Both the VRScout and Road to VR news websites are reporting that VR headset maker HTC will be holding its Vive Ecosystem Conference (VEC) on virtual reality instead of an in-person event, as a response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Just recently, the Educators in VR International Summit showcased how VR could be used to bring people together for a week-long educational event. The event had an incredible turnout and showcased VR’s ability to connect people from all over the world for education and collaborative opportunities.
Alvin Wang, President of HTC China, was one of the presenters during the summit; after which he walked away seeing the advantages of virtual conferences. In a recent Tweet, Wang announced that HTC will be hosting the world’s first fully virtual industry conference on March 19th through the platform Engage.
Those attending V2EC2020 will enjoy a 6DOF VR experience accessible via WebVR, tablet, or smartphone. Like a real-world conference, HTC will have a line-up of speakers, team-building experiences, and amazing networking opportunities with zero carbon, zero travel, and zero risk of Coronavirus.
In an interview with VRScout, Wang said, “The CoronaVirus has dramatically impacted the people and business in China for the last two months and is forcing the country and now, the rest of the world to rethink how we live our lives and conduct business.” Wang continues, “Essentially all physical events and travel in the country have been canceled since January, so doing a fully VR event makes perfect sense.”
The so called Virtual Vive Ecosystem Conference (stylized as V²EC) is slated to take place on March 19th in ENGAGE, the education & training-focused social VR platform created by Immersive VR Education, the same minds behind VR experiences Apollo 11 VR and Titanic VR.
The news was announced by HTC Vive China President Alvin Wang Graylin in a tweet, stating that virtual attendees can follow along either via 6DOF VR headset or livestream via monitor.
Online registration for the V²EC conference opens on March 10th via the ENGAGE website. Neither website reported whether there was a registration fee, however.
Dozens of real-world conferences and events are being postponed or cancelled because of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, but the upcoming IEEE VR 2020 virtual reality conference, which was to have taken place March 22nd to 26th in Atlanta, Georgia, has done something unprecedented.
Out of an abundance of caution surrounding COVID-19, the decision has been made to convert the in-person component of VR 2020 into an all-digital conference experience – VR 2020 will now be an online event. Therefore, VR 2020 will no longer take place in Atlanta, Georgia and will instead take place virtually. The conference dates remain the same – 22-26 March 2020.
We are excited to support many more attendees now that the conference is being held online, which will be provided free of charge for non-authors. More details will be available soon for online registration.
IEEE VR 2020 is moving to be exclusively online, and to a very different financial model to support the publication, presentation, and sharing of your research in light of the venue cancellation. The general chairs and steering committee have chosen to use a simplified model of a flat-fee per published contribution ($450). This is to support maximum attendance at the online event, allowing non-author registration to remain free of charge.
The purpose of this form is to let us know how you want to allocate your registration payments to your associated published research contributions (e.g. poster, paper, demo abstract), and to determine any refund that you are due. Note that refunds are not guaranteed until all fees are fully covered for your contributions. Each published contribution requires a fee of $450. Please work with any of your coauthors to determine who is going to pay these fees.
By the way, the organizers are actively looking for volunteers to help pull this off, so if you’re interested, here’s the form to volunteer. I’ve already signed up, and I hope to see you online for the conference!
The recently-concluded Educators in VR 2020 International Summit was proof that you can indeed run an entire six-day conference in social VR! So I thought I would use this space to promote another VR conference which, while not being held completely in virtual reality, will have an online component via social VR. And the best part is, the online experience is completely free! All you have to do is register.
As part of the IEEE’s long term goal to increase the sustainability and accessibility of the conference, this year IEEE VR 2020 is hosting a collection of online social virtual spaces for people who cannot travel to Atlanta during the week of March 22-26th. These web-based 3D spaces will be accessible in traditional web browsers on most devices, and in VR via WebVR. This experimental track is IEEE VR’s first step toward future conferences adding even more meaningful remote experiences for people who are not able to physically attend the conference.
