PROJECTR Auckland opens

 

PROJECTR® Auckland, a new shared immersive technologies space in the Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct has opened.

Projectr New Zealand Ltd Managing Director, Michael Gregg says the facility will bring together some of Auckland and New Zealand’s top AR/VR businesses and emerging innovators to develop and demonstrate world-first and world-leading experiences using immersive technologies.

This follows the establishment of another PROJECTR® XR venue, PROJECTR® Central, in central Wellington.

Michael conceived Wellington’s first PROJECTR® site in early 2016. The first offshore location, PROJECTR® Taipei, is currently being constructed and some of New Zealand’s most innovative disruptive tech companies will locate offices there during late 2018 and 2019.

The PROJECTR® Auckland XR Centre can house up to 36 specialist AR/VR, AI and IoT tech-specific residents, student interns and staff. It is anticipated that over 60 startup companies will pass through its doors within its first three years of operations.

The new Auckland venue will be located on the first floor of the impressive 12 Madden Street location currently housing Generator’s co-working residents, NZVIF and the soon-to-be launched Spark 5G Innovation Hub. This site was in response to demand from a group of local VR industry veterans who specified they wanted a central, easy to access, premium location.

“Our residents want high quality premises to showcase the best of New Zealand’s XR experiences to their international clients and potential investors,” Michael explains.

“We chose this Wynyard Quarter location for a couple of reasons – one is the expansive views of Auckland Harbour and what that offers, and the other is the opportunity to co-locate with another generalist co-working operator to take advantage of their excellent facilities and to provide additional co-working benefits for our residents.”

Having access to 5G spectrum with Spark New Zealand offers an exciting new paradigm to local AR/VR development; a game-changer even for the fledging VR sector. The growing America’s Cup community also provides diversity and opportunities for trials and proof-of-concepts.

The stunning Viaduct site within GRIDAKL’s Innovation Precinct boasts a large events space, on-site café, car and bike parking, boardrooms and kitchens, as well as the opportunity for PROJECTR® residents to take advantage of the general business training opportunities that the facility provides.

Mr Gregg is excited about the prospects that this co-location model offers the New Zealand AR/VR community.

“I’ve been privileged to work with a wide range of startup companies from our sector over the past two years and it’s clear that while many are XR technology-literate and highly innovative, honing their traditional business skills of sales, marketing, finance and management is sometimes neglected. This offering provides all-round business support to complement what we can do within the specialist PROJECTR® XR Centre,” says Michael.

Whilst overseeing a transition of management and the refurbishment of the original Wellington Centre this year, Michael initiated a series of new collaborative R&D projects with the New Zealand Government, launched a student internship programme, and lifted occupancy of residents, interns and staff. These ideas will be incorporated within the new PROJECTR® XR Centres including PROJECTR® Central, the new Wellington location established by Projectr New Zealand Limited.

“I believe this premium location will attract international talent down under and allow our top New Zealand companies to springboard offshore, yet maintain a local base,” he says.

PROJECTR® Auckland will house a public VR Showcase suite and a private VR room with technology for residents to professionally video-blog (Vlog). The centre is installing the latest Virtual and Mixed Reality headsets and is partnering with industry leader, HP, on rendering and immersive technologies.

PROJECTR® has partnered with the XR1 Fund, which is currently closing its first capital raise. This boutique and collegial pre-seed fund for early growth companies will offer investment in the form of convertible notes to companies looking to expand offshore and have protectable intellectual property.

Michael was the founding Chair of the New Zealand VR/AR Association, which started in 2016. He stepped down from that role after two terms to focus on opening PROJECTR® XR Centres offshore. Sites have been earmarked in Australia, Singapore and USA, to add to the existing Wellington, Auckland and Taipei locations.

“Having a network of PROJECTR® venues with reciprocal rights gives New Zealanders a ‘tech embassy’ and a soft-landing pad in key international locations. Residents can access the hardware they need in other countries and can leverage our networks to facilitate commercialisation of locally developed hardware and to secure offshore contracts for XR content creation,” says Michael.

Projectr New Zealand Ltd operates the PROJECTR® Auckland XR Centre  as well as the PROJECTR® Central XR Centre in Wellington, New Zealand.

PROJECTR® Central the new VR hub in Wellington

PROJECTR® Central is the name of the latest PROJECTR® XR Centre to open in Wellington’s downtown CBD.

Projectr New Zealand Ltd Managing Director, Michael Gregg says the facility will bring together some of Wellington’s most innovative AVR businesses and emerging innovators who are creating immersive content and new immersive computing experiences.

