Hong Kong – Realizing the greater need for virtual event management platforms in the Asia-Pacific region, virtual event platform EventX has announced an alliance with virtual reality (VR) company HTC VIVE, following its conclusion of a US$10m funding from its series B funding.
Aside from the funding being led by HTC VIVE, the funding also saw participation from Gaocheng Capital, a top China-based private equity fund focused on enterprise software and technology-enabled services sectors.
EventX’s virtual event management platform has been well-used in the region, especially for events that involve Mainland China attendees where its unique design architecture overcomes internet firewalls to enable the service of any cross-region events. Meanwhile, HTC VIVE has gained great attention and acclaim for its strides in VR research and development. By combining the knowledge pools of the two respected digital trailblazers, a range of unique experiences is set to be developed through this strategic alliance.
A major player for the rise of these virtual event management platforms can be attributed to the COVID-19 health pandemic, which has drastically curtailed travel and how people spend time in crowded places, decimating the wider event industry, estimated to be worth more than US$1t annually before the pandemic.
COVID-19 has permanently transformed the professional events category and in turn raised attention to venture capitalists to pour in massive capital to the virtual event software space.
Speaking about the partnership, Sum Wong, co-founder and CEO at EventX, said, “It is certain that virtual workspaces and virtual events will become the new norm. The creation of this alliance will result in a deep level of integration between our own expertise and HTC VIVE’s groundbreaking work in the VR space. This collaboration will result in EventX bringing virtual and hybrid event experiences to a brand new level of immersion and interactivity. To take the responsibility as one of the event industry leaders, EventX will keep exploring new possibilities of event technology, popularizing the application, and creating users’ needs.”
EventX is going to invest heavily in products and engineering for leading the recovery of the events industry during the current pandemic, which will not only stabilize and solidify existing virtual event services but carve out new spaces and opportunities for the marketing and event industry.
Meanwhile, Joseph Lin, president of VIVEPORT said, “VR has the power to improve the world. At HTC VIVE we strive to create the tools to expedite VR adoption — using not only our VR devices but also computers, tablets, and smartphones — and interact effectively. The strategic alliance with EventX illustrates HTC VIVE’s continuous efforts in providing people and enterprises with the tools to meet, socialize, and learn in VR and beyond. Massive possibilities and enthusiasm can be seen in this partnership to bring people closer together without any geographical boundaries.”
With their unique China accessible ability and together with HTC VIVE, they will be adopting VR and prospecting technology into the core capabilities of the event software-as-a-service (SaaS) product to make it accessible and reinvent the virtual event experience. For the first attempt to add VR and prospecting technology into core capabilities, they would be releasing a virtual event lite platform and open it for segments such as NGOs, SMEs and startups to register and organize virtual events for free.
Singapore – DIGIX Lab, operated under the services of the Huawei Mobile Services (HMS), has officially been opened in Singapore to help app developers drive idea exchange, business growth and collaboration.
The innovation hub works in the way that it offers a space for developers to connect and experience the full range of HMS developer resources, ranging from augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence (AI), HMS Core kits and other open technological capabilities. The DIGIX Lab services can also be accessed online, allowing developers across the region to make use of the resources virtually.
DIGIX Labs also operates under a so-called ‘1+8+N’ Seamless AI Life strategy, which is defined when the smartphone serves as One (1) centre, and Huawei’s ecosystem partners connect across Eight (8) supporting Huawei devices to create a fully connected IoT environment consisting of Endless (N) services.
For Shane Shan, director for Asia Pacific at Huawei Consumer Cloud Service, the strategy system aims to empower tech developers and partners in the Asia Pacific in the mid of 5G rollout.
“The new DIGIX Lab serves as an all-encompassing innovation hub to give developers the boost they need to succeed. Huawei will continue to strengthen our collaboration with partners and institutions in the community and cultivate a resilient, evolving pool of tech talents in the Asia Pacific region,” Shan said.
The DIGIX Lab is divided into three main zones where partners and developers can communicate within the community:
Experience zone: An area for visitors to experience Huawei’s “1+8+N” all-scenario ecosystem. This area displays the latest smartphone models, and eight different types of Huawei devices including tablets, PCs, smart wearables and VR smart glasses. In addition, third party IoT home products supported by HUAWEI HiLink are also exhibited here.
Engage zone: A multipurpose zone with a collaborative area and training rooms to support community building. Developer programmes such as training, workshops, industry and networking events will be held in this area. Meanwhile, tech enthusiasts or individual developers can also book the space to host community events related to mobile app development.
