Some observations from SXSW 2024 on XR

SXSW was visited by three colleagues from SURF (including @Gul_Akcaova), as well as people from Hogeschool InHolland, Hogeschool Utrecht, ROC Mondriaan & Grafisch Lyceum Rotterdam. Even our Minister for Digitalisation, Alexandra van Huffelen, took part in the event.

Below is a summary of the XR-specific parts from the full blog A reflection on SXSW24 by SURF.

Call it Immersive, XR or spatial computing, one thing is for sure: it is here to stay!

Apple launched its Vision Pro, as we all know. MIT Tech Review reported the Apple Vision Pro as the number 3 breakthrough technology, being the “most fully immersive experience (IX).” The breakthroughs in AI drive XR and make it basically here to stay after many winters in the previous decades. But we aren’t there yet. The devices still need improvement. Especially on the side of biomechanics, weight of the devices is a big issue and needs to be fixed. Whether it is the Apple Vision Pro or the Meta Quest 3, the device is not yet an ‘all-day, every day’ device.

Some selected sessions and highlights:

XR in the age of Vision Pro - a panel discussion featuring Rony Abovitz (ex-CEO of Magic Leap) and others (recorded)

With the launch of the Meta Quest 3 in November, and the Apple Vision Pro in early February, we now have two competing approaches on spatial computing. The comparison to the iOS - Android mobile duopoly should be lost on no one. Many questions about the future of spatial computing are now up for discussion. What are the killer apps? What will storytellers do with the spatial medium? How quickly can Apple get to an accessible price? What wildcards are out there and, perhaps most importantly, what impact AI will have on spatial computing?

Empowering Change: Immersive Tech & Global Policies (CIIIC) (recorded)

Join the Dutch Creative Industries Immersive Impact Coalition (CIIIC) in exploring the path to an immersive world rooted in public values. Discover strategies to empower creative industries and content creators while fostering collaboration between private and public sectors. Engage in a dynamic discussion featuring researchers, creators and policy makers such as Mariette van Huijstee (Rathenau Institute), Eric Albert (PHI Group Canada), Barbera Wolfensberger (Dutch Ministry Culture and Science)

Public Universities in the US started the The Immersive Experience Alliance (IXA)

The Immersive Experience Alliance (IXA) consists of public universities with a focus on Extended Reality (XR) programs that blur the lines between physical and digital spaces to create unique and novel experiences. The time together will help bridge gaps among NGO Leaders, academic, institutions, and Immersive media creators, enabling them to learn from each other,network, and identity opportunities for potential collaborations.

The partnership currently consists of Texas Immersive Institute (TXI) at the Moody College of Communication, The University of Texas at Austin, Arizona State University´s Media and Immersive experience (MIX) Center, University of Nebraska-Lincoln´s Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts and the College of Media, Communication and Information (CMCI) at the University of Colorado Boulder

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