The Innovation Expert

Rapid technological changes urge organizations – startups, small and medium businesses, and corporates – to be innovative to stay in business. However, companies often don’t have the right in-house expertise to create innovative products or services successfully. You can solve that lack of know-how by working with an experienced innovation expert. 

Liliana Carrillo is a top 5 nominee for the Belgian ICT Woman of the Year, organized by DataNews on February 4, 2021: She Goes ICT. Liliana is a computer science engineer, researcher, and entrepreneur with experience in the American and European markets. She has in-depth technical and business expertise and focuses on helping companies to innovate smarter. It is her passion to create new technologies and methodologies that help organizations grow sustainably. 

Liliana already helped many businesses with their innovation projects by, for example: translating business needs into financial and technical requirements and vice versa: being an intermediary between the business and the customer; and building the right team to ensure a successful innovation project.

European Digital Development Alliance 

Currently, Liliana is CEO of the European Digital Development Alliance (EDDA). EDDA represents more than fifty think-thanks, civil society organizations, and experts focusing on digital policies and digital transformation. The aim is stimulating European digital- and tech policies that reduce the worldwide digital divide. 

In February 2021, EDDA organizes the event: Next Generation Collective Intelligence. Besides, Liliana is the lead-writer of a Policy Paper for the European Commission and -Parliament on strategically addressing the African digital challenges. She does this in cooperation with the Director of the European Future Forum. 

Innovative Projects

Three examples of companies who have worked with Liliana are the Digital Leadership Institute, a Human Resource Tech startup, and Threefold. These organizations recognize that determining and finding the right expertise is crucial for successfully building sustainable, innovative products and services.

1. Digital Leadership Institute

The Digital Leadership Institute (DLI) is a Brussels-based, international non-government organization. It is a recognized world leader in promoting girls’ and women’s greater participation in strategic, innovative entrepreneurship and arts powered by science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) sectors. The four areas of activity are education and skills development, innovation and entrepreneurship support, advocacy and awareness building, research, and consultancy.

They reached out to Liliana for her business knowledge and hands-on experience with co-writing proposals for innovative European projects and her technical expertise to build blockchain applications: “I helped them co-writing a funding request for a new project. Besides, I also provided technical advice on how to build and deploy the blockchain application named E-womensays Liliana.”

“I add business value to organizations by helping them with their innovation projects on a technical, business, and human level.”

2. Human Resource Tech Start-up

A startup in the Human Resource (HR) sector came up with the innovative idea to build a platform that helps you find in no-time a job that fits best, whether you are a career starter or want to evolve or switch your career. The application requirements included an AI-algorithm and a conversational bot.

Although the startup founders had lots of HR experience, they acknowledged their lack of technical expertise to build a platform that helps people find a job that best fits them. Therefore, they asked Liliane to become their technical lead. Liliana: “To avoid supplier lock-in and high financial cost, I migrated their current platform to a new independent platform that gives them full flexibility. Additionally, I was asked to help find financial investors and grants programs, better market their brand, and contact the public employment service of Flanders to use their databases to build a pilot project.”

3. Threefold 

The mission of Threefold is to create a truly neutral, decentralized, green upgraded internet (ThreeFold Grid) and a truly decentralized, green, and inclusive digital currency (ThreeFold Token). In other words, create the biggest decentralized grid of self-managing internet capacity in the world being built collectively by an inclusive ecosystem and owned by everyone.

Threefold contacted Liliana because of her ability to combine business, technical, and social competencies. They requested her to create an innovative team that can develop a gold token for their digital platform — the right people with the right synergies. “First, I made sure I fully understood all aspects of the end-product: the gold token and its components. Secondly, I created a project work-breakdown of all required roles, e.g., legal consultants, finance consultants, security consultants, back-end, and front-end developers. Third, I listed per position all required technical and social skills. Fourth, I prepared a job description per role, including financial compensation, and discussed it with the customer. Fifth, I contacted recruiters in different countries to post our job vacancies online. Last but not least, I interviewed the candidates and created a list of people that best fit the team requirements.” 

Liliana’s motto is: make innovation simple for customers. “I add business value to organizations by helping them with their innovation projects on a technical, business, and human level. It is all about assisting customers to successfully achieve their goal to develop a new product or service by using my insights and experience effectively and efficiently throughout the whole innovation project.”