Enable zone: This zone consists of three meeting rooms where developers who are facing challenges while developing an app can meet with Huawei engineers or business teams to get hands-on support. Four debug terminals are also available at the lab to support developers with the resource requirement.
HMS has also recently launched the HUAWEI Developers app, an official open platform for Huawei developers to manage their apps backend system, access the latest developer activities and receive event notifications on the go.
Three community programs are also slated to launch this year, namely the HUAWEI Student Developers (HSD), the HUAWEI Developer Groups (HDG) and the HUAWEI Developer Experts (HDE) to help developers of all levels grow with the HMS ecosystem. Developers in APAC will also be able to sign up for training courses to learn how to deploy HMS development tools into their apps and receive the ‘Huawei Developer Certification’ upon course completion.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Social media engagement agency Fotobox has announced its new immersive division ‘Conten.T’, short for content technology, to bring digital engagement offerings to retailers.
Conten.T will stride into immersive technology productions, which include augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), gamification, and mobile-based technology to help brands create experiences to reach consumers at home, especially relevant following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fotobox’s Conten.T has expanded the brand portfolio it has worked with for immersive ad experience, including brands such as Korean beauty brand Mamonde, sportswear Adidas, Coach, Gucci, Calvin Klein, Ferragamo, Hendricks Gin, and Scotch whiskey brand Glenfiddich.
“Having predicted a growing trend in immersive technology even before COVID-19, the adoption of immersive exploration was accelerated by the shift of digital-centric consumers largely caused by the pandemic. The launch of Conten.T has proven to be a step in the right direction as industries are beginning to see the increasing need to craft their own experiences digitally,” said Jason Ang (pictured), founder, and managing director for Fotobox.
For instance, collaboration with Mamonde’s revolves around the creation of a virtual retail experience by allowing users to enter a hyper-realistic virtual environment just by scanning a QR code. Within it, one can explore featured rooms and learn about the brand’s products besides chancing upon surprises in a few corners for users to redeem prizes and free samples. By partnering with an e-commerce site, consumers have the option to add products to buy.
“This is all experienced through mobile phones – no apps, no downloads – just scan a QR code and experience through your mobile browsers, and customers have access to this in the comfort from their home,” Ang commented.
With Adidas meanwhile, Conten.T’s latest work revolves around AR, which allows customers in Adidas’ largest brand center in Malaysia to experience the athletes on the move on an AR journey that leads one to the store at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur.
“It is an exciting time for brands to steer into digital experience – not just on the grounds of the shift in consumer behavior but also in reference to the accessibility to technology. Fotobox believes that when one door shuts on physical retail, another opens into a new digital world; one that can reach today’s tech savvy consumers in an impactful, emotional, and interactive way,” he added.
Fotobox’s presence expands beyond Malaysia, including Singapore, South Korea, and Hong Kong, with brands ranging from fashion retail, beauty and cosmetics, the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and other consumer-based industries.
“Digital & Hybrid experiences are here to stay, we aim to become the technology partner every brand needs to venture into offline and online immersive engagements in SEA and APAC, as more and more younger, tech savvy consumers don’t want to be advertised to. They want to be part of the brand experience.” Ang concluded.
Singapore – Software development and technology services firm RADX has launched its first-ever licensed virtual reality (VR) expo platform, and is first used in Smart ConnecTech Asia 2020 in Singapore.
The recent platform launch is in response to offering flexibility and scalability in launching trade shows, conventions, or conferences for exhibitors and attendees, especially with social distancing restrictions brought by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Users may set first their own avatar in the virtual platform, just as role-playing games (RPG) do. Within the virtual environment, users can enjoy interaction with other users and exchange name cards, chat or call via voice or video call. Furthermore, attendees may also attend live webinars and their respective open forum parts.
On the other hand, conference exhibitors can also launch virtual trade shows within the virtual platform, with integrated company branding. Exhibitors can also experience integrated lead generation for their exhibits, both on email and social media marketing strategy. The platform is also licensed under a service type platform (SaaS), which means organizers can set up their conferences efficiently and can run up for weeks.
“While the global events and exhibition industry has taken a hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by the closure of borders and restrictions in travelling, as well as social distancing requirements, the use of virtual reality in such events can help businesses in ensuring the continuity of their operations. This makes RADX 3D VR conference an innovative tool for collaboration with every customer and partner, without sacrificing the visitor experience,” Rob Chong, founder and CEO of RADX said.
