Category Archives: conferences

Come discuss AR with me @ York Mobile Media Lab


Date: Monday Dec 7, 2009
Time: 3:00-5:00 pm
Where: Mobile Media Lab, York University
Technology Enhanced Learning Building
88 the Pond Road, Room Tel 2001
Link: Thomas Purves talk at Mobile Media Lab

Who knew that since I gave my first Augmented Reality talk back in April of this year that AR would become such a trending topic amongst marketers, geeks and many many app designers.

This new talk will be follow up to that one, checking in on how AR is evolving and thinking about the economic and societal implications of an always-connected society. I am less interested in the current fad of augmented reality in narrow sense of computer imagery projected or overlaid on our field of vision. For me it’s more interesting to talk about the deeper implications of the pervasive and inexorable cloud seeping into and “augmenting” our daily reality in the broadest sense, for our individual benefit – or otherwise.

Nonetheless, for today, I bring you the visual AR gimmick of the week: AR on a moving canvas (including clever use of infrared marker LEDs for tracking a reference surface as if by magic) via @pdinnen. enjoy.

Get on this: CaseCamp is back, huger than ever and this time for SickKids


You might also call this CaseCampWorthTheWait, this one is bigger, huger and also larger than ever, featuring a full on mini-conference followed by a casecamp classic. The latter part is free as always, but your donations ($50 is suggested) is going towards SickKids. Eli Signer the superhuman behind CaseCamp and his team of rockstar collaborators have an ambitious target to raise $50,000 for the hospital for sick kids, specifically:

Funds raised at CaseCamp Benefit will go towards transforming the Critical Care Unit Waiting Room at SickKids Hospital in Toronto.

The Critical Care Unit at Toronto’s SickKids Hospital delivers round-the-clock care for children in urgent medical situations. The waiting room, located outside the unit, is a space designated for the families and friends who are visiting patients. Visitors use this room in a variety of ways: some are only dropping by en route to being admitted to the CCU while others will set up camp there for an extended period of time. The space must cater to a diverse population with multiple needs and preferences. Currently the space is in dire need of a renovation. –more

Great content, great cause, case closed.


Wednesday, September 16th, 2009


CiRCA 126 John St. Toronto ON


CaseCamp Conference

A grounding in internet culture and a crash course on social media strategy & tactics

CaseCamp Classic
The original! Four cases studies, followed by networking fun and drinks


Presentation: Design for an Augment Reality world

For posterity here is the slideshare version of my Augmented Reality talk, which I presented for the first time at Refresh Events in Toronto. As a first cut, this presentation represented more of a shotgun scattershot rather than a linearly coherent narrative of the various thoughts on this topic currently spinning in my head my these days.

For background this was the talk proposal. I think I got to most of this stuff.

How “Augmented Reality” and the mobile web changes everything

Mobile broadband access and ever-smarter phones are shaking the internet out its lofty cloud and bringing the web into the real world. As a result, the old “real world”, and many old ideas and many old business models will be running out of places to hide from the pervasive influence of the net.

Meanwhile, each of our smart phones are in many ways even better than the old clunky tools we used to use to surf the net. Our mobile devices are not only connected but, also bristling with sensors like radios, cameras, microphones, GPS etc. that can directly perceive and interact with the world around you. We’re reaching a point where it’s theoretically possible to point that device at almost anything: a landmark, a product on a store shelf, your friends or a crowd of people; and draw from the cloud and your social graph as much, or perhaps more, relevant information than you ever wanted to know. Oh, and the cloud will be watching you and whatever’s around you as well.

In the new augmented reality, the web surfs you.

The goal of this talk will be to provide you with a fast paced overview of what this new “augmented” reality will mean for how we socialize, for how we sell and market physical products, for architecture, for media and entertainment, for public policy, crime, privacy and, as well, few early signals for what might be the new killer apps.

If all that is not interesting enough, I will also bring free beer.

How did it go? I think it went well! thanks for all the wonderful twitter feedback. 100+ tweets and counting =)

wrongbutton @tpurves fantastic presentation! very thought-provoking. especially enjoyed social AR consideration and the notion of layering data sets

BrianSe7en @tpurves great job on the AR deck! somebody who “gets it”.. yeah!

danielpatricio @tpurves Great job on the presentation, it really inspired me and got me thinking. there is a lot of potential in our future

randymatheson @tpurves – inspiring presentation on Augmented Reality tonight at #refreshevents , a balanced look at what is coming in the next few years

sebchorney @tpurves Great job. Real value for me was the “example->implication” flow, and high-level summations/analyses/insights in your tables.