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A personal data management platform

Since the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), personal data protection became an essential privacy criterion for citizens and organizations. Regaining control of your data, improving data privacy, and authorized data-access is a win-win situation for all stakeholders. Therefore, for example, the Digital Twin Belgium Meetup aims to realize a sound European data privacy business model that provides citizens control over their data. Besides, startups like Datavillage build a user-centric personal data management platform to support citizens and organizations in creating a fair economy.

Quentin Felice and Frederic Lebeau are the co-founders of Datavillage. A company in Europe’s capital, Brussels, focusing on building a personal data management platform to unlock data power reliably. Quentin: “Our platform allows you the opportunity to collect, structure, enrich, process and share personal data in a trusted and compliant way.”  Frederic adds: “Your data is valuable. At Datavillage, people come together to gain control of their data, decide with whom to share it, and receive benefits.”

Insights-as-a-service

The user-centric personal data management platform of Datavillage addresses three market actors: data users, data providers, and data consumers. It lets data providers decide which organizations get consent to analyze their data. The resulting derived data gives data consumers insights into, e.g., improving products and services, better serving citizens, and future innovations. Quentin: “Our vision is to create a marketplace where you can valorize your digital profile.” First, the platform helps you, and organizations, to control personal data in a privacy-first manner. Second, it creates a digital profile based on your consent what data to share with whom. That allows users – developers – to organize and process data. Additionally, they can share the derived data with data consumers to create new digital assets.

A personal data management platform

Datavillages’ user-centric personal data management platform

Datavillages’ platform use cases

The media sector is an excellent use-case example, explains Frederic: “Suppose, you want to receive better recommendations about western movies. You can allow Datavillages’ personal data management platform to create a viewer profile of your social, streaming, and television data.” By doing this, you avoid that a third party gets access to your full Netflix viewing data, for instance. The next step might be to share your viewer profile on the national broadcasters’ streaming platform. That enables them to process your viewer data and to provide you with valuable western movie recommendations. Besides the media, the platform is also useful in other sectors such as health, finance, retail, human resources, and mobility. 

Beta launch of the personal data management platform

Are you ready to gain personal data control and use a platform aiming to create a fair economy for all? Datavillage launched a free beta version of its user-centric personal data management platform for professionals like developers and data scientists. You can sign up as a beta tester to test and experience the platform with your preferred data sources: “Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Strava, Colruyt, Financial Data, and moreYour feedback, including desired features and data sources, is welcome. Moreover, it is taken into account during the further development of Datavillages’ platform. 

Do you want to grow business by creating content about your technology solution? Contact Desiree

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Multi-device VR/AR experiences

Since the COVID-19 crisis, the investment in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and cross reality (XR) accelerates as more businesses are interested in organizing immersive virtual experiences. It means that the development of VR/AR technology is boosting. For example, the WebXR technology company LucidWeb confirms that they receive numerous requests to explain from a business-, solutions- and technology point of view their multi-device VR/AR experiences.

 

Leen Segers, Founder LucidWeb and Co-founder Women in Immersive Technologies Europe, developed a keen interest in technology during her career: “I have a master in applied economic sciences, and started as a Marketing Transformation Consultant at Accenture. Via several career steps at, e.g., Kaltura and Saffron in London, I became more involved in 2D video distribution. That inspired me to start my own company: LucidWeb. We focus on WebXR technology, allowing us to help organizations showcase high-quality VR, interactive, 360° video, or 3D models (AR) via the consumer browser.” LucidWeb is a member of the VR/AR Association in Belgium. Besides, Leen organizes monthly meetups in AltspaceVR for women in immersive technologies. 

 

VR/AR experiences

LucidWeb specializes in developing middleware software that facilitates businesses to create a 3D experience on multiple devices – desktop, mobile, and VR headset – without building an app. Leen: “The main benefit is that our customers can use one URL to effectively distribute their content to the end-user. The end-user only needs to click on the URL, and it automatically adapts the content to their preferred device. In other words, we make content accessible for desktop, mobile, and VR headsets with just one URL and one click.

