Hear from the leading industry voices in immersive technology. Learn about the latest advances in AR, VR and XR research and how it can applied by the industry. Keep an eye out as we add to the keynote and session speaker line-up.
Lynette Wallworth is an Emmy award winning Australian artist/filmmaker. Wallworth’s work has shown at film festivals including- Sundance Film Festival, Venice Film festival, IDFA, CPHDox, Hotdox, London Film Festival, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne Film Festivals among many others. Wallworth’s works include the interactive video installation Evolution of Fearlessness; the award winning fulldome feature Coral; the AACTA award winning documentary Tender, the Emmy award winning virtual reality and Emmy Award winning XR work ‘Awavena’ which premiered at Sundance Film Festival and was in competition at the Venice Film Festival 2018.
Tipatat Chennavasin is a VR investor and developer. He is also a general partner and a co-founder of the Venture Reality Fund. Tipatat has extensive experience creating both interactive VR/AR and 360 video. He has entrepreneurial experience as co-founder and CEO of mobile game startup Big Head Mode, Inc. that he sold to PlayFirst to focus on VR. He is an advisor for many VR companies as well as a mentor for VR incubators and accelerators around the world.
Alvin Graylin is the China President at HTC, leading all aspects of HTC’s business in the region (Vive/VR, phone, Viveport content platform, partnerships and investments) and the company’s SW business globally. He is also currently Vice-Chairman of the Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance with 300+ company members, President of the $18B Virtual Reality Venture Capital Alliance and oversees the Vive X VR Accelerators in Beijing, Shenzhen and Tel Aviv. Alvin is a sought after speaker and thought leader in the areas of VR/AR, AI, Entrepreneurship, and doing business in China by events and media globally.
Aliesha Staples is the founder and director of StaplesVR an emerging technology company that has been awarded multiple accolades for its work. Aliesha has produced projects for studios and television networks including Warner Brothers, Paramount Pictures, TVNZ and ABC.
A creative technology producer on a mission to bring VR to the masses. Jessica has been working in the immersive arts sectors for the past 5 years. She led the development of the NZ VR Association, a centre for VR/AR R&D and has been awarded for her work in VR therapy and games. Her company Beyond are the developers behind Oddball, NZ’s only multiplayer free roam VR game. Players describe Oddball as lasertag in a Dr Suess world with all 5 star reviews on TripAdvisor.
Amber Taylor (Ngāti Whātua, Ngāpuhi, Tainui, Ngāti Mutunga, Te Āti Awa) is the CEO of ARA Journeys, a company she co-founded in 2018. Inspired by and drawing on indigenous knowledge, ARA's digital platforms utilise AR, MR, XR and AI to achieve the key objectives of connection, education, and exploration. Their work spans five key sectors: Environment, Health (physical & mental), Education, Tourism and Information Technology. ARA was a finalist in the 2019 NZ Hi-Tech Awards and Highly Commended finalist of the Callaghan CPrize Challenge.
Associate Professor Taehyun Rhee is Director of Computational Media Innovation Centre at the Victoria University of Wellington, and a founder of Mixed Reality startup DreamFlux. He conducts research on using AR/VR for telepresence, Mixed Reality rendering, digital characters, and related topics.
Husain has 15 years of experience in the tech sector, with a particular focus on commercialising new technology, and innovating using design-led principles. Having successfully created new businesses and value propositions for Datacom, he now heads up Datacom Foundry, a global capability that operates across Datacom Group to help organisations reinvent customer experiences and business models through creating a platform for leading innovation, and using emerging technology to create transformational digital products.
Scott Cardwell is the Co-founder and CEO of ImmerseMe.com, a virtual reality-based language education company. With 14 years of experience in online languages education, Scott is at the global forefront of digital innovation and creative solutions for language learners. Scott is passionate about education, technology and ensuring a sustainable, creative future for students.
Tip Piumsomboon is a Principal at Blackbird Ventures, a top venture capital firm seeding the likes of Canva, Zoox and Culture Amp. Blackbird has invested in over 70 companies in a range of industries and typically leads Seed and Series A rounds with follow-on investments. Tip is based in New Zealand, along with Blackbird Partner Samantha Wong, to spearhead the $60M fund dedicated to investing in Kiwi founders building world-class technology companies. Tip started her career in the investment team at NZ Super Fund before automating her role in equities research at a fintech startup, Simply Wall St.
Stefanie Zollmann is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Before joining the University of Otago, she was a developer and researcher working with Animation Research Ltd on XR visualization and tracking technology for sports broadcasting and urban planning. Before that, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Computer Graphics and Vision at Graz University of Technology. In 2013, she obtained a PhD degree from the Institute for Computer Graphics and Vision in Graz and in 2007, she graduated in Media Systems at Bauhaus University Weimar, Germany. Her main research interests are XR for sports and media, visualization techniques for augmented reality, but also include capturing for XR and immersive experiences.
