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September 17, 2019

First meeting recap

On September 9, we had our first meeting at the Tompkins County Public Library. I was a bit nervous because very few people RSVPed on Meetup.com and a friend who was going to attend fell ill on that very day.

I had some snacks set up and I kept my fingers crossed. We ended up being a group of ten and I couldn’t have been happier with the quality of the conversations and the enthusiasm in the room!

Setting a direction

After going around the table to introduce ourselves, I started sharing some thoughts on the direction that I was envisioning for the group.

Raising public awareness

This Spring, I attended AWE in Santa Clara where Meaghan Fitzgerald, Head of Product Marketing for AR/VR Experiences at Facebook, was giving a talk on marketing VR apps. She said something that stuck with me (I’m paraphrasing but you can watch the talk): Because of the media, people are thinking too far ahead and don’t know what’s possible now; it is our responsibility to educate them about the current state of Extended Reality. I feel that this group is in a good position to help raising awareness of XR throughout Tompkins county.

Make Ithaca a good place to create/work in Extended Reality

I admire the work that Rev and others are doing to make Ithaca a wonderful place to work in tech. I want to understand what the state of the industry in the area is and what we can do to help start interest.

Help local partners adopt XR

I would love to see this group provide guidance for local partners who are trying to adopt XR for their business or non-profit activity. Ideally, we’ll soon reach a critical mass of developers, designers, content creators, etc. who could–if interested–collaborate with local partners.

Build Ithaca’s metaverse

I believe that the biggest hurdle for the public adoption of XR is not hardware or software or how stupid people will feel with AR glasses on. I think that what we need to collectively work on is content. The promise of an (or if things go wrong, multiple) AR Cloud means that the persistence of assets should be a reality in the near future (e.g. I create something in AR that I drop in the middle of the Commons for everybody to enjoy/interact with). One of the many exciting things about this is that there is a chance that the creation of assets/value could happen locally. We should get involved in the Ithaca metaverse early and make sure that it is an open, inclusive space.

Next steps

The conversation went from gaming to ethics and I can’t wait to spend more time with this group! We agreed that once a month was a good frequency to start with. We will alternate between “physical” meetings at the library and VR meetings, most likely in Hubs. This will enable people who have a later schedule or who can’t commute to Ithaca to join us on a regular basis.

We have a Slack workspace, where most of the conversations will take place and where topics for upcoming meetings (workshops, talks, demos, etc.) will be discussed. Join us on Slack!

I have a few ideas for what this website will bring (vs. Meetup vs. Slack) and I can’t wait to work more on this.

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Contact us!