“We focus on WebXR technology, allowing us to help organizations showcase high-quality VR, interactive, 360° video or 3D models (AR) via the consumer browser.” – Leen Segers, Founder LucidWeb

Having easy access to 3D experience on multiple devices is a real advantage, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of in-person experiences that require travel, it becomes possible to create virtual, 360° video experiences, such as online events, including presentations, workshops and partner booths, or interactive online museum visits. Furthermore, you can think about remote learning courses, e.g., health students attending real-time surgery in a hospital. It is even possible to record the operation in 360° video to create an extended e-learning curve and multi-device VR/AR experiences.

Immersive travel experience

Leen mentions that LucidWeb also created a 360° video travel experience that allows you to discover Cuba: “You can choose between four scenarios. Additionally, we added a geographical map with real-time tracking based on machine learning. In the future, it is possible to extend the Cuba travel experience with local museum visits. It is even an option to create museum visitor profiles.” By collecting the data where visitors in a museum look at, you can recognize if they like, for example, contemporary or classical art. This data allows you to personalize the museum experience by showing visitors their preferred art style objects.   

Do you want to grow your VR/AR solutions sales and brand advocacy? Contact Desiree

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Virtual Data Innovation Summit

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The diSummit goes virtual on request of many members and partners of the AI and Data Science Community in Belgium: Virtual Data Innovation Summit (Virtual DI Summit). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not possible to have an in-person event. However, we are organizing a full year online program starting in September with, e.g., webcasts, videos, blogs, and more. What is on the Virtual DI Summit program in the coming months? 

The theme of the first Virtual DI Summit program is ‘AI for Everyone’. Our objective is to make AI accessible for everyone by showing practical AI-applications from a business- and a technical point of view. Besides, we bring you in contact with global and local market players, as well as the full AI and Data Science Community in Belgium and beyond.

icity.brussels is a technology hub focussing on helping Brussels emerge as the ICT Heart of Europe. Actively participating in the Virtual DI Summit as a strategical partner is a powerful way to achieve this. — Claudio Truzzi

DI Virtual Summit 2020 program 

The Virtual DI Summit program starts with a monthly webcast focussing on meaningful, practical AI applications. Once a month, we organize a live-webcast. It begins with an inspiring keynote by an expert in, e.g., Ethics, HealthTech, Industry 4.0, GovTech, Telco- & EnergyTech, and more. That is followed up by in-depth, purposeful, real-life cases from our partners to provide insight into business problems, solutions, and technology. In September, we start with a webcast about AI & Ethics. You can have a look at the full 2020 – 2021 program planning at vdisummit.org. Besides webcasts, we also plan to create valuable AI content, such as videos, blogs, podcasts, to share with you via social media. 

As the founder of the Data Science Community in Belgium, and one of the driving forces of AI4Belgium, I fully support Desiree in extending the annual, famous diSummit with a full-year Virtual DI Summit program. — Philippe van Impe

Virtual DI Summit committee

Currently, the Virtual DI Summit committee consists of Philippe van Impe, CEO at European Data Innovation Hub, Claudio Truzzi, Senior Executive at icity.brussels, and myself, Desiree Timmermans – Business Owner at HelpToGrowBusiness. You are welcome to partner up with us and become a speaker at the Virtual Data Innovation Summit.

Desiree TimmermansMy goal is to make AI accessible for everyone by providing you AI knowledge and experience virtually. — Desiree Timmermans

Are you interested in partnering up with the Virtual DI SummitContact Desiree

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HelpToGrow WebCasting

Many small and medium businesses switch from in-person events to online events due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizing webcasts have become a favorite instrument to bridge the gap caused by social distancing and home-working. However, it is not easy for many companies to choose a webcast provider that meets their needs for quality, price, ease of use, and engagement. Therefore, together with my business network, I created a first-class, full-service webcast solution powered by the ON24 platform. It lets you organize effective and efficient webcasts for your customers, prospects, and partners: HelpToGrow WebCasting.

WebCasting

A webcast, or live broadcasting over the internet, is an excellent way to engage with a broad audience online. Participants can follow your webcast via their desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Besides, they see and hear the speaker(s), and you can facilitate direct interaction. To create a first-class HelpToGrow Webcast, you need to take in mind the following three steps:

Step 1: Pre-production

The pre-production step of a webcast requires you to answer the next questions, e.g.:

  • Why do you want to organize a webcast?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What content do you want to deliver, and who is going to produce it?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you want to live broadcast with audio as well as a webcam?
  • Which platform fits your needs best?
  • How are you going to promote your webcast?

