Date(s) and Time(s)
Lethbridge College and Virtual Reality
Merging Realities



Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are forecasted to be a $108 billion market by 2021. Now's the time to understand the world of VR/AR, how these technologies can improve your organization, the unique challenges and opportunities they present, and the growing industry in Alberta.

Join Lethbridge College and the VR/AR Association (VRARA) for Merging Realities: An event of multiple perspectives - the first full-day VR/AR conference held completely in virtual reality. Engage with people from around the world, learn from industry professionals, and explore the capabilities of VR/AR.

This is a full-day event that has been planned by students and features speakers from the VR/AR industry in Alberta and abroad. The day starts with two amazing keynote presenters: Alan Smithson from MetaVRse and Alex Katzen from Google. Presenters and participants will be connected in a virtual conference session, powered by Rumii. The full-day conference concludes with an amazing closing keynote from Cathy Hackl.

Following the full-day conference, an in-person VR mixer will be held from 4 to 6 p.m. at Lethbridge College. This mixer will bring together Lethbridge College students who have created 360-degree experiences and VR video games; VR businesses including Mammoth VR, VRKade and CTRL V; the Regional Innovation Network of Southern Alberta, Economic Development Lethbridge, the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce; and many more participants.

Register now

For more information, contact Kris at 403-320-3202 ext. 5489 or

Due to the high demand for this event, a limited amount of people will be able to participate in the VR sessions, but every attendee will be able to participate via the live-stream.  Live-stream viewers will get to ask questions of the presenters as well. In addition, you can also watch the live stream on campus at Lethbridge College's IB Theaters (lunch will be provided).  Registrants will be sent information prior to the event on how to view the live stream.


If you’re attending Merging Realities at Lethbridge College

Thank you for registering for the on-campus live-stream of Merging Realities, held on April 26. Thursday is shaping up to be an amazing day. Below is helpful information to make your attendance at this ground-breaking event a success.


The in-person live-stream of the VR sessions of Merging Realities will be held in the Instructional Building (IB) in rooms IB 1103 and IB 1104. Outside each room, a schedule of the presenters for each room will be posted.


There are numerous parking lots available for you to use while attending Merging Realities. Download the parking map to see where to park. You can park in any parking lot that is identified as a student lot. On the parking map, these are the purple parking lots.

Parking will cost either $2 for four hours OR $4 for the full day. Parking can be paid for at machines in Lot O or Lot B or through the Honk Mobile App.


As a registered attendee, you will receive free breakfast and lunch. Meals will be provided in the Instructional Building, right outside of the theatres. 

Breakfast will run from 8 – 8:30 a.m. and lunch will run from 11:45 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.

The meals are provided through a grant from NSERC.


To make sharing easier, tap into Lethbridge College’s guest WIFI network by following the Connecting to Guest@LC instructions.


If you’re watching the Merging Realities live-stream off-campus

Thank you for registering for the off-campus live-stream of Merging Realities, held on April 26. Thursday is shaping up to be an amazing day. Below is helpful information to make your virtual attendance at this ground-breaking event a success.

Live Stream Information

Merging Realities will be live-streamed on

To watch the live-stream for Merging Realities Lecture Hall A, visit

To watch the live-stream for Merging Realities Lecture Hall B, visit

If you would like ask questions of the presenters during the Q&A session, you will need to create a free Twitch account.


If you’re participating in Merging Realities using Rumii

Thank you for registering for the Rumii presentation of Merging Realities, held on April 26. Thursday is shaping up to be an amazing day. Below is helpful information to make your attendance at this ground-breaking event a success.

Getting Started with Rumii

The software platform of choice is Rumii. Whether you are attending sessions in VR or the desktop mode, the steps to get started are the same.

You will receive an email inviting you to the Lethbridge College team for Rumii. The steps to follow afterwards to get setup can be found in this how-to document.

It’s a good idea to download and install Rumii, create your avatar and get familiar with Rumii prior to Merging Realities on Thursday.

If you encounter any issues, please contact Mike McCready at or 587-257-0872.

Rumii Etiquette

While attending Merging Realities in Rumii, here are a few best practices to keep in mind to make your experience, and the experience of others, a great one:

  • Mute your microphone when not talking
  • Use headphones
  • Customize your avatar
  • Stay away from the presenter and the stage
  • When the presentation starts, avoid moving around the virtual lecture hall
  • Hold all your questions until the Q&A portion
Rumii Conference Hall Layout

Once inside Rumii, there are five rooms available:

  • Lobby
  • Lecture Hall A
  • Lecture Hall B
  • Breakout 1 – VR/AR in Business
  • Breakout 2 – VR/AR in Healthcare
  • Breakout 3 – VR/AR in Education

The Lobby is the main room you’ll enter when joining Rumii.

