Global interactive stars to speak in Auckland

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Over 1000 delegates from New Zealand, Australia, East Asia, Europe and North America will meet in Auckland next month at the inaugural Magnify Conference on immersive technology application, presented by Air New Zealand.

Some of the world’s top developers and brands will showcase new technologies, brand activations, interactive environments and entertainment at the event, which takes place during the Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) Techweek AKL.

Lead interactive developers, decision makers and executives from Y&R, Google, Vice, Animation Research, Mad Max and other forerunners will showcase the practical application of virtual and augmented Reality hardware, software, applications and services for the consumer and business markets at the first-of-its-kind conference.

“The event comes at a pivotal moment for the industry, which is seen by many as set to transform multiple industries and sectors worldwide,” says Air NZ communities & sponsorship manager Meghan Blair.

Air NZ has partnered with Magnify to bring the industry leaders in immersive technology to New Zealand audiences as part of the Air NZ Inspiring Voices speaker series initiative.

“As an airline, we feel we have an important role to play in connecting Kiwi businesses with the world and have partnered with Magnify to help bring an inside perspective on what world-class technology can really do for New Zealanders and their businesses,” Blair said.

“Industries such as entertainment and marketing are already advanced in using immersive technology. Application of the red-hot area spans everything from medicine to media to gaming. Research firm Digi-Capital has predicted that by 2020, the virtual and augmented reality marketplace will be a US$150 billion global market and result in the adoption of hundreds of millions of users and applications, with 2016-2017 as the real start of its practical applications and usage.

“Mass market presence of the technology is accelerating. Facebook, Google, Apple, Samsung, Microsoft and other major tech companies are focusing strongly on augmented and virtual reality. Hardware players in the immersive sector recently released a wave of new technology, such as headsets and cameras.

“In a May 2016 Wired article, Kevin Kelly – writing on the ground-breaking Weta Workshop-partnered Mixed Reality company Magic Leap – observed: “Our lives and work run on this internet of information. But what we are building with artificial reality is an internet of experiences. What you share in VR or MR gear is an experience.”

Magnify founder Matt Coleman said: “The vision behind Magnify is to show people that Virtual and Augmented Reality has moved beyond the experimental phase into the experiential stage, and to highlight what the world’s top brands and entertainment companies are doing to bring the myriad of its applications to the mass market. Virtual and Augmented Reality are literally changing the ways that people, live work and play, and Magnify will bring together the people who are shaping the market.”

Coleman says Magnify aims to be the marquee global event in Virtual and Augmented Reality. It has events planned in China, the US and further afield. “We are excited to be working with Air NZ to hold the first conference here. It offers the opportunity for the local business, media and entertainment sector to take an early, lead role in development of immersive content for consumer engagement across the commercial spectrum.

“The technology is surging through sectors, bringing real market value-generation. It impacts everything from advertising and media to tourism, medicine and real estate. New Zealand clearly exhibits leadership and talent across film, gaming and entertainment that put it at the forefront here. This can be leveraged across the country’s economy.

“Leaders would include Animation Research ceo Ian Taylor, Peter Jackson and Richard Taylor, a founding director of the Magic Leap board of directors. Auckland and Wellington are seen as hotbeds of entertainment and media technology. A virtual reality experience is being shot for Ghost in the Shell, with lead Scarlett Johansson, currently filming in Wellington.

Brand advertising exemplifies the shift of immersive technologies into the mass market. Magnify Speaker and Y&R’s Director of Interaction and Activation Catherine Patterson said: “Right now, virtual and augmented reality is an integral part of the brand messaging, imaging and activation of major brand campaigns, and is one of the most effective ways to drive discovery and engagement.

“I’m delighted to take part in the inaugural Magnify Conference in Auckland, and for the opportunity to highlight the work that Y&R is doing with its clients.”

Magnifytakes place Thursday & Friday 19-20 May at The Idea Collective, a new venue at Motat. The event combines mobile, entertainment, commerce, marketing and communications to connect businesses and consumers with the latest in technology, applications and real-world examples of how VR/AR is being used today, who’s using it, how it’s being adopted, and perhaps most important, the potential of VR/AR to create new business opportunities.

Panels and keynotes at the cross platform event will cover usage in games, advertising and brand activation, journalism, television, film and business applications. Speakers include:

  • Catherine Patterson (New York), manager Y&R’s global interactive / experiential / digital group
  • Barry Sandrew Ph D (Los Angeles), founder of Legend3D, leading 2D to 3D conversion and visual effects
  • Mark Frieser (New York), founder of SyncSummit, global presenter and moderator to the entertainment industry/Hollywood
  • Guy Norris (Australia) stunt coordinator, known for his work on Mad Max: Fury Road, The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring and Moulin Rouge.
  • Ian Taylor (NZ), the tech innovator who is launching the America’s Cup VR application. Founder of computer graphics company Animation Research.

The event is free to attend. However, Magnify is offering a premium 360 Access experience with exclusive opportunities to connect with speakers and key participants, as well as demonstrating their own offerings at the event.

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