Sydney, Australia – Tech giant Microsoft recently signed an exclusive deal with Australia-based immersive media company Imagine Room to launch the first Mixed Reality Capture studio in the country.
With features that include 106 cameras to capture holographic and 3D-video performance, the studio establishes immersive experiences for virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and spatial computing. Furthermore, the studio’s capabilities also host applications that are suitable for modern capture of human performance, which can be used for brand marketing applications.
For Paul Wiley, chief operating officer at Imagine Room Group, the recent collaboration means solving the issue of providing more authentic human experiences in terms of storytelling and virtual engagements.
“Our Microsoft-powered stage will move the needle in terms of how Australian producers think about shooting content and storytelling. COVID-19 made virtual engagements and platforms ubiquitous and Volumetric Capture solves many long-standing problems associated with adding authentic human performance into these environments. We are currently collaborating with cross-sector businesses and taking pre-bookings ahead of the studio’s launch at the end of year,” Wiley said.
David Whitaker, executive chair of Imagine Room Group added, “This agreement with Microsoft opens up significant opportunities for partnerships from enterprise training to film production and content marketing. We see massive growth potential across mixed and virtual reality headsets, mobile-first activations, 5G-powered browser AR, and immersive media production. Our unique studio will be a massive boon for the Australian content sector.”
First launched in 2018, Imagine Room aims to provide interactive media partnerships across Australia by means of their AR/VR immersive content and platforms.
“We are delighted to partner with Imagine Room to bring this technology to the Australian market. Paul and his team really impressed us with their vision for the future of content production. We share their passion for volumetric content and immersive experiences as a means to engage and connect people more deeply,” Steve Sullivan, general manager of Microsoft Mixed Reality Capture Studios stated.
Singapore – Virtual tour software company Matterport announced its new partnership with Singapore-based real estate agency ERA Singapore to test out new cost-effective ways of providing 3D virtual tours of properties.
With the recent partnership, ERA Singapore’s ongoing push for virtual home viewings will be integrated to Matterport’s “digital twin” feature that allows a more comprehensive and prospective view of the property through 3D walkthroughs, proximate measurements, and understanding of the property’s flow and space.
ERA agents may have the option of scheduling with a Matterport agent to scan the property and render the model in 24 hours, or agents may scan the property themselves using Matterport cameras. Aside from that, ERA agents will have the chance to be up-to-date on materials and training on virtual technology focused on real estate marketing. Through these webinars, ERA agents can learn how to use highlight reels and auto-generated multimedia that can be shared with prospective clients and on social media.
“We’re excited to be partnering with ERA as a key part of their virtual strategy. Matterport technology will open up new levels of engagement for clients anywhere in the world at any time. The current situation globally has shown how important and impactful 3D capture technology is, and with forward-thinking real estate companies like ERA leading the charge, digital twins are quickly becoming a standard in real estate,” said Bruce Wells, managing director of Matterport APAC.
For the month of August, marketing leaders had it big, with the top stories that took most of your attention are those that have spotlighted marketing experts.
One was a retelling of a Filipino corporate communications head’s success story, another was an Asian eCommerce platform’s appointment of a new chief commercial officer, and also, a point-by-point marketing measurement plan authored, none other than by a tenured player in the field.
The latest on virtual and augmented reality also made heads turn this month. The strike of the pandemic made for hardened and limited times, but with tech, it was an opportunity to ride on the connective powers of VR and AR, unleashing the best of the digital experience to carry on a new normal.
Here, we’ve made a run down of all of them. Based on Google Analytics from July 20th to August 16th, these were the top 5 stories for the month:
Top 5: The PR expert of the holy grail chicken brand in the Philippines: Mark De Joya
In the premiere of our interview webisode, #MARKETECHMondays, we featured Filipino marketing expert Mark de Joya who shared the journey he trailed before finally becoming the head of corporate communications of Max’s Group, the company behind the country’s most sought after restaurants.
Although, like any other head start, his first foray into marketing can be said to be “humble,” it is still a stint with that of consumer product behemoth Unilever, its Philippine leg. Since then, what he had was a meaningful immersion to the industry of advertising having worked thereafter with international creative agency McCann Worldgroup.
Truly a self-made man, Mark was revealed to be overflowing with personal formulas and borrowed wisdom from his mentors. One of them, he got from then McCann chief strategy officer Gino Borromeo, which spotlights a different side of creativity, that is, creativity isn’t just being artsy, but the ability to solve problems.
