A new reality: VR moves into business arena


Ken Kencevski

Managing Director, Devika

After graduating from the University of Wollongong with a degree in IT (and a major in e-business), Ken ran his family business, Speedmaster.

In his first three years Ken transformed the family-run car parts wholesaler into a Top 100 Retailer, eventually positioning Speedmaster as the leading automotive retailer in Australia (overtaking Supercheap Auto).

It was during his time at Speedmaster that Ken visited Silicon Valley, and saw ordinary people building extraordinary businesses. Figuring that he would rather participate in the emergence of new technology rather than just watch, Ken decided to launch his own company.

In May 2016 Devika was officially launched from Ken’s Wollongong home. Flash forward 12 months and the company works out of offices at University of Wollongong (UOW), in a collaboration agreement which has seen them working with academics in areas such as healthcare, science, education, and infrastructure.

To Ken, emerging technology is much more than just the newest gadget – they are tools that can be used to affect positive change in the world.

More about me: https://devika.com/ken-kencevski/

Ann Nolan

Co-founder & COO, Snobal

Ann is Co-founder & COO for Melbourne based emerging technology company, Snobal.

Founded in 2014, Snobal co-designs and builds artificial intelligence assisted virtual reality solutions and tools with and for customers. The software solutions and tools are changing how places and products are designed, communicated and understood. In 2015 Snobal was awarded the iAward Victorian Merit Recipient. In 2017 the company joined the HTC Vive X Global Accelerator program and is also an invited participant on the IBM Global Entrepreneurs Program.

Born and bred in Ireland, Ann graduated from the National University of Ireland, Galway with a BA (Psychology) and MA in Community Development. She also holds an Adv Diploma in
Professional Screenwriting from RMIT. Over her 20+ year career she has worked across diverse sectors from technology startups, private enterprise, not for profit, health and academia in the UK, Scotland and Australia.

Laurence Dirk

CEO/ Founder, Rook Virtual Estates

With substantial technology experience, Laurence has worked with and for industry leading innovators, including Apple, National Geographic, Optus, and Roche, across a range of solutions, such as mobile app development, TVC and short films, marketing, and technical development and research. Laurence started Rook Technology with cofounder Evan Henderson-Wilson, to help businesses implement industry leading virtual reality solutions.

Rainer Noack

Field Marketing Manager – OptiPlex & Precision, Dell

Rainer Noack is managing Dell’s OptiPlex Desktop and Precision Workstation products across Australia and New Zealand. With over 15 years’ experience in the IT industry, Rainer has held roles spanning product, brand and segment marketing.

Robert J Spencer

CEO, Stirling Labs

Robert first started technology development with the groundbreaking 3D online game prototype Red Martian Blues in 1994, which featured an AI natural language engine that accidentally learned to speak Spanish from the players. As Strategic Business Manager of BigWorld, he helped build a small Australian
MMO (massively multiplayer online) technology company into the de facto standard MMO middleware.

Robert founded several games studios developing sports titles and with Binary Culture has developed collaboration and productivity applications. Robert was once crowned Cyber World Leader by Anthill magazine and has served as an adjunct Professor at Murdoch University. He sits on several advisory

He has been experimenting with Virtual Reality (VR) for more than 20 years and his latest venture, Stirling Labs, is an applied research laboratory, developing next-generation collaboration technology at the leading edge of current global capability. Most of the core R&D is conducted at headquarters in Perth, Australia, while the company has sales offices in Singapore and Denmark.

Jennifer O'Brien

Associate Editor, Computerworld

Jennifer O’Brien has worked in IT journalism, covering the reseller market since 1997 in her home-town of Toronto, Canada. Prior to IT reporting at Computer Dealer News (working as a journalist, section editor and associate editor), O’Brien worked as a journalist, reporting on occupational health and safety and environment news for one of Canada’s top publishing houses, Southam Communications.

After graduating with an Honours Degree in Journalism and English from Carleton University in Ottawa (and scooping internships at both the Ottawa Sun and the Ottawa Citizen), O’Brien set sail for Europe and clinched an internship at a community newspaper in Belfast, Northern Ireland. She wrote local news, produced a series of features on religious leaders and local churches, and wrote profiles for the Ulster Star in Lisburn.

In 2003, O’Brien ventured to Australia, looking for adventure and a “life change,” after reporting and editing at Toronto-based CDN for six years. While her original plan was to travel and do temporary work, she knocked on the door of ARN – and given her Canadian reseller experience – was offered a contract position as a news journalist. After covering the market for several months, O’Brien moved into the features editor post, a role she held for four years. She then went on to clinch the associate editor role, a title she held from 2010 until 2016, with a major emphasis on event speaking, hosting and moderating, as well as large-scale content and event coverage.

Today, O’Brien has moved across to IDG’s enterprise division and is associate editor of CIO, CMO and Computerworld.

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