All Speakers

Sydney

David Liu

David Liu

Creative Director VR, Viacom

New York

As the Creative Director of Virtual Reality at Viacom NEXT (New York), David champions combinatorial creativity, working across storytelling and experiential mediums. He has created AAA and indie games, directed television and film productions, and designed large-scale alternate reality games. His resume includes work at Electronic Arts on The Sims 4, the BBC World Service, Singapore Arts Festival, Ford Motors, and SAP.

Viacom NEXT creates and produces unique VR experiences for brands such as Paramount Pictures and MTV. Their projects have premiered across festivals and game platforms. Notable highlights include Tyler Hurd’s Chocolate (South by Southwest, Sundance); Smash Party VR (launched Dec 2016 on Steam); and MTV’s Open Your Eyes Tilt Brush VR Art Show (USA Presidential Debates, South by South Lawn). Viacom NEXT is a member company of the MIT Media Lab, NYC Media Lab, and NYU Game Center.

David has worked in Singapore, Australia, and the United States. He holds a Master’s degree from the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University.

Dr. Adrian Kaehler

Dr. Adrian Kaehler

Founder Deep Learning Group

exVP Magic Leap, Silicon Valley

Dr. Adrian Kaehler is an independant scientist, adviser, and start-up founder. His current research includes topics in robotics, deep learning, machine learning more generally, statistical modeling and computer vision. Adrian received his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Columbia university in 1998. Adrian has since held positions at Intel Corporation and the Stanford University AI Lab, is an Applied Invention Fellow, and was a member of the winning Stanley race team in the DARPA Grand Challenge. Originally published in 2006, the book Learning OpenCV (O'Reilly Press) serves as an introduction to the library and its use. The book continues to be heavily used by both professionals and students. A second edition of the book is currently available from O'Reilly Media.

Dr. Kaehler was Vice President of Special Projects at Magic Leap, Inc, a stealth startup company that raised over $1.4Bn in venture funding in the period from 2014 to 2016. Subsequently, Dr. Kaehler left the company in 2016. He is a co-founder of the Silicon Valley Deep Learning Group, and has a wide variety of published papers and patents in physics, electrical engineering, computer science and robotics.

Presentation topic at Convergence Evening Conference

Artificial Intelligence The Solution

"At this time, two very important mega-trends are emerging around the world. On the one hand, the rise of ever more capable AI makes possible the automation of increasingly many jobs and social roles once only possible for human workers. On the other hand, massive shifts in demographics in the industrialized nations, and soon all nations, show a trend toward lower birth rates and longer life spans, leading to aging populations world wide.

Dr. Kaehler's talk will examine these two mega-trends, considering both the elimination of jobs arising from the rise of AI and the parallel loss of workers arising from demographic shifts, and explore the possibilities for how AI can be the solution to the profound demographic challenges that are coming."

Weiging Ngang

Weiging Ngang

Technical Program Manager

HTC Vive (Taiwan)

Weiging Ngang is a Product Manager of HTC Vive. He is responsible for VR Eco-system in Asia Pacific, developer partnership management as well as exploring potential business opportunities. Prior to joining VR team, he has rich experience in big data analysis and software architecture and smart devices.

CNET says: "Vive is the best virtual-reality experience you can have right now, thanks to its motion controls and room-scale tracking. It's the closest thing to having a holodeck in your home."

Gizmodo.Com says: "The HTC Vive is the most advanced VR system ever sold. Its headset is ridiculously powerful, so you can look around in all directions without a hitch. Its wireless controllers make it easy to interact with objects in the virtual world. Even cooler than all that, the Vive lets you walk around in the experience—which sets it apart from every other VR headset ever made."

Jennifer Wilson

Jennifer Wilson

The Project Factory (UK/Syd)

London & Sydney

Jennifer is a Group Executive Director of The Project Factory, a producer of creative transmedia projects across games, VR, web, mobile and social media. Jennifer is one of the digital worlds true pioneers is the author of several books and papers exploring the digital space. Jennifer has over 25 years experience in interactive consumer engagement with a strong focus on using play and story to engage. She is Council member representing the Animation and New Media Division on the Screen Producers Association of Australia (SPAA) and a regular contributor on mobile, games and gamification and linking narrative to consumers across multiple devices.

The Project Factory creates bespoke digital solutions to address the needs of brands, broadcasters, and governments. Working on global projects with Downton Abbey, Offspring and new film Predestination and the global hit TV series Sherlock, to produce Sherlock: The Network – the Official App.

Presentation topic at Convergence Evening Conference

"The Suspect: an immersive game running on an AI system and delivers a serial killer thriller"

The Suspect is an immersive game running on an AI system and delivers a serial killer thriller that gets under your skin. Also covering UX Design in AR/VR and AI and those imapcts in immersive experiences.

The Hon. Philip Dalidakis

The Hon. Philip Dalidakis

Guest of Honour

Minister Small Business, Innovation & Trade (VIC)

Philip Dalidakis is the Minister for Small Business, Innovation and Trade in the Andrews Labor Government in Victoria. Mr Dalidakis was elected as a member of the Victorian Parliament in November 2014 and was appointed to Cabinet in July 2015.

Since his Ministerial appointment in 2015, he has worked hard to strengthen Victoria's reputation as a regional tech hub by engaging the local startup community and attracting leading global companies (including Zendesk, GoPro and Slack) to establish a regional presence in Victoria.

The Minister believes Victoria is well placed to be a leader in cyber security education, research, policy and entrepreneurship. He announced the development of the Oceania Cyber Security Centre (OCSC), which will bring together eight Victorian universities, the Melbourne-based Defence Science Institute, major private sector partners and Oxford University’s world leading Global Cyber Security Capacity Centre (GCSCC) to create a cyber security powerhouse in Victoria. An additional partnership, brokered between the Labor Government and the digital research arm of the CSIRO, Data61, will see them co-locate their lead national cyber security centre with the OCSC.

Another important part of Mr Dalidakis' portfolio is the delivery of the Labor Government's $60 million startup initiative, LaunchVic, which was created to support the startup ecosystem, drive new ideas and create jobs in Victoria. This new body will invest in core infrastructure, improve access to capital for local startups, advocate on legislation and regulation, as well as engage in local sector events.

John MacLeod

John MacLeod

IBM

Watson & IoT Specialist

John is currently IBM's specialist in the Internet of Things (IoT) both at a business and technical level. With skills in electronics, database management, requirements management and software engineering processes my current focus on the IoT is a natural progression. The opportunity presented by the IoT is only limited by our imagination and ability to communicate it to our clients.

IBM's new Watson Internet of Things (IoT) is a cognitive system that learns from, and infuses intelligence into the physical world. The Internet of Things refers to the growing range of connected devices that send data across the Internet. IoT, can make life easier for all of us. The Internet of Things is now a reality due to the convergence of several technologies, including wireless communications, micro-electrical systems and of course, the Internet.

Watson is an exciting technology platform that uses natural language processing and machine learning to derive analytic conclusions from enormous sets of unstructured data. Using these techniques from the academic discipline of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Watson is a highly advanced software system designed to run on a range of IBM’s high performance computing systems.

John Sietsma

John Sietsma

Unity Technologies, Evangelist Australia & New Zealand

Melbourne

John Sietsma, a software engineer, games developer and educator, combines his long history to help people make the most out of Unity. He has worked on games and Augmented Reality that let people fly planes, play Rugby League, conquer kingdoms, merge the real with the virtual and compose music by waving their arms around! A personal highlight has been teaching new game programmers the skills needed to enter the world of game development.

Unity Technologies is the creator of Unity, an intuitive and flexible development platform used to make wildly creative and intelligently interactive 3D and 2D content. The "author once, deploy everywhere"​ capability ensures developers can publish to all of the most popular platforms. Unity are VR enthusiasts, their highly optimized rendering pipeline can help you achieve exceptional frame rates. That, and the Unity editor’s rapid iteration capabilities, have already helped to make Unity far and away the most widely used VR development platform. Native support is available for: Microsoft HoloLens, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Gear VR, Playstation VR and Google Daydream.

