Evening Conference Speakers

  • David Liu

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

     

  • Nick Wailes

    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

    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

    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

    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.

  • Darren Woolley

    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.

  • Dr Dagmar Reinhardt

    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

    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.

  • Pradeep Khanna

    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

    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.

  • Sahil Harriram

    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

    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.

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