FutureX Live Reveals How VR and AR are Changing the Entertainment Industry

KENNESAW, Ga. (Nov 26, 2018) — Coles College faculty were among the speakers this month at FutureX Live, the largest augmented reality, virtual reality, and mixed reality conference in the Southeast. The event highlighted how the entertainment industry can use these emerging technologies to engage with audiences.

FutureX Live 2018

Sponsored by marketing solutions company Moxie and produced by the Michael J. Coles College of Business’s Joel A. Katz Music and Entertainment Business Program, FutureX Live 2018 was the first event in the FutureX Live series hosted by a university. The sessions were held on Nov. 16 in the Joe Mack Wilson Student Center on Marietta Campus.

FutureX Live 2018’s theme of “The Future of Entertainment” provided industry experts – including members of the Coles College faculty – an opportunity to discuss the rapidly changing entertainment landscape.

Dr. Adriane Randolph, associate professor of information systems and the director of the Coles College BrainLab, was one of the conference’s featured speakers. Her presentation, “Using ‘Thinking Caps’ to Reveal the Power of the Mind,” explained how brain-computer interfaces will change entertainment.

Dr. Adriane Randolph
Dr. Adriane Randolph, Director of the Coles College of Business BrainLab

She described her work with electroencephalograms, which allow her to map what is happening in someone’s brain when he or she thinks about performing an action. She can use that information to allow people to control technology without actually touching anything.

“You have the power to control devices in your environment by using technology like this,” she said, referring to EEG as well as eye and facial tracking systems. “These three technologies allow us to have more real, full-body, immersive, neural-adaptive experiences.”

While Randolph’s session addressed new technologies, the panel “The Future of Digital Entertainment” featured content creators discussing how emerging technologies are increasing opportunities for storytellers, while also creating new challenges.

“Today you do have these platforms where you can put content out there for relatively nothing, which is very exciting,” said Beth Keener, an actor and instructor in the MEBUS program who currently hosts a web series called The Local Lense.

Beth Keener
MEBUS Instructor and Actor Beth Keener

“But the thing about digital content is that it’s bite-sized,” she added. “Unfortunately, we don’t sit down for lengthy periods of time unless it’s for something absolutely captivating. That’s unfortunate because, as a host and storyteller, I want to create content that is engaging, insightful and asks really profound questions.”

Other panelists included Dan Rosenfelt, president of Third Rail Studios, Scott Tigchelaar, president of Raleigh Studios, and filmmakers Allison Wilmarth and Dale Goldberg.

The conference also featured a panel on brand marketing sales strategies with Chaka Zulu, rapper and actor Ludacris’ manager; nationally recognized brand ambassador Connor Blakely; Chris Nyland, CEO of The Campus Agency; and Justin Archer, EVP of Marketing and Innovation for Moxie. Documentary filmmaker Gabriela Arp also hosted a session describing the emotional power of filming documentaries for virtual reality.

“Documentary filmmaking is an exciting place to be because we are able to tell real stories in ways that we haven’t been able to before,” she said.

The focus of FutureX Live was not only on discussing new technologies. Guests also had the chance to experience them. The event included a concert from electronic dance music artist Leah Culver with augmented reality elements created by students in Kennesaw State’s Computer Game Design Development program. A screen above the performance incorporated AR animations into the show.

In addition, Moxie hosted an expo of AR, VR, and other video game experiences created by Kennesaw State students. Guests put on VR glasses and performed tasks ranging from scooping a cat box and hitting a baseball to fighting hordes of alien invaders. Some of the games tackled powerful themes of loneliness and fear.

Virtual Reality FutureX Live
MEBUS student experiencing a VR simulation at the FutureX Live Expo

Keith Perissi, director of the MEBUS program and one of the conference organizers, said that the expo provided students with a great opportunity to showcase their talents to important potential clients.

“There are student projects being shown to brands here today, including Moxie’s clients like Delta, Wells Fargo, and Chick-Fil-A, and many others,” he said. “I like seeing this engagement with businesses coming to our campus, and with students being able to interact with them.”

-Patrick Harbin

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