The conference organizers will be live streaming video of the technical paper sessions and keynotes (information will be available on the VR website closer to the conference). Taking advantage of these streams, they are creating 3D social spaces for remote participants to co-watch the talks with others, socialize and meet each other. They also plan to use these 3D social spaces to host a virtual poster session (for a subset of the posters whose non-attending co-authors would like to present remotely).
All of the online activities this year will take place synchronously with the real-world conference, which will generally be 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST during the week of March 22-26th, 2020. (And let’s hope that the coronavirus epidemic does not scuttle those plans!) A complete program overview is available on the official IEEE VR 2020 conference website.
The IEEE will use a customized version of the Mozilla Hubs social VR platform to host a collection of virtual rooms for people who cannot physically attend the conference. Participants can join the Hubs rooms from any web browser, using 2D screens or immersive VR displays. The conference site is located at https://hubs.ieeevr.online, and will be available to all registered conference attendees.
These rooms will include spaces to co-watch the conference video streams in small groups, visit a virtual poster session running synchronously with the live poster sessions at IEEE VR, and social rooms for remote attendees. Anyone may register for the remote experience and join other remote viewers in the shared 3D spaces, discuss the talks and posters and meet other remote attendees.
The IEEE’s goal is to increase access to the conference for remote participants who would otherwise be unable to attend due to mobility impairments, chronic health issues, temporary travel limitations, or a choice to reduce their impact on the environment due to carbon emissions from long distance travel.
Participants access the Hubs rooms by visiting https://hubs.ieeevr.online, and logging in with the email address they used to register for the conference (see information below on how to register). The IEEE will require all remote participants to register for IEEE VR on the main registration site (at no cost) to gain access to the hubs virtual spaces.
The IEEE is using their regular conference registration system to register for the Online Experience. Please note that registration is required to gain access to the Hubs server (at https://hubs.ieeevr.online) and the VR 2020 Slack server (used by both local and online attendees to chat about the conference).
To register for the online experience, use the main registration website for the conference. Fill out the registration form via the “Click here to Register” button on http://ieeevr.org/2020/attend/registration.html and select only the “Online Experience” on the final page (Registration Items). Some of the questions (such as whether you need a Visa Letter and Dietary Restrictions) are only relevant for people attending in person, so you can select “No” for the Visa Letter and ignore the Dietary Restrictions selections.
The IEEE will be uploading the registration list to the hubs.ieeevr.online system and to the Slack invitation system (https://ieeevr-slack-invite.glitch.me/) at regular intervals leading up to the conference. They will post updates to the http://ieeevr.org/2020/online/ website about social and training sessions with the online system, over the next few weeks.
In addition, the IEEE VR 2020 conference is looking for volunteers to help run the social experiences. If you are interested in remotely participating, and would like to help make this a great experience for everyone, please consider volunteering! To sign up as a possible volunteer, please fill out this form:
Just a reminder that the Educators in VR 2020 International Summit opens today, and will be running events pretty much around-the-clock for its global audience until it wraps up at noon Pacific Time on Saturday, February 22nd. The conference opens at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time today. Among the speakers on the first day are virtual reality pioneer Tom Furness, as well as Alvin Wang Graylin of HTC China.
The complete schedule is at the link above. Many of the events will take place in AltspaceVR, but events will also take place on four other social VR platforms: ENGAGE, rumii, Mozilla Hubs, and Somnium Space. The entire conference is free and open to the public. You do not need a virtual reality headset to attend! The conference events will also be livestreamed to YouTube at this URL.
I will be one of the speakers on the final morning of the Summit, giving two talks: one as a librarian (Social VR and Libraries: A Look Back and a Look Forward) and one as a blogger (Four Lessons Learned as a Social VR Blogger). Here’s a link to the event on the ENGAGE website.
I had my first technical and speech run-through in ENGAGE’s beautiful virtual recreation of the Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford yesterday:
See you there! I plan to attend as many presentations as possible, before I give my own talks on Saturday. This will be a conference you will not want to miss!