The evening of February 6th 2017 saw 70 people gather at Karmarama's offices to share in a packed agenda covering CES, demos of HoloLens, Google's Tango and Daydream, Twitter experimentation and culminating in a discussion on the future of AR and VR. It was our most attended meet-up yet and as many people told us - our best yet. If you weren't there - you missed out. Here is a little film to prove it...produced by our wonderful friends at On A Boat.

Our co-founder Nadya kicked off the session giving those new to Innovation Social an overview of what we are all about. Innovation Social has been running for nearly five years now (five year old birthday party!) and is... "an affiliation of Innovation leaders from the brand, agency and start-ups worlds.  Our purpose is to accelerate innovative thinking.".  We have 130 innovation leaders from across the UK and many people see us as the definitive innovation group, something of which we're very proud.

Will Harvey then kicked off a discussion on CES and started by talking about the diminishing error rate in AI - at the end of 2016 AI typically has an error rate of 3-5% which is better than the 5% humans achieve on average. Shit is getting real people. Hence the domination of Amazon Alexa at CES with it being integrated into EVERYTHING making internet enabled task's seamless to voice. As a friend said, who recently got Amazon Echo, Alexa is like the au pair that quickly competes with you for your child's affections. 

Nigel Gwilliam focussed on the potential of 5G and pointed out that though it's easy to dismiss 5G as just another evolution that would be foolish. Pundits state "Recent reports ideate that the economic impact of 5G, will be similar to the introduction of electricity and the automotive.". Only 5G will enable truly immersive experiences and with that in mind it will be the fuel behind the next internet enabled revolution.

Lastly, Lorenzo Wood, global head of Innovation at DigitasLBi, spoke about the emotional side of CES commenting that since the introduction of the emotional AI technology Affectiva there has been a rise in companion bots. Rather than me summarise badly - do read his Medium piece for the full story.

Lawrence then intro'd the wonderful Tom Roope from Google Zoo who gave us demos of both Tango and then Daydream. Now I could go into detail on both of these and their impact on the AR and VR landscape - but instead I'm going to send you off to this Mashable article which does all the work for me. 

Next up was Helen Lawrence from Twitter who shared an experiment her team had undertaken adding a AR layer to Periscope 360. This is not an official Twitter project and is still in the experimental stage thereby a perfect example of what Innovation Social is all about...interesting people doing interesting things with technology - whether or not they have permission. Thanks Helen for sharing!

Lawrence then hosted a panel all about the worlds of AR and VR with our four wonderful panelists: 

Dominic Collins, GM EMEA Jaunt VR the global VR content and media company behind projects for the likes of North Face and Paul McCartney.

Sol Rodgers, Founder and CEO RWND the VR content studio behind international award winning work such as the BBC's Home: A VR Spacewalk and Björk's NotGet VR, to name but a few.

Samantha Kingston, Co-Founder of Virtual Umbrella an agency dedicated to growing the VR industry through projects and events for the likes of TechCrunch and E3.

Phil Lyod, CMO of Snatch a free to play, AR virtual treasure hunt platform that is about to launch with a lot of very big brands.

Now a lot of the panel's discussions fell under Chatham House rules and you should have been there. However, three things really grabbed my attention. Firstly, all four panelists are inundated with the request 'I want a VR' which, as an oldtimer, brings back shudders of 'I want a website', 'I want a viral', and "I want 1m likes'. I dream of the day when business people approach technology with the same intelligence they apply to the rest of their professional lives. Secondly, Dom spoke about how the majority of views their VR content receives is on YouTube as normal film. It would be naive to equate the reach of VR content with the number of headsets bought. Thirdly, we're at the beginning of a very exciting and huge journey in AR/VR and I can't wait to be a part of it.

We were very lucky on the night to have both the Jaunt VR camera AND HoloLens demo'd. Thank you Dom once again and also Nathan Gaydhani from Cityscape Digital for bringing the tech down on a very rainy night. 

So we got to the end of the session and to give the ending a bang we surprised Lawrence with a birthday cake and drinks down the pub kindly sponsored by Source. It was all together a fascinating, inspiring and welcoming evening and continued long into the night.

A huge thank you to Source for sponsoring our drinks and Karmarama for hosting. If you would like to become a member of Innovation Social and have an innovation role in your organisation OR are just passionate about it - please contact Nadya on nadya@innovationdisorder.com.