Step 2: Production

During the production step, it is essential to create valuable content that resonates with your target audience and fits the webcast format. Furthermore, the speaker(s) must be able to use the platform’s functionalities and feel comfortable to present. Therefore, it is advisable to perform a dry run of your HelpToGrow Webcast. Last but not least, it is also worthwhile to ensure technical assistance during the webcast.

Step 3: Post-production

After the webcast took place, it is time to:

  • Evaluate the broadcast based on data analytics
  • Follow up with participants via, e.g., e-mail including recording and next actions
  • Define lessons learned
  • Update your digital marketing plan if applicable

HelpToGrow WebCasting for SMB’s

What if you can broadcast your webcast on a topnotch platform and create engaging experiences for your customers, prospects, and partners? The good news is that HelpToGrow WebCasting is a full-service platform powered by ON24, including:

√ Dedicated webcast manager

√ Up to 1000 live participants

√ Unlimited registrations and on-demand viewers

√ Custom-built, fully-branded webcast (your logos and content)

√ Webcast Platform 10 widgets viewer

√ 30 minutes preparation call before the webcast

√ Synchronized slides, audience polls, recorded video clips, URL pushes

√ Custom registration, e-mail, and audience console pages

√ Automated archiving

√ Real-time analytics reporting

√ Post-event e-mail support

HelpToGrow Webcasting offers you a free demo to experience the platform yourself. Additionally, based on your needs the pricing options include pay-as-you-go as well as customized pricing if you require more than 10 webcasts. 

Do you want help to grow your business by organizing engaging webcasts for your prospects, customers and partners on a first-class platform? Contact Desiree for a demo

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VR/AR in Belgium and beyond

In Belgium, the adoption of virtual- and augmented reality is going well because of the well-known reputation in R&D and innovation, locally and globally. The VR/AR Association in Belgium aims to promote, guide, and connect researchers, businesses, community groups, and governments. Participating in events is a powerful way to achieve this. So, on June 1-3, the Belgian VR/AR Association is present at the VR/AR Global Summit Online (VRAGS). It is the perfect opportunity to network with other businesses and vendors, and to generate VR, AR, and XR leads and partnerships.

Cederik Haverbeke is an XR Strategist, Entrepreneur, and Chapter President of the VR/AR Association Belgium. He speaks at global and local events and always emphasizes the strong reputation of VR/AR in Belgium and beyond.  

Nim Framework

The involvement of Cederik in various XR (cross-reality: VR/AR/MR) projects has led to a ‘natural interaction modules’ schema: the Nim Framework. Cederik came up with the framework because he often experiences at XR projects a gap in communication between the business and what he likes to call ‘the catacombs of code.’ It results in many misunderstandings impacting the implementation of an XR project. To solve that, he built the Nim Framework. Cederik: “The Nim Framework provides a common language for business- and technology experts to talk about the 4th revolution. It focuses on streamlining the communication between these experts concerning man and machine interactions caused by VR/AR, artificial intelligence, and 5G.” 

“I am convinced that Belgium can play a leading role in the world-wide VR/AR market.” – Cederik Haverbeke, Chapter President of the VR/AR Association Belgium

Belgium VR/AR 

Together with Howest University, Cederik published in 2019 the first VR/AR Association Ecosystem Report Belgium. It is an insightful overview, including 49 organizations, from businesses to universities, institutions, and non-profits. It describes, e.g., the types of companies, offering(s), customers, and their inspiring case studies in different industries. Besides, each organization provides its view on the future of the Belgium VR/AR ecosystem. Cederik is proud that the current report proves that Belgium has a high active number of organizations in the field of immersive technology globally. “I am convinced that Belgium can play a leading role in the world-wide VR/AR market,” he says.

Are you interested in partnering up with the VR/AR Association in Belgium? Contact Desiree

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The impact of AI

Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic. The amount of computing power is increasing exponentially. Moore’s law talks about the amount of compute doubling every eighteen months. With AI, the amount used doubles every three and a half months. So, since 2012 we have seen an increase of 300.000. Businesses are looking ahead of what is coming; however, there are also concerns that AI might steal employees’ jobs. What is the future impact of AI in the health, energy, and transportation sector?