This follows the announcement of new centres in Auckland and Taipei –PROJECTR® Auckland, in that city’s Innovation Precinct, which opens in November 2018, and PROJECTR® Taipei in the historic Datong district of Taiwan’s capital city.

Michael conceived Wellington’s first PROJECTR® site in early 2016.

The PROJECTR® Central XR Centre can accommodate up to 20 specialist AR/VR, AI and IoT tech-specific residents, student interns and staff in its first phase, with additional capacity coming on stream in 2019 for a further 12 residents. It is anticipated that over 45 startup companies will pass through its doors during its first three years.

“Our residents want high quality premises to showcase the best of New Zealand’s XR experiences to their international clients and potential investors,” Michael explains. “The facility we’ve secured is 100% of Building Code which has been an important factor in deciding permanent premises for our initial residents, given the omni-present threat of damaging earthquakes.”

PROJECTR® Central will house a VR room to showcase work in progress and shared  technology for residents, such as the Insta360 Pro 2 six lens professional 360 degree camera with FlowState stabilisation. The centre is installing the latest Virtual and Mixed Reality headsets and partnering with industry leaders on rendering and immersive technologies.

PROJECTR® has partnered with the XR1 Fund, which is currently closing its first capital raise. This boutique and collegial pre-seed fund for early growth companies will offer investment in the form of convertible notes to companies looking to expand offshore and have protectable intellectual property.

The first offshore location, PROJECTR® Taipei, is currently being constructed and some of New Zealand’s most innovative disruptive tech companies will locate offices there during late 2018 and 2019.

Mr Gregg is excited about the prospects that this co-location model offers to the New Zealand AR/VR community.

“I’ve been honoured to work with many startup XR companies over the past two-plus years and seen firsthand that the challenge of scaling to a sustainable business is significant,” says Michael.

“I believe this premium location will help to attract international talent to Wellington and the PROJECTR® model allows our top New Zealand companies to springboard offshore, yet maintain a local base,” he says.

Founder, Michael Gregg was the first Chair of the New Zealand VR/AR Association, which he helped form in 2016. He stepped down from that role after two terms to focus on opening PROJECTR® XR Centres offshore. New sites have been earmarked in Australia, Singapore and USA, to add to the existing Wellington, Auckland and Taipei locations operated by Projectr New Zealand Ltd and Projectr International Ltd.

“Having a network of PROJECTR® venues with reciprocal rights gives New Zealanders a ‘tech embassy’ and a soft-landing pad in key international locations. Residents can access the hardware they need in other countries and can leverage our networks to facilitate commercialisation of locally developed hardware and to secure offshore contracts for XR content creation,” says Michael.

Projectr New Zealand Ltd operates the PROJECTR® Central XR Centre  as well as the PROJECTR® Auckland XR Centre. Its parent company, Projectr International Ltd owns and operates the PROJECTR® Taipei facility.

Snippets from PROJECTR

We’ve been busy behind the scenes working in various regions to make PROJECTR® successful. Here’s some news snippets from across the business:

At PROJECTR® Wellington, a series of three collaborative projects are underway for a distinguished New Zealand Government entity. These involve over half of the resident companies at that Centre and were secured by PROJECTR Founder, Michael Gregg, to assist the residents to demonstrate their wide range of collective skills with an iconic client.

As reported on the Wellington site, PROJECTR and, US computer company, Pure Storage have partnered to install a powerful Kubernetes cluster into the centre for residents to use to render VR environments and process AI models.

For the team tackling major photogrammetry projects at RealityVirtual, having extreme computational power provides endless new opportunities.

For artificial intelligence startup, Intela AI, the high performance Kubernetes cluster will provide on-demand AI infrastructure, enabling their team of data scientists to accelerate the development of machine learning models for their own product development and for client projects.

Of note, a decision has been made to proceed with the establishment of a PROJECTR® Auckland XR Centre. We’re in the midst of negotiations on a fabulous central location and will be making an announcement once these are concluded. We’re also looking forward to announcing the Centre Director for this venue at the same time.

Michael stepped down from his role as Chair of the New Zealand VR/AR Association early in July to focus on his XR companies and the growing PROJECTR business. His retirement follows a two year stint as the founding Chair of the NZVRARA. He is spending much of July based in Taiwan to progress the PROJECTR® Taipei venue and continue building partnerships with global tech companies.

 

Colab-ing with PROJECTR®

We’re really excited about the positive interest in the PROJECTR® model from from around the globe right now. This post will help explain how we’re partnering with existing SSaaS (Shared Space as a Service) operators, shared ‘generalist or non-tech’ workspaces and co-working venues and property owners with a floor to fill.

