While COVID-19 is still overwhelming around the world, digital transformation seems to be the next necessary step for corporations to overcome the pandemic. XR EXPRESS Taiwan, advised by the National Development Council (NDC), hosted an online meetup on December 17th, ‘Beyond COVID-19 Limitation: Digital Transformation and Business Opportunities in Southeast Asia’, collaborated with InnoVEX, the largest startup exhibition in Asia. Along with two digital innovation experts from Malaysia and Indonesia were invited to share how to facilitate the industry with XR technology.
Physical Events on halt due to COVID-19
Virtual Exhibitions Based on XR Technology Kick Start Industry Recovery
With the pandemic wreaking havoc all over the world, corporations in Taiwan and around the world have been facing unprecedented challenges. Lots of prospective orders and marketing campaigns have been led to a significant loss due to the suspension of physical events that many industries heavily relied on. Fortunately, XR (Extended Reality), a collective of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR), with no time and space constraints, has been combined with webinar and streaming, which drives the development of MICE industry to a hint of new opportunities.
Cori Shieh, the Principal Investigator of XR EXPRESS Taiwan and the Honorary President and Honorary Consultant of the Taiwan Association of Virtual and Augmented Reality (TAVAR), said that virtual exhibition is to apply XR technology to expositions and trades to create an exceedingly interactive virtual environment for attendees, which allows them to feel physical presented in the exhibition and on the booth, and even in the conversations with other participants. Shieh further indicated, business could be expected to be recovered after the pandemic of COVID-19 by effectively applying XR to combined physical and virtual events.
Malaysia: Consumers Getting Used to Various Online Applications Since the Outbreak
Specializing in digital innovation in Southeast Asia, the two experts shared during the online meetup about how tech corporations should strive to keep up with digital transformation and grasp business opportunities in Southeast Asia during the post-pandemic era. Havene Liew, the President of XR Associates (XRA) in Malaysia, mentioned that Malaysians have immensely accepted online applications since the outbreak began, such as Shopee, Grab, Zoom, Google Meet, e-wallets, online streaming, and so on. Most of the XR solutions are still in prototype or pilot stage, the technology has been proven in specific sectors like industry and safety training, security, and defense. XRA has assisted more than ten local manufacturers and technology suppliers to utilize XR to improve productivity and efficiency. For instance, a practical case that Havene illustrated was one of XRA’s members developing a VR car engine maintenance course for a local automotive college and association with 100 schools.
Liew further stated, 360 VR just becomes mainstream in Malaysia, XRA’s members received many projects including 360 videos and photos, animation, and interactive contents. It can also be found that Malaysia always processes a little bit behind the technology trends compared to other countries. However, with the development of 5G, XR applications have been spotted gradually in the past two years. It is believed that telco will be one of the greatest supporters in XR, as long as the solutions are well integrated with 5G elements.
Indonesia: Best Timing for Investors as Demand for XR in the Social and Entertainment Sectors Reach an All-time High
As one of the first companies focusing on virtual reality in Indonesia, OMNIVR evolves in gaming, industry training, and education. The founder of OMNIVR, Nico Alyus, stated that virtual exhibition is an interesting alternative during the pandemic. Some of the large and prospective XR projects in Indonesia are postponed due to the outbreak, which brought some XR startups that have excellent skill set and experience losing a big chunk of income. However, it is relatively a perfect timing for investors to enter the market, since the valuations of startups are lower than during their prime time. Furthermore, business opportunities are expected to rise again when the pandemic is overcome.
Alyus also indicated that entering Indonesia market could be tough and expensive. However, by working together with the local XR startups, corporations that strive to expand to Indonesia will immediately receive a proven way to understand the local market including the existing products and pricing strategies. Moreover, XR demand in social and entertainment sectors has been found a huge increasement in Indonesia, which are the applications that OMNIVR is currently running in OMNIX project.
David Chiang, the Public Relations Manager of InnoVEX, complemented that the pandemic has redefined the formula of business activities in many industries. Rather than being replaced, physical event acquires a unique opportunity to accelerate its transformation. Chiang suggested that corporations should seek for assistance from online platforms such as InnoVEX Online, webinars, and matchmaking sessions. Cori Shieh, the Principal Investigator of XR EXPRESS Taiwan, further stated, many XR startups in Taiwan are currently offering one-stop service and total solution. These solutions are developed to effectively restart exhibitions by combining virtual and physical applications, which are expected to lead industries to recover after the pandemic of COVID-19.
About XR EXPRESS Taiwan
XR EXPRESS Taiwan is a project advised by National Development Council (NDC) with the goal of optimizing the local XR ecosystem and strengthening global connections in the XR industry. Headed by Digi Space, the first domestic accelerator that focuses on the XR industry. The project brings together XR startups in Taiwan to further the development and seek opportunities on the international stage. By connecting the local and international, present and the future, the potential of XR is endlessly multiplied.
About Digi Space
Digi Space is Taiwan's first accelerator and consulting firm that concentrates on startups in the XR industry. All shareholders are local leading experts in the VR/AR industry and research. Since its inception in 2017, Digi Space has implemented a number of government projects promoting the development of the XR industry, including NDC’s XR EXPRESS Taiwan project. XR EXPRESS Taiwan aims at connecting local startups and companies to the global market, as well as promoting the image of Taiwan’s XR industry on the international stage. In addition, Digi Space managed Taoyuan’s Andong Youth Start-up Hub and the XR Startup Hub located in Building A of digiBlock Taipei, coaching over 100 XR startups in total.
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