Tom Raftery, Global VP, Futurist, and Innovation Expert at SAP, acknowledges that AI leads to automation of routine job tasks as well as job creation: “The first mechanical loom, the spinning jenny, was invented in the 1750s. Workers were afraid to become redundant, but the opposite happened. The spinning jenny produced better quality and cheaper yarn than manual production. As a consequence, market demand grew. In 1760, the number of spinners and weavers in the United Kingdom increased to 7900, and in 1790 it rose to 320.000. In short, just as the spinning jenny, AI is creating jobs.”

AI impact in healthcare

Ten years ago, most of us would not have imagined that we would carry around a device that tracks what we do and where we go. Tom: “People are more and more willing to give up some data privacy to monitor their health. Soon, you probably will have a private health cloud based on data collected via our smartwatches such as heart rate and blood pressure. The good thing is that you will decide who gets permission to access your data, e.g., a trustworthy healthcare practitioner. Based on predictive analysis, your doctor receives an alert if the values of your heart rate or blood pressure go below or above a particular data point. If so, the doctor contacts you to discuss your health and to make an appointment to run tests.”

“Just as the spinning jenny in the 1750s, artificial intelligence is creating jobs.” – Tom Raftery

AI impact in Energy and Transportation

The energy- and the transportation sector are changing enormously. “It is a landmark moment in energy that it is now more efficient and effective to build a new wind farm or solar plant than it is to power an existing gas plant”, says Tom. Besides, with the shift to connected energy, it is possible to check via a smartphone app, including real-time analytics, the 5-kilowatt solar array on your roof. We are getting far more smart energy management.

In transportation, you have the four CASE megatrends: Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric. Carl Benz got the patent for the first combusting engine vehicle in 1866. Due to the evolvement of technology, Daimler, owning Benz, decided to stop all their research in internal combustion engines, and has shift to research and development of electric vehicles. In the meantime, the automotive sector is using AI, e.g., to develop long-lasting electric vehicle (EV) batteries that charge faster.

Are you interested in content about the impact of AI on your business and customers? Contact Desiree

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VR/AR and Virtual Events

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The COVID-19 pandemic urges us to practice social distancing and home-working. We all have to adapt to a new normal. For many organizations, that means focusing on a virtual first strategy. To survive in the short- and long term, it is worthwhile to check if your business events can benefit from immersive technology. Whether it be virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), or mixed reality (MR). During the VR/AR Global Summit Online on June 1-3, 2020, you discover how VR/AR helps you to organize engaging virtual events.

Anne-Marie Enns is an Executive Producer, and Founder of Pulledin specialized in producing award-winning virtual and live conferences. She is also a board member at the Vancouver Chapter of the VR/AR Association (VRARA). The VRARA is an international organization focusing on collaboration between innovative companies and brands in the VR and AR ecosystem. The aim is to accelerate growth, stimulate research and education, and develop industry standards. Additionally, Anne-Marie is the Executive Producer of the VR/AR Global Summit Online taking place on June 1-3rd, 2020.

Using VR/AR at events

Why do you want to organize a virtual event with VR/AR? Anne-Marie emphasizes that it is essential for businesses to answer this question: “It all starts with defining your virtual event objectives, e.g., lead generation, networking, brand advocacy. Moreover, you need to have insight into your target audience and understand how to meet their needs. Besides, what content do you want to deliver to the audience, and is using immersive technology a good fit? For example, I don’t advise VR/AR for a one-off event due to the investment in time, human resources, and money.”

When you decide to organize a virtual event with VR/AR, partnering with immersive technology event experts is crucial. They help you to create a virtual event strategy, design the event experience, and provide information about various virtual platforms. Nowadays, not everyone has a VR headset. So, it is vital to choose a platform that creates engaging event experiences for VR headsets as well as desktops and mobile devices.

“The VR/AR industry has seen a surge in business due to the COVID-19 crisis. Many organizations move from in-person events to virtual events.” Anne-Marie Enns

 

VR/AR Global Summit Online Conference 

On June 1-3rd, the VR/AR Association (VRARA) kicks off the first VR/AR Global Summit Online. It allows you to connect with the best immersive technology market players across industries. Ann-Marie: “You will learn how to grow your business more effectively and efficiently through the use of VR/AR. The fully packed program includes over 100 presentations, an expo with virtual booths, speed dating, and social events. You also have the opportunity to network in groups and meet virtually one-on-one, including sponsors and speakers.” In short, it is the online go-to-conference if you desire to include immersive technology into your operations, such as organizing virtual events with VR/AR.

