Working as a professional within any field cannot be done in isolation, and this is especially true of those who represent joint disciplines such as education and technology. Increasingly, this is done virtually because it eases the burden of travel, but it could never be a complete replacement for the connections made during in-person events. Being the Chief Technology Officer for VEDX Solutions, it was my privilege to represent our rapidly growing immersive education startup as a speaker at two separate events within the span of a week, one a live conference and the other a virtual summit.
The first was GIST 2022 (Gaming Istanbul), which is the premiere annual gaming and cosplay event in the country of Turkey. Most of VEDX Solutions development work has been within Virtual Reality and, even though education and enterprise make up a substantial portion of the VR market, the majority still belongs to gaming. Moreover, not all of our efforts within VR development act independently of gaming, so there remains significant crossover between the domains of education and entertainment.
While there, myself and other startups found meaningful connections with talented development teams, investors, and potential partners, but the other great value came from learning people’s perception and overall literacy with XR technologies. When I first attended the conference four years ago, I would have to describe first what virtual reality was, but conversations have moved away from that to other topics like the Metaverse and AI. This was a sign to me that the XR market is achieving maturity through awareness as the question has moved from, ‘What is XR?’ to ‘What is XR’s potential for…?’ This came through in the other speakers as well, who have largely given up on Introductions to Immersive gaming to answering questions like, ‘How will this be affected by AI?’ and ‘How do we ensure representation and security within immersive tech?’. My own speech was on even-handed approaches to moderation in the Metaverse, a topic of researched for over five years, and an area in which VEDX plans to be a leader in education.
The following week, the inaugural Gatherverse E.U. Summit took place, featuring many thought leaders, entrepreneurs, and voices on immersive technologies throughout Europe and beyond. Gatherverse has grown rapidly as a community this year through the endless efforts of Christopher Lafayette, supporters like Euromersive’s Isabel de Peuter-Rutten, and many others. Lafayette has been a primary voice in building human-centered Metaversal and immersive tech that empowers people socially, professionally, and educationally while ensuring their security isn’t compromised or information isn’t used in ways they don’t consent to. Likewise, Euromersive – a group of which I’m a member – promotes these humanity facing values while seeking out support for the local community to make a sustainable ecosystem for the growth of immersive technology, regardless the individual sector. Highlights included speakers like Nina Salomons speaking on the connection between XR and mental health, extremely prolific Metaverse blogger Tom Fiske giving us an overview of the current industry, my long-time colleague within Zero Events Tim Deussen speaking on European Education Platforms in the Metaverse, and Daniel Dyboski Bryant sharing the latest on the Virtual World Society. Given that it was virtual, the event had a wealth of interchange and sharing, and I’m certain to return to watch the presentations I missed.
Neither I nor VEDX Solutions is stopping there as maintaining an educational technologies community while getting our voices heard requires continuous contact with the community in whatever way possible. Anyone hoping to speak with me or the team should reach out now for whatever reason, and if you have a story to tell, our CEO Jay Schnoor holds regular talks with industry experts which are broadcast within the Metaverse. Also, if you’re an event organizer and think we can be a contribution to your event, let us know, and we can work together to build this forward-facing community in immersive education.