Westminster eForum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Next steps for immersive technologies in the UK

Morning, Tuesday, 30th March 2021

***Full conference taking place online***

This conference will discuss the key priorities for the continued development of immersive technologies, with discussion expected on:

  • the funding and research landscape
  • potential future applications in the UK
  • the sector’s role in helping to overcome challenges posed by the pandemic

The agenda:

  • Developing the UK’s Immersive technologies sector - progress so far and next steps for supporting innovation
  • Taking forward immersive technology in the UK

    • Research and development in immersive technology in the UK - collaboration between universities and industry, and international partnerships
    • Funding and supporting emerging projects, and encouraging widespread uptake
  • Addressing key issues around data, and wider ethical and regulatory implications of the latest developments in immersive technologies
  • How can the UK realise the economic, cultural and social benefits of VR, AR, MR and haptic technology

Relevant developments:

  • Government response to the DCMS Select Committee Report on Immersive and Addictive Technologies - with commitments on research, online safety, esports, disinformation and diversity
  • the Digital Catapult’s ongoing work on immersive technology - including its Augmentor acceleration programme supporting start-ups, Immersive Arcade showcasing UK innovation, and promulgating latest research and best practice, including in light of COVID-19, through its Immersive Audience Journey report
  • £29m government funding to boost digital revolution and help keep people safe online - announcing support through UKRI including to test how immersive technology can improve education, following previous funding through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund
  • Beyond the early adopter: widening the appeal for virtual reality - the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC) outlining key principles for overcoming barriers to the adoption of immersive technology in the cultural industries
  • Supporting the UK’s Wireless Future - Ofcom’s consultation on plans to manage the use of the radio spectrum over the next decade in order to meet challenges including arising from connected devices and new applications - including augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) - driving demand for faster, more reliable, and lower or more consistent latency Wi-Fi

Key areas for discussion:

  • priorities for supporting research and innovation in immersive tech, including:
    • the role of Digital Catapult - and tapping into the work of Augmentor acceleration programme and the Immersive Labs
    • the UK’s competitive advantage in research - building on strong research systems and established collaboration between the public sector, academia, and industry
    • future international collaboration - in the context of the end of the transition period, and the UK’s role in the international market
    • working with education providers - to develop the skills and training programmes required to support sector growth
  • the evolving funding landscape and supporting innovation:
    • assessing potential impact - examining new funding provision, such as from UKRI, and how it can best support innovation in the sector
    • distribution - how best to ensure financial support is spread effectively across the sector and priorities for supporting start-ups and small businesses
    • investor relationships - making the sector attractive for investment and financing, and helping to connect businesses with prospective funding sources 
  • connectivity - supporting the development of national infrastructure such as 5G and consistent broadband to enable sector growth
  • commercialisation - developing use cases and practical applications across diverse sectors, and tackling remaining technical and practical barriers to adoption and commercialisation including:
    • COVID and a changing market - how video games and the arts are using immersive tech to adapt to the pandemic
    • innovation and new opportunities - evolving the immersive tech offering, and the role of immersive tech in improving education and wellbeing
    • profile raising - what more can be done to demonstrate practical applications and possible use cases to support rollout
    • societal contribution - including the role of immersive tech in supporting economic recovery
  • driving growth - what more might be required from policymakers, research bodies, and businesses to support the immersive tech sector and the UK’s international competitiveness going forward
  • ethical and regulatory issues - how to address potential concerns around data use and protection arising from the widespread use and utilisation of immersive technologies - including personalised advertising - and how industry practice, regulation, and policy may need to respond

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government officials involved in this area of public policy, together with representatives of companies involved in the development of immersive technologies, major technology platforms, hardware and component manufacturers, artificial intelligence companies, data analytics companies, software developers, representatives from across a range of sectors with potential applications and use cases for immersive tech, academics and researchers working on the development of these technologies, other industry representatives from across the technology and digital sectors, lawyers and consultants with an interest in these topics, organisations and individuals representing the views of consumers and citizens, regulators, academics and reporters from the national and trade media.  

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Dr Jeremy Silver

Chief Executive Officer, Digital Catapult

Sol Rogers

Founder and Chief Executive Officer, REWIND and Chair, Advisory Board, ImmerseUK


Simon Fletcher

Chief Technology Officer, Real Wireless and Co-Chair, International Working Group, UK5G Innovation Network

Catherine Allen

Founder & CEO, Limina Immersive

Sue Daley

Associate Director, Technology and Innovation, TechUK