Are you interested in how VR/AR can help you organize engaging virtual events? Contact Desiree

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VR/AR Global Summit Online

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The VR/AR Global Summit is the flagship event of the VR/AR Association. After several successful editions in North America, it was time to organize the same event in Europe in 2020. The organizing committee decided that Lisbon in Portugal was the perfect location, and started preparations over a year ago. However, due to the COVID-19 crisis, the in-person event had to be changed in March to an online conference. What challenges did they have to overcome to organize the first VR/AR Global Summit Online on June 1-3rd, 2020?

Anne-Marie Enns is the Executive Producer of the VR/AR Global Summit Online. “We had to adapt the event to the ‘new normal’ because of the COVID-19 pandemic. What is the role of immersive technology in the world right now? How can speakers adjust their content? What online event platform are we going to use? Answering these questions in a very short time-span was crucial, as the event is taking place on June 1-3rd.”

Challenges: speakers and online event platform

The VR/AR Global Summit moved to an online conference in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis. Anne-Marie: “We had to shift our focus and look at how speakers can comment on what’s happening in the world and the role of immersive technology. That was a challenge; we had to deal with speakers from all over the globe in different stages of lockdown. However, context and content are essential. Despite the short time frame, we managed in collaboration with the speakers to adjust the VR/AR Global Summit agenda into a qualitative online-only schedule. We were able to set up a COVID-19 specific program about the role of immersive technology in remote work, collaboration, training, education, the economy, virtual events, and more.”

Figuring out the best online event platform for the VR/AR Global Summit Online was also a challenge. “To assess the right way to deliver the content to our target audience, we tested about twelve platforms. Although it seemed obvious to choose a full VR platform, we had to take into account that people are attending the conference from home. Not everyone has access yet to a VR headset. So, we decided to use Hopin, a platform that provides us the most flexibility to reach a broad audience”, says Anne-Marie. Hopin is an online events platform allowing attendees to learn, interact, and connect from anywhere in the world. It mixes various event segments, such as presentations, group meetings, 1-on-1 meetings, and virtual event booths.

“We were able to set up a COVID-19 specific program about the role of immersive technology in remote work, collaboration, training, education, the economy, virtual events, and more.”−− Ann-Marie Enns

 

Immersive technology is part of the solution

Before the COVID-19 crisis, businesses tended to organize in-person events. However, the present social distancing policy prohibits these events. As a consequence, you have to change your strategy. Therefore, many organizations are already moving to an online-first event strategy. It is a highly effective and efficient way to gather thousands of attendees from around the globe. Currently, the immersive industry receives numerous business requests for organizing virtual events with VR/AR. In other words, immersive technology is part of the solution to move your business to a virtual-first strategy. 

VR/AR Global Summit Online Conference

On June 1-3rd, the VR/AR Global Summit Online connects you with the best VR/AR solution providers, such as Lenovo and Unity. It provides you the opportunity to discover the added value of VR/AR for your business: whether you are in health, science, politics, banking, gaming, marketing, or any other industry. The organizers have ensured that attendance to the event is free. Though, if you want to benefit fully from the VR/AR Global Summit Online, be sure to get premium access for less than a hundred dollars.

VR/AR Global Summit Online Conference 2020

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Be part of the solution

Currently, we are in a world health crisis concerning COVID-19. It urges people and companies to reconsider how to survive in the short and long term. We are all facing the same dilemma, and we can all use help throughout this COVID-19 pandemic. It is crucial to stay in contact to understand the people’s needs around us and our business network. Besides, we have to meet these needs by offering relief on a personal and business level. What can you do to become part of the solution to assist people and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis?

Listening 

I hear many heartfelt stories via the media and business relations about health, humanity, and how to survive. The COVID-19 pandemic makes it crystal clear that health is the highest good for humanity. It all comes down to do whatever it takes to overcome this unprecedented health- and, as a consequence, economic crisis. We face lots of infected people, crowded hospitals, health workers risking their lives, and even deaths. Furthermore, numerous people are in home-quarantine, and the government has defined regulations for non-essential businesses, social distancing, teleworking, and financial support. We probably all have gone through considerable dips in our lives and have grown through all of them. However, this pandemic calls us to go back to basics and to help each other.