Rob is Founder of Curiat with 30 years’ experience in Change Management. His early adoption of point of use spatial computing tools with a special interest in enterprise-based AR/XR use-cases, makes him one of the most knowledgeable Directors activating AR/XR in NZ for workplace improvement. A background in performance management as Chubb’s NZ as National Business Excellence Manager, Sealy New Zealand Operations Manager, and Vitaco Lean Process Improvement Specialist, led him to establish Curiat Limited in 2016 and has worked on AR/XR initiatives for Healthcare, Marketing and POU field service applications.
Dr Danielle Lottridge’s career spans Silicon Valley where she conducted research for Tumblr and Yahoo and released a videochat app lauded by Apple as “new apps we love”. Lottridge completed a PhD in Human Factors Engineering at University of Toronto, migrated South to do a postdoc at Stanford University in California, where she also pursued a credential in art therapy. Now a Senior Lecturer in Computer Science at University of Auckland, Lottridge combines these areas of inquiry in new therapeutic AR/VR for creativity, social interaction, and mental and physical health.
Melanie Langlotz has spent 20 years in the Film and TV industry as a VFX Artist and online editor. While on the lookout for the next media platform, she decided to move into Augmented Reality and eventually founded her own game design studio Geo AR Games in 2015. Geo AR Games flagship product is Magical Park, the world's 1st AR playground that gets kids off the couch and physically active outside in a park using mobile games. The studio takes government messages and gamifies them to help with community education in areas like environmental science and emergency management. The studio is based at Grid Auckland and likes to collaborate with other Start-ups. One of those collaborations led to Geo AR Games' involvement in the marine education industry combining sensor technology, Mixed Reality and animatronics.
Associate Professor Heide Lukosch leads the Applied Immersive Gaming Initiative (AIGI) at the HIT Lab NZ. The aim of AIGI is to connect games research and industry in New Zealand to foster the design and use of applied immersive games. Before joining the HIT Lab NZ, Heide was head of the gamelab of Delf University of Technology, the Netherlands. She has designed and researched numerous physical and digital games to support actors in domains such as education, transport and logistics, and humanitarian aid response.
Mairi is an award winning documentary maker and cinematographer who has shot feature-length dramas, cinematic shorts, a slew of documentaries and music videos. Her practice-led research has broken away from traditional aspect-ratio limitations to create ultra-widescreen (48:9) video. She uses immersive installations to build a commons based on the pre-modern concept of productive, non-hierarchical relationships in a shared space.
Her MPhil video installation, Common Ground, was exhibited at Resilient Places/Resilient: Elders Voices Summit at first nations’ Tsawout Reserve, Vancouver Island, the Pah Homestead (Wallace Arts Trust) and at No 1 Parnell St Gallery in Rawene as part of the 2017 Hokianga Film Festival. She is currently extending her research by investigating how an urban commons might be initiated using Augmented and Virtual Realities and 360° 3D image capture.
Kate is one of the founders of DOTDOT, an award winning creative studio focused on generating impact through social and immersive experiences. Exploring the boundaries of technology, art and design, DOTDOT creates experiences that are memorable, playful, and interactive. Kate has a multifaceted background, she moved from dancing on the stage, to hiding behind a camera, to designing multiplayer storyworlds across networks. She is an experienced documentary storyteller, researcher, game designer and creative producer especially interested in exploring immersive installations as an intersection of the skills collected across theatre, documentary, dance and games. She is currently a designer in residence at the New York Hall of Science and an Oculus Launch Pad Fellow.
Sam is a proven thought leader, storyteller and creative technology innovator. She has spent over 20 years finding awe-inspiring ways to bring stories and experiences to life, starting with digital and extending into exhibitions, and augmented and virtual reality. Passionate about creating authentic experiences, Sam sees technology as a driver and enabler for creative ideas that truly connect with their audience. The co-founder and Managing Director of award-winning creative tech studio Method, AR/VR studio M Theory and game studio Wanderer, Sam is on a mission to foster greater collaboration within the tech and creative industries, with the goal of showcasing local talent and attracting international projects.
Benjamin O'Brien is CEO at StretchSense, a company that produces smart stretch sensors for measuring human body motion. Their MoCap Pro Glove is used by studios developing AAA rated games, feature films and new VR experiences to capture detailed finger movements that convey the fine nuance of an actor’s performance.
Mel Harrington is an experienced Geospatial Professional with over 10 years industry experience working as a Cadastral Surveyor in New Zealand and more recently with Trimble Inc. as Product Manager of Trimble SiteVision based in Colorado, USA. Mel has recently returned to New Zealand to work for Trimble’s Distribution Partner, continuing to pursue her passion for technology and the geospatial industry, by applying her surveying and product development knowledge to the New Zealand construction industry. In addition to her primary job, Mel is Chair of the International Federation of Surveyors Young Surveyors Network, and was recently recognized for her contributions to the profession by being awarded Young Professional of the Year in the 2019 Asia Pacific Spatial Excellence Awards.
Jon has helped make loads of immersive experiences, films, commercials, art projects... all sorts of things, in a variety of roles including director, visual effects artist, designer and cinematographer. He set up the company Perceptual Engineering in 2005 to provide creative and technical services to the commercial, events, film and art industries. Currently he is exploring ways of bridging the gap between the physical and the digital worlds, finding ways of presenting pixels outside of rectangular screens.
