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Jon Oakes is the Technology Labs Coordinator at the San Jose State University Library, and he’s also been quite involved in helping to organize the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality Meetup and Conference. He held a VR Connect gathering at SJSU the day after Oculus Connect 6, which had a number of different talks and demos.

I had a chance to catch up with Oakes there to talk about some of his thoughts about Oculus Connect as a gathering, and to some of his thoughts on the social VR strategy of Facebook and his initial impressions of the Facebook Horizon. I had a chance to actually try out a demo of Facebook Horizon, and so I share some of my first-hand impressions as well as some of the feedback I got from AR/VR content marketing head Meaghan Fitzgerald & director of AR/VR experiences Eric Romo (I did an interview with them, but Facebook didn’t want me to record audio and so I share some highlights from my conversation with Jon).

Jon and I also talk about what he’s doing as a VR evangelist and enabler of immersive education there at San Jose State University. Libraries are turning into interdisciplinary learning centers, and so he’s been working with professors at SJSU to figure out how they can start to integrate different aspects of VR technologies within the curriculum there. We also talk about the challenges of archiving and indexing virtual reality experiences, and Oakes is actively looking for insights for how to help the librarians start to treat immersive XR experiences as seriously as they are for other rich media such as photos and videos.

We also talk about the evolution of the community fostered by the Silicon Valley Virtual Reality conference, and some of the market dynamics that have had Oculus take the lead on facilitating what is the most interdisciplinary community gather of XR creators each year at Oculus Connect. We lament the loss of some of the community-lead spirit of SVVR, but the entire conference industry in Silicon Valley isn’t set up to support community-lead initiatives. So we talk about some of the history and evolution of the community at SVVR relative to how things shifted once Oculus started also holding their annual Oculus Connect conference at the San Jose Convention Center starting at OC3 in 2016.

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Music: Fatality

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