KVRF (Korea VR Festival) organized by KoVRA (University of Korea’s VR/AR Industry Association) with the support of the Ministry of Science and ICT of Korea and NIPA (National IT Industry Promotion Agency) of Korea gathered local and international VR and AR specialists, high-tech giants, Korea’s local population and last but not least, visitors from China, India, USA, and Europe for its first edition, in Sangam DMC (Digital Media City), 16-20 September, 2017.
A highly entertaining public event for all, KVRF included: an exhibition, conferences, networking and businesses gatherings. Salar Shahna, World VR Forum’s CEO was invited to this special event as a keynote speaker, panelist, and particularly, as a representative of Switzerland & Europe with the WVRF to conclude the Global Alliance with other territorial institutions.
The Global Alliance was established between six different organizations: SVVR (Silicon Valley Virtual Reality) from the Silicon Valley, California; WVRF from Switzerland and Europe; CASME (China Association of S&M Commercial Enterprise), which is very huge with 1,300 members, from China; TAVAR (Taiwan Association for Virtual and Augmented Reality) from Taiwan; KoVRA and NIPA from Korea. The ceremony for this unique agreement was held on Tuesday, 19th September, at the Stanford Hotel in Sangam, Seoul to advance the domestic Virtual and Augmented Reality industries into the world-wide market.
The outdoor exhibitions consisted of several categories, including: Education, Medicine, Augmented Reality, and Military. The VR/AR playground also continued on the inside with games of all kinds and simulators for theme parks such as Big Robot, an experience in a gigantic bobsleigh simulator, specifically designed for the Olympics. Facebook was notably present with Oculus and a group showing the capabilities of Facebook Spaces – the social network of Facebook in VR.
Shahna spoke with his panel on the afternoon of the second day on the trends and challenges of the VR industry in Europe. The other panelists were: Yoon Kyung-lim, President of KoVRA; Andy Niu, Chairman of Z-Park CCGI Development Alliance; Adam Tsuei, Chairman of TAVAR; Karl Krantz, Founder of SVVR; and Jong-lok Yoon, President of NIPA.
“We had a panel all of us together to debate the challenges of VR, we were able to say that yes, each region has its own specificities but that we are sharing the same challenges, how important it is to work together, especially in these early days of VR, and we really think that this Alliance is one of a kind, and can only count for development of VR,” said Shahna.
According to Shahna, the panel was met with much excitement from the audience, many of which were from different regions and from diverse age groups. The setting of some major mutual goals, which were agreed upon in the Global Alliance, were discussed in the panel. This business agreement was based on the consensus that cooperation for information exchange between regions and countries, as well as business development, is vital for the practical upbringing of the VR/AR market.
Yoon Kyung-lim, CEO of Korea Virtual Reality Industry Association, sees this business agreement “as a cornerstone of opening up new VR/AR markets in the future” which “will help Korea become the hub of global Virtual and Augmented Reality through international communication and collaboration.”
The Sangam Digital Media City, the host location of KVRF, is one of Seoul’s new districts, entirely dedicated to media, many of Seoul’s media agencies, and the VR Campus. Shahna was impressed to see the strong support The Ministry of ICT and Science gives to VR along with Korea’s National IT Industry Promotion Agency. The impact of the event was immense with the diversity of Korean technology and content creators present, both international and Korean.
The conferences were very diverse, very international, and included many significant figures. While most of the companies were Korean, the representatives from American, Chinese and European companies were also present. Different technologies were shown: AR Mobile, Microsoft HoloLens, and new AR devices such as the Mira Prism.
“Looking at all the diversity of the content and also on the quality of the simulators, and at the big support that the government is giving to VR in Korea, we can easily say that Korea is amongst the leading nations of VR, not mentioning the names of the tech giants that are here such as Samsung or LG which are Korean,” concluded Shahna.
KVRF was the biggest VR event in Korea so far with a very warm welcome for all. In fact, this event has started a new trend for exhibiting VR to the public. Next month the Busan International Film Festival, a film festival of great significance in Korea and in Asia in general, will also include a VR section for the first time, which, once again, proves Korea’s leap into the VR universe and debut at the global VR/AR scene.