Canada’s first wearable tech conference, WEST, is back again this year, and it’s bringing a heavy-hitting line-up of speakers and exhibitors from around the globe to the city of Toronto. WEST, which stands for Wearable Entertainment & Sports Toronto, looks at how these two spaces are quickly being disrupted by this emerging technology.
Produced by We Are Wearables, which is led by our very own Senior Editor, Tom Emrich, this year’s event is at the MaRS Discovery District, taking up a whopping two floors of the building. As a proud event sponsor, we culled through the agenda of the one-day conference to provide five reasons we think you need to attend on November 3.
1. THE VOID makes its Canadian debut
Virtual reality has been making huge waves with the likes of Samsung, Facebook, Microsoft and Sony all getting in the game and a ton of Canadian talent leading the charge in this space as well. One of the most exciting VR projects in the works is happening in Salt Lake City, Utah where THE VOID is creating the world’s first virtual reality theme park. THE VOID Founders Curtis Hickman and James Jensen are making their Canadian debut at WEST. Hickman, who has a background in magic and visual effects, will be giving a keynote presentation on “The True Promise of VR” which will include a behind the scene look at building THE VOID.
2. From Japan and Australia to USA and Canada, WEST 2015 features its most global lineup yet
WEST is not only showcasing some of the leading wearable talent from here at home, but also playing host to a wide variety of wearable pioneers from around the world. From Japan, Aki Takahagi, CEO and Founder of Moff, joins a panel looking at how wearables are making play physical again for kids, getting them off the couch and using their imagination. From Australia, acclaimed wearable tech fashion designers and co-founder Wearable Experiments – the team behind Fundawear, Navigate Jacket and Alert Shirt – joins the keynote lineup. Companies such as Zebra Technologies, STATS LLC, Biglook360, X2 Biosystems, Lyteshot, and Lightwave will all cross the border from the US.
3. Zoltan, the Anti-Death Presidential Candidate, is coming to town
Speaking of crossing the border, our own election may be over, but the US race is just getting started. Closing WEST as a futuristic keynote is Zoltan Istvan, the 2016 US Presidential Candidate of the Transhumanist party (whom Buzzfeed lovingly dubbed the Anti-Death Presidential Candidate).
4. Over 30 exhibitors will fill two floors of MaRS
From connected toys to sensor-filled boxing gloves and VR films, the WEST expo is the place to go hands-on with the latest in sports and entertainment wearable tech. Last year the WEST demo area was packed and this year they have so many companies exhibiting that they are taking up two floors at the MaRS building. Expect to find major players such as Samsung alongside up-and-coming startups like Hykso and U-HWK as you explore this area at the event.
5. BetaKit staffers in action (and a hookup!)
As a proud sponsor, you will get to meet a ton of the BetaKit team at WEST. Handsome rogue Tom Emrich will no doubt charm us with a 3D-printed bowtie on stage as the conference host. Editor Daniel Bader will lead a discussion with MLSE, Stadium Digital and other wearable companies on how the fan experience in stadium is changing because of new tech. And I will be on stage interviewing the CEO and founder of Biglook360, the company behind livestreaming NBA games and award shows like the Emmys.
As a proud sponsor BetaKit, has also worked with WEST on an exclusive deal to hook our readers up! The first 25 readers to hit this link will be able to grab a ticket for just $50 (regularly $199). Use the code “BETAKITGOESWEST” to grab this deal while it lasts.