SXSW: IoT vs VR to grow grassroots sports

We're heading to SXSW for the greatest sports showdown of all time: IoT vs VR

05.03.16 | Research

By Erika Shorter

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Uniform’s relationship with the Internet of Things has seen us develop projects we’re immensely proud of, such as Sweet Tweet, Postcard Player, Howzat! and Casual Interfaces. It’s a relationship that’s introduced us to thought leaders, policy makers, innovators, brands and individuals all over the world, and invited us to transformational conversations in the sectors we engage with most.

Our experience with VR is a stanchion of our company. Our Architectural Visualisation Team is and has been at the creative and technical forefront of VR, using this nascent technology to enhance the experience of the property and place sector, most recently with Greenwich Peninsula’s Paper World. While Uniform’s ventures in VR have historically been a mainstay of our Arch Viz team, the past 6 months has seen our R&D team and film team explore the possibilities of VR within their specialties.

Despite our commitment to operating at forefront of technological innovation, as an agency, Uniform is people-centric. Above all else, we’re concerned with human experience and are passionate about the ideas and insights that underpin technology, not simply chasing the biggest, brightest thing. Most recently, our research has led us to focus on technology’s role in grassroots sport engagement.

Looking at VR and IoT through a sports lens, we see VR dominating how we can transform engagement with sports media and wearables and IoT set to explode into a $20 trillion market. We know these technologies are giants in their own right, but do they share a space? Why not? What would that space look like? It sounds big. It sounds a bit impossible. But that’s the sort of thing that revs us up. So when we were approached to run a workshop at SXSW, we decided to go for that big question. With our passionate and brilliant participants, we’re questioning how the Internet of Things and VR can - together -  grow grassroots sports participation.

Any exploration of the possibilities of two mammoth technologies to converge or influence each other will be a colossal undertaking. We’ve given it an hour, and assembled a crack panel of Jon Rogers, Professor of Creative Technology at Dundee University, Non executive Director at Uniform and champion for all things IoT; Desigan Chinniah, Firestarter at Mozilla and all round VR expert; and myself, Research and Insight Manager at Uniform and fierce promoter of grassroots sport engagement.   

Without giving too much away, expect to be picking fights. Taking sides. Shown some magic. Expect to whistle blow, sketch, shout and play. Expect to create your own world and then walk around it - with some IoT easter eggs for good measure. So while we may not be able to definitively tell you that yes, IoT and VR can work together to revolutionise grassroots sports participation, we’re itching to start the conversation and have our say, stirring up the worlds of tech, sport and creativity. Whether you’re a geek or an athlete, curious bystander or tech evangelist, join us at SXSW to challenge the boundaries of technology in the world of sport.

If you’re lucky enough to be with us at SXSW (28 degrees and rising in Austin, Texas as of this morning) then we’ll be running our panel & workshop at 11am on March 13th. Further details and registration can be found on our EventBrite. The workshop is open to all SXSW Film and SXSW Interactive registrants. If you’ll be elsewhere in the world, follow along on social media through #IoTvsVR, and check back in here to see how it all went after the event. As an extra enticement, now seems the ideal time to introduce our work in progress, both an answer to and exploration of IoT and VR: Grip.

When:
Sunday, March 13
11:00AM - 12:00PM

Where:
Four Seasons 
San Jacinto 
98 San Jacinto Blvd

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