AWE 2024 Preview: What Can We Expect This Year?

Celebrating AWE 2024: 15 years of innovation

AWE 2024 Preview What Can We Expect This Year - XR Today News
Event NewsInsights

Published: June 14, 2024

Rebekah Carter

Rebekah Carter

The Augmented World Expo (AWE 2024) is just around the corner, and excitement is bubbling up in the extended reality community. We cover plenty of XR-focused events here at XR Today, but AWE is by far one of the most well-known and popular events in the industry.

This year, the world-leading conference is set to be bigger and better than ever as the group celebrates 15 years of world-changing and pioneering events. If you’re lucky enough to attend the conference at Long Beach between June 18th and 20th, you’ve got a lot to look forward to, from museum exhibits to award shows.

Still, the agenda on the AWE website can be tough to get your head around. With that in mind, we’re going to outline some of the top things we can’t wait to see at this year’s event.

What is AWE 2024? The 15-Year Anniversary Event

As of this year, thousands of companies, professionals, and XR enthusiasts will have been relying on AWE to learn more about the industry for 15 years. Outside of its annual events, AWE actually hosts a series of conferences, exhibitions, classes, and workshops year-round. So, it’s definitely worth checking out the website to see what’s coming up each month.

Notably, while it’s called the “Augmented World Event,” AWE doesn’t focus exclusively on augmented reality. The group actually focuses on all things spatial computing, from AR and VR to mixed reality, bio-interfaces, haptics, 5G, and artificial intelligence.

For this year’s anniversary celebration, AWE 2024 is moving from Silicon Valley to Long Beach for a three-year event that celebrates both the group’s history and the future of XR. According to the event website, attendees will be able to try the latest spatial computing tech from over 300 exhibitors, connect with more than 6,500 attendees, and learn from over 500 speakers.

Plus, it’s worth noting that the group has taken extra steps to improve accessibility this year. For the first time, AWE has partnered with XRAI to add captioning and transcription to all of its stages. That means attendees can download the XRAI Glass app on their smartphone or compatible smart glasses to read transcripts in more than 75 languages instantly.

From 2023 to AWE 2024: What to Expect this Year

Sometimes, the best way to predict just how impactful an XR event will be is to look back at previous conferences. Over the years, AWE has proven itself to be the go-to resource for staying on the cutting edge of the industry. In 2022, the AWE hot topic was the “metaverse.” Last year, we saw plenty of focus on mixed reality, fuelled by the impending arrival of the Apple Vision Pro and Meta Quest 3.

Last year, we had plenty of exciting announcements to report on here at XRToday. Meta announced its new Meta Quest for Business solution, and DigiLens shared its plan to partner with Phantom Technology on the creation of a spatial AI assistant for its smart glasses.

Designium showcased its new prototyping platform, designed to enable the rapid creation of AR experiences, and Lenovo introduced us to its emerging enterprise-first XR strategy. Plus, we got to see HTC VIVE’s incredible examples of XR in real-world scenarios.

Based on the trends shaping the XR industry in 2024, we expect there’ll be a lot of focus on AI this year and its impact on XR and wearable devices. There are certainly plenty of AI-related sessions listed on the AWE agenda, including one about “building interactive digital humans.” This could be an interesting topic, given the AI-powered “digital twins” created by companies like Microsoft and Google in the last couple of months.

Speakers and Sessions for AWE 2024

Obviously, it would take forever to list all of the sessions you can potentially attend at AWE 2024. Currently, the conference agenda is extremely ambitious, featuring more than 200 keynotes and panels and over 500 speakers. That’s a lot to cover in just three days.

The good news, if you’re struggling to plan your own schedule, is that you can focus on specific “tracks” relevant to your needs. Some of the top tracks covered include “AI and Virtual Beings”, “Enterprise”, “XR Enablement”, “Developer”, and so on.

