VRLA Co-­Founder Cosmo Scharf on the Future of XR and the Impact of Blockchain

As VRLA gears up for its 2018 opening, Scharf discusses the new paradigm a growing industry presents for the event.

VRLA has become a regular fixture in the virtual reality (VR) industry events calendar, and now entering its 4th year the event organisers are looking to embrace more emerging immersion technologies. VRFocus addressed co-founder Cosmo Scharf for the latest details on what attendees can expect at VRLA next month.

VRLA 2018

VRLA 2018, taking place 4th – 5th May 2018, Los Angeles Convention Center, will play host to some familiar VR faces, including The Third Floor, Opaque Studios and 3D Live. However, this year will see the addition of augmented reality (AR) producers to the line-up, as well as discussions surrounding the emerging blockchain technology and it’s impact on the AR and VR industries.

Scharf offers some details on these developments at VRLA and his opinion of the new technologies in the Q&A session below, and tickets for VRLA are now availableVRFocus will keep you updated with all the latest details on the event.

Cosmo Scharf VRLA

VRFocus: Why have you decided to expand the focus of VRLA after three years of the expo?

Cosmo Scharf [CS]: Every year, we challenge ourselves to make VRLA bigger and better than the previous show. For 2018, we’re doubling down on our commitment to make technology from the future accessible to the average person.

Our excitement for VR and AR has never been solely about immersive headsets. We’re driven by a deeper desire to better understand ourselves and reality itself, so we’re expanding the kinds of exhibitors we bring to VRLA.

VRFocus: How does the theme “A New Reality” reflect the changing focus of VR/AR/XR?

CS: Immersive and transformative technologies are reshaping our notion of identity and our sense of responsibility to the myriad set of challenges we face as a species. VR/AR/XR are technologies capable of raising the collective consciousness because they help us experience reality beyond limitations and instill in us a desire for the physical world to be
just as malleable as the virtual one. They inspire us to create a positive new reality for our planet.

VRFocus: How has the XR event landscape changed since VRLA began?

CS: XR was not really a thing when VRLA began, so we’re happy to see new verticals emerge that offer consumers immersive experiences. XR today feels a bit like where VR was when VRLA first started – extremely promising, but lacking a release from a major consumer brand.

That said, ARKit and ARCore are doing tremendous work to bring high quality AR to millions of devices, while the Magic Leap glasses look very promising!

VRFocus: What are some of the most exciting developments you’ve seen in VR/AR/XR in the last year?

CS:We’re thrilled to see desktop VR start to merge with mobile VR, with headsets like the Oculus Santa Cruz and the Lenovo Mirage. The convergence of 6DoF head and hand tracking from desktop VR with the portability and price point of mobile VR are critical for the long­term success of the industry.

VRFocus: What role do you see cryptocurrency and blockchain playing potentially in an XR future?

CS: Cryptocurrency and blockchain are critical technologies for the evolution of our consciousness because they have the potential to help decentralize control and make the world more of a level playing field. When it comes to XR, crypto could become a major asset to devs as they start to monetise virtual worlds. We’re already seeing major players like High Fidelity and Otoy work with these technologies, and I expect many more to jump in.

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