Lecture Halls A and B are where the main presenters will be. Lecture Hall A will be the only room showing the keynote sessions.

The breakout rooms are open to anyone and provide an opportunity to discuss topics of VR and AR in business, healthcare and education. These rooms will be open throughout the conference, including lunch and in-between sessions.


Event Sharing

During the conference, you’re encouraged to share your experiences, thoughts and findings on social media.When sharing, please use the conference hash tag, #MergingRealities2018 and where possible, tag Lethbridge College (@LethCollege on Twitter).

Program Schedule

NOTE: all times listed above are in Mountain Time.

Lecture Hall A

  • 8:30 - 8:50am: Dr. Paula Burns
  • 9:00 - 9:45: Alex Katzen, Google [KEYNOTE]
  • 10:00 - 10:45am: Alan Smithson, MetaVRse [KEYNOTE]
    Topic: The New 3D and why VR/AR will be the new tools for v-Commerce
  • 11:00 - 11:30am: Alex Jackson, VR/AR Association
    Topic: Using eXpanded Reality to train first responders for performance and stress management
  • 11:45am - 12:45 Free Lunch on Campus
  • 1:00 - 1:30pm: Connor Gottfried, Leara eLearning
    Topic: Pros and cons of learning with VR
  • 1:40 - 2:10pm: Timothy Enos, Method Visual
  • 2:20 - 2:50pm: Lloyd Summers and Rosalinda Hernandez, Red Iron Labs
    Topic: 3+1: Challenges and opportunities of a VR game startup
  • 3:00 - 3:45pm: Cathy Hackl [KEYNOTE]
  • 4:00 - 6:00pm: Virtual Reality Business Mixer

Lecture Hall B

  • 8:30 - 8:50am: No Speakers - Lecture Hall A Only
  • 9:00 - 9:45am: No Speakers - Lecture Hall A Only
  • 10:00 - 10:45am: No Speakers - Lecture Hall A Only
  • 11:05 - 11:35am: Steve Bambury, JESSDubai
    Topic: Exploring the Periodic Table of iOS apps for AR and VR
  • 11:45am - 12:45pm Free Lunch on Campus
  • 1:05 - 1:35pm: Wade Carson, Serious Labs
    Topic: The application of VR in operator safety training
  • 1:45 - 2:15pm: Jeff LaFranz, Vizworx
    Topic: Data Visualization in the virtual realm
  • 2:25 - 2:55pm: Matt Wright, Mammoth VR
  • 3:00 - 3:45pm: No Speakers - Lecture Hall A Only
  • 4:00 - 6:00pm: Virtual Reality Business Mixer

Tech Wing (on campus guests only)

  • 8:30 - 8:50am: No Speakers – Lecture Hall A Only
  • 9:00 - 9:45: No Speakers – Lecture Hall A Only
  • 10:00 - 10:45am: No Speakers – Lecture Hall A Only
  • 11:00 - 11:30am: George Gallant, Gallant Production DCM Faculty
    Topic: Come try green screen filming and editing
  • 11:45am - 12:45 Free Lunch on campus
  • 1:00 - 2pm: Brittany Gerris, Coulee Communications
    Topic: Content Writing: What do I say?
  • 2:15 - 2:50pm: George Gallant, DCM Faculty
  • Topic: Using 360 tech – try VR and 360 tech (meet in tech wing at 2:1pm5 to be walked down to VR space)
  • 3:00 - 3:45pm: No Speakers – Lecture Hall Only
  • 4:00 - 6:00pm: Virtual Reality Business Mixer

Keynote speaker bios


Alan Smithson Alan Smithson

Topic: The New 3D and why VR/AR will be the new tools for v-Commerce

Alan is an entrepreneur and investor who has always been on the cutting edge of emerging technology. Alan invented and brought to market the SmithsonMartin Emulator DJ System, featured in WIRED and used by Linkin Park and Infected Mushroom.

His role as co-founder and CEO of MetaVRse has since positioned him as a leader in business applications for VR/AR, where he provides insight into this exploding field of technologies. Alan has been recognized as an industry pioneer and was recently mentioned in an article on "10 virtual reality leaders you should follow in 2016".


Alex Katzen Alex Katzen

Alex is a content specialist on Google's Daydream business development team. She works directly with third-party VR and AR developers to support the ecosystem and bring quality content to the Google platform.