Plus, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye on the mainstage at the event, where AWE will be showcasing some of its biggest speakers. Just some of the main sessions to look forward to, include:

  • The Qualcomm Keynote: Alex Katouzian
  • The Meta Keynote: Jamie Keane
  • XReal’s “What’s Next for AR”: Chi Xu
  • Pico XR’s Enterprise Innovation session: Amir Khorram
  • The Future of XR Headsets: Panel
  • AWE’s Wrap-up and Best in Show Awards

Plus, Palmer Lucky, the founder of Anduril and Oculus, has suggested that he might unveil plans for a new XR headset at the show, so make sure you don’t miss that.

Perhaps the event creating the most hype this year is the appearance of Marco Tempest, the founder of MagicLab, and former NASA JPL Creative Technologist, on the main stage. He’s going to be showing attendees how to create amazing, dynamic content on the fly.

Keep in mind, if you miss any of these major sessions or want to catch up on them later, AWE will be recording every session to release on its YouTube channel later.

The XR Hall of Fame and Anniversary Museum

While speaker sessions might capture your attention at AWE 2024, we recommend making time for some of the other planned activities. For this year’s anniversary event, AWE will be celebrating its history with an incredible “XR History Museum.” Here, you’ll be able to check out more than 80 vintage AR and VR devices and prototypes from the last 50 years.

You can see Ivan Sutherland’s revolutionary “The Sword of Damocles” headset, as well as a range of leading tools on loan from XR pioneers, like the 1990 Xybernaut, and the 1992 Virtuality Viset 1.

On top of that, there’s also the new AWE Hall of Fame, celebrating artists, scientists, business, and thought leaders from throughout the XR landscape. Here, you’ll find information about everyone from John Carmack and Neal Stephenson, to Ivan Sutherland, Gabel Newell, Tim Sweeney, and more.

Currently, the Hall of Fame features about 101 visionaries, but the event organizers say they’ll introduce additional honorees in the years ahead.

The AWE 2024 Playground and Expo

We’ve already mentioned that the Expo at AWE 2024 will give you a chance to experiment with hundreds of different wearables and XR innovations this year. However, it’s also worth paying attention to the immersive exhibition space: the AWE Playground.

This space will feature a variety of bespoke pieces and experiences you’ll only have a chance to encounter at this specific show. For instance, you can check out a demo of the first musical created for the Apple Vision Pro. Alternatively, you might dive into the Artivive exhibition for an AR experience of pop culture throughout the decades.

You can even demo the “VR Shoes” created by Freeaim, which allow you to walk naturally in VR environments across infinite distances. If you’re interested in the growing power of XR in healthcare, we recommend checking out how MED1stMR is using MR to train medical first responders for all kinds of life-threatening situations.

In addition to all that, there are plenty of fun and entertaining events to attend, such as the “Spacebar” VR arcade, set in the Wild West of space.

The AWE Awards Ceremony

Finally, make sure you check out the Auggie Awards at AWE 2024. Every year, these prestigious awards recognize innovators in 19 categories, from XR art experts to developer tools. AWE also gives three of its own awards each year, covering things like “Best in Show” and the “Awesome Award” for the most audacious concept.

Auggie Award winners in 2023 included Pfizer, for their VR collaboration tool, VIVE XR Elite, for the best head-worn device, and AnjaVidja for the best Enterprise Solution.

Plus, you’ll also be able to see who’s walking away with the “Best Startup” award for this year. The winner will receive a massive prize to help facilitate their continued growth. Finalists include companies like EducationXR, Shader, and DoublePoint.

See You at AWE 2024

While it’s difficult to predict exactly which new releases and announcements will be unveiled at any major XR event, it’s safe to say that AWE 2024 is going to be an experience you won’t want to miss. Whether you’re checking out one of the many amazing keynote speeches or educational sessions or just experimenting with the latest tech, there’s plenty to explore.

We have no doubt you’ll leave this year’s event feeling exhilarated and excited about the future of the extended reality landscape. If you can’t attend yourself, stay tuned and we’ll make sure we share all of the most significant announcements with you in the weeks ahead.

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