re:publica 2015 & MIZ Innovation Space

Once again, I attended re.publica this year. One of the world’s biggest events for (and by) the digital society was staged in Berlin from 5 to 7 May 2015. It was good. But a bit overwhelming… Or should I say: it was too much? Too good to be true?

For the second year running, re:publica partnered with the Media Convention Berlin. This meant even more panels and sessions to choose from. For me, some were innovative and inspiring, others repeated nothing new.

According to the organisers, about 850 international speakers from 60 countries made up the 500 hour-long programme that took place on 13 or so stages. Supporting events, exhibitions, showcases and demos completed the programme.

MIZ Innovation Space / Innovation Lab

I actively participated as a jury member in the MIZ Innovation Lab. This involved evaluating projects that had received MIZ funding to realise their ideas. The task was to judge the projects in terms of innovativeness, market potential, branding and novelty. I did so together with AC Coppens of The Marketing Catalysts and Oliver Koch-Pahl of m4r.

The projects we were asked to evaluate were:

Holodeck Now!: moving in the virtual sphere.

refer: aiding media folks to link audiovisual content automatically in order to ease access.

Shelfd: integrating digital media into (physical) living spaces.

Moving virtually

Moving virtually

All very interesting projects. I especially liked what Trotzkind GmbH have done with Holodeck Now. After the presentations, I tried out the Oculus Rift glasses and moved through their virtual space. Amazing experience! It also got my brain working: I could imagine so many uses for journalistic storytelling.

However, talking to one of the makers behind Holodeck Now, Nico Nonne, it became evident that there are still some challenges to overcome before such technology can be used at ease for reporting from the field. Currently, it is more geared towards studio environments and controlled productions. Nevertheless, something definitely worth watching and to keep in mind for future journalistic use.

In sum, I’d say re:publica was (again!) well worth a visit and my time. Apart from the hundreds of hours of programmes (of which I only attended a small fraction), it was in particular the chance to meet old and new acquaintances, be inspired and plan for future projects and undertakings. So in true Arnie style (albeit it being so 1980s): I’ll be back!

More: post-event participation possible

If you want to view recorded events from re:publica, you can do so here (landing page): many sessions will be available as video-on-demand for some time to come. Enjoy! (And get the popcorn and Mate ready.)

Here’s also a nice selection by Stephan Westphal: “Sieben Sessions der re:publica 15, die man als Journalist und Medienmacher gehört haben sollte” (Seven sessions journalists and media folks should have attended)

Some impressions

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