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GridAKL’s new digs are opening

The official launch of GridAKL’s new space at 12 Madden Street and Mason Bros. in the Wynyard Quarter will be on Thursday, with Auckland mayor Phil Goff set to unveil a plaque commemorating the opening.

But the real action will be on Friday, when the entire GridAKL/Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct will be transformed into a one-day public festival of innovation, including keynote speakers and workshops, activations and demonstrations, both live and online.

In brief: there’s a lot going on. Such as:

The Breakfast Summit, Innovation Futures: How Innovation will shape the future of New Zealand, and the way we tell our stories to the world. Featuring Maru Nihoniho of Metia Interactive, Te Papa chief digital officer Melissa Firth, Edmund Hilary Fellowship chief executive Yoseph Ayele and ARL founder Ian Taylor (and moderated by Patrick McVeigh, GM of Business, Innovation & Skills at Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development, or ATEED), this discussion promises to be a fascinating crystal ball-gazing session.

Managing director of Generator Ryan Wilson (left) and ATEED chief executive Brett O’Riley.

The Digital Intelligence Summit. Taking place at midday, this event will discuss how Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) and Big Data will change the way we work and where and how we do business, with Soul Machines CEO Greg Cross, CEO of Soul Machines, Datacom Corporation’s Digital, Customers & Collaboration Group  associate director Brett Roberts, Jasmax digital innovation lead Tim Stephens, and Imagr founder William Chomley, all discussing the issues at hand. This discussion will also be moderated by none other than Idealog’s spiritual godfather, Vincent Heeringa.

The AI Workshop. A panel discussing consumer AI, with the theme of “What you’re probably using today, what you’re going to be using in the near future and the impact it will have on day to day living.”  Speakers in the session will include: Angus Blair from Performance Lab, Josh Comrie from Ambit AI, Victor Yuen of FaceMe, Isuru (Izzy) Fernando from IBM and Danu Abeysuriya from Rush Digital.

The Artificial Intelligence Lab will showcase some of New Zealand’s most innovative AI tech and will give the public a first-hand experience using and seeing AI in action, from the likes of FaceMe, Imagr, Labyrinth, and Rush Digital.

Ok, so those are some pretty nifty things going on. But there’s also a lot more. For instance, the AR/VR Garage will be on-site with an activation space featuring StaplesVR, Verso, arc/sec, ARX, ImmerseMe and Datacom. Other demonstrations include the first chance for many folks to meet the Soul Machines Baby X5, an AI-powered avatar.

Events on the day kick-off around 7.30am, and will wrap up at abut 4pm.

In addition to the 12 Madden St space, on the day, the Startup Hub at GridAKL’s John Lysaght building, the GridAKL Tech Cafe, and BizDojo coworking spaces will also be open for introductions, advice and conversations.

The opening of two new buildings this year brings GridAKL’s footprint to about 12,000 square metres. It will also allow housing for up to 300 businesses, joining the 98 that are already part of GridAKL. 

Auckland Council has invested up to $30 million over ten years in the development of GridAKL.

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