nextPERSON is our new segment where we tap the minds of the brilliant people we connect with. Each person is asked the same three questions: What do you do? Why do you do it? What is NEXT?. It is a coffee-break read and a chance to get to know the nextPERSON accelerating change in the world. Enjoy!

Meet our nextPERSON: Delphine Seitiee, Executive Director & Co-Founder, World VR Forum. We met Delphine and her co-founder, Salar, last year in San Francisco. World VR forum was just an idea and they were looking to build their network in the Virtual Reality community.

WHAT DO YOU DO?

I became interested in emerging media while I was working as a project manager in digital marketing. It became clear to me Virtual Reality (VR) was going to play a key role in our future– from communication to the arts– crossing business, domestic, and creative uses. Salar Shahna, with whom I founded World VR Forum (WVRF), was producing cinema, television and trans media before moving into VR. For Switzerland, he saw a unique chance to become the world capital of Virtual Reality thanks to very innovative start-ups (somniacs, apelab, artanim, ozwe to name a few) and top universities like École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) and Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL). Clayton Doherty, a Swiss-based American drama teacher, was arriving at similar conclusions and we teamed up last year to create the WVRF, the first international forum dedicated to advancing the virtual & augmented reality industry in Europe.

The aim is to create a festival, a forum, and a market focusing on the creative and business potential of this new medium, which naturally feed into each other. I feel the age where business and artistic invention were viewed as separate entities is coming to a close. For all the right reasons, these worlds are merging into a global sense that progressive thinking is needed. Following the exponential progress of technology (Moore’s Law), creative thinking is by definition entering a turbo stage where tech and ideas merge almost instantly.

VR is not only an empathy machine, but also a tool to imagine what might be possible. It’s a virtual world generator and the word “virtual” is disappearing as fast as technology advances. Soon enough, we will all be creating alternative realities. The possibilities are endless.

WHY DO YOU DO IT?

We’re excited about the diversity of the forum. We mix scientists who’ve been researching the field for 20 years with futurists who are looking into how VR will affect our future. It also has huge potential as a creative platform as artists explore the endless possibilities of this new immersive genre. So many disciplines intersect here and that might be one of the richest aspects of the gathering. We can already see tangible results following the first edition: A Swiss researcher from EPFL working with a VR producer from Los Angeles.

Our philosophy is to bring all these different forces together through a high-level forum, round table sessions, and a competitive festival that treats VR works in the same way we currently celebrate cinema. We’re ensuring a crossover between researchers, developers, producers, and the industrial sector. Pursuing our global mission, we have partnered with events and organizations globally from France to Thailand, with a big focus on China.

WHAT’S NEXT?

For the moment, the idea is simply to expand and develop on the strong base we already have, and to develop the production and distribution angles. We learned a lot during the first forum and we would like to implement that next year. Switzerland is within the top players, but the challenges are still great and there’s room for many new players.

We’re a team of passionate people who’ve decided to invest everything they have into the future of VR. Our core idea is that VR will fuse with every imaginable sector the way TV screens did from the 1950’s. We started our festival the year VR became a globally accessible phenomenon and received 1,500 entries in three days. We plan to double that next year and pursue our international collaborations; establishing in Crans-Montana a nest for this new medium, which shows no signs of going away.

The second edition of the World VR Forum will be held May 11-14, 2017.

#WVRF