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Published: Jun 24, 2019
Updated: Jul 16, 2019

Day 2 Recap: Entertainment, Strong Female Characters, and Exhibits that Took Visitors into Alternate Realities

Author: Dan McCorriston

SHAPE 2019 Stage

The second day of SHAPE was even more exciting than the first—if that’s even possible. With an incredible line-up of speakers including Niecy Nash, Adam Silver, Danny Keens, Elizabeth Banks, Laverne Cox and Sherri Shepherd to name a few, there was bound to be some incredible experiences.

We announced the winner of the AT&T SHAPE Hackathon and gave people a chance to watch all the winning films from the AT&T Film Awards and Create-a-thon. Attendees continued to explore all the AR, VR, MR and 5G exhibits and some even shared how facing a fear changed their life in the Roadtrip Nation RV. Studio tours ran all day and people took some rejuvenation time listening to musicians play in a backyard of one of the houses on the lot or by enjoying cup of Joe at the Central Perk that served as a meeting spot on Friend’s.

Illuminating Talks about Technology and Sports, VR’s Potential, and Powerful Hollywood Players

There were a variety of sessions throughout the day that covered everything from tips on gaming to how VR will transform live entertainment experiences to a conversation between Elizabeth Banks and Lavernce Cox and another between Sherri Shepherd and Niecy Nash. All the events delivered so much useful information but seemed to share a similar message: Be true to yourself, stand up for your beliefs, and don’t be afraid to challenge the norm. After all, you never know what might happen.

If you were unable to make a session, we’ll have video up of the sessions in the next few days, so just check the SHAPE schedule, click on a session, and watch the video.

Evolving Music & Live Event Experiences

A riveting conversation about VR’s potential between Danny Keens, Head of Content at NextVR, and artist, shallou, moderated by Alex Hudgens, Emmy-nominated Multimedia Journalist. The discussion encompassed everything from industry challenges to the secret ingredient for success to creating compelling VR content. Here’s a hint: Keens’ believes you need to give the audience a sense of presence, a sense of emergence, and a sense of freedom.

Danny Keens and shallou

As an artist, shallou is beginning to unlock a new way to connect with his audience. With VR, an audience can see what he’s doing as if they’re watching over his shoulder while he’s performing. Fans can see his process of creating a song, something they simply can’t do in a stadium seat. Want to see the next shallou concert? Download the free NextVR app and tune in on June 26th at 7pm.

If there’s any doubt if VR is here to stay, consider how Keens sees where NextVR is in its evolution as a company. “It’s 1996, and we’re building Netflix and Hulu,” he says.

Game Changer: Technology & the Future of Sports

Kenny SmithWhat if you could sit courtside at a sold-out NBA game, with your friends by your side? Would you do it—even if it meant never leaving your house? That’s just one example of how technology will begin to transform how people watch sporting events. This conversation, moderated by the ever hilarious and insightful Kenny Smith, NBA Studio Analyst for Inside the NBA, covered everything from sports and technology to giving back to the community.

NBA’s Commissioner Adam Silver shared his thoughts on just how fast things are changing. While we may not know how we’ll experience sports ten years from now, one thing is likely not to change: the importance of the home court advantage for teams. We just have no idea what that might look like in the future.

What will empower all these experiences? According to AT&T Communications CEO, John Donovan, the network is the key to enabling these experiences on a larger scale. But you shouldn’t have to think about the network. These experiences should be accessible, whether you grew up in the digital age or not. Donovan shares, “The network is like oxygen, if you get it right, it should be invisible. In 5G, the internet isn’t just there, it’s instantaneous.”

To learn more about the role of technology and sports and even some advice that the Pope gave Donovan, watch the video of the Game Changer session.