Huidong Bai is the co-founder and CTO of EnvisageAR, a company that delivers remote collaboration and assistance solutions with Mixed Reality technology for industry partners. Their 360 2D interactive streaming service enables groups of remote people to have a guided tour experience with a local guide that streams 360 videos from a real-world location with real-time interactive communication.
Adam Berry is an entrepreneur, gamer and a highly experienced CEO. He has led large organisations in his career, he has also built and started companies. All of them have a record of extensive growth. In 2016, he sold his animation and IT education businesses and subsequently spent a few months immersed in multiplayer online games before forming Remotely in June last year. Workplace collaboration startup Remotely, which allows remote workers to interact in immersive 3D meeting rooms, has raised $2.5 million in an oversubscribed funding round led by Icehouse Ventures, with support from New Zealand Growth Capital Partners and other private investors.
James is a Co-founder and Director of Wellington based NZXR Ltd, a collective of XR experts who focus on solving hard problems with great experiences on the latest hardware and software. A game designer for nearly 20 years he has worked on a wide range of titles, from award winning brick breaker Shatter to AAA blockbuster Splinter Cell Blacklist. Prior to co-founding NZXR Ltd James spent 5 years at Magic Leap alongside a talented Weta Workshop team, making world-first experiences like Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders and Boosters for the Magic Leap One.
With a background in Creative Technologies, Tim oversees the majority of digital content/output at Capability Group. Including that of web design, 2D and 3D animation, graphics, virtual reality, installation and general oversight on all things tech. Tim has been a key player in planning and constructing our highly technical virtual reality studios in both Auckland and Singapore.
A strong passion for learning and personal growth has paved Drew’s career for the past 25 years. Drew has constructed Capability Group around the idea of “reimagining learning” which in turn has lead the company deeper into the learning tech space. More specifically, over the past 12 months, Drew has led a focus on learning through virtual reality which has resulted in the development of RevealVR, the VR learning space at Capability Group.
Prof Robert W. Lindeman (Rob) is Director of the Human Interface Technology Lab NZ (HIT Lab NZ) at the University of Canterbury, and has been doing research in the field of VR since 1993. His work focuses on immersive, multi-sensory feedback systems for VR, AR, and gaming, and long-term immersion research, specifically non-fatiguing and non-sickness-inducing experiences. He has also done significant work on the effective use of 360-degree video for science outreach, including work in Antarctica. He is an avid geocacher, skier and mountain biker.
Sakthi is a hands-on entrepreneur with expertise in digital design, cross-functional team development, human-computer interaction (HCI), and extended reality technology. Through creative foresight, drive, and resoluteness, he built JIX Reality as high-growth startup research focused on commercializing extended reality technologies (VR, AR, MR) for the New Zealand market. Sakthi is a ‘maker’ at heart who is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and push the limit of what’s achievable digitally. JIX Reality was born in 2017 when he noticed a void in applying XR tech research to real-world problems. As a self-sufficient innovator, Sakthi is skilled in creating a vision and leading teams from the start of the project to explore new models and implementation approaches while keeping the focus on the return on investment.
Sam Kynman-Cole is the founder of topVIEW, a photography company specialising in the creation of VR tours for use in sales & marketing across various commercial industries ranging from retail, hospitality, education, health, real estate & more. Sam is a big believer in the power of VR to remotely communicate real space in an immersive, comprehensive and realistic way. He has been creating VR experiences for over five years.
Hēmi finished a BA in Māori language in 1996, before completing a Masters degree that analysed Māori language structure and the teaching of Māori language. His 2006 PhD investigated discourse relationships between different language elements in Māori. Since then, Hēmi has worked as a project leader and researcher on a range of projects centred on the revitalisation and protection of Māori language and knowledge (including Mātauranga Māori, digitisation of indigenous knowledge, ICT and indigenous knowledge, traditional ecological knowledge, language revitalisation, linguistics, language teaching and curriculum development). He currently leads Ātea, a Science for Technological Innovation collaboration between researchers at the University of Waikato, University of Otago, University of Canterbury and iwi, to build and design an immersive experience that will draw on Māori protocol and world views as well as new technologies to preserve and share knowledge, language and culture in the digital realm.
Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe, Waitaha.
Suranga is an Associate Professor at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, the University of Auckland. (UoA). Before joining UoA, Suranga was an Assistant Professor at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and a Postdoctoral Associate at the Fluid Interfaces group, MIT Media Lab. He received his PhD in 2010 and BEng in 2005 from the National University of Singapore. In 2019 he founded Kiwrious Ltd, an EdTech start-up for science learning.
Fiona has over 20 years of creative strategic thinking in the areas of marketing, customer experience, and training. Fiona uses ideation frameworks, market validation and LEAN business modelling to develop strategies for start-ups in the technology space. Fiona is the Marketing Lead for Kiwrious Ltd, at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute, the University of Auckland.