
- Magic Leap
- Big Rock Creative
Some of the most interesting talks don’t promote a company or sell a product. While they might do this too, talks by individual speakers who have made names for themselves in the industry are often more rich in insight (and foresight) than company talks or even keynotes.
On day one, Matt Miesnieks will present “Merging Realities: Connecting the Metaverse to the Physical World.” Miesnieks has been around the AR block a few times but is probably best known for leading 6D.ai, an AR cloud program developer that was acquired by Niantic in 2020.
Later that day, Antony Vitillo presents “How to Organize a Great Virtual Event.” Vitillo (perhaps better known as SkarredGhost) will be speaking on behalf of immersive event studio VRrOOm but is also himself recognized as an accomplished developer, entrepreneur, consultant, and blogger.
On day two, Ellysse Dick will be presenting “Identity & Self Expression in the Metaverse.” Dick will be wearing the hat of Meta’s Reality Labs Policy Manager but is also a policy analyst for . At last year’s AWE, she sat on an incredible panel with XR Safety Initiative CEO Kavya Pearlman, and XR Association VP Joan O’Hara.
Speaking of, O’Hara has her own talk this year on day three titled “It Takes a Village to Build the Metaverse.” The talk is going to focus on the collection of biometric data from XR hardware and how companies, policymakers, and others can work together for the responsible collection and use of this material. Pearlman will have a separate but related talk later that day.
Also on day three, Gannet Senior Designer of Emerging Tech, Will Austin, who worked on USA Today’s largest AR launch presents “Growing User Confidence in AR: How UX Can Build Strong Engagement Relationships.” Also, Athena Demos of Big Rock Creative (the group that brings Burning Man to AltspaceVR) presents “Principles in the Metaverse (Multiverse).”
Individual speakers get the whole time to present their ideas in detail but panel discussions are a highlight of any gathering and this year has some doozies.
Day one is set to see a “Special Announcement from XRSI, XR Bootcamp, Meta” by Pearlman, Rahel Demant, and Rob Sherman respectively. Of course, we don’t know yet exactly what the announcement will be, but later the same day Pearlman and Sherman are joined by Ferhan Ozkan of XR Bootcamp to talk about “How to Build Strategic XR Talent Pipelines,” so we can guess.
Later that day, “Welcome to the XR Guild” will be presented by Holly Hirzel, Avi Bar-Zeev, Evo Heyning, Damon Hernandez, and Amy Peck. If none of those names sound familiar to you, that’s all the more reason to sit in or tune in because all of these speakers are giants in the field.
Early on day two, Khronos Group’s Neil Trevett is joined by Microsoft’s Aysegul Yonet and Epic Game’s David Morin. The team will be discussing “The Road from 3D Graphics to Metaverse.” A description is not yet available but as Khronos Group is a standards organization, this conversation will likely address the interoperability of immersive experiences.
Later on, “The XR Roundtable: Big Thinkers Tackle Burning Questions” panel will take place on the main stage. Big thinkers indeed! The speaker lineup is Cathy Hackl, Ted Schilowitz, Charlie Fink, Mike Boland, and Catherine Henry. Again, all of these speakers have titles, but to associate any one of them with any one outlet or project would be reductivist.
AWE’s Auggie Awards
This year there are 88 finalists across 15 Auggie Awards categories, not counting Best in Show AR, Best in Show VR, Startup to Watch, and the AWEsome Award. Nominees were posted by the public earlier this year, followed by an open round of voting to determine the finalists. The finalists will be chosen by the 22-person AWE advisory council.
The main categories will be presented in a special ceremony on the evening of day two, with the remaining four categories awarded during the closing sessions on day three. These categories include things like presence on the demo floor and during other expo events and so cannot be nominated or voted on, but rather are awarded at the discretion of the AWE Advisory Council.
Too. Much. Fun.
If you were cross-referencing this article with the AWE agenda, you probably noticed that some of these events overlap. You may have also noticed that there are some amazing-looking sessions and incredible speakers that we didn’t mention. This is representative of AWE and our coverage.
If you read our coverage before, you know that it often starts out with a warning that we just can’t cover everything. There is so much going on at an event like AWE that, in-person or otherwise, it just can’t all be covered (We didn’t even mention the expo floor!). But we do our best.