Global HR Summit ships 50 VR headsets to speakers to host entire conference in AltspaceVR

In Virtual Reality News

September 2, 2020 – Next week, the Global HR Summit will take place entirely in virtual reality. With current social distancing measures still in place, and the live events industry suffering as a result of restrictions surrounding large gatherings, virtual reality (VR) seems to offer the perfect solution for allowing companies to continue to host their conferences whilst practising safe distancing, but still achieving a level of social interaction that many people desire.

The summit, which is being hosted in AltspaceVR by Genius Ventures and Bento HR, will see more than 50 speakers hold talks and discussions. However, the majority of these speakers did not own a VR headset prior to the conference – some of them had not even experienced VR before. 

In order to solve this problem, Genius Ventures and Bento HR collaborated to send every single speaker a new Oculus Quest VR headset. This was all done at the companies’ own expense, but according to the Genius Ventures, the cost of doing this actually worked out cheaper than the cost of flying all speakers to the same location, paying for hotels, as well as any other fees required (hotels/taxis/meals/etc.), as can often be the case with in-person conferences.

As a result, the Global HR Summit hopes to offer attendees a real sense of social engagement and opportunities for networking through immersion in VR that people would otherwise not be able to experience with the standard “virtual” conferences that are being held on platforms such as Zoom, which have been the norm as a result of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Commenting on the speaker onboarding process, Genius Ventures CEO, Navjeet Chhina, said: “One of the most exciting parts has been unboxing the headsets with the speakers, from opening up the box to putting their headset on for the first time – it’s been a great experience helping to guide 50 speakers from around the world. I feel like it creates a real bond between yourself and the person that you’re helping in VR for the first time.”

The three-day event will bring together HR and XR industry experts covering a range of topics relating to the role of immersive technology as a key part of the digital transformation process for businesses and enterprise. Speakers will include: Tom Furness of the Virtual World Society, who will kick the summit off with a keynote exploring the past, present, and future of immersive technologies; and Tom Emrich, VP of Product at 8th Wall.

The event is also being hosted to support the Virtual World Society, a nonprofit organization with an aim of building a community of creators to explore the potential that augmented and virtual reality technology has to make a positive impact. All ticket sales after the cost of the event will be donated to the Virtual World Society

“Tom Furness has been able to do so much in the XR space and we would love nothing more than to be able to support his mission to drive positive change in our world”, added Chhina.

We met (virtually) with Navjeet Chhina to talk in detail about some of the challenges of hosting the Global HR Summit, the charitable aspect of the event, and the wider XR industry in general. For the full chat, see the above video. Interestingly, as the pandemic unfolds, new opportunities for businesses are developing within the VR conferencing space – one example being companies and individuals offering VR filming and production services. For our own virtual chat (also held in AltspaceVR), this was directed by Carlos Austin, with videographers Copeland Williams and Tony Trudel doing the filming.

The Summit takes place next week from September 8-10 and tickets are limited, with only 1,000 tickets available for the AltspaceVR format, costing USD $99. For users who do not have a VR headset, there will be 10,000 tickets available for the YouTube and LinkedIn live-stream formats, which will cost attendees USD $49. For more information on the conference, click here.

Image / video credit: Global HR Summit / Genius Ventures / Auganix

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.