D_Hock Great #RefreshEvents tonight – seeing the crowd engaged by @tpurves‘ talk was truly fascinating.

malcolmbastien @tpurves Awesome talk. It’s clear you know your stuff and have done some deep thinking of its broad impacts.

nitchblog Amazing debate to end the night. Great discussions that brought us around the world and back! Thanks to @jkozuch + @tpurves #refreshevents

davefleet @tpurves is wielding a NFC phone. Love the potential with that technology #refreshevents

pinkbrickroad @tpurves so interesting/funny. Future is crazy. #refreshevents

josephdee @tpurves presentation has been kick-ass so far. Peeks into the future of mobile experience, which is making me grin : ) #refreshevents

AdamSchwabe I love hearing @tpurves talk tech. So intelligent and focused. Fast, well-read. #RefreshEvents

I look forward to presenting again the next revision. Contact or DM me if you’d like me to lead/present this discussion at a future event. Meanwhile enjoy:

Link: Audio track of my presentation (video coming they say)

How the mobile web and “augmented reality” changes retail forever


At South by southwest interactive this week (SXSW) a huge theme was “augmented reality” the idea of, Amazon-app style, pointing your phone at any product to get more information -or a better price- online. We’re getting to a world where holding a mobile device means all of the potential knowledge and intelligence of the cloud is now in your hand as well, everywhere you go. “The web” is no longer separate place or channel we go to visit at home through our computers. The web and the real world are rapidly converging. It’s now just up to us to design the apps, and interactions to make that useful.

What was clear is that brands have a long way to go yet to figure out what to do with or what retailing models will work in this new “augmented” reality. Consumers may beat the brands at the game using their devices and information advantage to arbitrage themselves consistently better deals.

To compete as a retailer, someone mentioned the idea that physical stores just become “really expensive websites” that help brands build relationship with consumers seamlessly across both physical and virtual channels.

This is a problem for retailing models like malls, which typically take a slice of retailer sales. Now the interests of retail merchants and their landlords may be mis-aligned as a consumer may go to the apple store just to see and touch the product, make use of the genius bar, but then spend their money on apple through the internet channel, or post-sale through itunes etc.

It’s another problem of misaligned interests for merchants if physical retailers are franchises that don’t have piece of the revenues from online sales.

Apple (no surprise) is a good example of a merchant that will do well do well in the hybrid cross-channel retailing environment.

Some other merchants that compete just on product and price without specific competitive advantages are going to get killed.

Joshua & Gwendolyn at eTech this year

UPDATE: Temporarily unposted while they were in Cuba, now reposted. If you are at Etech, don’t miss this one on Wednesday. From just what I’ve heard of their experience there so far, not to be missed!

Joshua and Gwen Lift07
I’m super excited that my friends Joshua Kauffman and Gwendolyn Floyd will be presenting presenting at ETech this year. And presenting something really cool too. They’ll be presenting their findings from their research mission to Cuba, a country isolated from our particular digital culture but, on the cusp of dramatic social and technological change if/when the American embargo finally drops with the passing of Castro.

etech logo…All the while, barely 1 in 1000 people have access to the Internet in a form recognizable to the average connected person. Mobile phones are nearly as absent from the technological mix. In Trinidad de Cuba, one hustler proudly showed off his mobile phone to us, though it didn’t even have a service provider…

… What will happen when a cultured, literate, hyper-social people get access to the Internet for the first time? How will their virgin experiences and experimentations impact the rest of the world? Cubans teach us to strip away layers of plastic, metal, and code to the root of what technology is, and what it has always been. From a people that have been greatly anticipating the future—any future—we’ll be left with clues for the promising technologies of our own near future by looking at recent progress and universal lessons in the Cuba of today. ”
Of Necessity and Humanity: What Cuba Can Teach Us About Ourselves and Our Own Technology.

Gwen and Joshua will also using the exposure from ETech to help launch their latest project REGIONAL, “an interdisciplinary design and research network that performs and applies original analysis of global society, culture and commerce, uncovering and developing opportunities for profitable innovation and meaningful cultural intervention.” neat stuff.