At present we’re looking for prime quality, centrally situated, tech-centric locations in major cities including London, Shenzhen, Chengdu in Mainland China and in Melbourne, Australia.

Incubator/Accelerator Operators
Adding a PROJECTR® XR Center into your existing facilities will increase return and utilisation of existing resources whilst providing wraparound services for our residents, beyond the technical support we provide. We provide the immersive technologies and technical support staff, international linkages, access to our partner network and benefits of a shared vision to accelerate commercial success in VR/AR.

If you run a government-funded or -operated incubator venue, adding a PROJECTR® workspace within your existing floor plate will add resident diversity, cross-disciplinary skills transfer, keep your venue in the media and reduce the chance of a separate XR workspace being launched in your district. We have the experience in shared workspaces, collaborative technology projects and commercialisation that will set you apart.

Property Owners
We can provide a rental return for your central CBD office space by partnering to establish a PROJECTR® XR Center at your location. We need a clean floorspace, decent footprint (400sqm minimum). An alternative option for a smaller space is for us to install a ‘pop-up’ concept version to trial the facility, or to be utilised for a major in-house project.

Existing Co-working Venues
We may be able to add a simple PROJECTR® XR Center within your current co-working venue, expanding as demand dictates.

Existing AR/VR Workspaces
Partnering with Projectr International provides shared sponsorship opportunities, revenue streams from international collaborative projects, marketing and brand support, access to latest technology and could reduce your existing per resident costs. Let’s talk about how we could increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your venue by taking a PROJECTR® XR Center license.

Whats New in PROJECTR® Wellington

PROJECTR® Wellington has undergone a significant refurbishment, welcomed a new wave of residents and is finalising two major collaborative R&D programmes. All since March, and overseen by our Managing Director, Michael Gregg, a founder/director of Projectr VR Ltd which operates the New Zealand centre.

New residents include Maggle Creative (AR specialists with their Scope-X platform), M Theory from Auckland (VR/AR innovation agency), Simon Che de Boer (globally-recognised VR Director), Peter Houston (360/VR Director), Daniel Monaghan (iOS ARkit developer), and a return to PROJECTR Wellington by Pete Black from BeVR.

They join Polytronik (VR/AR, games and creative production studio), Rachel Hatch from VR Kiwi (Trekkr VR treadmill technology), HipLee (augmented reality fashion solution), Klarity Design, Swibo (balance board technology), 3DFY.me (full body 360 volumetric scanning solution), Victoria University (Wellington’s largest University), and the desk of the Executive Director of the NZVRARA.

New way-finding and brand signage has been installed as well as complete furniture refurbishment of one of the two current workspaces. The Centre is also sporting some new technology with an additional computer, network switch, and two new HTC Vive’s purchased to showcase the residents recent work.

Initial projects for two major new research & development programmes with major New Zealand entities are about to begin. These wide-ranging programmes will involve many of the residents, and demonstrate the broad expertise across this collaborative community of XR professionals.

The search is on for a new Community Manager – to be appointed ahead of a busy programme of events and tours during April/May.

After a first year of promoting AR/VR to New Zealand, this first PROJECTR® XR Centre in Wellington, New Zealand is now firmly focused on its vision of creating a world-class specialist immersive technology hub, delivering tangible, commercial value back to a fast-growing resident population.

Update on PROJECTR Taipei Opening

We spent this week in Taipei with a small group of company founders from the New Zealand XR industry.

The squirrels are tearing around while Black Crowned Night Herons quietly stalk the shallows of the many ponds that feature in the extensive memorial gardens dotted throughout the city. It’s a lovely time to be in Taipei, with spring blossoms, temperate weather throughout the day and low humidity.

We managed to get around quite a few senior teams across the XR and technology manufacturing sector with some fantastic pledges of support for the PROJECTR® concept.

With a focus on global virtual reality experiences and ultra-premium creative content, PROJECTR® Taipei is going to be a valuable XR Showcase venue. We’re now firmly in pre-launch project management phase with a huge amount to complete before the doors open. We’ve made sure to build a ‘brandwall’ to promote our sponsors and partners, we’re adding a large VR/presentation room, plus a barista-quality coffee machine to celebrate Taipei’s coffee culture.

We’ve had early registrations of interest from five companies wanting to reside here, and it promises to be an interesting mix of local and expat talent. We can’t wait to make a formal announcement as soon as we can.

XR Innovation in Taiwan

The winding queues of impatient teens stretched well beyond the vast doors of Taiwan’s Taipei World Trade Exhibition Center. Inside the bowels of this massive structure, high-end next-generation VR headsets and the latest immersive games technologies are being proudly paraded in front of an eager throng of believers. Outside, the pandemonium of promotional jingles blasting from moving billboard trucks, smiling actors dressed as super hero’s or cult figures and the hubbub of an excited crowd only adds to the occasion.

