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HTC Conducts Its First Virtual “VIVE Ecosystem Conference” (V²EC) fully in VR Allowing Global Attendees to Join Virtual Sessions

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HTC VIVE held its fifth annual XR industry conference, now renamed the Virtual VIVE Ecosystem Conference (V²EC), but this time in VR. It marks the first major physical industry event that has been replaced fully by an interactive VR digital twin.

Approximately two thousand participants from over 55 countries have registered for the event, with worldwide speakers attended the event in the form of their own custom VR avatars, all with the freedom to interact with each other and the special space that was created for the event, just as they would expect from a physical conference. Executives and experts from leading XR and telecom industry players shared their insights on the coming impact of the XR on the world and the audience we treated to a unique immersive conference experience not possible in the real world.

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At the V2EC2020, Cher Wang, Chairwoman of HTC, delivered the opening speech through her virtual avatar: “HTC’s original intention of entering VR industry is to give human beings the chance and possibility to break through physical limitations and realize their dreams by leveraging advanced technologies. At the same time, in the face of this pandemic, HTC is demonstrating VR’s potential to break through conventional thinking and physical boundaries. This is the real significance of V2EC2020.”

Yves Maitre, CEO of HTC, said: “Innovation remains the main driver of HTC’s continuous development. HTC has been creating an ecosystem with core products, including VR, AR, AI, blockchain, and 5G, since 2015. In 2020, 5G technologies will certainly be commercially applied across various fields on a large scale. The VR sector will also develop lockstep with the popularization of 5G. Centering on products and services, we will continue exploring these cutting-edge technologies, and expand the WAVE mobile XR ecosystem, to lead the development of the XR industry in an effort to introduce novel technologies to daily life and work. VR brings us a sense of immersion and the experience of keeping close during difficult times. Science and technology are the keys to changing our lives.”

At the conference, HTC and China Mobile signed the Cloud VR Strategic Cooperation Memorandum to accelerate the creation of a true XR ecosystem together. Yves Maitre (CEO of HTC), Xin Liu (CEO of China Mobile Migu), and Xiaowei Luan (GM of China Mobile Group Device) signed the MOU as their virtual counterparts on a grand virtual stage. This strategic partnership included areas of cooperation including the integration of the VIVEPORT content platform and the WAVE Mobile XR platform into China Mobile’s offerings, as well as hardware joint development for the B2C and B2B markets. They will equip hardware providers and developers with higher standards for the XR industry, as a whole, with the aim of bestowing the best XR experience for consumers and businesses in China.

“To help enable collaboration within and growth of the XR industry, we have conducted the Vive Ecosystem Conference every year since 2016,” HTC China President, Alvin W. Graylin said. “This year, in the face of the global COVID-19 outbreak, we are taking the lead to show the world the power of VR to effectively convert an in-person conference into a fully interactive virtual one. The inability to meet and communicate face to face will be an increasing challenge for the world, but XR can be one solution. To stay safe these days, we need to create more distance between people, and conversely, one of the biggest benefits of XR is the ability to remove the perception of distance and boundaries for users.”

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“Prior to this virus pandemic, the mindset of many people is that XR is a nice-to-have technology.  Post-outbreak, the benefits of XR to overcome the physical barriers between people could make it a must-have technology over time. The killer app of XR isn’t a specific game or application like with prior computing technologies, but rather the ability to regain a part of the daily life we lost due to the new reality facing the world today. Working-from-home, distance learning, home-based fitness, immersive entertainment and networked social interactivity will all be part of the new normal in our lives, and made more agreeable if more users could adopt XR technologies.”

HTC selected the ENGAGE VR events platform from ImmersiveVR Education (IVRE) as the underlying system for conducting the V²EC2020 as it was able to meet the needs of a full-scale industry event in a virtual arena. ENGAGE VR allows attendees to have 1:1 social interactions and high visual quality, while offering management tools to conduct a large-scale event with or without a VR device.

In addition, virtual events save the time and cost of traveling and will have huge environmental benefits even when the initial health concerns of the virus subside. The need for tools like this to help businesses continue to operate effectively post-outbreak will only increase. On stage at V2EC, a new strategic partnership between HTC and IVRE was announced, allowing HTC to distribute the ENGAGE platform globally.

The conference also provided in-depth technical tutorials in VR on new advanced developer tools created by Vive for its developer community. Using an immersive environment to teach how to develop for VR also made some complex issues much simpler to grasp. The sessions encompassed areas such as Vive Eye Tracking Integration and foveated rendering, Vive Hand Tracking, and the latest Vive Wave SDK for mobile XR development.

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