“Being part of the solution means making a difference by providing your help and expertise to those in need.”

Be part of the solution.

Being part of the solution means making a difference by providing your help and expertise to those in need. First and foremost, we must stay in contact with the people around us and our business relations. We have to listen to them to understand their needs throughout the COVID-19 crisis. So, it all starts with communication and empathy. Second, we have to meet their needs by offering relief on a personal and business level. For example, I actively reach out and listen to people’s stories and help them as much as possible to cope with their personal and work- or business situation. How? By providing different perspectives, sharing life and business experiences, advising about available regulations, offering technology solutions to enhance communication, and bringing them in contact with those in my network who can provide help. Although it may not be easy to step in, it is essential to offer our personal and business expertise to move forward.

Digital is part of the solution.

The COVID-19 pandemic makes many companies realize that working at home and virtual events are the future. Fortunately, the technology to facilitate this entire digital switch is available. Therefore, I am partnering with my business network to create a first-class webcast solution to help small and medium businesses engage with customers and partners. 

I wish you strength during this challenging crisis.

What can I do to become part of the solution for you during the COVID-19 crisis? Contact Desiree 

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MPEG Meeting Brussels 2020

From January 8 to 17, 2020, the 129th Moving Picture Experts Group (MPEG) meeting takes place at Square – Brussels Convention Center, a prestigious venue right in the centre of Brussels. MPEG is a worldwide standardization committee, part of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). It plays a leading role in developing international standards for coding video, audio, 3D graphics, and big data to satisfy a wide range of applications in everyday life.

Meet 500 MPEG tech industry experts and executives

The MPEG Meeting Brussels 2020 is unique. Why? Because it is not an academic event or trade show. Instead, it aims at developing the foundations of future technology. Every quarter, the 500 expert delegates of the MPEG committee meet to define future codecs. Besides contributing to future immersive technologies in MPEG-I, Belgian engineers are very active in developing the first ISO/MPEG standard for compressing genomic data (MPEG-G).

On top of its standardization of core video coding technologies, such as H.264/Advanced Video Coding (AVC), High-Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) and, more recently, Versatile Video Coding (VVC), MPEG has started a new activity, MPEG-I, where the ‘I’ stands for ‘Immersive’. In concrete terms, this means developing codecs for virtual reality applications and new glasses-free 3D displays known as light field displays. These applications involve transmitting a vast number of images per second, much more than what is needed for our current digital TV, requiring the development of new codecs.

Program objectives of the MPEG Meeting Brussels 2020

Currently, MPEG is developing the upcoming compression standard (MPEG-I) for immersive video applications. Moreover, according to the roadmap, the finalization of an important section of the MPEG-G standards takes place in January 2020. Besides, the plan is also to finalize the Essential Video Coding (EVS), and VVC standards in 2020. In other words, significant milestones for future MPEG codecs are part of the MPEG Meeting Brussels in January 2020.

Program objectives of the MPEG Meeting Brussels 2020

Hundreds of industry experts from all over the world and all continents attend the MPEG Brussels Meeting. It is an excellent opportunity to network and showcase your companies’ product or solution. Therefore, you can benefit from standardized and customized partnership options:

Diamond Partnership (€12.500)

• Booth during the full MPEG meeting (2x3m2)

• VIP dinner tickets – 5

• Meeting tickets – 15

• Large logo on slide presentations and program booklet

 

Platinum Partnership (€10.000)

• Booth during the full meeting (2x2m2)

• VIP dinner tickets – 3

• Meeting tickets – 10

• Medium logo on slide presentations and program booklet

 Booth space – Square, Brussels Convention Center

 

Gold Partnership (€5000)

• Booth during the full meeting (2x1m2)

• VIP dinner tickets – 2

• Meeting tickets – 5

• Small logo on the program booklet

 

Silver Partnership (€2500)

• Booth during the first day of the meeting (1x1m2)

• VIP dinner ticket – 1

• Meeting tickets – 2

 

129th MPEG Sponsoring – Brussels

Belgian MPEG Representatives

Professor Gauthier Lafruit (ULB) is co-chair of the MPEG-I Visual (video) working group, coordinating the scientific experiments that are conducted to eventually define the MPEG-I standard. Besides Professor Lafruit, there are three more Belgian representatives:

1. Professor Christophe De Vleeschouwer (UCLouvain) is research director with the FNRS. His main interests are video and image processing for visual scene interpretation and content management applications, including transmission, flexible and personalized access, and autonomous acquisition/editing. Additionally, his research group has contributed to standard-setting bodies such as W3C, MPEG, JPEG, DVB, and ITU.