Witnessing the cacophony that is the 2018 Taipei Games Show (January 25-29) was all the proof needed to demonstrate the powerful pull of console and VR games with an insatiable Taiwanese consumer audience.

With games companies recording record profits from their Northeast Asia releases, it’s clear the opportunity of the Taiwan market is significant, not just for those producing games content, but for a broader group of VR/AR producers who can leverage the bevy of early adopters soaking up immersive tech.

An Active Ecosystem
Alongside a thriving group of games development companies feeding this demand is an active immersive eco-system of VR arcade content developers, VR theme park operators, VR film and content creators, plus a heavyweight contingent of hardware head offices and manufacturers.

Rockstar Taiwan tech producers include Acer, ASUS, MSI, Razer, HTC, the StarVR joint venture, NVIDIA, Quanta, Compal, D-Link, Foxconn, Gigabyte Technology, Mediatek, Phison, and Ritek, who are all investing in development and manufacture of innovative technologies within Taiwan. It’s a hotbed of tech investment, rapid prototyping centres, commercialisation support systems and refreshingly knowledgeable conversation on the positive future of cross reality.

Projectr International CEO Michael Gregg visits HTC HQ (Jan 2018).

Companies such as AMD, HTC, Acer and NVIDIA are investing in developing the global and local XR ecosystem, making Taipei an exciting hub to discover, experience and be part of creating the latest cross reality features, fads and even fables!

Demonstrating their leadership, HTC’s Vive-X program recently announced a third batch of VR-related investments, totalling some 92+ startups, making that company one of the world’s leading industrial accelerators.

Taiwan is packed with innovators including iStaging (real estate AR tour platform) and Funique VR (production studio). There’s a heady crowd producing educational and training apps, 360/VR travel content and the highly supportive AVR Association, TAVAR.

PROJECTR® Taipei
All this makes Taiwan a high profile location for us to establish PROJECTR® Taipei as a collaborative tech hub, but not just for local XR companies, educators, and investors to utilise. An XR Center open to the world.

PROJECTR® Taipei is for New Zealand innovators wanting to take hardware products to market, or as a place to build up a competent team of local interaction designers and developers who understand the power of the Northeast Asia market. It’s a place to collaborate across languages, with supportive mentoring mixed with super-fast fibre and free coffee.

It is for the world’s digital nomads who want to visit the place voted the best expat location in 2016. It’s for those looking for a Kiwi landing pad within a friendly city to cheaply live in, to work and travel around with ease. And with access to the very latest technology and globally significant technology companies.

If you would like to be part of PROJECTR® Taipei, drop us a line. The venue will fill up fast and we’ll be operating on a first up, first in basis, subject to consideration of your particular XR interests and best fit with our other PROJECTR® Taipei residents.

The Power of Collaboration

Because technology adoption is global, so international connectivity must be also. And that requires trusted collaboration. Something easy to say, but harder to action.

PROJECTR® International is opening regional tech hubs in partnership with like-minded collaborators around the world to accelerate innovation. and drive collaboration.

These spaces will aid knowledge transfer, speed up commercialisation, provide more venture capital inflows and deeper government to government cooperation between countries within the fast growing virtual, cinematic, mixed and augmented reality fields that we collectively refer to as Cross Reality (XR).

Although our XR Centres offer workspaces, immersive R&D tech labs, industry events such as demo days, VR Association meet-ups and training workshops as well as access to the technology that powers our XR industry, it’s the camaraderie, trust and advice shared between residents that is the lifeblood of a successful centre. And that’s what we’re tackling in 2018.

As an example of the need for international collaboration, look down to New Zealand  where advanced creativity and quality content creation are globally recognised attributes of that nation’s film, games and entertainment industries. Whereas in the markets of Taiwan and China, the rapid prototyping, manufacture (at scale) and global commercialisation of hardware and tools is what sets those VR territories apart. Building collaborative partnerships between these nations allows for kiwi creativity to be packaged and delivered on Chinese or Taiwanese consoles and in VR arcades throughout Asia. These engagements are already well-advanced, providing demand for services such as the PROJECTR® XR Centres.

Talent transfer is another positive byproduct of the exchanges that happen between countries and between PROJECTR® XR Centres. Like many other IT and telecommunications industry fields, the virtual and augmented reality sector will face severe talent shortages as it grows.  Building skills and networks through effective collaboration now may provide critical access to talent in future years.