Wizards Unite: Step Inside the World of Harry Potter and Discover the Magic Around You

Joseph AlminawiWhich house do you think most people attending this session would belong to? If you guessed a mix of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, you’d be right. They all came to learn more about the new Harry Potter AR game, Wizards Unite, which is a collaboration between a team at WB Games and the creators of Pokémon Go. The game is full of interesting details that Harry Potter fans will appreciate. Seriously! If you wanted to work on developing this game, you had to take a Harry Potter test, which had quite a few obscure questions.

When you first enter the game, you’re given a Ministry ID and your putting yourself in the game. You’re not making an avatar, so you can see yourself zipping around the experience (almost as if you were in a Harry Potter movie).

What was most exciting about this session is the unique insights we got into the game and quite a few clues about how to advance and play it anywhere you might find yourself. That’s one of the main purposes of this game is to get outside, explore new areas, and even meet new people when you come together to battle foes at a fortress. The audience was just excited as the session host, gaming content creator, Joseph “Swiftor” Alminawi, to get out and start playing and finding Wizard-y clues all over the SHAPE space.

Wizards Unite

You can download the game from the Apple, Android, or Samsung Galaxy store.

Niecy Nash and Sherri Shepherd Discuss the Importance of Staying the Course

Niecy Nash and Sherri Shepherd first worked together on the movie Guess Who with Ashton Kutcher and Bernie Mac. It’s on this set that Sherri was first introduced to a trademark Niecy move. They had wanted her character to swear, but Niecy saw it another way. She went to the powers that be and said, “Let me invite you to think differently about what my character says.” Sherri knew then that Niecy doesn’t mess around, but she’s smart and respectful about making changes.

Neicy Nash and Sherri Shepherd

The audience sat on the edge of their seats, catching the beads of wisdom that Niecy and Sherri were sharing about acting, directing, navigating this business, and standing up for yourself. One of the key messages was to surround yourself with people you trust and who truly care about you. The session closed with this nugget of inspiration: No one will bet on you more than you do yourself.

A Conversation Between Elizabeth Banks and Laverne Cox

Elizabeth Banks may want to be Julia Roberts, but we’re sure glad that she’s not. This incredible woman does it all: acts, directs, produces, and even writes. And her talent isn’t lost on Award-Winning Transgender Actress Laverne Cox, who urged the audience to watch Banks’ show Shrill on Hulu.

Laverne Cox and Elizabeth Banks

You don’t get to be Banks or Cox overnight. The two powerful actresses have forged their own paths in Hollywood following projects that they are passionate about. In many ways, they see the real work is just starting. Changing the perceptions in Hollywood isn’t easy, but Banks is thankful to people like Geena Davis who started an institute that studies gender in media. The work they do takes the feelings actresses have and put data to it. So now, according to Banks, the entire industry can no longer ignore it. Learn more about how both Banks and Cox take on the challenges in the business and the importance of delegating by watching their session at SHAPE.

Oh, and happy birthday Shanessa!

VR, AR, and 5G Dominate the Exhibits at SHAPE

There were a variety of SHAPE exhibits that demonstrated how 5G is going to transform the way we live. The key with 5G is not just that it’s fast, it’s the low latency that’s the real game changer. With high-speed data and low latency, applications like autonomous cars, cloud gaming, remote surgery, 6 DoF VR experiences, and countless other enterprise solutions will be possible. Here’s a look at some of those scenarios:

The person wearing Magic Leap glasses inside this decked-out Airstream trailer is actually watching four channels of DirecTV over a 5G connection thanks to the innovations of the AT&T Connected Car Team. Life on the road can now be so much more entertaining… even in remote locations.

VR Goggles

The DeepRacer team from AWS is holding a competition among its customers to see who can get the car around the track the fastest. The goal is to build a machine learning model and use AWS to train it. The goal in this instance is to ensure the car knows the width of the track. Competitors get more points if they stay in the center of the track. The current record is 7 seconds. This application is just one way 5G will help enable autonomous cars.

