SQUARS participated in the Augmented World Expo 2023 in Santa Clara, CA, from May 31 to Jun 2. Find out what were the highlights and where we found...
SQUARS at the AWE EU 2023: Use Cases, Chats and Chocolate.
SQUARS participated in the Augmented World Expo 2023 in Vienna on October 24-25, 2023. Take a look at our insights and find out whether we shared our souvenir chocolate or found the awe.
SQUARS & AWE EU 2023 in Vienna
The SQUARS team attended the Augmented World Expo for the second time, and as usual, brought back to the office pockets full of insights, business cards, and learnings from the latest extended reality (XR) technology event. This AWE EU 2023 was special for us as it was in the heart of Europe, in our hometown Vienna. Now we're happy to join our XR community in "recapping" and "wrapping up" the event, and to share our standout moments.
In his opening keynote Ori Inbar, CEO and cofounder of AWE, welcomed the attendees to the annual AWE EU 2023 event with the theme "XR is Everywhere!" and kicked off his talk with the state of the XR industry. Ori had made 4 predictions that indeed came true: we left the event with new connections and knowledge, tried new demos, and enjoyed our AWE-finding journey. On top of that, we were definitely delighted to see many newbies in the XR community with their 'first-timer' stickers on the badge (including 3 of our team members) and a balanced gender presence at the event. Now, let's rewind and take a look at our favorite moments.
The XR Industry - Where Is It Heading?
It's gaining momentum! And here are some numbers: augmented, virtual, and mixed reality technologies represent a $38 billion industry in 2023, with over 606 million monthly active users in the metaverse. And people in Europe should cheer - the XR European market is almost as big as the North American one with 30% and 31% market share respectively! With the robust growth of AI this year, the demise of XR has never happened though, and it doesn't look like it will be taking place any time soon. In fact, XR technologies have a huge potential to become providers of AI experiences through spatial interfaces. Summing it up, the XR expansion is going to cause a tectonic shift in our everyday lives.
The XR adoption within various businesses and organizations reveals the tangible need for innovation. The pivotal role in recruitment training in times of crisis (such as the pandemic at Pfizer) or the implementation of XR business solutions for clients in healthcare, automotive, AEC, defense, and emergency services at HTC VIVE were real-life cases. Each year AWE tries to bring more and more practical use cases to the stage, in order to fuse the XR community with professionals from various fields.
Expo Talks & Activities
During the two days of the AWE, participants were busy exploring the expo and playground areas and attending panel discussions and sessions. Tackling problems such as safety and privacy in the XR ecosystem, hacking the ethical gap in the era of emerging tech, building up better healthcare, and aiming for a more sustainable future were in focus and also served as conversation-starters. All in all, a wide spectrum of topics was presented on the 8 stages.
Visitors could find anything from hardware that strives to transform the human-technology interaction, to software that creates value, not just solutions. It was captivating to notice the revolutionized world of sport, art and media, and experience the transition from actual physical objects into VR joysticks and vice versa, and other cutting-edge immersive solutions.
Press Walkthrough and the Voice of AWE
We had the pleasure to be featured in the exclusive preview of “some of this year’s most innovative exhibitors” among the other 15 companies carefully chosen from all exhibitors. Markus Meirhofer - our Head of Sales and Marketing - highlighted 3 main points during the Press Walkthrough:
- Our AR artworks – the result of collaborations with local artists.
- Our indulgent dessert – an Austrian souvenir, a beloved hand-scooped Zotter chocolate, and its augmented package.
- Our updated features - Shape Target which was showcased on the AR SQUARS coffee cup, and Analytics.
Another interesting experience for us was being a part of the “AWE Voices” where Markus shared his views on the XR development, the importance and unique proposition of WebAR, and its role in pushing the industry forward.
SQUARS Booth and Demos
And now to the most exciting part – what have we showcased at AWE EU 2023 in our hometown? Our new features Shape Target and Analytics were enhanced by a demonstration of captivating use cases and our in-house developed tracking technology.
The AR Mural, physically present on the walls of Vienna, and the Illustrated AR Map of South Korea that takes viewers on an AR Historical, Foodie, or National Park Tours, were our standout artists collaborations. Additionally, we had great interaction with the AR SQUARS coffee cup, the AR Flyer, and the augmented label of the Zotter chocolate. By just scanning the QR codes, visitors were taken on an immersive journey among augmented images and objects.
Along with everything, we followed our tradition of indulging visitors in a sweet treat at our booth, by offering delicious Zotter chocolates from the Austrian region Styria. And we have to admit once again… the team might have had one or two chocolate pieces themselves.
SQUARS Team's Talking
Our team enjoyed the experience of being surrounded by the industry's change-makers and the overall inspiring environment shared with the international XR community. We met both experienced attendees for whom AWE didn’t sound alien, and newbies who were immersed in the XR’s world with a very present awe.
Coupled with everything above-mentioned, here are some of our thoughts on AWE, XR, and the industry’s direction.
AWE is an excellent place to witness and experience AR trends in one place, and showcase the possibilities of SQUARS.
As part of the Vienna XR community, our booth and showcases at AWE received resoundingly positive feedback from both local and international visitors, underscoring the local XR scene's vibrant presence. I was thrilled to witness the enthusiasm and innovation on display at the event.
This was my second AWE event, and the fact that it took place in my hometown added an extra layer of excitement. It was a fun surprise to see familiar faces, not just from the close-knit XR community, but also from local pioneers who were exploring XR technologies for the first time. It was a clear sign that the XR industry is no longer a niche and that its doors are opening to everyone, Europe and beyond.
It was really refreshing to see that the industry is still blooming, especially in the optics hardware field. I'm 100% convinced we will all be wearing smart glasses, and eventually smart lenses, in the not-so-distant future. One other takeaway that seemed like a shared understanding between all parties: VR is a niche for very specialized training and entertainment, while AR will palpably merge into our day-to-day lives, personally and professionally. Someone else said it at the AWE: "AR is the UI for the AI".
SQUARS' Future Plans
Coming back to the office from the event always feels like a fresh start, where the goal of designing a reliable WebAR content creation platform for the advertising & marketing sector takes a more tangible form. Our recent features Shape Target and Analytics were well-received during the expo, which definitely motivates us to commit to the further development of our product.
Certainly, AWE EU 2023 was a breath of fresh air for us and an amazing opportunity to explore the latest innovative solutions in the XR industry.
We're grateful for being a part of the AWE community for the second year in a row. Meeting with the XR community and talking with an amazing crowd of tech enthusiasts made us realize that the road of bringing XR technology into the mainstream is the call we’re more than willing to answer. Strength is in unity and AWE events are the best example of that!
Looking forward to AWE USA in Long Beach, California, on June 18-20, 2024.
Follow us on our social media channels to stay tuned for our updates!