2019 World Conference on the Virtual Reality Industry

This week-end, I am attending the 2019 World Conference on VR Industry (WCVRI 2019) as an invited guest and panel member (on Monday). In this blog post, I will talk about this event, held in Nanchang, China from the 19th to 21st October at the Primus Hotel.

WCVRI is an international event focused on the industry that has both an exhibition part with booths from large companies, and also various forums, speeches, and talks. This event is held for the second year, and it is every year in the city of Nanchang, as it is a hub for virtual reality technology in China.

This year, the main theme is “VR+5G for a new era of perception“. Some key topics of the conference program are Cloud, Industrial Ecology, AI, XR technology, Film and television, Manufacturing, Education and Training, 5G, Deep learning and mixed reality, Anime, Investment, Talent development, Virtual Simulation, and Security and production.

Nanchang is the capital of the Jiangxi province. There are about 6 million people living there. The Gan river flows through the city.

Nanchang, Jiangxi province, China

This is a major event in the city. The event is announced everywhere, which shows the strong support of the government for this event. Here is a sign in front of the Tengwang pavilion, a popular tourist spot.

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony was held on the morning of the 19th October. The governor of the Jiangxi province was the first to talk during the opening ceremony. There was then other government representatives who talked, including the secretary of the party of the Jiangxi Province Liu Qi, the secretary of the leading party members’ group of industry and information technology Miao Wei, and the Vice Premier of China, Liu He.

It was said that he electronic industry grows by 30% every year in Nanchang, and VR is an important part of that. VR is a key project of the city that may contribute to many other industries such as manufacturing. The city is trying to attract world-famous talents and entrepreneurs in Nanchang, as well as projects and funds.

The organizers of the conference read a congratulatory letter that they received from the President of China, Xi Jinping, which highlights the support of the national government for the VR industry and this event.

The Vice Premier Liu He mentioned that he is very pleased to attend the event and would like to take the opportunity to exchange with people from the industry. He mentioned the importance of VR in the gaming and movie industry and that it can be used other areas such as manufacturing, medical services, and tourism. He also mentioned the importance of fundamental research to develop ground-breaking technologies, and enhancing education to produce a greater number of talents. He mentioned that the Chinese economy is moving in recent years from a phase of rapid development to a phase of quality development. Finally, he wished the industry and this event a great success.

vice premier liu he
Vice Premier Liu He

There was also an official signing ceremony between the leaders of Huawei, Inspur Group and the government of Jiangxi Province.

Keynote speech by Guo Ping, rotating chairman of Huawei

There was a keynote talk by the rotating chairman of Huawei Guo Ping. He said that VR provides a better experience than watching videos on mobile devices, and is more immersive than TV. Thus, VR may be the future of entertainment at home. He said that new generations of networks such as based on 5G are important to support a good VR experience. Latency must be low, data must not be lost, etc. Moreover, content delivery is important for VR, and thus having a fast and reliable cloud environment is important to deliver this content. Huawei has developed equipment and cloud computing technologies to support these requirements.

guo ping
Talk by Guo Ping

Keynote speech by Martin Hellman, Turing Award Winner

Martin Hellman, a Turing award winner also gave a talk. He first reminded us of the importance of public key cryptography to protect financial transactions, and that this technology it key to e-commerce, and the blockchain. He then explained the principles of public key cryptography. I will not explain this here but it was quite interesting to listen to the presentation. Below is a picture where he explains that he wants to send a message to his collaborator but that his wife Dorothée may read the message if it is not encrypted (interesting example)!

Talk by Martin Hellman

During the first day, there was also several other keynote speeches, including by the CEO of HTC, the Vice president of SAP China, and the Chief Scientist of Inspur. I will not report the details of these talks here.

Industry Exhibition

In parallel to the sessions, forums and talk, there was an exhibition by the VR industry with booths from hundreds of VR related companies. It was possible to try various VR-related products and also to see related applications and technologies such as 360 degrees cameras, motion capture equipment, augmented reality software and devices, 5G equipments, and drones. There was a lot of applications of VR related to gaming. A few pictures of the industry expo are below:

Talent development forum

On Monday, I participated as a speaker at a round table of the talent development forum, organized in the WCVRI 2019 conference. This forum was well-organized, and invited several experts for presentations, discussion, and there was also some official signing ceremony. I talked for a few minutes about the importance of international collaboration and talent development for the virtual reality industry, and programs related to talent development.

Conclusion

I am now back in Shenzhen, China. The event has now ended and it was a great event that I would recommend for anyone interested in virtual reality and related technologies. I have greatly appreciated the work of organizers and volunteers that have been very helpful. I am looking forward to attend this event again in the future.


Philippe Fournier-Viger is a full professor, working in China, and founder of the SPMF open-source data mining library.

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