Unity Technologies boasts a thriving community of over 2 million registered developers including large publishers, indie studios, students and hobbyists. Unity Technologies is headquartered in San Francisco and has offices in Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Japan, Korea, Lithuania, Singapore, Sweden, Ukraine, the UK and elsewhere the United States.

Ben Moir

Ben Moir

Director, Snepo FabLab & WearableX

Sydney & New York

Ben Moir is the founding member of Snepo Research where for the last 10 years he has used his diverse knowledge to design systems incorporating new hardware technology and software. In 2013 Ben setup Wearable Experiments (We:eX) and heads up the technical development and integration of electronics into garments and accessories.

Formally trained as an Electrical Engineer, he brings to Snepo a commercial grounding but also likes to roll up his sleeves, taking a hands on approach to design and product development. He leads a team of developers, guiding the architecture and philosophy of the bespoke solutions developed at Snepo. One of Snepo’s key points of difference which Ben Moir built into the DNA of the company is its commitment to research. All Snepo staff members are entitled to spend time researching new projects and technology and approaches.

Through this practice Snepo stays at the forefront of emerging technology and user behaviour. This research also results in a suite of knowledge and tools which Snepo makes available to its clients and which can be leveraged for future projects.

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Prof. Language Sciences, Dept of Computing, Macquarie University

Chief Scientific Officer, Voicebox Technologies Australia

Mark Johnson is a Professor of Language Science (CORE) in the Department of Computing at Macquarie University. He is also the Chief Scientific Officer for VoiceBox Technologies Australia, which is a research and development laboratory located on the Macquarie University campus and run by Voicebox Technologies, an interactive voice technology company based in Seattle. The lab develops novel deep learning models to build the next generation of VoiceAI.

Mark was awarded a BSc (Hons) in 1979 from the University of Sydney, an MA in 1984 from the University of California, San Diego and a PhD in 1987 from Stanford University. He held a postdoctoral fellowship at MIT from 1987 until 1988, and has been a visiting researcher at the University of Stuttgart, the Xerox Research Centre in Grenoble, CSAIL at MIT and the Natural Language group at Microsoft Research. He has worked on a wide range of topics in computational linguistics, but his main research area is natural language understanding and syntactic parsing, and its applications to text and speech processing.

He was President of the Association for Computational Linguistics (ACL) in 2003, President of SIGDAT (the group that runs the EMNLP conference) in 2015, and is an Editor in Chief for the ACL's journal Transactions of the ACL and Springer's monograph series Theory and Applications of Natural Language Processing. Before returning to Australia, he was a professor in the Departments of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences and Computer Science at Brown University from 1989 until 2009.

 

David Zwierzchaczewski

David Zwierzchaczewski

Animation Specialist & Application Engineer

Autodesk

David Zwierzchaczewski has been working in the Film/ TV and games industry for over 15 years. Trained as a traditional 2D animator David quickly transitioned over to 3D where he moved up through the production ranks to direct several projects. Some of the recent project he has been involved in are Civilisation V, Dark Siders II, Saints Row the Third, L.A. Noire He is now the resident 3D specialist at Autodesk, where he is on the BETA development teams for Maya, 3DS Max, MudBox and Motion Builder.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9XqguB-cFE

David Zwierzchaczewski's Presentation Topic at Convergence

“Reality to Virtual Reality”

It's easier making VR experiences form real world data.

Nick Wailes

Nick Wailes

Professor, Associate Dean

Digital & Innovation, UNSW

Professor Nick Wailes, Associate Dean (Digital & Innovation), is responsible for leading the digital transformation of the UNSW Business School, he is also Director AGSM Online. Nick will expand the work he is already doing in the digital space to enhance the student learning experience across the Business School through new technologies. Prior to Nick’s appointment as Associate Dean (Digital & Innovation) he was Director of the MBT and AGSM Online; he also has extensive experience gained while Director of the MBA program at the University of Sydney.

His research has focused on technology and organisational change. He has also conducted research in international and comparative human resource management and strategic management.

Louise McWhinnie

Louise McWhinnie

Prof. Dean, Faculty Transdisciplinary Innovation

The University of Technology Sydney

Professor Louise McWhinnie is the inaugural Dean of the new Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation at The University of Technology Sydney. Over the last three decades she has lived and worked as a designer and academic in three continents (Australia, Asia and Europe), and in the last decade her research has been conducted within a fourth (America).Her role as Dean builds upon this work, as does her contribution to the creation and development of UTS's first transdisciplinary degree program the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII), which in late 2016 was awarded the Wharton Reimagining Education bronze award for Presence Learning. Referred to as the 'oscars of education' the Wharton Awards attract over 500 applications from the world's leading educational institutions.

Louise has worked closely with Creative Intelligence and Innovation staff and students in transdisciplinary teams working with industry and government (Visa, Government House NSW, etc) on a series of wicked problems. Louise also writes articles for The Conversation, and has undertaken radio and TV interviews in Australia and overseas. The new Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation in this its first year contains the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation as well as the Diploma in Innovation, the Bachelor of Technology and Innovation, the Graduate Certificate in Transdisciplinary Innovation in Higher Education and the UTS Animal Logic Academy, which contains the Master of Animation and Visualisation.

Mandy Nichols

Mandy Nichols

Film & Fashion, 3D Printing

Sydney & Melbourne

Mandy is a costume cutter, maker and stylist whose career spans film, TV, theatre & advertising.

Graduating from NIDA with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (costume) Mandy has worked as a key costume cutter and maker with film credits including  Director Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Australia’ & Academy award & Bafta award winning ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawntreader’, 'Xmen Origins: Wolverine' and 'The Wolverine'.

Recent credits include key Costume cutter for Director Ridley Scott's 'Alien: Covenant', and  7 network & Foxtel  period television series 'A Place to Call Home' and Costume buyer for 'Truth' featuring Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford.

Mandy has worked extensively in theatre as a costume Supervisor and cutter/maker for Australian theatre companies including Belvoir theatre company, The Bell Shakespeare company and Opera Australia.

Mandy is the current wardrobe director for Fremantle Media Australia's X-factor and regularly works as a stylist in music and advertising.

In 2015 Mandy received the Churchill Fellowship & Gilbert Spottiswood fellowship to develop expertise in the traditional and current practices of corsetry and couture womenswear.

This fellowship has strengthened Mandy's studio practice and has also led to a love of writing and documenting fashion after many hours examining couture garments in the archives of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Balenciaga Museum in Spain and private collections viewed in Paris.

Working on costume for 'Gods of Egypt' Mandy used a mixture of traditional costume and 3D printing, we are excited to hear all about her epxerience.

Chris Murphy

Chris Murphy

Evangelist Unreal Engine

Epic Games, Melbourne

Chris Murphy is an Evangelist for Epic Games and director of Pub Games.With over 10 years of experience using Unreal Engine, a Bachelor of Computer Science and a Bachelor of Multimedia, Chris has a broad skillset across a range of game development disciplines. Chris’ game development credits extend across PC, PS4, iOS and Android.

Most recently Chris worked with Pub Games to release Primal Carnage: Extinction, for PC and PS4, which has the distinctive title of being the first Australian project implementing the Steam Economy for inter-player sales and trading.

Chris’ role as Evangelist for Epic Games is to help independent game developers build successful games with Unreal Engine 4 through support, training and education.

Chris will be running a 2hr workshop titled "Creating Epic VR Games" in the afternoon at Convergence as part of the Immersive Symposium.

Simon Che de Boer

Simon Che de Boer

Creative Director & Founder

realityvirtual.co

realityvirtual.co is an Auckland based creative technologies R&D collective with an enthusiast towards the visual realm. - In a nutshell, we are streamlining VFX & capture technologies - allowing us to deliver presence in many forms, a ‘being there’ sensation. Truly an absolute godsend for foreign clients, innovative viral VR / video marketing strategies & end-user experiences alike.

realityvirtual.co primary focus is towards the development of immersive media' technologies. All interrelated, these covers a host of fields: Semi autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV & Drone) cinematography, industry typology surveying utilizing ground station way point navigation, HDR video, stunning in-motion timelapse techniques, FPV (first person view), head tracking stereoscopic 360° cinematic capture, in-motion 4D photogrammetry techniques and virtual reality (VR) cinematography/simulations. Our ethos is driven towards the cutting-edge as we are continuously employing new drone and production techniques alike.

