Showcasing Leading Tech Creators[By Adrian Rosales]
What is Orlando to you? Is it the first place where the words “Technology” and “Florida meet? For most, it is not. Instead, Orlando is synonymous with tourist entertainment, especially with Mickey Mouse as a resident.
But for many, Orlando is the home to one of the largest technology hubs in the United States. As of 2015, the tech industry in Orlando makes a $22 billion economic contribution to the region. Companies like EA Sports, Highwinds, IZEA, Topps Digital, Siemens, Lockheed Martin, and more all add to this collective group of tech – not to mention the theme parks like Universal and Disney who also create imaginative tech opportunities.
Tech in Orlando has seen remarkable growth in the past few years, and continues to drive economic development, especially in the downtown area. Hundreds upon hundreds of jobs have been created, and those numbers continue to rise with more companies setting their sights on Orlando.
“Why Don’t We Celebrate Tech?”
This question is what drove David Glass to create the annual signature tech event, OrlandoiX. OrlandoiX serves as the South’s celebration for gaming, interactive media, digital arts and more. The inaugural event in 2015 saw over 5,600 attendees across the 5-day event. OrlandoiX 2015 also saw more than 134 exhibitors, with 81 of those exhibitors representing gaming studios from all sorts of genres, making it the largest gathering of studios in this region of the United States. Brands who showcased at the event included national names like NFL and Coca-Cola; with local leaders such as IZEA, EA Sports, and Orlando Utilities Commission.
When it boils down to it, Orlando has it all. Not only does Orlando’s digital media and simulation industry generate billions of dollars annually, but the talent is here. Full Sail University, a leading school for entertainment media and digital arts produces some of the top talent sought out by companies all over the world. UCF’s Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) houses one of the top graduate level game development programs in the United States, along with one of the largest motion-capture studios on the East Coast. These are just two of the many hubs for digital innovators here in Orlando.
Orlando also houses an incredible number of indie game studios that you might not have heard of. Ever play the widely popular mobile app where you can virtually box a presidential candidate? The game called Rock the Vote, is from none other than local studio Outhouse Games. They are just one of many studios here in Florida that have developed games you might love. Indie game studios such as Outhouse Games are familiar to Orlando. In fact, there are monthly meetings for the many studios and indie game lovers with Indienomicon. Indienomicon serves as the community center for all things indie, but how do these games reach out beyond the restrictions of the area code?
Bridging the Gap
That’s where OrlandoiX steps in. The event serves as a platform for everything from indie companies to large industry leading companies to showcase their latest projects in gaming technology, augmented reality, virtual reality, simulation and ambitions. It exposes their products to potential fans all while exposing their talents to a larger audience.
OrlandoiX is much more than an indie game launch platform. The goal of the event is to bring together the many technology specialties of the City Beautiful and better the community as a whole. Whether that be through showcasing projects, providing educational content through panel discussions or presentations from industry leaders, OrlandoiX is the growing platform to show the industry and hopefully the world that Orlando is a prime destination for digital media.
This year, OrlandoiX is fine-tuning their event to cover new material and trends rising in 2016. This year’s event has a heavy focus on indie game development, virtual reality and augmented reality. OrlandoiX will certainly captivate attendees’ minds this October 14 through 16.
Adrian Rosales is a recent advertising and public relations graduate from UCF and has been working in the tech community as the digital marketing coordinator for OrlandoiX.. For more information: orlandoix.com