His advice to young marketers, “A lot of people might not feel that they are built for the marketing [or] advertising industry because they don’t think that they are creative enough. I will say, creativity is important, but the one thing that enables that is curiosity. The best marketers I’ve met are also the most curious.”
Top 4: Digging into the ropes of marketing measurement with Salesforce Datorama CMO Leah Pope
From whom is it better to acquire insight into the importance of marketing data than from a marketing maven straight out of the field of extracting marketing insights?
Chief marketing officer of data insights platform Datorama, Leah Pope in July lent her thought leadership piece on this important feature of marketing management, and not just marketing measurement on any normal day, but crafting a strategy at this time of uncertainty.
She imparts four steps: Harmonizing the often siloed marketing data into a single source; setting up a set of standardized data for data hygiene; rechecking goals and benchmarks to track marketing progress amid a new normal; and finally, aligning a single system of record of marketing data to collaborate the now branched out remote setup of marketing teams.
Top 3: Malaysia’s Entropia and manufacturing firm UMW’s virtual museum
To imagine within our thinkable minds a museum of virtual experience will always, for the meantime, send us all in awe. And that is exactly what judges from the fourth International VR Awards have felt with Malaysian tech innovator Entropia’s virtual museum of company UMW, granting them a nomination for the award-giving body’s social impact award.
The immersive experience offers six degrees of freedom to move through manufacturing firm UMW’s artifacts, enabling teleport from one scenario to the next. Users are able to view the very first products UMW had assembled: the Toyota Corolla KE 10 in 1968, the first Komatsu bulldozer, as well as an education on the Rolls Royce engine casing manufacturing and assembly that was accomplished right in Malaysia.
The museum isn’t just nominated for any category, but a social impact category, one described to shine on companies and individuals that produce products that have made a significant social impact on the world around them.
UMW said, “We used VR as a platform [for the company] to impress [and] attract talents both young and old, and above all, [as] a testament on how a corporate legacy can be kept alive using technology.”
Of course, winners of the award will be announced virtually, slated to take place in November.
Top 2: Another Entropia news, but now, an augmented reality car showroom
In latter July, BMW Malaysia unveiled its all-new BMW X5 xDrive45e M Sports model, but that wasn’t the only exciting part. For the first time, the marque in Malaysia ran a model launch via an augmented reality (AR) experience, courtesy of the ingenuity of Entropia’s experience design unit, Entropia Extended Reality (EXR).
Countries’ lockdowns amid the pandemic made it nearly impossible for consumers to visit showrooms, let alone attend a car launch, and this is where EXR comes to the rescue.
EXR Head Ramakrishnan CN said the usage of extended reality (XR) for marketing and advertising is no longer a niche, and that the COVID-19 has definitely accelerated the pace of demand.
Entropia explains how the AR works: “By just clicking the link [on BMW’s app], the users will be able to get a virtually realistic 3D model of the car, and by just tapping the screen, they can reposition the car, [view it] at different angles, pinch and resize it, and slide in any direction for a 360° view.”
Talk about a fusion of innovation.
Top 1: The month of August puts Keepital’s appointment of CCO to top story
For the top story of the month, people news is at the heart of it. By July, congratulations have been in order as Asia-focused B2B eCommerce platform Keepital announced that they have appointed a new chief commercial officer, sales veteran Arthur Ng.
Arthur’s seasoned experience in B2B digital advertising sector matches the core offering of Keepital: bringing together buyers and suppliers in a central location; boasting a directory of B2B sales executives to put through businesses on a forum where they can network with each other.
Arthur has been a staple player in the function of business development since 2008, having worked with companies such as publisher The Green Book, supply chain Singapore Post, online media Purple Click, and the similar-natured Innity.
His responsibilities were as specific as it gets: ownership of the customer and the customer interface with the product or service offering, where he’s charged with making sure that all functions of the organization are aligned to meet strategic commercial objectives
MARKETECH APAC caught up with Arthur and he shared, “My past weeks with Keepital were pretty amazing and fulfilling. [I’ve been] going in-depth to understand the platform’s enclosed system, speaking to SME bosses to understand their marketing pain points and requirements.”
Watch the MARKETECH APAC REPORTS of these top five stories, with exclusive appearance and commentary from the newsmakers themselves.
If you have interesting stories, thought-leadership pieces, and case studies in the area of marketing, technology, media platforms and SME, please send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Who knows your story could be part of our top 5 next month.
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