2. Tom Paridaens (UGent) has conducted research contributing to standardization efforts on HDR video, and his work has laid the foundation for the coding part of the MPEG-G standard, dedicated to coding genomic information.

3. Glenn Van Wallendael (UGent) has conducted research contributing to core video coding technologies (H.264/AVC, HEVC, VVC) and transcoding architectures such as Network Distributed Video Coding.

Do you want to partner up shape the MPEG future with hundreds of experts from all over the world? Contact Desiree

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Euroconsumers International Forum

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Euroconsumers: the digital era requires you to change your mindset

On November 12, 2019, the first Euroconsumer International Forum took place at the Claridge in Brussels to bridge the gap between consumers and businesses. The digital era has many opportunities for consumers as well as businesses — for example, easier and faster access to products and services. Besides, there are also challenges, such as data privacy and data security. Effectively handling digital opportunities and mitigating risks requires a change in mindset by consumers and businesses.

Luisa Crisigiovanni is the Secretary-General of Altroconsumo and a Fundraising Manager at Euroconsumers. She explains: “Euroconsumers is a network of five national consumer organizations that cooperate to empower consumers in their daily lives. We are a critical market player giving voice to more than 1.5 million people by promoting consumer information, defense of their rights, and personalized services in Belgium (Test-Aankoop/Test-Achats), Italy (Altroconsumo), Portugal (DECOProteste), Spain (OCU – Organisation of Consumers and Users), and Brazil (Proteste). We aim to build relationships with institutions, media, and companies to empower individual consumers and to develop fairer and more efficient markets.”

Three key takeaways

At the Euroconsumers International Forum, there were many panel discussions on how to bridge the gap between consumers and businesses in the digital era. For example: how can market players and consumer organizations work together; the benefits of technologies such as artificial intelligence, internet of things, machine learning and blockchain versus data privacy issues; and mobility trends in a digital age. Luisa: “I want the audience to take away three talking points from the Forum”:

Takeaway 1: Accelerate the pace to create guiding principles and a legal framework
Rapid technological changes have led to many new disruptive companies who often have incorporated a culture based on the premise: move fast, break things, and say sorry later. Besides, regulators and policymakers are lagging in understanding the fast-changing environment and being able to create guiding principles and a legal framework that creates a win-win-win situation for consumers, businesses, and governments. A solution for this is to establish stronger relationships between private- and public organizations.

Euroconsumers focuses on building relationships with institutions, media, and companies to empower individual consumers and to develop fairer and more efficient markets. – Luisa Crisigiovanni 

Takeaway 2: Establishing stronger relationships between public- and private organizations
Consumer insights are essential for consumer organizations as well as for companies like Amazon and Google. “We need to use this common interest to build strong partnerships to serve consumers better. How do we achieve that? By having a continuous dialogue between public- and private organizations to build trust and to make change happen through, e.g., sharing knowledge, best practices, and launching events and campaigns together.

It can start, for example, with being transparent to consumers about data privacy and data security. The ultimate goal is that businesses and consumers are aware and act according to a standard set of digital rights,” says Luisa.

Takeaway 3: Building consumer communities
In the online world, consumers rely much more on information and advice from their peers for buying products and services. They are connected via social media platforms such as Facebook and are not necessarily aware of or take advice from national or European consumer organizations. So, it is up to these organizations to create communities and platforms where consumers can share their experiences and exchange information to increase their awareness and to stimulate advocacy.

Changing the mindset of consumers, businesses, and governments to adapt to the opportunities and challenges of the digital age is a step-by-step process. Luisa: “Euroconsumers is a crucial market player that supports this digital transformation process.”

Do you want to contribute to the empowerment of individual consumers and the development of fairer and more efficient marketsContact Luisa Crisigiovanni – Secretary-General of Altroconsumo and Fundraising Manager at Euroconsumers.

Continue Reading Euroconsumers International Forum