The NZVRARA (The New Zealand VR/AR Association Inc.) and Auckland-based AR/VR Garage have signed a wide-ranging strategic partnership to accelerate the growth of the virtual and augmented reality sector in New Zealand.
The AR/VR Garage, facilitated by Auckland Tourism, Events & Economic Development (ATEED) on behalf of Auckland Council, opened in September last year as a collaborative AR/VR and mixed reality, project-centric, R&D facility in Auckland, New Zealand. Within the broad digital realities sector, the Garage is designed to align tertiary talent with industry needs, develop local solutions for global challenges and connect New Zealand talent internationally.
The New Zealand VR/AR Association is the official New Zealand chapter of the global VRARA (www.thevrara.com) and formally incorporated in September last year. Established to champion, support and grow innovation in the virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors throughout New Zealand, the NZVRARA’s objectives include promoting collaboration, education, R&D and economic development for the benefit of its sector members.
This strategic partnership formalises the roles of both organisations to work together to accelerate the education, development and evolution of this creative sector for the benefit of New Zealand. The AR/VR Garage – which has more than 20 high-growth company tenants – joins the Association as a corporate member and will facilitate access to event space and AR/VR related equipment, as well as providing a hot-desk for Association members. The partnership allows for Association members’ innovative technology solutions to be showcased in Auckland. The NZVRARA will run its Auckland operations from the AR/VR Garage and access the venue for some of its member events.
NZVRARA Chair, Michael Gregg is enthusiastic about the arrangement saying, “The New Zealand VRARA is delighted to bring on the AR/VR Garage as a strategic partner, and as an Auckland home for our Association. I encourage our members and other strategic partners to make the most of this opportunity to build scale, create and drive innovation, and engage offshore through the facilities, networks and events that the Garage offers.”
Head of the AR/VR Garage, Brett Telfer is also excited at the opportunity: “The spirit of the partnership is to break down barriers to communication and collaboration between New Zealand’s regions and pockets of AR/VR capability, and to showcase our nation’s capability more effectively to international partners, delegations and visiting investors. The partnership provides a framework to collaborate on commercial VR and AR projects that drive economic outcomes for New Zealand companies,” he says.
NZVRARA Executive Director, Courteney Lomas is already working from the Garage to expand its Auckland student chapter and will host its first Garage event later this month. “The AR/VR Garage launched in the same month as the New Zealand VR/AR Association, so this is an exciting way for both to celebrate their respective first anniversaries – with a joint event,” states Courteney.
For more on the AR/VR Garage: www.arvrgarage.nz
Mobile 021 829 741 or Lester.Thorley@aucklandnz.com
Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development
Senior Communications Advisor, Business Attraction and Investment
For NZVRARA information, or to arrange member access to the AR/VR Garage:
Executive Director, NZVRARA
Mobile 021 779 298 or firstname.lastname@example.org
For more on the NZVRARA:
Mobile 021 838 583 or email@example.com
The NZVRARA (The New Zealand VR/AR Association Inc.) Student Chapter kicked off mid-July with a series of events to inform the establishment of University Clubs on each major University campus, and plans to expand further into Polytechnics and private training organisations.
Members of the University Clubs will be offered reduced cost annual membership to the NZVRARA, with their Association membership fees covered by strategic partners of the NZVRARA.
This significant initiative is tasked with building closer links between the burgeoning VR/AR industry and students moving through the education and training system, to deliver on a wide range of benefits. These include:
- A chance for students to attend and gain tangible benefits from NZVRARA meetups, workshops and member events;
- A conduit for internships and workplace training via student access to employers and entrepreneur’s seeking undergraduate and postgraduate expertise;
- More communications between industry, students and tertiary staff will influence learning pathways and continue to align skillsets with industry demand;
- Student have access latest technology and collaborative R&D venues via the NZVRARA’s strategic partnerships;
Based on the successful VRTX model already operating on the Massey Wellington campus, and following a meeting between the NZVRARA and VRTX, the Association organised a meeting of interested Victoria University Wellington campus students who collectively agreed to form their own club.
The call has gone out to VR students and staff from other University campuses to contact the NZVRARA if there is sufficient support for forming an on-campus club at other locations.
Masterminded by NZVRARA Student Chapter President, Courteney Lomas, who is also employed by the NZVRARA as their Executive Director, the idea of the various campus clubs’ meeting, competing, and celebrating the VR/AR sector resonated with both NZVRARA members and students.
“We’re really excited about working collaboratively from multiple locations, across the various Uni clubs,” said Courteney Lomas, NZVRARA Student Chapter President. “We’ve got some fun events already in the pipeline, and a VR challenge that will benefit an important charity planned for early 2018.”
Professor Brian Lucid, Head of Massey University’s School of Design and NZVRARA Board Member, is confident this initiative will deliver positive and exciting results. “The VRTX concept created at Massey is already delivering benefits through meaningful engagement between students, faculty researchers and the wider VR sector,” said Brian, “Forming other campus clubs will only make this initiative stronger”.
The NZVRARA is the official New Zealand chapter of the global VRARA (www.thevrara.com) and formally incorporated in September 2016, and was established to champion, support and grow innovation in the virtual, augmented and mixed reality sectors throughout New Zealand. Its objectives include promoting collaboration, education, R&D and economic development for the benefit of its sector members.
Students or staff from New Zealand’s tertiary institutions are encouraged to contact Courteney at the NZVRARA via firstname.lastname@example.org.
GET A CLUB UNDERWAY ON YOUR CAMPUS:
For Student Chapter information:
Executive Director & Student Chapter President, NZVRARA
Mobile 027 738 9340 or email@example.com
For more on the NZVRARA:
Mobile 021 83 85 83 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The NZ VRARA launched their new event series, Virtual Skies, on August 8th. The first event of the series,VR: Who owns the future?, saw a diverse mix of people gather together to discuss the utopian and dystopian possibilities of the VR/AR future.
42 people came together to spend an evening debating questions of ethics, ownership and sexuality, within a futuristic VR/AR context . From students to content creators, educators, and business women/men, there was a healthy representation of the Wellington VR/AR community, with a balanced ratio of young, old, male, and female.
A brief presentation on the future predictions for VR/AR was followed by facilitated group conversations set around a series of questions that ranged from the ownership of virtual “tags” to debating the ethics and ramifications of dangerous sexual practises being enacted in a virtual world.
NZ VRARA Executive Director, Courteney Lomas, says “I think that it is really important for the association to be leading this type of conversation alongside promoting, supporting and advocating for our NZ members working in VR and AR. By debating the hard questions and sharing viewpoints amongst the community we are in a better position to build a healthy VRAR future, that harnesses and champions the best of human nature.”
Virtual Skies will be an ongoing event series that deep dives into the hard questions, focusing on different themes each month.
To find out when the next one will be near you, head over to the FB page, NZ VRARA, and stay in the loop!