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eXtended Reality for All

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - XR4ALL (eXtended Reality for All)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-05-31

Interactive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) (Both together and other interactive technologies Referred as eXtended Reality – XR hereinafter in the document) are set to transform the ways in which people communicate, interact and share information on the internet and beyond. The industry is now at a stage where after years of research and development, it has reached a point where technology is accessible and allows large-scale market introduction. Every day, new XR applications emerge, new start-ups, increased investment, and they all build on the growing expectation of what VR & AR technologies can offer. XR is set to directly impact a larger number of European industries ranging from the cultural and creative industries, manufacturing, robotic and healthcare to education, entertainment and media, enabling new business opportunities

However, the European XR scene is fragmented and there is a risk that big US companies dominate the XR market (what they are already doing B2C).

XR4ALL ambitions to forge a competitive and sustainable ecosystem of European technology providers and users by pursuing the following objectives:
i) Establishing a well governed XR community and an XR forum within the community where intense dialogue and knowledge sharing takes place to strengthen the collaboration among the different stakeholders and act as the voice of the XR industry in Europe;
ii) Building a platform to gather and share knowledge, algorithms and tools for the development and use of new interactive technologies solutions;
iii) Launching an open call to attract, select XR tools developers in view of creating new tools and integrating them in the platform;
iv) Elaborating a common research agenda and fostering technology transfer and
v) Providing technical and financial support to third parties to develop their solutions and tools; resulting in a unique access point for innovators, SMEs and industrial companies interested in taking-up European XR technologies in their product and services.

All activities are carried out by a consortium of 5 partners with complementary expertise: Coordinator Fraunhofer HHI (XR research), EUN (cascading funding management, access to market and industry users), I3D (10 years of XR community building and events organisation), BCOM (XR platform building and integration) and LucidWeb (XR communication and community building with a strong focus on women in XR).
XR4ALL considerably progressed towards achieving its objectives in the first period, as follows:
- A strategy for building the XR4ALL Community was established and members were continuously engaged
- The XR4ALL web portal was designed and launched and has served as the central place for informing stakeholders on the activities and opportunities offered by XR4ALL
- The first XR4ALL Annual Event was organized in Brussels on 12 & 13 December 2019
- The methodology to identify, select and feature XR Stars have been defined, 6 male and 3 female entrepreneurs have been selected and featured
- Specifications of the platform architecture were produced and the development platform with all features was put in production in January 2020
- The XR4ALL open call for proposals has been refined and all the necessary documentation has been published
- The open call was launched with a first cut-off date deadline on 29 November 2019 (90 applications received) and a second cut-off date deadline on 26 June 2020 (140 applications received)
- A mapping of research activities landscape and a review of ongoing research activities in XR on a global and European level was conducted and a draft “Landscape report” was prepared
- A draft research agenda for the coming 3-5 years and a vision for the research in the next 5-10 years was developed with the involvement of experts from the XR4ALL community
- Desk research on investment data sources (dealroom, complemented by other data collected) and analysis of the data collected, complemented with an interview-based survey of 51 stakeholders allowed to elaborate a map of funding sources for XR technologies
- Support was provided to XR entrepreneurs to improve their investment and partnering readiness by providing them the needed business skills (three online workshops)
- Awareness of the potential of XR technologies among investors and industry players was raised to increase their up-take and investments for technology providers (3 webinars)
- The first brokerage and investment events was Organised to connect technology providers with funding sources or industrial partners
- A “Dissemination & Communication strategy and implementation plan” (DCS) for the project was successfully elaborated and followed during the first reporting period
- Social media channels for communication and dissemination were successfully launched and managed
- Diverse dissemination support material has been designed and produced to facilitate XR4ALL dissemination activities
- Diverse dissemination, communication and awareness raising activities (e.g. social media posts, newsletter, participation in events, articles posting, etc.) have been implemented according to the defined DCS
- Continuously identifying and engaging with target audiences through multiple activities
In the second period of the project a wide range of activities will be performed to progress in all objectives.
- The XR4ALL web portal will be redesigned with more features and to better serve the needs of the community
- The second XR4ALL Annual Event will be organized in Brussels (or virtually) on 15-16 December 2020
- Members engagement and involvement in the community and project activities will continue for the whole project
- The XR solutions catalogue is planned to go into production in September 2020.
- Technical support will be provided to all projects using the XR Developers Platform
- The projects selected out of the second cut-off date will be invited to implement their proposed solutions and receive their grants
- The draft “Landscape report” prepared in the first period will be improved and a final version of the “landscape report” will be produced in the second period
- A final research agenda for the coming 3-5 years and a vision for the research in the next 5-10 years will be developed with the involvement of experts from the XR4ALL community
- Support will be provided to XR entrepreneurs to improve their investment and partnering readiness by providing them the needed business skills
- Two additional webinars will be organized to raise awareness of the potential of XR technologies among investors and industry players
- The second brokerage and investment event will be organised to connect technology providers with funding sources or industrial partners
- The “Dissemination & Communication strategy and implementation plan” (DCS) for the project will be revised based on the results
- Ongoing dissemination, communication and awareness raising activities (e.g. social media posts, newsletter, participation in events, articles posting, etc.) will be implemented according to the revised DCS
- Continuously identifying and engaging with target audiences through presence of XR4ALL partners at relevant industry events and linking and creating synergies with national and regional organizations (clusters)
- Set up an exploitation and sustainability plan at the end of the project to ensure smooth exploitation and sustainable pathways at the end of the project