Cathy Hackle Cathy Hackl

Cathy is an Emmy-nominated communicator turned virtual reality & augmented reality global speaker, producer and marketing futurist. She's the author of Marketing New Realities: An Introduction to VR & AR Marketing, Branding & Communications. She was named by IZEA and Onalytica as a leading augmented reality and virtual reality influencer and also by NBC News as one of the top women working in virtual reality. Hackl served as chief communications & content officer for Future Lighthouse, one of the world's top VR studios focused on branded VR narrative, where she collaborated on projects with brands like Sony Pictures Entertainment, Oculus, Beefeater, and William Morris Endeavor.
Hackl was also selected as a 2017 Oculus Launch Pad Fellow, a program designed to support promising diverse VR content creators and help them bring their unique ideas to market. She's the founder of Latinos in VR/AR and has spoken about VR and social media in more than 10 countries. Hackl has been featured in media outlets like Mic, CNN, Silicon Beat, Entrepreneur,, Forbes, VentureBeat and Mashable. She is a global advisor for VR AR Association and a leading voice in the VR AR marketing space. Before working in AR, VR and social media, Hackl worked as a journalist for CNN, Discovery Communications, and ABC News. She's also the creator of the holographic press release. She loves all things mixed reality, tech, AI and blockchain.

Session speakers

Steve Bambury - Head of Digital Learning & Innovation, JESS Dubai

Steve Bambury Topic: Exploring the Periodic Table of iOS apps for AR and VR

Steve Bambury is Head of Digital Learning and Innovation across JESS Dubai where he works with staff, students, parents and school leaders to help them develop their use of education technology. Steve is an Apple Distinguished Educator as well as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert (Fellow). and the founder of the award-winning iPad Educators website, sharing best practice in the use of the iPad in the classroom.. In 2017 Steve launched VirtualiTeach - a new site to share ideas, projects and theory related to the use of VR and AR in education. Alongside this, Steve launched the #CPDinVR events and in June 2017, he became the first educator to host professional development sessions inside virtual reality.

Wade Carson - Director of Business Development, Serious Labs Inc.

Wade CarsonTopic: The application of VR in operator safety training

Wade is an 11-year veteran of Serious Labs, initially brought on for web development, marketing and branding. However, that was short lived as Wade was lured into the game engine trenches to help out wherever creatively possible before moving over to business development. Wade quickly became the company’s internal expert on the Oil & Gas industry and is now often referred to as “middleware” connecting the dots between the production team and the customer. The business relationships Wade has developed have served us well for many years, as our focus has moved more and more towards the world of construction industry training.

Away from work, Wade is an avid and accomplished golfer; a pastime that serves us well as he continues to form key industrial alliances on and off the links.

Timothy Enos - Creative Director & Co-founder, Method Visual

Timothy Enos Timothy produces content with emphasis on user experience and works with all industries to get the most out of all things visual.

Over the last few years he has spent countless hours creating interactive virtual tours, shooting 360 images with DSLR cameras, producing 360 videos, building Calgary’s first 360º green screen, strategizing with his clients to find the best way to deliver content and sharing Virtual Reality with 100’s of people first hand.

George Gallant, DCM Faculty

George Gallant teaches video production and writing with the Digital Communications and Media Program at Lethbridge College. He has served on the Alberta Media Production Industry Association’s (AMPIA) Education committee, as well as the Excellence in Teaching and Learning Committee at Lethbridge College.

He has worked in all facet of Video production for over 3 decades. He has been an independent filmmaker and educator for the past 20 years. His television work has earned him numerous nominations and 2 AMPIA Awards for Best Educational programming in 2002 for Global Change and 2003 for Dancing Bodies. In 2004 he directed and produced the 7 part series Water Under Fire, which broadcast across Canada and exposed our nation’s water crisis. His corporate video work has taken him to many places around the world including a trek to Mt Everest, following humpback whales in the St. Lawrence and interviewing Inuit elders in Nunavut. In 2007, he started worked with the Canadian Wildlife Federation, helping to educate teachers and students about the wonders of the Canadian landscape and how to use technology to engage learners of any age. He completed his graduate studies in 2014 at Royal Roads University, researching the teaching and learning benefits of video production in the classroom. His team also completed the feature film Common Chord which was nominated for 7 AMPIA Awards including best Picture and had its debut at the 2013 Calgary International Film Festival.

Brittany Gerris - Coulee Communications

Brittany Gerris Topic: Content Writing: What do I say?

Brittany Gerris has worked in journalism, promotions, communications and public relations for nearly a decade and holds an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication and Political Science from the University of Ottawa, a Professional Writing Certificate in Marketing and Public Relations from the University of Calgary and a Broadcast Journalism diploma from Loyalist College, along with too many online social media courses to name. Brittany moved to Lethbridge in 2014 from a small town in Ontario to work in radio promotions and later for a municipal government, but decided being her own boss was more her speed so she started Coulee Communications in 2016. She loves working with clients to grow their brand online and within the community she's come to call home.