Darren Woolley

Darren Woolley

Global CEO

TrintyP3 Marketing

Darren was a scientist, who got into advertising as a copywriter and ended up a creative director.

After 15 years in advertising he realised when marketers and their agencies work well together amazing things can happen. Unfortunately that is often not the way it pans out. So in 2000 he established TrinityP3 as an independent marketing management consulting company.

He helps marketers and advertisers work out what agencies they need, then search and select the right agencies to meet those needs. He helps them better engage and align their agencies to their marketing objectives. And we assess and measure the performance of their agencies. 

Darren has offices in Sydney, Melbourne, Hong Kong and Singapore so we can help our clients find the right agencies, negotiate the ideal contracts, benchmark the current costs or assess their current processes across Asia Pacific including China, SE Asia and Australia.

Darren is very engaged in emerging technology, especially through MarTech (marketing automation technology) and AdTech (advertising automation technology). We are very excited to host one of the biggest names in advertising at our next Convergence.

Damian Candusso

Damian Candusso

Associate Professor, School of Communication & Creative Industries

Charles Sturt University

Damian provides a unique nexus between industry practice and research in sound and immersive media. He has extensive expertise working at the pinnacle of the film, television, music and non-traditional screen industries. Notable screen credits include: The LEGO Movie, The Great Gatsby, Australia, and 79th Academy Award winning Happy Feet. Damian has been nominated and awarded at both national and international levels including: the Centenary Medal, awarded on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen for his Contribution to Australian Society, the City of Los Angeles Certificate of Recognition and many peer reviewed awards. Damian has also served on the Board of Directors for the Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE), a first for an Australian.

As a Senior Lecturer at Charles Sturt University, Damian provides innovative research solutions for industry. Damian's research includes sound design and interactive sound spatialisation for 3-D film, 360 film and Virtual Reality. More details can be found on his CSU staff page and on Imdb.

Damian Candusso's Presentation Topic at Convergence

"Heightening Realities: Spatial Sound for Immersive Media"

There is much attention directed towards the visual aspect of 360º film and Augmented, Mixed and Virtual Realities. However, there has been limited consideration given to the application of sound in these new mediums. This presentation considers a practice-led approach to the creation of a soundtrack specifically for these emerging mediums by giving equal importance to the design of a sonically rich and a spatially immersive soundtrack. In combination with the immersive visual experience, only then can a visceral immersive experience be achieved.

The presentation explores employing and adapting contemporary linear film sound design and game sound design practices to create a soundtrack for the new realities from capture, editing and to publication.

Dr Dagmar Reinhardt

Dr Dagmar Reinhardt

Program Director of the BAE

Robots in Architecture

Dagmar Reinhardt is an architect, Program Director of the BAE and robotics research leader at the School of Architecture, Design and Planning, The University of Sydney. Reinhardt has recently chaired the ROB|ARCH2016 Robots in Architecture, Art and Design conference that brought international researchers, industry and practice to Australia (www.http://www.robarch2016.org). Reinhardt's architecture practice reinhardtjung produces building projects, installations, curatorial work, research, publications, lectures and exhibitions in Europe and Australia, has been widely published, and received numerous awards (www.reinhardtjung.de).

Reinhardt’s work extends architectural performance and performativity towards design research and cross-disciplinary practice with audio-acoustics, and structural engineering, with a focus on engineering the acoustic behaviour of curved geometries through generative design and robotic fabrication, and in choreographing relationships between kinect sensing, fabricated materiality, and body movement. Her work with biome explores the mathematical language shared between scripting, sound/music, digital fabrication, interaction design and architecture (www.biome.cc).

Presentation topic at Convergence Evening Conference

"human and robot - design and collaborate"

Old News: Robotic fabrication technologies change the way we do contemporary design practice, manufacturing and construction. Their high precision, fast reactions, autonomous workflows and independent locomotion provide the ideal combination for mass customisation and profitable business in a context of industry 4.0. But there is more. This talk will expand from current robotic design practice towards human- collaborative work environments of the future, where human bodies and machine intelligence merge.

Matt Furse

Matt Furse

Digital Transformation Specialist

Internet of Things

Matt Furse is a Digital Transformation Specialist at Microsoft, focused on the Internet of Things, working in the Australia & New Zealand markets. Matt is responsible for working with a range of Commercial Business, Government and Education customers to develop new thinking and strategies around Digital Transformation and ultimately building out how advancing cloud technologies can function as an accelerants to their business change and disruptors in their markets.

Matt has over 10-years of direct sales experience at Microsoft, IBM and start-ups working with senior-level line-of-business BDMs as well as senior-level technical contacts delivering on solution-oriented sales motions.

Mathew Tizard

Mathew Tizard

Creative Technologist

Google Global Creative Team (ZOO) APAC

After an academic background in AI, and a decade of making things for the web at Yahoo and elsewhere, Mat slipped and fell into advertising by accident, working at at Australian and New Zealand agencies such as TBWA, Colenso BBDO and Shine.

At Shine Mat was responsible for reinventing the phonograph for The Beck's Edison Bottle project and creating interactive street posters, utilising conductive ink. Previously, at Colenso, he was instrumental in several award-winning projects including Westpac's Impulse Saver, Mountain Dew's "Beyond The Wall" and The V Motion Project.

He has been working in Google's Zoo team in Sydney as Creative Technologist since 2014.

Michael Ritchie

Michael Ritchie

MD / Executive Producer & Principal

Revolver / RevLover

Michael Ritchie is the Managing Director/ Executive Producer and Principal of Revolver, an Australian based production company known for its commitment to produce both original and innovative, high end work.

Michael's career began in the mid 80s, where he worked his way to a sought out position as Head Of Television at Ogilvy in Sydney, at the age of 25. After 10 years on the agency side and a successful stint working as a Regional Head Of Television at DDB in Hong Kong, Michael moved in to production joining Sydney based Pod Film, where he was made partner in 1997. In his time with the company, Michael saw Pod grow to become one of the most innovative production companies in the region at that time.

1999 saw his most successful collaboration, with director Steve Rogers, when he joined Revolver. Since then Michael has received pretty much every international award there is, in the way of recognition at Cannes, D&AD, Clio, One Show and AWARD. He has twice been approached by Baz Luhrman, to produce the only advertising campaigns Baz has ever done - one of which was the Chanel No.5 film, starring Nicole Kidman. He is also the Deputy Chairman of AWARD, the most recognised industry body in this country, and one of the founding members of the Commercial Producers Council.

In 2010 Michael also co-founded and became Managing Director of Will O'Rourke, a sister production company to Revolver - which concentrates on content and brand funded alternatives – and was awarded the coveted Grand Prix at Cannes and a further two Grand Prix at Spikes for its work on the NAB 'Break Up' campaign. Michael has forged international alliances with some of the most influential production companies in the world, from Biscuit Filmworks in Los Angeles, to Sonny in London. He has produced work for the entire range of clients, as well as producing music video's for the likes of Radiohead, The Presets and Beck.

Chris Rollings

Chris Rollings

Executive Producer

Google APAC

Chris started out in England where he worked for some of London's finest Ad agencies. In 2010 he made the move to Sydney, where he joined TBWA and continued to deliver award winning work.

Prior to Joining Google Chris was one of the founding members of R/GA Sydney.

Today Chris leads production across Google Zoo APAC and helps brands realise the creative potential of Google.

Rebecca Bezzina

Rebecca Bezzina

Managing Director

R/GA

Rebecca is R/GA Sydney’s VP Managing Director and a near founding member of the agency, having joined as Client Services Director in 2013 and being instrumental in its rapid growth since.

After a stint as managing director of Cummins & Partners, she returned to R/GA Sydney to take the helm in 2016 where she’s now spearheading new business and relationships, and driving digital transformation for clients.

