Tech Open Air (TOA) Berlin is Europe’s leading interdisciplinary technology festival. The event, held already for the 6th time in July filled the legendary Funkhaus Berlin with more that 20 0000 attendants. With over 200 satellite events spreading around Berlin made the entire city vibrant with technology, music, art, and science. This year’s conference topics covered a huge spectrum of everything that is bubbling at the moment; from design to blockchain, from food to future cities and health to AI, VR and IoT. The speakers, more than 200 of them, came from big companies and organisations like NASA, World Economic Forum, Google, Samsung NEXT, IBM, and Unity, as well as a wealth of small innovative companies in fields of tech, music, art, science or the intersection of all four.
I visited TOA Berlin already for the second time. From this years conference offering I build my program mainly concentrating on speakers that coming from interesting up and coming companies in virtual reality, spiced up with a little bit of research, design and media. From the wide offering especially presentations from Adina Popescu, founder of Snowblack VR, Samuel Huber, CEO of Advir.co, Sonja Galunder, Senior Research Scientiest at Smart Information Flow Technologies (SIFT), Khalid Meniri, founder & CEO of Six Agency, and Ian Forrester, Senior Producer as BBC R&D gave a lot of food for thought.
To sum it up, the thoughts that I took with me from Berlin this time were:
- Putting yourself into the picture; explore how data can be visualised so that the user has control of it and can make an impact in it to make it more engaging and rewarding to the viewer.
- Variations matter in storytelling; use metadata to enrich the content and to get variation.
- Collect data; design VR so that you can collect data from it to learn about user behavior.
- Users want to do things but they want it do be done for them; give less choice but more engaging options.
Apart form taking part in the conference program I also attended a satellite event at Fraunhofer HHI. Fraunhofer HHI – German equivalent to our Finnish VTT – is Europe’s largest application oriented research organization with a budget of more than 2,1 billion € and research highlights such as MP3 audio codec under their belt. Seeing their current research activities in the fields of VR, AR, MR, and IoT was enlightening.
A visit to Berlin is always worthwhile. After all, it has for some time already been the tech capital of Europe. Lot’s of lessons learned and a lot of wow moments experienced. The world we work in is developing so fast you have to move fast to keep on track. Therefore it was also rewarding to see that here in Finland we at Stereoscape are definitively on the right track and moving at pretty much the same pace with the big players.
Project Director, Stereoscape