Lessons Learned from the Educators in VR Conference

Lorelle VanFossen, one of the organizers of the wildly successful six-day Educators in VR 2020 International Summit, recently wrote up a very detailed blogpost outlining the experience of setting up and running a virtual conference on AltspaceVR and four other social VR platforms.

Here’s a link to the entire article on the Educators in VR website, and I would very strongly encourage you to read it in full. However, I will highlight just a couple of things that the Educators in VR group co-founders Daniel Dyboski-Bryant and Lorelle VanFossen, and their hard-working team of volunteers, learned along the way.

Their original plan was only to have 40 to 60 speakers, but that ballooned to 170 speakers in over 150 events spread over 6 days (happening at time zones around the clock for a global audience). Because everybody volunteered their time and energy for this free-to-attend event, the total costs for the entire six-day virtual conference were only around US$300! (Try doing that for a real-world conference!)

Most of the events were held in AltspaceVR:

As our home-base is currently AltspaceVR, we worked with our Educators in VR team and the AltspaceVR events team to ensure our event spaces would be safe and high performance to accommodate a variety of devices. While other virtual social and event platforms are usually limited to 20-50 attendees, AltspaceVR could be easily coaxed to larger room numbers and features the Front Row tool that allows for the mirroring of events spaces, allowing hundreds to thousands of attendees to view the experience from separate identical event spaces, improving overall user and device performance. Accordingly, we hosted the majority of our events in AltspaceVR.

In fact, the team behind AltspaceVR learned so much from hosting this conference that they just announced a slew of new features, including links to Patreon and EventBrite to allow for ticketed events in future!

I’m sure that many new users were introduced to AltspaceVR because of the Educators in VR conference, and both parties benefited from the partnership! The summit also gave ENGAGE, Rumii, Somnium Space, and Mozilla Hubs an opportunity to show off their platforms to those who never experienced them before, too.

Other conference organizers were quick to take note. HTC decided to have its annual Vive Ecosystem Conference in ENGAGE. And both Mozilla Hubs and AltspaceVR were used for the recently concluded IEEE VR 2020 conference, which, for the first time, was held entirely in virtual reality (and opened up for free to the general public) due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Hearty congratulations to Lorelle and Daniel, and a special shout-out to Donna McTaggart, the tireless Summit Coordinator and Manager, and her team of 75 volunteers!

I leave you with a one-and-a-half hour YouTube video where the organizers share what they learned behind the scenes, a must watch!

Lorelle ends her article by saying that they are now taking what they have learned from running the Educators in VR Summit and making that expertise available to others as consultants:

We’re developing training courses to help you produce your own virtual events of all sizes. The Educators in VR team is already providing consultation services to companies exploring virtual meetings and conferences, and negotiating production of virtual conferences and workshops for a variety of companies globally. We planned on taking our time, but with the demand for alternatives due to the COVID-19/coronavirus, we’re stepping up and into this as part of our range of services for working with business and academia to integrate virtual technologies.

If we can assist you, please contact us for more information.

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Some Pictures from the Opening of the Virtual VIVE Ecosystem Conference (V2EC), March 18th, 2020

Here are a few screencaps I took from the livestream of the Virtual VIVE Ecosystem Conference opening, held on the ENGAGE educational social VR platform:

HTC Chairowman Cher Wang
Cher addresses the virtual audience
HTC CEO Yves Maitre

Looks like the V2EC conference is off to a great start! You can watch the livestream here.

Registration Has Opened for HTC’s Virtual Vive Ecosystem Conference (V²EC) March 19th

Just a reminder that online registration has opened for HTC’s Virtual Vive Ecosystem Conference (V²EC), which will be held on the ENGAGE social VR platform on Thursday, March 19th, starting at 1:30 a.m. GMT. The conference will be bilingual (English/Chinese) and registration is free.

Here is the link to the online registration for the conference. Follow the hashtag #V2EC2020 on Twitter for more information.

HTC Is Holding Its Annual Vive Ecosystem Conference March 19th on the ENGAGE Social VR Platform

Image Credit: HTC

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.

According to today’s VR Scout report by Bobby Carlton:

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 Road to VR reports:

The so called Virtual Vive Ecosystem Conference (stylized as V²EC) is slated to take place on March 19th in ENGAGEthe 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.