DIGILITY: Conference and Expo for Virtual and Augmented Reality

The Digility Conference took place in Cologne from 22 to 23 September 2016. Two exciting days were packed with interesting talks, technology demos and panel discussions. Peers known in the VR & AR environment came together to talk about their visions and ideas for the future. Since this was the first time the conference took place, we didn’t know what to expect. But the line-up of speakers looked promising and on top of this IQ Gemini, run by Kimo Quaintance and Alissia Iljaitsch, two speakers at former 3IT events, was responsible for the program. They invited Kathleen Schröter to moderate the “Developing for VR & AR” track and also asked her to give a keynote at the “Brand Experiences & Best Practices” track. Among the speakers were Alysha Naples, Magic Leap’s Senior Director of User Experience and Interaction until recently, and Robert Scoble from Upload VR.

The conference was basically split into six pieces with talks and presentations on two main topics each day as well as different kinds of workshops. If you are interested in the conference program, please click here. Unfortunately it is not possible to give a report on all talks since two tracks were running parallel all day long but let’s try to summarize the main facts.

Digility was co-located with this year’s photokina in Cologne’s huge trade fair center and professionally organized and executed with about 1000 guests. The focus was on AR & VR and the upcoming industry around it with the goal to learn about the technology, the stories, to connect with other spirits in this field, to push its development and discuss the social impact of these rising technologies.

Alysha Naples, who was working for Magic Leap until recently, opened the conference with a clear message: Human beings do not really change a lot, we all have the same needs. Although the mode or the physical form may vary from decade to decade: people pack the same things they used to pack ages ago (only changing the mode – from a printed book to an ebook for instance). People are just physical. When we move half of our stuff into the digital space we leave the physical space – but still exist. Having this in mind, how do we need to design interaction? We must not carry over old metaphors to new media! Instead we need to create something completely new for new devices. We have to remove the frame that separates us from the data on the screen. Plus: We don´t need the screens anymore. Let´s go in-between! Break the screen that separates both worlds.

Whether they were representing a tech & developing company like NVIDIA, 3DEXCITE or Crytek or a consumer brand like Audi, Volkswagen or Deutsche Bahn – many speakers made similar points: People get excited when you let them do impossible things. Also, people love to interact. Main message: Let them run free and experience your demo this way! Once again, exploration and engagement are the key factors to success! Alysha Naples’ talk later on the first day was stated afterwards to be the most important talk on AR/VR in 2016 – at least that’s what the magazine t3n wrote. One cannot sum up in just one sentence what her mission and vision are but to lay emphasis on the fact she reminded the audience once more that human beings don´t change. Only technology around us does. But humans still live a physical life, have a family, relations, they are eager to learn, to share, to play and to explore the world. Technology changes over the course of years and should support us and meet our needs. Alysha warned to not only think about the user of AR glasses. We must not only think about the perfect content for him or her – but we also need to think about the non-wearers. What’s with the other people in the room? How do AR and spatial computing affect society? Not addressing those questions might have been the reason why google glasses were unsuccessful. We recommend to read the article Why Google Glass Failed, But Magic Leap Will Succeed which summarizes an interview with Robert Scoble earlier this year.

To learn more about DIGILITY check out their website which includes all speakers and the program. For more photos you are invited to have a look at their facebook page and for even more detailed reports on this event we recommend to read what their official media partners wrote: www.augmented.org.


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