Prior to R/GA, Rebecca led a number of blue-chip accounts at M&C Saatchi/Mark for over five years. As a trusted strategic partner, she delivered award-winning, transformational work for Google, News Ltd, Nestle and Qantas Frequent Flyer, before bringing Australia’s largest account The Commonwealth Bank to the agency and ushering in their highly successful re-positioning.

Rebecca has had a rapid rise in the industry which also included being awarded Young Direct Marketer of the Year (ADMA) and a Top 30 Under 30 Nomination.

Benjamin Richards

Benjamin Richards

Director of Creative Development & Innovation

Cutting Edge

Benjamin Richards has always been extremely passionate about art, science, technology and the moving image. In the early 90s he saw the culmination of his interests in the form of primitive 3D software which resulted in an award winning animated short and since then, he has been involved in nearly all aspects of film and tv production, winning multiple awards for his VFX work and documentaries.

He worked with Autodesk for 7 years as a technical specialist, living and traveling extensively across Asia Pacific, Europe, Africa and North America, working with the likes of Weta, Pixar and Lucasfilm on high profile feature films such as Avatar, Lord of The Rings, Star Wars & The Incredibles and games studios such as EA, Ubisoft and Sony on several AAA game titles, as well as with all manner of technology partners.

Benjamin is keenly interested in the future of entertainment and the possibilities new technologies such as AR and VR enable. As Director of Creative Development & Innovation for Cutting Edge, he is at the forefront of an exciting new era of storytelling.

Pradeep Khanna

Pradeep Khanna

CEO, Global Mindset (GM)

Sydney President Global VRAR Association

Pradeep Khanna, is Founder CEO of Sydney based consulting company Global Mindset (GM) focused on leveraging globalisation & digitisation for Learning & Working. He is also the Sydney Chapter President for the global VRAR (Virtual Reality Augmented Reality) Association and ob the Advisory Board for Indiagosolar.in

He has over 30 years of executive & management experience across a number of industries. Pradeep has been a leader for IBM GBS Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) leveraging India, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Egypt, Romania, Brazil. He has worked on assignments for IBM, Australian Trade Commission, Optus, Westpac, Qantas, ING, Crompton Greaves and many more organisations.

He is an Adjunct Professor/Visiting Faculty at number of institutions in Australia, Singapore & India. Pradeep is a speaker at many international conferences. In 2016, Pradeep has presented in Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, Toronto, Sydney & Singapore & New Delhi.

Pradeep is a member of Executive Panel of Global Consulting Companies and Open Colleges Industry Advisory Panel. He has studied MBA from AGSM (UNSW), M.Sc, Computer Science from UTS, & B Tech from IIT Delhi

Wojciech Wawrzyniak

Wojciech Wawrzyniak

Chief Technical Officer

MedTech3D

Wojciech Wawrzyniak has been involved in the design and film making fields for the last two decades. After winning an Australian Design Award in 2002 for the design of a new digital camera system, he went on to contribute his skills to such products as camera fluid heads and load bearing automotive accessories. The one thing all of his projects had in common was the use of cutting edge data gathering and prototyping technologies, which he obviously exploited for his own personal gain in out of work hours.

Wojciech's career path then took him to managing academic and commercial manufacturing facilities heavily using 3D printing and scanning, where he saw the potential of applying these methods to medicine. This lead to his current position as Chief Technical Officer developing and engineering medical devices and implants using additive manufacturing technologies, as well as servicing multiple other industries with innovative solutions for industrial design challenges.

Although occupied with manufacturing, Wojciech has never let his love of movies die. He was involved in design and construction of two stereoscopic camera systems for over five years, and has now moved onto the development of a feature length VR film using multiple self designed and manufactured system and tools.

Adrian Esdaile

Adrian Esdaile

Sydney Studio BIM Manager and Senior Architect

Billard Leece Partnership Architects & Urban Planners

Adrian has a strong interest in the application of many emerging technologies to architecture, both from the design tools and construction approaches. At BLP he uses VR primary as a design and communication tool. He also developed a VR / IoT system for a previous role with a big retailer.

As part of Adrian's previous role with a large retailer he was involved in the development of a VR / Internet of Things system for store design for marketing and vendor managers, taking data from a multitude of sources like digital architectural design, product database and in-store sensors to produce ‘heatmaps’ – coloured overlays to display in the VR system top selling products and customer movements based on IoT technology.

Adrian has an interest in robotics, drones and 3D printing, thinking about ways these technologies can be incorporated in future architectural projects. As well as using photogrammetry and extracting 3D point clouds from images architecturally for surveying.

Sahil Harriram

Sahil Harriram

CEO / Lead Embedded Engineer

Elite Robotics

Sahil is the CEO and Lead Embedded Engineer of Elite Robotics; a start-up from the emerging innovation ecosystem in the greater Newcastle region. In addition to winning UON’s Enterprise Week Pitch Fest, they placed second at DaSH’s pitchfest. Sahil’s role in in the organisation spans from overall business management to designing the embedded system for their robotic solutions.

He has always been passionate about technology and innovation and this has led him to complete his Honours in Mechatronics Engineering; finishing his thesis on the Software Architectural Design for an autonomous boat used in an international robotics competition (RobotX). Through this project he developed a framework for the embedded applications of advanced algorithms for autonomous vehicle control. 

Sahil also has experience programming machine learning algorithms for vehicle guidance and probabilistic state estimation algorithms used as part of the vehicle’s navigation system.

While at the University of Newcastle he completed a semester exchange at the Karl Benz School at Karlsruhe Institute für Technologie. This led him to get involved with UON’s Exchange Student Network where as President he managed a team of 8 students to build a social platform to enable exchange students to interact with domestic students, which helped them win two Campus life awards.


Sahil Harriram's Presentation Topic at Convergence

"The rise of open source and its impact on Robotics"

Open source hardware has only recently become available to the masses. You may have heard of computers such as Arduino and Raspberry Pi but what are they and how will they impact the future of Robotics? Arduino and Raspberry Pi were released in 2011 and 2012 respectively, and since then millions upon millions of these devices have made their way into the hands of hobbyists, entrepreneurs and engineers. This talk explores how open source hardware is mainstreaming embedded systems development and how this will affect the type of robots we will find in our home over the next 5-10 years.

Peter Xing

Peter Xing

Technology & Innovation

KPMG

Peter is a Technology & Innovation Manager at KPMG. He has been extensively covering the recent developments in artificial intelligence and its impact on business and the future of humanity. Peter is also the co-founder of Transhumanism Australia, a community that educates and invests in scientific research and technologies which enhance the human biological condition.

Phil Ohren

Phil Ohren

COO,

Louder.Online

Phil's vision is to make advertising useful. Not interruptive. A B&T 30 Under 30 awarded digital marketer with a mission for consumer satisfaction through data lead marketing. From a Media Agency background, Phil has 11 years experience in multiple business verticals across the spectrum of digital. Primarily working with leading brands and publishers at GroupM, Mindshare & UM across digital strategy, search, social & content marketing.

Ben Pirrie

Ben Pirrie

Head of Digital

True Sydney

An award winning, passionate, and innovative digital marketing leader, delivering outstanding results for clients for 12 years across Europe, ANZ and APAC.

A belief that digital advertising should connect, and impact consumers and deliver tangible outcomes for business consistently.

With a focus on business science and data lead planning, Ben is able to deliver predictive models and digital campaigns that deliver unmatched ROI for brands. Each business has customers with a unique path to purchase footprint that must be understood and leveraged.

Dr Tomasz Bednarz

Dr Tomasz Bednarz

Team Leader

CSIRO Data61

Dr Tomasz Bednarz is a Team Leader at CSIRO's Data61 (Big Data Visualisation and Analytics team). He is also an Associate Professor at the QUT (ARC Centre of Excellence for Mathematical and Statistical Frontiers, http://acems.org.au) and holds Adjunct positions at the University of Sydney (Design Lab) and University of South Australia (School of IT and Math Sciences). He has done his doctorate and masters in computational science area. Over last couple of years at CSIRO he has been involved in wide range of projects in area of immersive visualisation, human-computer interaction, computational imaging and visualisation. He led cloud-based imaging project that received merit Queensland's iAward in 2015 (http://cloudimaging.net.au).

