Our New Virtual Reality Studio in Athlone
Last Thursday we had the launch of our new Virtual Reality studio in Athlone which marks the next phase of our company’s journey into becoming Ireland’s leading content creators for immersive technologies. Our new Virtual Reality Studio is located in the Inish Carraig Business Centre, Westmeath. The large open plan space and state of art facilities can accommodate the additional team members we acquired following our recent recruitment drive and will enable further growth over the next 12 months. We are now working with a number of pharmaceutical and engineering companies providing Virtual Reality content for training, manufacturing and product development. Our new immersive technology hub will allow us to facilitate these larger projects and provide us with the additional space and resources to accommodate projects of any scale heading into 2019 and beyond.
If you want to a pioneer you have to go to new places – Bo Ji
To mark the occasion we invited 50 of our previous customers, stakeholders and representatives from the local enterprise and business communities for breakfast in our new Virtual Reality Studio. The morning was designed as ‘a thank you’ to those who have been part of our journey to date and to give them a taste of our vision for the future. The day started with networking session and introductions between our previous clients, meanwhile our team provided opportunities for attendees to demo some of our Virtual Reality work on the Oculus Go standalone VR sets. Our Co-founder Geoff Allen, who provided MC for the day, then took to the podium to present some videos outlining the achievements of the company to date. These included our teams recent research and development trips to Unite in Berlin and CKGSB in Beijing. Geoff then passed the baton to both The Mayor of Athlone Cllr. Frankie Keena and Minister of State Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran who took turns officially launching our new creative studios.
From Beijing to Athlone
Following on from our official launch attendees were given a masterclass by our guest of honour Mr Bo Ji. Bo is the Assistant Dean of the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business (CKGSB), where he has mentored some of the world’s most successful business leaders. His school is ranked amongst the world’s most important MA programmes and its alumni manage above $1 trillion in revenues, which in 2011 was equal to 13.7% of the Chinese GDP. The school counts among its former graduates Alibaba founder and CEO Jack MA and Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover.
Our Co-founder Geoff Allen, recently attended Bo Ji’s school in Beijing and was so taken by the course that he invited Bo Ji to Ireland, to share his insights with the wider business and start-up community and to coincide with the launch of our new creative studios.
Are you a Dragon or a Unicorn? A masterclass on “How to do business in China”
Bo Ji’s talk set about demystifying the process required to do business in China and tackling some of the misconceptions that many people have about setting up business in the region. He opened with an anecdote about the success of ‘Riverdance’ and how the show not only acted as a wonderful cultural ambassador for the country, but was also as an indication of the Chinese fascination with western culture.
Some of Bo Ji’s key insights from the masterclass included:
The top 12 areas of growth in China being, Online to Offline Commerce (O2O), Transportation, Health, Logistics, Cloud Service, Online Education, Fintech, Artificial Intelligence, Tourism, Social Media, Blockchain and Cleantech.
Within Fintech Bo noted that 80% of China’s population is now comfortable making all payments on mobile. China is home to the world’s 4 largest Fintech companies: Ant Financial, Lufax, JD Finance and Qufenqi. Ant Financial alone received 14 Billion in funding in June 2018.
Within Social Media it was interesting to note that the names of the key players Bo discussed were not the familiar platforms of the West. He noted that every 60 seconds in China:
- 116 hotel rooms are booked on Qunar
- 3,472 orders are placed on Ele.me
- 486 articles are published on WECHAT
- 486,111 videos are played on Miaopai
- 4,166,667 search queries on Baidu
Within Logistics Bo Ji noted that certain products can now be delivered faster than we can order food in the west. With the record time of 7 minutes from point of sale online to delivery.
Within Blockchain Bo Ji made the personal prediction that China will be the first country to launch an official Cryptocurrency and that within his lifetime the the economy size will be double that of the United States.
Following on from the masterclass there was an opportunity for 5 Irish High Potential Startups to pitch their businesses to Bo Ji, relative to their respective potential for growth within the Chinese Market and to receive feedback and advice.
First up was Durrow Mills who presented their unique organic sprouted flour product which contains higher levels of protein and fibre than ordinary processed white flour. Next up we had Anthony Cahill of Kyzentree whose software provides real time data to manufacturing companies to help make production more efficient and reduce operating costs. Following on from Anthony, property guru Healy Hynes took to the podium to pitch Beagel his global facilitator for online property sales. Stephen Powers pitched next, with Urn Towers his company which provides a solution to the lack of space for graves. Finally, Crea Biotech took to the stage to present their unique range of seaweed based products and the medicinal benefits they can produce.
A thank you from all of the team at 3Ms to everyone who came out to celebrate the launch of our new Virtual Reality Studio in Athlone. In particular a special thanks to the representatives from the local Enterprise board, Athlone IT, Minister Moran & Cllr. Keena, our esteemed international guest Bo Ji and the five companies who presented their elevator pitches. A major thanks to all of our customers to date. We look forward to collaborating with you again on projects over the coming months and years.