Inaugural Digerati50 Omniverse (Long live the dragon and flying shark) pulled off successfully

  • Helping industry embrace new technologies but in a fun, experiential way
  • Opportunities for those who are bold & not afraid to experiment, or play

A group pix of the inaugural Digerati50 Omniverse Networking on Sept 23 in the world built for the event.

Ignorance is indeed bliss. If I had known just how much effort it would take to plan a fully virtual networking session, I may not have embarked on the inaugural Digerati50 Omniverse Networking that happened last week on Fri, 23rd Sept!

Me and the team knew it was going to be challenging and we were not put off. There was no fear of failure. The reason? I knew our guests, DNA’s Digerati50 and 10 corporate C-level leaders, all tech leaders and mostly entrepreneurs, would appreciate the effort of executing a new experience using technology, in this case virtual reality, that most of them had not experienced before, and would not skewer me if things went wrong on the day.

Well, things did not go horribly wrong, nor did they go as smoothly as the team had hoped for, and my apologies to those who had a less than ideal experience and two guests who could not join the world at all. But for the most part, guests were happy with their experience and had fun.

Jamaludin Ibrahim, chairman of listed company QSR Bhd and a respected leader in Malaysia’s Digital Economy, who gave the opening remarks, had planned to stay for 30 minutes before rushing off for another engagement, but ended up staying an hour and had to be reminded to leave! 

And then there was Nicole Tan, Country Director, Malaysia for Meta, who was most effusive in her feedback and followed up with an email on a Saturday where she expressed her appreciation to DNA for “pushing the industry forward in helping us embrace new technologies but also do it in a fun, experiential way.”

Learning a lot from her experience and praising the passion of the team in putting together the event, Nicole added, “I was amazed by the level of care and detail including creating the world (Long live the dragon and here’s to flying sharks), creating bespoke Avatars for all of us and ensuring we were all familiar with the VR Chat (thank goodness for the Jam Sessions) before the actual event and ensuring we could connect and taking care of us even in the session.”

(L 2 R) Dr Parmjit Singh, CEO of APU, Karamjit Singh of DNA, Lennise Mae of Dropee, Aaron Sarma of Scaleup Malaysia and back row is project manager, Olive.

Even those who had trouble with their avatars going AWOL (put it down to system glitches as the world we built hit its maximum 40 person capacity) had an overall good experience.

“I am truly glad to have been a part of the Digerati50 C-level networking event that was held in the Metaverse. I believe it was history-making! To have been able to socialize and network with the other participants was fantastic. Despite my Avatar going AWOL, it was still a great experience. Being able to see and listen to the various speakers despite the background chatter from the others standing nearby was just like attending a real physical networking event. Am looking forward to the next one. Congratulations to DNA’s Karamjit and his team,” said Edward Stanislaus, Managing Director, ShareInvestor Malaysia.

As I mentioned in my opening remarks at the event, one key motivator for me was to give our tech leaders their first experience of virtual reality in the hopes that the experience will inspire them to experiment and adopt VR into their own businesses to create a competitive edge.

After all, BCG Group, in a recent analysis, highlighted various ways in which companies can move to take a lead in terms of consumer experiences and operational improvements and in how they can start preparing themselves to be ready as well.

Inaugural Digerati50 Omniverse (Long live the dragon and flying shark) pulled off successfully

I do believe there are opportunities for those who are bold and not afraid to experiment, or play, as Dr Pradeep Nair, Taylor’s University Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer puts it. Malaysia’s digital economy will be the better for it.

Enriched with so many learnings from our experience in organising the inaugural event, DNA is going to start preparing for the 2nd Digerati50 Omniverse Networking. While I am thankful to the four Multimedia University VR majors who helped DNA build one of the two world’s we used, I am excited that APU university has come in as the Talent Partner to the Digerati50 Omniverse and their students will help DNA build the next virtual setting for our April 2023 networking.

I am looking forward to that. Eager to see how much better the experience will be with improvements to the platform we will use and the software to create the avatars.

I am also pleased to announce that DNA is sharing our experience and lessons learnt from organising the inaugural event. The post-mortem report is shared here for download and interested parties can reach out to me as well for further sharing of lessons learnt.

I do hope many more organisations will be keen to organise fully immersive meets and our businesses start to ‘play’ in this space. Let Malaysia be the Heartbeat of Digital Asean when it comes to virtual reality.

I must also thank our partners, Fusionex International who came in early, excited about being part of something that had not been done in Malaysia before. They were our AI Partner. We also had TIME dotCom as Connectivity Partner, MDEC as Digital Economy Partner, Cradle Fund’s MyStartUP as Startup Ecosystem Partner, Axiata Enterprise as Enterprise Tech Partner, APU as mentioned above and MRANTI as Innovation Partner.

Here’s to the next Digerati50 Omniverse Networking!


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