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IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR)

IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR)

When: March 2022
Host city: Ōtautahi Christchurch, New Zealand – fully virtual event
PCO: Conference Innovators (CI)

Last month’s world-leading IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR) was originally won as an international in-person event for Christchurch. Aptly for these tech-savvy delegates, it was able to go ahead despite COVID restrictions.

With the help of our local experts in the field, we hosted guests in our virtual city instead. The successful conference received high praise from over 1000 attendees from 44 countries across the globe.

Conference Innovators ran the conference from the HIT Lab NZ (Human Interface Technology Laboratory) at the University of Canterbury for five days in March. Despite the distance, the team was still able to showcase Christchurch to the world, with the virtual attendees even enjoying a closing meeting with fireworks on Sumner Beach.

IEEE in numbers

1033 attendees
44 different countries represented
121 oral/paper presentations
181 virtual posters
20 workshops
5 days
80 committee members
30 student volunteers

Switching from in-person to virtual

The IEEE Conference on Virtual Reality and 3D User Interfaces (IEEE VR) is the premier international event for the presentation of research results in the broad areas of virtual, augmented, and mixed reality (VR/AR/XR).

The conference was originally planned as an in-person and then hybrid conference, before having to be made fully virtual due to COVID restrictions.

Participants and speakers joined via Zoom and on the Virbela virtual campus platform. Delegates also communicated via instant messaging platform Discord, with over 12,500 messages exchanged.

The HIT Lab NZ provided students to assist the Conference Innovators team with streaming the conference. All the design work was done by local company Caxton.

What they said

Megan Crum, Head of Business Events, ChristchurchNZ
“We were delighted to support IEEE VR and help give delegates a tantalising taste of Ōtautahi Christchurch, whetting their appetite for a real visit in the near future. We were able to show them not only a thriving tech sector and a deep knowledge pool to tap into, but also an epic conference destination and a warm, friendly welcome from the heart of New Zealand’s stunning South Island.”

Conference Innovators Project Manager, Charlotte Emery
“On top of the quality content contributed by all presenters, we succeeded in ensuring delegates could network and have an engaging experience as though they were here in person. One of the platforms we used allowed us to customise spaces and showcase Christchurch to the world. It was so great to see our virtual attendees meeting on Sumner Beach.”

Stephan Lukosch, HIT Lab NZ, University of Canterbury
“As conference organiser, I am very grateful that ChristchurchNZ supported the conference from the beginning and still did so once we had to change to an online event. With so many visual reminders of the destination on screen, conference participants could still gain an insight into the beauty of this region. They will positively remember the conference and their lasting impressions of New Zealand, so that at some time in the future they will come and visit this magical place.”