Dr Tomasz has been leading project Platform for Big Data Analytics and Visual Analytics, connecting data analytics, statistical modelling, image analytics, machine learning, visualisation into one stack of reusable solutions. His broad range of expertise is evidenced by the quality and number of publications, http://www.researcherid.com/rid/A-7376-2011.

Dr Tomasz chairs IEEE Computer Society Queensland Chapter, chairs Brisbane ACM SIGGRAPH Chapter and leads the Brisbane Khronos Group chapter. He actively promotes use of computational and visualisation techniques for science and research, and art + science methodology.​

Dr Tomasz will be demonstrating some of his applications for VR in science.

Anet Redmer

Anet Redmer

UX & Lean Startup Methodologist

Redmera

Skilled as digital media engineer, product designer and architect, Anet works across the disciplines of UX design, design thinking and the lean startup method. Originally from Berlin, Anet has worked in Holland, Brussels, New York and Silicon Valley where she worked for innovation platforms such as Living Tomorrow and TomorrowLab, featured by BBC and Discovery Channel.

As one of Australia's most sought after UX specialists, Anet works for clients such as Telstra and Global Enterprise Services, innovating bio-plastics furniture and collaborating with an Internet of Things start-up. Anet is interested in emerging technologies and finding new ways how they can be leveraged to enhance people's lives with a great user experience.

David Francis

David Francis

Head of Sales APAC

Zappar & Virtual Method

Augmented Reality and Virtual Interfaces are David's area of specialisation, finding their best utility, application and monetisation in the real world, without breaking User Experience. David deploys large AR and VR campaigns in Live environments, working with premium global brands. His skills cover AR, VR, Geo-Fencing, BLE proximity, Acoustic Fingerprinting, Haptics, 3D/4D Printing and sensor-based biometrics, frontier technologies.

Zappar is a clever little app that can see and recognise images and objects in the world around us. Once it sees things it knows, it uses Augmented Reality to make them come to life. AR is just a fancypants way of saying that the app adds things to the camera view that aren’t actually there.

With Zappar you can turn almost anything into a TV channel, a video game or even one of those social networking sites. Zappar adds a new visual dimension to the world for you to explore.

Michael Nasuta

Michael Nasuta

Product Manager,

Robotics Stryker

Michael Nasuta is the Robotics Product Manager for Stryker South Pacific and has led the introduction of robotic-arm assisted joint replacement surgery in Australia and New Zealand since 2015.  Prior to this role, he worked as an engineer for Stryker in the US leading teams to develop medical devices for 7 years.  He has a BS in Biomedical Engineering and MS in Industrial Engineering.

Stryker is one of the world's leading medical technology companies and together with our customers, we are driven to make healthcare better. The Company offers a diverse array of innovative products and services in Orthopaedics, Medical and Surgical, and Neurotechnology and Spine, which help improve patient and hospital outcomes.  Stryker is active in over 100 countries around the world.

Michael Nasuta's Presentation Topic at Convergence

“Dr. Roboto: How robotics is transforming orthopaedics”

Healthcare is a complex and ever changing industry including innovations of technology to assist surgeons improve their patient outcomes. A variety of robotic technologies have been introduced in different surgical fields with the greatest benefit realised in orthopaedic surgery. The Mako robotic arm assisted surgical system provides surgeons with enhanced planning features and robotic-arm assisted execution for total hip, partial and total knee replacement surgery. These advancements have led to the potential for more accurate implant positioning, faster recovery and less pain, fewer complications, and reduced healthcare costs. Michael will discuss how this technology works and why it will transform orthopaedics.

Roger Lawrence

Roger Lawrence

Founder and Director

Vice Versa Reality

A successful technology executive, with broad experience in all aspects of advising enterprise executives, managing high-calibre technologists and facilitating business results across both infrastructure and development domains.

Chief Technologist and strategic advisor for business and government covering topics that include; innovation, the Internet of Things, wearable computing, applications modernisation, unified communications, Big Data, social media, security, mobile computing and cloud tech.

A startup entrepreneur who empowers other professionals through innovation in the latest technologies, including IoT, wearable computing and 3D printing.

Dr. Ken Silburn

Dr. Ken Silburn

President LAZSTA (Met South West Science Teachers Assoc.)

Global Teacher Ambassador

Ken Silburn is a science educator, communicator, Certified Google Trainer and passionate about teaching 21st Century Skills and increasing the educational opportunities of students on a global scale.

Ken is the Head Teacher Science at Casula High School, President of LAZSTA (Metropolitan South West Science Teachers Association) and Coordinator and founder of the iSTEM (Invigorating Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) project delivering science enrichment programs for high school science students and the US Space Academy Program.

He is internationally renowned in science education, especially in the area of Environmental and Space Science. He is a strong advocate for engaging students in STEM careers and is currently a member of the Advisory Board for the International Mars One project and a Director of the Australian Mars Society. He has participated in NASA Spaceward Bound Expeditions to the Mojave, Desert USA, Pilbara and Arkaroola expeditions in Australia, and in 2016 was a member of the education team for the NASA India high altitude Expedition to the Ladakh Region.

His work in extraordinary work in teaching science was used by the Indian Department of Education to produce  training videos on science education. The resulting series will be broadcast to excess of 2.5 million students.

Ken was the recipient of the 2013 NSW State Award for Innovation in Science and Mathematics Teaching, the 2014 NSW Australian Academy of Physics Award for Community Outreach. In 2015 he was the recipient of the Australian Prime Minister’s Science Prize for Excellence In Secondary Science Teaching.  He is now recognised as a Global Teacher Ambassador, having been acknowledged as one of the top ten teachers in the world, from over 23 000 nominations, through the Varkey Global Teacher Prize.

Morgan Lean

Morgan Lean

Director

Epiphany Games

Director of Epiphany Games, creator of many games both computer and other media. World Builder, Programmer & Entrepreneur.

Epiphany Games develops games and game related technologies. We developed the Emergent Games technologies Terrain engine for Lightspeed, we are developing our own Games and looking for other opportunities in the gaming space.Epiphany Games is Australian company with a Studio in Sydney.

Epiphany Games titles include: Blood of Sol, Majestic Nights, Frozen Hearth, Runic Rumble, Aki and Plizkin: Codex of Ancients and Ámorrá: Teigh Suil.

Mathew Hermans

Mathew Hermans

VR CG Supervisor

Electric Lens Co.

Matt is a young veteran of the advertising industry in Australia. Covering the gamut of TVC, Film and installation mediums he has a wide base of experience over the past 15 years. During this time he developed dangerously futuristic workflows at Fuel and Alt VFX while waiting for technology to catch up to his vision.

Over the past couple of years he has finally met with this intersection of Virtual Reality and VFX.

Combining the highly technical discipline of high end VFX and ground breaking game engines he is smashing these together to form 'photo-realism on a real-time budget' and pioneer a new area of immersive story telling.

J'aimee Skippon-Volke

J'aimee Skippon-Volke

Festival Director

Byron Bay International Film Festival

J’aimee Skippon-Volke, Director of the Byron Bay International Film Festival has a growing reputation for cutting-edge curation & developing of rich and diverse programmes of entertaining, inspiring & thought provoking films and film events which enhance our worldview & collective social dialogue through the power and storytelling of film.

J’aimee, has a truly international perspective, born in Australia, she spent much of her childhood in NZ, the US & the UK. It was in the UK where the curtains opened on J’aimee’s love of underground & independent cinema. Growing up in Covent Garden in Central London, she discovered the cinematic offerings at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) a hub for the exploration of radical art & culture.

She worked in the UK’s TV industry & after a stint in the USA, decided to ‘give Australia a go’. J’aimee and her partner Osvaldo Alfaro, BBFF’s Technical Director, have grown BBFF’s unique culture and flourishing international reputation. Seeing both esteemed international filmmakers and emerging values-aligned artists vying for a place in its programme. With trademark ethics and selectivity, BBFF offers audience members & filmmakers the opportunity to be part of more meaningful screen culture experience.