Autonomous Cars

So, what might that autonomous car experience look like? Intel and Warner Bros. showed us an example of what you might end up doing in an autonomous car. The idea is that you would use your app to call the car and then unlock it, program your route, and then the car would entertain you. In this scenario, the team has enlisted the help of Batman’s Alfred (the comic version) to narrate you through the experience. This exhibit demonstrated the capabilities of 5G in an autonomous car. Check out the inside and outside of the car.

The Batman

Intel WB autonomous car

Lower latency is one of the top benefits of 5G. What better way to demonstrate what it can really do than showing what can happen when a device doesn’t quickly receive the commands of what to do? The AT&T Labs team created this two-wheel device that needs constant commands to keep it balanced. Guess what happens when it doesn’t receive it? Even a change in the latency time of just a few milliseconds can make a huge impact.

robotic car

Of course, we all want to know what to expect from a 5G phone! Samsung was on hand to show us the new Galaxy S10 5G (sorry it’s not available for consumers, yet!). This 5G phone was used to play the Hatch game completely in the cloud. Never download the app and still play directly from the phone—everything is done seamlessly in the cloud.


The AT&T Foundry demonstrated what 5G could mean to VR. The team gave guests an HTC Vive VR headset that offered 6 degrees of freedom (6 DoF) and let people swim around the bottom of the ocean or take part in the Batman Arkman game. In this scenario, 5G delivers a completely untethered VR experience.

AT&T Foundry


Batman Arkham

Congratulations to Our SHAPE Hackathon Winner OpenVerse

We held our SHAPE Hackathon in April and challenged teams to make apps that would benefit from 5G in the future. Three teams stood out, and we invited them to share their apps with SHAPE attendees. After checking out the apps in action, visitors could vote for their favorite solution. Here are the apps on display:

OpenVerse – A platform for teachers and kids to have a mixed reality classroom. Teachers would wear a MagicLeap headset to help direct the experience students are having on the tablet. There’s a bit of interaction involved as well. They were sharing an experience in space, so there are different details about the planets, and kids could launch astronauts and satellites into space. Congrats to OpenVerse for winning the hackathon and $20,000.

$20,000 Check

GLHF + WIN: This team developed a game mapping and analytics solution. They create a 3D AR version of the gaming map, which helps players see all of a Counter—Strike:GO and League of Legends game simultaneously. Their analytics tool predicts the winners of pro tournaments with 78 percent accuracy.

Power Jab: Missing his workouts at Floyd Maywether Boxing while on the road, this developer created something he could take with him. Power Jab is an AI trainer that you interact with using AR glasses. A single 45-minute workout can burn 800 calories.

More Fun at SHAPE 2019

Whether people were there to network, learn about new technologies, or experience what 5G will deliver in the future, one thing is clear they all had a great time.

Magic Leap

Magic Leap made a big splash at SHAPE and people were ready to take off and experience VR.

Tactic Studio

Ever wonder about the story behind that bottle of wine or Jack Daniels? Tactic Studio uses marker-based AR to create living bottle labels. Among the bottles on display included one that had 19th-century criminals telling their own story.

Fluffo from Noitom

Who doesn’t want to talk to Fluffo from Noitom? Oh, and guess what the company’s name spells backward.

Inside Roadtrip Nation

Roadtrip Nation, a career exploration company, welcomed guests into one of their retired RVs to learn from leaders about the importance of failure. They also invited them to record their own story of failure and the difference it has made in their life.

Roadtrip Nation RV

One part of the company focuses on helping kids in middle school and high school decide what career path to follow. The other part takes to the road and documents three people on this journey.

AR Wall

AR Wall delivers a whole new take on a greenscreen with their AR fx software. The experience truly brings unknown worlds to life. Talk about the time you’ll save in post-production!

Networking at SHAPE 2019

Meeting people and making connections!

Holo Cap

Holo Cap lets you put yourself directly into a VR experience. There’s no need to create an avatar.

AT&T Sound Studio

Taking a moment to enjoy the live music at SHAPE.

80s Party

There’s just something about closing out the event with a fantastic 80s theme party sponsored by Magic Leap.

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