8th Annual AWE Asia Conference Held in Shanghai, with a Spotlight on the Metaverse
AWE Asia held its 8th annual conference on August 26th and 27th, 2022, featuring over 50 industry keynote speakers and more than 60 exhibitions of Chinese XR projects and companies. The event, which was hosted in Shanghai and locally organized by Sunrise International, attracted thousands of in-person attendees and more than 160,000 clicks over livestream, bringing global attention on the contribution of Chinese companies to the XR field.
Attendees listen in on a keynote address at the main stage of AWE Asia 2022.
The theme of AWE Asia 2022 was “Virtual and Real Together.” In the coming years, the XR industry will serve as the interface between the real world and the metaverse, where the virtual and real can coexist. The grand opening of the forum featured Mr. Gavin Newton-Tanzer, president of AWE Asia, and Mr. Ori Inbar, co-founder of AWE, both of whom greeted the audience virtually from overseas and provided the latest insights into the ecology of the XR industry. Afterwards, Mr. Hu Lin, Vice President of AWE Asia, gave a speech to the audience on “what is the combination of virtual and real?" where he highlighted how “everyone has their own understanding of the metaverse and XR,”. To bridge these various perspectives on XR, Mr. Hu stressed the importance of finding common ground, and being persistent in our exploration of virtuality or reality. He noted that while there are challenges and obstacles in the XR industry, everyone at the event was a “deep cultivator in the XR industry" and that the XR industry has a bright future ahead.
Attendee tries out an immersive XR experience by Microsoft Hololens.
Along with the wide array of fantastic speeches and round-table forums that brought together industry practitioners, attendees had the opportunity to be the first to experience a number of innovative and cutting-edge technology products released by major exhibitors at the expo: including AWE Asia 2022 MOONSEER’s latest VR game “Wandering Space"; the VR Grand Prix, where attendees could compete to win the championship prize, the Crystal Headset; or the Microsoft HoloLens exhibit area for a new and immersive XR experience.
Main Stage Highlights at AWE Asia Included:
HTC China President Alvin Wang Graylin delivers a keynote address on ‘Metamorphosis of the Metaverse.’
- Jessica Miao, Mixed Reality Sales Lead of Microsoft China, who broke down the “Evolution of the Metaverse” into the forms it will encompass ‘Today’ (mixed reality and digital twin), ‘Tomorrow’ (share immersive experiences, and import 3D content and real-time data), and in the ‘Future’ (the existence of Interoperable Immersive Worlds), while also discussing how Microsoft HoloLens can increase ROI in a number of enterprise cases.
- Alvin Wang Graylin, President of HTC, China, spoke about the “Metaverse Metamorphosis," emphasizing that, just like the internet, it will take time for the metaverse to develop. Graylin used the metamorphosis of insects as a metaphor for the development of the metaverse. We are now at the “Egg Phase” in which many different companies exist that are working on a certain original part of the metaverse, while the “Butterfly Phase” (Interoperable Open Worlds) is still up to a decade away.
- Xiaoyan Li, Founder & CEO of EasyXR Advanced, discussed how a “New Experience of Entertainment” has arrived in the age of the metaverse. She states that the essence of the metaverse is an upgrade to the internet. Namely, the idea that ‘traffic is king’ will be no more, and the era of experience economy is coming. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people behave – including their shopping behavior and how they interact with one another. Therefore, the experiences that people have on the internet have received unprecedented attention.
- Shuqin Zhu, Deputy General Manager of Juhaokan Technology, outlined developments in Juhaokan Technology’s strategies to restructure commercial marketing for the metaverse by more deeply exploring metaverse and VR immersive conferences, as well as virtual image production. This includes the advent of Juhaokan’s hyper-realistic digital human employee Vickie (for the purpose of live broadcast and marketing activities), the application of digital human scenarios, and the release of the ‘Metaverse Conference System’.
- Selina Shen, CMO of MOONSEER GAMES, shared strategies to promote VR Indie Games overseas. Her core advice was to (1) focus on customer distribution to determine target consumers (for example, 67% of Quest platform users were American) (2) choose game themes that PCVR customers enjoy (Futuristic and Sci-Fi themes are currently popular), (3) balance time and output by using practices similar to Steam Early Access (this allows indie teams to hear from players and understand what they like/don’t like to see happen), (4) keep in mind requirements and challenges that the promotion team will face, and lastly (5) be aware of localization requirements (aka, the difference between Chinese, European, and American players).
There were a number of fascinating Sub-Stage highlights as well, including:
A thought-provoking forum being held on the development trend of XR in the ‘Metaverse Age’.
- “RTE + XR: How RTE Empowers the XR Ecosystem," which featured a “Fireside Chat” between Cynthia Yang, Senior Director of Agora Systems, and Alvin Wang, President of HTC China, on the future development of the Metaverse based on real-time interaction.
- AWE Asia’s “XR Startup Roadshow," which joined hands with Supersonic Program to help accelerate and promote the growth and development of XR startups, working with investors from 10 institutions to select winners to be prioritized at next spring’s “Supersonic Program”. This year, Kivisense Technology won first place, Uality Cloud won second place, and Firefly Dimension and TMVA tied for third place.
- The “Metaverse Application and Entrepreneurship Forum," sponsored by JD Retail Cloud, presented nine outstanding XR practitioners who spoke about various inspiring application scenarios of metaverse technology and shared up-to-date developments of XR tech. These developments included AR diffractive optical waveguides, arrayed optical waveguides, and optical field interaction.
- The “XR + Healthcare Industry” Forum, sponsored by AwakerTek, featured four speakers from the XR medical industry. The forum touched on hot topics in the XR medical industry such as “medical visualization” and “medical training,” as well as inspiring developments like the “medical malpractice liability determination” and “XR maternal knowledge content creation” --which explored new possibilities of XR-related healthcare.
AWE Asia also hosts the annual Auggie Awards, where some of the best XR industry professionals are commended for their contributions to the field. This year the winners included:
- “Wandering in Space” by MOONSEER GAMES, which won Best Creative Content.
- The “Hongke XR Solution” by Hongke, which won Best Enterprise Solution.
- The “3D Virtual Meeting System” by Juhaokan, which won Best XR Application.
Since its inception, AWE Asia has become a place where thousands of Asia’s industry leaders and top resources have gathered together to learn, network, and develop opportunities in every sense. This year’s expo continued this tradition, shining light on the many ways which the XR industry in China is making the metaverse a tangible reality, improving the lives of millions, and leading the way in creating cutting edge technology. The event’s global reach, and promotion of cooperation in the development and innovation of the XR industry, will also ensure a better actualization of what it means to bring the virtual and real world together now and in the future.