Experienced in film and visual effects production J'aimee has turned her focus to both producing and curating immersive content as well as traditional film.

Luke Bubb

Luke Bubb

Artist / Art Director / Concept Design

Moving Peaks, Byron Bay

Luke is a South African born artist living in Australia working primarily with design, storytelling and emotional experience projects to create original narratives in the Art's, Film and Virtual Reality mediums.

Currently commercial projects involve world building, environment design and art direction for Virtual Reality. Personal projects include abstract expression artworks for a collaborative exhibition and healing concept designs for property developers.

The last 10 years have seen him create work for Australia's award winning studios including AltVFX, FuelVFX, FIN Design, Umeric, Cutting Edge and Method Studios.

His work on Orrery Sequence in Ridley Scott’s film Prometheus gained internationally attention and has been published on sites such as FXguide and in magazines including Cinefex.

Luke’s commercial clients include the BBC, VISA, SBS Travel, MTV, GE, Nokia, NEC, Kirin, Coca Cola, Pepsi, Cadbury, Ford, Lexus, Nissan, Subaru, Honda, Hyundai, Mazda, Toyota.

Films include Prometheus, Australia, The Tree, Bedtime Stories, The Spirit, The Square and Tomorrow When the War Began.

Sean Callinan

Sean Callinan

Head of Games

JMC

Always loved to draw, did music, art, acting, singing at school, joined the local amateur theatre, formed a band, tried to find the sweet-spot between prog rock and punk, failed, left school, got sacked from various jobs, became a photographer at the local paper, became a music assistant at the teachers college,  met my wife and moved to Sydney with her, photographed real estate, ran a restaurant darkroom, went to design college, met long-time friends, worked on AFTRS student films, dropped out to start a production company, nearly starved,  did some acting, met a record exec who took pity on us, made videos for bands including INXS, Crowded House & Fleetwood Mac, made a micro-budget weirdo feature film, got nominated for an AFI award, started teaching, fell out with my business partner,  freelanced as a production designer on commercials music videos shorts and features, kept doing graphic design, interactive design, and animation,  got jack of the early hours in film,  decided to be an animator and motion designer and went back to uni, got a Masters,  started teaching more regularly at UTS,  started teaching at JMC,  occasionally get lured back to production design, occasionally still animate,  got offered the Head of Department position at JMC,  here I am!

Presentation topic at Convergence Evening Conference

“The digital natives are restless: building resilience and creative flexibility in animation & games”

Will discuss the rapid pace of technological change in these disciplines and what it means for animation and gaming. Some of the preconceptions and knowledge gaps they enter the field with. Will look especially at the type of “first in family” and less academically inclined recruits that we deal with at JMC, and outline a series of key principles that we seek to impart to give them the best chance of making a long-term career in an evolving world of animation, VFX, VR, AR, and whatever is beyond.

Justin Mclean

Justin Mclean

VR Games Developer

CEO ALTA

Mclean is the founder of the IoT Sydney Meetup, a monthly gathering of IoT enthusiasts where attendees can network and share ideas, and hear from businesses who are innovating in the IoT space. The meetup was created following a chance encounter with Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino, the founder of IoT London. Deschamps-Sonsino suggested to Mclean to start a meetup in Sydneyfollowing from  experience in speaking at conferences about the Arduino platform and open source hardware led him to believe he could make it work. From the beginning in 2013, the group now boasts over 1200 members, and attendance at the monthly meetings has steadily grown in the last few months, encompassing a wide array of professions.

Osvaldo Alfaro

Osvaldo Alfaro

Technical Director

Byron Bay International Film Festival

Realtime electronic immersion, film and future evangelist.

Throughout his life Osvaldo has had a passion for imagery, be it captured or delivered utilising multiple formats and techniques. This passion has driven Osvaldo in his career, from an early love of drawing then onto photography and cinematography through to today’s highly technical advances in synthetic image creation.

While still active in film and TV production crews since leaving school Osvaldo also strives to keep up to date with new techniques in software with programmes like 3dsMax and more recently Houdini FX. After working on several feature films in VFX he cemented his skills using Substance Live, Unreal Engine 4 and the Adobe Creative Cloud.

He is passionate about stereoscopy, designing and creating his own rig for 2 GoPro 3 Black cameras and a Zoom H4n.

Osvaldo is the technical director of both the Convergence Film Festival and the Byron Bay INternational Film Festival.

Penny Wong

Penny Wong

Director, Radmis

Technology & Enterprise

Penny has over 15 years of technology consulting experience helping clients (including Optus, Telstra, NSW Gov, Visa, MasterCard & Coles) to deliver digital projects and opportunities underpinned by emerging technologies.

Penny is a co-founder of Radmis, a digital product prototyping & artificial intelligence software company. She studied computer science and holds a Grad Cert of Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and Master of International Business & Law from the University of Sydney.

Craig Murphy

Craig Murphy

Cloud & IoT Specialist

IBM

An experienced technology advisor/advocate for cloud computing, cloud based applications, virtualisation, backup and disaster recovery. Helping businesses with moving into the cloud, building a cloud strategy and implementing cloud based services and the "Internet of Things" for business applications projects.

Specialist implementation services provided for IBM Power Systems. Long history working with IBM i (iSeries) systems, Audits, Implementation, Management, Migrations, Upgrades and system decommissioning.

Specialties: Technology Evangelist for Cloud Computing, Solution Design for Private - Hybrid - Public cloud, Virtualisation (Xen, VMware, PowerVM) and IBMi (iSeries, AS/400).

Vaughan Knight

Vaughan Knight

Technical Evangelism Lead

Microsoft

Vaughan is a Technical Evangelism Lead at Microsoft, he heads up the team focused on engaging with the developer and IT pro community, whether it be in tech start-ups, ISVs, enterprise, gaming studios or students beginning their careers.

The era of holographic computing is here and Microsoft's HoloLens is next-generation technology enabled by Windows 10 that puts you at the centre of a world that blends holograms with reality. Holograms are the next evolution in computing. With this vision in mind, hardware, software, and design came together to create the first fully untethered holographic computer.

The HoloLens headset is a bold piece of hardware and the most exciting evidence yet that Microsoft is taking wearable tech very seriously. We are very excited to be hosting Lawrence and hearing more about the exciting augmented unteathered holographic computer:  HoloLens.

Steve Lennon

Steve Lennon

Director, Digital Transformation & Data Insights

Robotics & IoT

Serving on the CGI Australia leadership team, Steve’s focus is to guide customers in crafting their vision and roadmap for digital transformation. He partners with business and IT leaders, enabling them to achieve their journey to a more profitable and sustainable future. Innovation, leadership alignment, design thinking, cultural change and business strategy are key capabilities Steve brings to the table, backed by the global resources, end-to-end digital services and value-added IP of CGI.

Steve has been driving the IoT agenda forward at CGI, and in his former global role with Fujitsu, where he acted as a trusted advisor for Fujitsu’s IP owners, engaging with Fujitsu R&D Labs around the world. He has been an active contributor with the IoT Association of Australia since its inception. His role covers the key digital technologies now impacting the business landscape, including IoT, data analytics, Blockchain, AR/MR, robotics, automation and 360˙ customer experience.

Steve has adapted and evolved his unique perspective through senior investment banking, technology, management consulting, creative agency and executive leadership roles across Australia, the US and Europe.

Sammy Pfeiffer

Sammy Pfeiffer

PhD Robotics Engineer

UTS Magic Lab

Sammy is a passionate and versatile robotics engineer from the UPC: BarcelonaTech who has been working in robotics as a hobby, as part of his role in the UPC Robotics Club and as part of his previous job at PAL Robotics bringing to life their humanoid platforms. Sammy has worked developing drivers, low level control, navigation, manipulation, perception, robot behaviours, human robot interfaces and many other challenges found during his career.

He is currently pursuing a PhD at UTS in The Magic Lab following his interests about humanoid robots and the latest technologies.

