Laval ? Yes, Laval. It’s not Paris or Lyon, but it’s a rather small town of 50,000 people somewhere near the Atlantic coast of France. But boy, were we impressed by Laval Virtual, the AR/VR conference and exhibition already in its 21st edition this year. Innoactive was there to present, exhibit and most importantly to win the “AR/VR for productivity” award!
The dust has settled and here are our 3 take aways from Laval Virtual:
1. A unique AR/VR event in France
The landscape for mixed reality events, both AR and VR has changed in recent months, especially on the VR side of things. This is especially apparent in the US with the VRLA and SVVR events having been cancelled. Not so over here in France, in fact the event felt very crowded with thousands of visitors and hundreds of exhibitors across the venue halls and buildings in the center of Laval.
Laval Virtual feels different and unique. If you have been to any XR events in the US, UK and Germany for example, you will always find English to be the only means of communication by organizers, moderators and presenters. Not here in Laval, where the French proudly use their native language, not only because French people are present, but because you are in France – period. Fortunately, translators and bilingual staff were on sight making sure we knew about our award nominations, but more on that later.
Overall it was extremely refreshing to experience different exhibitors, different sponsors, different drinks (think wine, no beer), different food (think cheese, no burgers), a different city and a different vibe compared to the usual suspects of international “spatial computing” events – thank you for making our days in Laval so special.
2. Hardware progress continues to push forward
Our partner HTC Vive was present of course with the all new HTC Vive Focus Plus standalone VR headset featuring two 6DOF controllers. Innoactive was one of two companies at the show to demonstrate the latest iteration of the device prior to its official release expected soon. The ‘Focus Plus’ has come a long way and has improved on its tracking quality significantly, which could be experienced with one of our Volkswagen logistics training applications by literally hundreds of visitors at our booth.
I also had the chance to give Varjo‘s VR-1 a go. What’s new about the device is of course the additional “high” resolution display merging with a “normal” resolution screen. The high resolution area is relatively small and in the center only, so you need to move your head and gaze at something to experience it, a bit like moving a magnifying glass. The second piece of technology worth pointing out for Varjo’s VR-1 is the eye tracking, which obviously offers a variety of new possibilities. As much as Varjo has accomplished with this flashy looking headset, it really only makes me want even more as the above two innovations are somewhat limited in value independently. The soft, yet visible border between the high resolution middle area and the rest of the display might make it hard to use for design review teams, who are keen on having a visual representation as close to reality as possible. What I am really looking forward to is of course a dynamic foveated display, which will move the high resolution area to whatever area you are looking at automatically, based on the eye tracking. I bet you, we can expect this to be the case for the VR-2.
3. Winning feels good
Upon our nomination for the ‘AR/VR in Productivity’ award alongside Pixyz Software and Dassault Systemes, we were thrilled and of course eager to know the final decision of the jury on this big night at the Laval theatre with more than a thousand people in the seats. After words of appreciation to the sponsors and organisers in French (and English translation right after), the award presenter opened that big, golden envelop to finally reach that point where he says: “And the winner is….”. We felt excited, surprised and very proud all at the same time when he said “Innoactive!”. Winning feels good, really good. So once again, a big thanks to the entire Innoactive team who has worked so hard and tirelessly over the past few years to get our company and our product Innoactive Hub to where it is today – congratulations, you guys rock!
Come see us at Hannover Messe
We had a great time at Laval Virtual, however we’re ready for adventure again! Hannover Messe, here we come! Find us in the 5G Arena, at the Volkswagen stand – Hall 16, D38/1.