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Immersive Tech, Cybersecurity, and Data Management Key Themes at VR/AR Forum

Industrial AR/VR Forum
Attendees at this year's Industrial AR/VR Forum in Houston were able to look at the latest offerings from 30 exhibitors.

Data issues surrounding immersive technology, cybersecurity, and data management are among the key takeaways that industry representatives are discussing at this year’s virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) event “Industrial VR/AR Forum" being held in Houston. What began as a forum in 2019 bringing together multiple communities within the energy, engineering, and technology industries with 150 attendees and 12 exhibitors, the Industrial VR/AR Forum has doubled in size this year.

This year’s forum has 300 attendees and 30 exhibitors.

“They just wanted more,” said Sean Guerre, the founder of Stone Fort Group and managing director for the InnovateEnergy communities and Energy Innovators Council. “The industry wants to see more on the data issues surrounding immersive tech. They want to know about the data from people that are in the field. They want to know how to keep it safe. And the biggest question is how you are managing that data, how are you analyzing, it and how are you storing it.”

Following the 2019 forum, Guerre, whose group also hosts The Energy Drone & Robotics Summit and InnovateEnergy Leadership Forum, noted that attendees sought real-world immersive technology examples, real-world cases and case studies, and deployments.

“Last year it was more heads-up tech and new tech,” Guerre said. “This year they wanted to hear more from owners, operators, and end users. It’s a lot more from specific business operations that will be using it. They are either in training, VR design. They are data analyst and scientists.”

Perhaps the biggest surprise at this year’s event is how many attendees and delegates are coming out from the energy and engineering industries and speaking, according to Guerre.

Oil majors like ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and engineering and service providers like Fluor, Schlumberger, and Bechtel have sent delegates to present and participate in panel sessions. Much of this has been due to key stakeholders within the industry. 

Attendees and presenters have noted over the 2-day forum, however, that one of the key factors in VR/AR has been getting key stakeholders to accept VR/AR and shake the stigma of it as a gaming platform.

“It seems like that as the different units and operations see the results from others, they are starting to accept it,” says Guerre. “They see the adoption rates are improving. The other thing is that in a lot of cases, you are lowering travel and training cost.”

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