File under wonderfuly bright minds of our generation.

Pictured Gwendolyn and Joshua at Lift 07 (and Regine Debatty)

What I learned from GameOnFinance – these gamers, they’re just like us

Gameon Finance main hallThe good folks at Interactive Ontario invited me to the innaugural GameOn Finance conference on Friday. I was lucky to catch a number of livelier sessions. And this, is what I learned about video games:

  1. Historic distribution models are changing and who the new winners will be is uncertain. Sure console gaming continues to print money for game publishers and platform makers, but everyone knows that the days of little shiney discs are numbered. Digital distribution is coming and it’s changing retail-based business models and creating powerful new players (like Valve’s Steam, xbox live, or any of the online cassual gaming aggregators) and potentially disrupting business as usual for game publishers. Connected games come with a different flavour too. Social and networked products come with great stickyness. Games like WoW for example suck in gamers for months or years at a time which means gamers spend more hours but buy fewer games as they don’t need to rush back to the store after finnishing the latest spiderman game in 10hrs of playtime.
  2. The industry is at a crisis of imagination as the big producers risk falling back continuously on old franchises and trying to manufacture “sure hits”. Eric Zimmerman did a great job of outlining this one in his keynote as one of 5 key trends facing the industry. Though gamers have been talking about this one for years. If gaming is going to avoid the total celine-dionifacation of the industry they are going to have to constrain the ballooning costs of production per single product and/or learn to love independent designers and find new models to outsource design and production risk.
  3. The huge potential of the internet (let alone mobile) is still not even fully established yet. It’s crazy but a lot of this industry still depends on the whims of retail distribution (read walmart), solitary consumer experiences and vertically oriented/siloized game production. Of course there are great examples of many companies now exploding each of these ideas through creative use of the internet and P2P/social media. Community is the new content factory. Social media is the new distribution channel. And just making it social improves the product itself.

  5. Canada could be doing a better job of supporting young/small companies who are the real drivers of innovation in the industry. Current programs, SRED, IRAP the OMDC and other tax credits are well appreciated by the industry (who doesn’t like free money). However, there are valid questions as to whether these programs are effective policy for sustainable advantage in Canada. Most of these programs work best for big developers, while it seems policy wise we could be doing several more easy things to encourage risk taking and innovation for both would-be entrepreneurs and they investors.

So, whew. There you have it. Does any of this sound familiar to you and your industry by any chance?

GameonFinance gets cooking

Wow so since I last looked, there’s been an impressive lineup brewing for Toronto’s own GameOn Finance conference (Jan 17/18). It’s no secret that gaming is one of the media industry to be in these days. Latest list of presenters

    Eric Zimmerman, Co-Founder & Chief Design Officer – Gamelab
    Richard Iwaniuk, Director of Business Development – BioWare
    Vikas Gupta, CEO & President, TransGaming Technologies
    Margaret Wallace, Co-Founder and CEO, Rebel Monkey
    Randy Thompson, General Partner, Argon Venture Partners
    Scott Steinberg, Managing Partner,
    Bob Jacob, Founder & Partner, ISM
    Asi Burak, Co-Founder & CCO – ImpactGames
    Tim Gatland, Chief Executive, Fund4Games
    Robert Shoniker, Principal – Courage Capital
    Jonathan Adair, COO – Distil Interactive
    David Bazak, Sr Manager, Media and Entertainment, RBC
    Jamie Leece, President & CEO – Rainmaker Games
    Phil Giroux, VP Business Development – Magmic Games
    Wojtek Kawczynski, SVP & GM – Silverbirch Studios
    Nathon Gunn, CEO, Bitcasters
    Jason Della Rocca, Executive Director – IGDA

Moar info, signup and official website etc.:
One of the conference’s good looking organizers tells me that remaining early bird tickets available until Jan 9th at the latest. Also there is a substantially discounted “startup” pass for… startups if that’s you.

UPDATE: If you’d like to get in to the conference for free, GameOn is recruiting a few volunteers to help out with the show. Volunteering for one 5 hr stint during the event will earn you a free ticket and a chance to interact directly with some of the organizers, speakers etc. Sounds like a good deal. Details on the website.

Also in startup Finance in January don’t forget: Founders & Funders Dinner Jan 21, tickets are $75