Kelly-Ann Denton

Kelly-Ann Denton

Director

imagineer.me

Kelly-Ann Denton is the Director of Creative Learning at imagineer.me, an agency which works with The Visual Mind and Neuroscience in order to guide individuals toward more innovative and pre-determined realities.

Commencing a visual language and visual culture practice in 1993 she holds a post graduate degree in Visual Art and is partnered with Professor David Alais, School of Psychology - University of Sydney to instruct learning and comprehension based on 93% of all we understand: vision, sight and perception.

Kelly-Ann has designed visual education and imagination programs for two decades and written curricula for universities, government (state and federal), not for profit, and international corporations as well as individuals. The material has been consistently updated with new research related to the visual mind and neuroplasticity and she leads in the field of visual learning for adults. Her expertise is founded on a comprehensive understanding of how we see, how we imagine and how we remember in order to make sense of our environments and create new realities.

Kelly-Ann has informed and lectured internationally at such institutions as Scuola superiore Sant’Anna Pisa where she was associated with the Virtual Reality (VR) team informing how our perception of reality is fluid based on how we process what we see.

Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey

Technology Innovation Manager

Sydney University

Brian is a Strategic, Connector, Ideator, Disruptor and Achiever, where strategy, innovation and technology meet; finding better, faster, cheaper and more sustainable ways to get results.

At Sydney University Brian facilitates the adoption and adaptation of interactive and collaborative learning designs, to transform the Higher Education experience. Coordinating the data, information and knowledge systems of the Faculty Arts and Social Sciences, in partnership with faculty and staff, and the University's Professional Service Units.

Brian will be hosting our Internet of Things Workshop as part of the Convergence programme.

David Soutar

David Soutar

CEO and Co-founder

Wattcost

With over 2 decades of global technical and commercial experience in smart energy, building automation, mobile technologies and consumer products, David is Wattcost’s steady handed leader positioning its game-changing technology for growth. He has a proven track record in product innovation and delivering rapid scale profitably. This expertise is underpinned by a driving desire to create simple, seamless and adaptable products which consumers love to use.

Wattcost® is a revolutionary new technology that turns your home and its existing appliances into the smart and safe home of the future today!Wattcost Beacon® meter-to-mobile technology leapfrogs the complexity of inter-connecting incompatible devices or the need to replace expensive appliances to manage your home more effectively. Intelligent contextual messages by major appliance and user location. Personalized messages tell you how, where and when to save money. Get inspired competing for the best energy smart home in your area. Compare and switch to the best supplier* based on your actual use.

Kiah Hickson

Kiah Hickson

IoT, Wearbles, Educator

StartFizz.com

The spark started at 14, hacking MySpace to out-glitter her friends. Something about the granularity of code would resurface in her 20ʼs.

After realising her dreams werenʼt being fulfilled and her inability to make animpact, and drawn by the endless possibilities of tech, Kiah quit the corporate world and sold everything she owned to learn code. This knowledge propelled her into a world where making a difference was possible.

Kiahʼs high impact project is her “Girl on Fire” LED wearables dress, which she uses to inspire young women to learn to code. The dress is also a gateway to Kiahʼs vision of IoT wearables merging with the human body, breaking down disability barriers and access to technology.

She also teaches code and mentors female high school students, as well as founding Australian startup resource StartFizz.com, leveraging knowledge acquired (sometimes the hard way) through past entrepreneurial projects.

William Ehmcke

William Ehmcke

Founder

Snaploader

William is chair of Snaploader, providing asset visualization technologies in 3D and mixed-reality to the real estate sector.  With over 40 years of ICT experience, including over 10 years European, he has consulted widely on sustainability and energy efficiencies across IT; previously established a strategy ICT consulting business, with offices in Australia and Singapore servicing over 35% of Top100 corporations and government agencies. He has held or holds directorial services with a number of public and private companies, within payment systems, mineral exploration, manufacturing, and radio broadcast and is an adjunct professor of sustainability for Bond University.

Joseph Narai

Joseph Narai

Senior Vice President

Transmedia Entertainment

Joseph is a technology innovator with over 25 years of research and development experience having created many world first and award winning products across a wide variety of industries. He has founded several technology based businesses and has held the positions of managing director, chief technology officer, technical director and research and development engineer.

Joseph is also a producer, sound designer and audio engineer who has led the teams creating a number of innovative transmedia projects including: Moriarty: Endgame VR - the worlds first immersive VR Comic Book, an interactive Virtual Reality classroom tour and a physical interactive video experience for the Vivid Festival in Sydney. He also recent finished sound recording, design and mix on The Veiled, a film about human trafficking which debuted at the Montreal World Film Festival and has won an Accolade Global Film Competition Award.

The combination of his talent for real-time system design and development, a passion for intuitive and ergonomic user experiences and drive to be the first and best in whatever he does, means that he is in his element when leading a talented multi-disciplinary team in creating a visionary new experience,  product or service from the spark of an idea.

Finally, Joseph has a passion for space technology, exploration and research and a love of all things science and science fiction. This is at the heart of what drives him to work at the forefront of technological and creative development – the opportunity to turn science fiction into reality.

Jed Fisher

Jed Fisher

Cofounder & Managing Partner

4D Pipeline

Jed is a cofounder and Managing Partner of 4D Pipeline, a digital product design and strategy firm which helps startups and global 100's make great products people love. Specializing in Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, web, mobile, and 3D visualization. Clients include AMD, AUDI, Intel, BMW Mini, Unity Technologies, VANS, Dassault Systèmes, Simplygon, SolidWorks, Adidas, Xerox PARC, NVIDIA, Honeywell, Nemetschek, VizRT, Toon Boom, Panasonic, Onuma, and many other leading brands.

Presentation topic at Convergence Evening Conference

"Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality Opportunities for Enterprises"

Jed will be discussing Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality Opportunities for Enterprises. How AR/VR/MR can help with design, training, digital marketing and retail sale opportunities. He'll cover Virtual-Reality, Hololens, and Augmented-Reality experiences and share examples from personal experiences and past work and how these technologies have helped his customers.​​

Jed has led product strategy, product development, and companies before, and has significant hands on experience working with high growth companies. ​He has worked extensively with product and app building, 3D computer graphics, manufacturing, AEC, consumer apps, and entertainment/gaming industries.

​Based out of Sydney, Australia.  4D Pipeline has offices in Silicon Valley, Europe, and now Australia.

 

Mark Edwards

Mark Edwards

CEO

Verge:VT

Mark is a ground-breaking, dynamic and energetic architect and engineer who has earned two patents and numerous awards over his 25-year career; as CEO of Verge:VT, he brings ideas to life in a compelling photorealistic virtual world and enables us to design, comment on and explore spaces and environments in an engaging, compelling and collaborative way.

Early in Mark's career he created the first ever golf, cricket and tennis simulations for the BBC and Sky TV in the UK and ABC and CBS in the US. His innovation and technology has been purchased by the biggest brands in the world including Unilever, Walmart and Woolworths, and he sold Red Dot Square Solutions, his previous company, to advertising giant WPP in 2009.

Craig Newlyn

Craig Newlyn

Director / Chief UAV Controller / Commercial Pilot CPL

Droneheadz

Craig has an aviation and engineering background and is a fully qualified CASA Instrument Rated Commercial Pilot. As DroneHeadz Chief UAV Controller he brings this knowledge and professionalism into the drone or unmanned aviation industry. These high standards can be seen in our product as well as our well trained staff and compliance to Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.

Drones and VR / IoT are a perfect marriage. Craig will have plenty of insights for anyone interested in virtual reality and the Internet of Things.

Stephanie Cholakyan

Stephanie Cholakyan

3D Motion Graphics & FX,

Academy of Interactive Entertainment

3D Artist specializing in 3D Motion Graphics & FX, located in Sydney, Australia.

Stephanie uses Autodesk Maya to create her 3D Motion Graphics & FX work and Pixologic Zbrush for sculpting projects.She's currently working as a 2nd Year Game Art Teacher at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment, with previous experience as a 3D Designer at a Defence Simulation company and studies a Master of Design (Animation) part-time.

