For the next 3 days, MetaCenter Global Week will send experts from some of the biggest tech companies in the U.S. on stage to push conversations forward about emerging technologies.
However, on alongside these industry leaders will be a healthy dose of Orlando-based experts who, collectively, will show off Central Florida’s deep tech ecosystem.
It’s a chance to plant a flag globally, illustrating Orlando’s emergence as a tech hub, industry leaders say.
“This is a testament to the incredible talent we have in our city,” said former Full Sail VP Luis Garcia, now president at AI-powered learning platform PETE. “It’s an exciting opportunity for the world to witness our innovation and expertise firsthand.”
A scan of the agenda shows Orlando companies and experts leading or sitting on a good portion of panels during the event.
These panels involve emerging technologies like generative AI, extended reality, clean energy, sports tech, medical training and digital twins.
Oh, yeah: and that’s just on the first day.
Garcia will sit on a panel that tackles how artificial intelligence will play a role in the future of education.
“This speaks volumes about our city’s potential to evolve into a major innovation hub, underlining the depth of talent and expertise Orlando possesses,” Garcia said.
Ever since the business community emerged from the coronavirus pandemic, there has been a more concerted effort to unite the tech ecosystem.
In fact, that’s one of the motivating factors behind Innovate Orlando’s creation this year.
“This tech community. has always had a wealth of untapped potential,” said Joshua Walker, founder of Black Orlando Tech. “But thanks to the recent unification of local tech leaders, we now have a platform to make a real statement.”
Walker said he is hopeful that he will find other groups in Orlando during the week who want to partner with Black Orlando Tech to create meaningful diversity in the sector.
However, he also wants to contribute to a message that shows outside tech leaders that Orlando has the ability to become a thriving tech hub.
“I want locals to leave the event feeling empowered, knowing that we have all the talent and resources we need to create world-changing innovation,” he said. “I want visitors to leave the event feeling excited about Orlando’s potential as a tech hub, and confident that their investment would be well-placed here.”
Orlando has long been recognized as a leader in modeling and simulation.
The region is, after all, the home of the modeling, simulation and training arms of all but one of the major Armed Forces.
Its ability to regularly host conferences also brings some top military brass to town each year for I/ITSEC.
That high-profile conference brings businesses that show off advanced technologies as they try to land military contracts,.
However, beyond modeling and simulation, it has recently become more known in other emerging technologies.
Doing that has been seamless because skills needed to build concepts like the Metaverse and digital twins has been here for years, said Carolina Cruz-Neira.
Adding in collaboration between government, education and industry results in a leadership position potential for Orlando, she said.
“We are a microcosm of how partnerships are critical to the future of society,” said Cruz-Neira, Agere Chair Professor in the Department of Computer Science. “As a region, we are one of the best partners in the nation for strong industries to come and (partner) their expertise with ours towards a better future.”
CEO Jason Siegel of the Greater Orlando Sports Commission said MetaCenter Global Week should be special.
Not only will the event draw talent to Orlando.
It also gives the region a showcase – to both outsiders and those who live here – of Orlando’s deep talent pool.
In addition, the high-profile event should be just the beginning for many of these local companies and organizations.
“To be able to share that experience with the incredible talent pool that already exists here is a wonderful opportunity,” said Siegel, who will lead a sports tech panel on Tuesday. “It should not be lost on anybody that, at the end of the day, when you are doing business across multiple platforms, the chance to be face-to-face and in person are crucial. Those memories and relationships and experiences can create a foundation for wonderful outcomes in the future.”
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