Suzy Jacobs

Suzy Jacobs

CEO (Convergence MC)

She Business

Suzy Jacobs is the Chief Inspiration Officer for your team or community, known as an inspiring, motivating and thought provoking keynote speaker who captivates audiences as soon as she walks in the room.

Suzy started out in the sales & training world of big tech companies such as IBM and Compaq before she switched to small business. Having spent time in such diverse sectors as manufacturing, health & wellbeing and business development, Suzy brings years of experience and background knowledge to her role of a lifetime as CEO of She Business Australia.

She’s a successful business leader and entrepreneur who isn’t afraid to push the boundaries.

Eric Fear

Eric Fear

VR Games Developer & Educator

Acedemy Interactive Entertainment

Eric is a dedicated artist and tech-head with a passion for interactivity and entertainment. Coming from a design production background, he focuses on workflows, pipelines, and new technologies.Eric is Game Art Coordinator at AIE (Academy of Interactive Entertainment) and Senior Technical Artist at InspaceVR, and huge Star Wars nerd.

Marc Chee

Marc Chee

Software & Systems Engineer, AI Researcher, Game Developer

Acedemy Interactive Entertainment

Marc has bounced around Academia and Research for the majority of his Software Engineering career. He was working in VR before it was cool, helping design and build large scale interactive visualisation environments. He hopped on to the Artificial Intelligence bandwagon at just about the right time, working on cutting edge research on game playing AI. He now spends his time forcing his accumulated knowledge into other people's brains as a Game Programming Teacher at AIE.

James Dellow

James Dellow

Human-centred designer & technology strategist

Chief Technology Solutions

James is a human-centred designer, applying user-centred design, visual thinking and corporate ethnographic techniques, as a technology strategist. James works end-to-end on projects; from user research to solution architecture and helping businesses get the most from technology.

Mark Grentell

Mark Grentell

Founder / Managing Director

SPECTRE VR

In 2008 Mark graduated from NIDA with a post-graduate degree in directing studies. He specialized in musical theatre and has worked as the Resident Director on Australian touring musicals including Ave Q (Arts Asia Pacific), Spring Awakening (STC), and Rock of Ages (New Theatricals). Mark was also Assistant Director to Tony Award winning director Des McAnuff (Jersey Boys) on the new musical Doctor Zhivago.

Mark also Directed, Co-Wrote and Co-Produced the Australian feature film Backyard Ashes, which was his feature film debut. Mark has also directed TVC’s for Doctors Without Borders and IGIFTWINE as well as corporate film projects for Macquarie University, The Professional Standards Council and UNSW. Mark is currently writing the screenplay for the film “74”, the true story of the 1974 World Cup Socceroos as well as developing his next feature film The Merger.

Rick Pearce

Rick Pearce

Founder / Creative Director

SPECTRE VR

Having started his career daydreaming at Walt Disney Animation Studios which was a life long dream at that point, Rick quickly realized that imagination was a powerful tool to create and inspire. Through many years of discovery Rick developed a passion for film-making and has extensive experience across the entire production life cycle.

He has either shot, edited or developed 3D graphics and visual effects for Australia and New Zealand’s most recognized brands and networks. Virtual reality has been something on his horizon since he first saw "Lawn Mower Man" and now sees it as a conduit to let imagination take the reigns. His passion and flair for photography, motion design and special effects only equal his appetite for science, philosophy and technology.

Michela Ledwidge

Michela Ledwidge

Director

Mod Productions

Michela Ledwidge is an artist and director redefining the space between cinema and interactivity. She has over 20 years pioneering experience including building the first website in NSW, establishing the National Library of Australia’s first web service and creating some of the first VR prototypes with VRML in the mid 90s. In Europe she worked on some of the largest digital productions of the dotcom boom and won Britain’s NESTA Invention award for 'remixable film' in 2004. Returning to Australia she won the inaugural Sydney Film Festival Peter Rasmussen Innovation Award in 2009 and, influenced by modding culture, co-founded Studio Mod in 2010 to focus on her vision for playful storytelling. Michela is a regular contributor to production-based research, development and education, and presents regularly at international conferences including SIGGRAPH.

Recent work includes porting Mod's award-winning immersive interactive cinematic experience, ACO Virtual to room-based VR on the HTC Vive platform, 360 videos for the Rocks Discovery Museum and Mardi Gras 2016, immersive experience, Action Stations for the Australian National Maritime Museum, onboard a submarine and a destroyer, and immersive experience, Power of 1 at Old Parliament House, Canberra.

Amber Cordeaux

Amber Cordeaux

Co-Founder

Humense

Amber is Co-Founder of volumetric video company for AR/VR, Humense, and an Angel Investor. She is the youngest TV station CEO in Australian history and was one of only two women nationally in the top job at the time. She successfully led the station out of $1 mil debt, restructuring it from the ground up, taking it from analogue to an all-digital bespoke playout system and then more recently, OTT. Amber has received recognition from the Walkleys for her achievements and also won the 2015 award for "Women in Innovation and Technology" South Australia. She attained a Bachelor of Media degree from the University of Adelaide, and began her career in community radio.

Amber is passionate about gender equality and empowering women. She's a founding committee member of "Women in Media" SA, and has recently set-up Australia's first group for women in AR/VR.

Amber's back from her recent travels in the states where she gained valuable insight into the AR/VR industry, from an investor point of view and also that of a co-founder.

Anthony Mansour

Anthony Mansour

Mobile & Games Guru

Recognised as an expert, speaker and contributor to the mobile, game and technology industry, Anthony has built a 20 year career by successfully defining strategy and pioneering innovation for emerging digital industries focusing on mobile, ‘dotcom’ digital and games/play.

Having worked for and consulted with major telco’s, content providers, agencies, publishers, media companies, production houses, retailers, universities and technology companies in both Australia and overseas, Anthony has built up an invaluable amount of experience and insight to the ever changing digital media landscape.

Anuraj Gambhir

Anuraj Gambhir

Strategic Business Advisor & Innovation Evangelist

Avantage Global

Anuraj Gambhir is an internationally recognised Strategic Business Advisor and Innovation Evangelist. As an Innovation catalyst Anuraj assists organisations (from mentoring startups to consulting with mature entities) to spearhead their innovation agenda. He has over 25 yrs experience working across the mobile ecosystem spanning 5 continents. A few prominent companies he has worked for include: NASA/JPL, Optus, Logica/Aethos, T-Mobile, Orange, GSM Association, Sharp, Siemens, Spice, Ericsson, MTS, Globacom.

Anuraj has worked from hands-on technical roles to senior executive management positions and is regarded by many as an industry visionary. He is a valued advisory board member of several organizations globally and also involved with teaching as adjunct faculty. He has spearheaded several innovations in the advanced as well as grass-root level mobile domain in mature and emerging markets. He focuses his efforts on value creation via strategic business development and nurturing breakthrough concepts leading to game changing and disruptive/radical innovation.

A term he coined over a decade ago - ‘Simplexity’ is the essence of his work in curating relevant ecosystems, embracing digital disruption, designing compelling solutions and delightful end user experiences.

Some major areas of his focus have been in mobile content/media/entertainment (multimedia convergence), mEducation, mHealth, emerging smart devices (wearables in particular), Internet of Everything, HNI (Human-Nature Interface) and seamless access as a part of the connected world.

Patrick Catanzariti

Patrick Catanzariti

Founder

Dev Diner

Patrick "PatCat" Catanzariti is the founder of Dev Diner, a site helping developers navigate the world of emerging tech with a weekly newsletter, interviews with industry pioneers, opinion pieces and guides for various technologies. He is a contributing editor at SitePoint for emerging tech such as the Internet of Things, virtual/augmented/mixed reality, artificial intelligence and more. He is also an instructor at SitePoint Premium and O'Reilly, a Meta Pioneer and a freelance web developer who clearly loves every opportunity to tinker with something new in a tech demo.

PatCat is always happy to help newcomers get started in the industry and believes that the key to entering this new era of emerging technologies successfully is to have as many developers entering the field and sharing their knowledge and experience together. If you have any questions around emerging tech, PatCat is your guy.

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