Connor Gottfried - CEO, Leara eLearning

Connor Gottfried Topic: Pros and cons of learning with VR

Connor Gottfried, BSc (Eng) is a multi-award winning elearning innovator based in Calgary, Canada.  He was introduced to multimedia and programming at the age of 5 when his parents brought home an Apple II+ and his love of technology is still going strong.  Connor was an early VR adopter and has owned the DK1, DK2, GearVR, HTC Vive and Rift.  His company, Leara eLearning Inc., developed Respond5, which makes it easy to produce fully-responsive mobile-friendly content for all devices.  Leara's clients have included NASA, PCL and Marriott.

Rosalinda Hernandez, Red Iron Labs

Rosalinda Hernandez Topic: 3+1: Challenges and opportunities of a VR game startup

Rosalinda is a communications professional, active community member and entrepreneur, with nearly 15 years of industry experience working in corporate, non-profit and startup cultures.

In 2014, she stepped away from the energy sector to pursue community engagement roles with the United Nations Association in Canada Calgary Branch and the Calgary Aboriginal Urban Affairs Committee and began working on her master’s degree in intercultural and international communications. It was during this time her focus shifted to the interrelationship between community, culture and technology, and the inclusion of world-views in company culture.

As an early adopter of technology, she cofounded Red Iron Labs, a virtual reality games and content creation company, where she oversees business development and takes a perspectives-based approach to diversity at the creative and decision-making table.

Alex Jackson - CEO & Founder, Hone Virtual Education Ltd.

Alex Jackson Topic: Using eXpanded Reality to train first responders for performance and stress management

Alex hails from a background in Emergency Services.  As a dual-trained Firefighter/Paramedic, he has experience on both sides of emergency response.  Hone is delivering virtual and augmented realities to create highly immersive training experiences for First Responders and Healthcare Professionals. His passion for science and technology has driven Alex to advocate for the applications of AR/VR in Emergency Services and Public Safety.

VR and AR technology will profoundly change the way First Responders prepare and perform when dealing with emergencies. Alex founded the Alberta Chapter of the VR/AR Association with the vision of connecting and grow our provincial technology ecosystem while helping drive mainstream adoption of VR and AR technologies.

Jeff LaFrenz - President, VizworX Inc.

Jeff LaFrenz Topic: Data Visualization in the virtual realm

Jeff is a serial entrepreneur with over 25 years’ experience in technology commercialization. He is a multi-disciplinary, multi-industry professional with extensive management, marketing, and technical experience. He is currently President of VizworX, a leading edge software solutions company spun out of the Computer Science Department at the University of Calgary in 2012, with a focus on human interaction solutions using of AR, VR and AI.

Lloyd Summers, Red Iron Labs

Lloyd Summers Topic: 3+1: Challenges and opportunities of a VR game startup

Lloyd is a self-taught software developer, having started coding in Basic at the age of 10. His talent in technical know-hows led him through a successful technical career at SMART Technologies and Suncor Energy.

Between 2010 and 2014, Lloyd released over 200 mobile applications and games for various platforms before launching his own mobile brand, FileArchiveHaven.

Seeking to know more about entrepreneurship, he took the 3D Development Lead at an innovative medical startup before eventually co-founding virtual reality games company, Red Iron Labs, in 2016.

As Cofounder and Technical Lead of Red Iron Labs, he oversees the company’s development, content and media creation, while providing consulting services to other virtual reality startups in the Calgary Area.

Lloyd is a strong supporter of mentorship and grass roots initiatives and is a frequent contributor to Calgary’s burgeoning game and virtual reality communities.

Matt Wright - Chief Experience Office & Founder, MAMMOTH VR & MAMMOTH AR

Matt Wright

Matt Wright has worked for years creating visual stories. Beginning his journey in broadcasting, Matt has built his career on finding technological solutions to creative innovations – imagining what has previously been impossible and finding a way to bring that vision to life. Expanding on his broadcasting background, Matt transitioned into working as a producer and manager at creative agencies, doubling as a technology advisor and creative lead. His vision led him to his current passion of mixed reality content creation. Matt was an early adopter of VR, investing in beta hardware and software, garnering exclusive access to begin his independent research and exploration.

Emerging as an unparalleled self-taught expert in the medium of the future, Matt founded MAMMOTH VR in November 2015. Since then, he has helmed nearly all of MAMMOTH’s projects for a variety of world class clients, spoken at events featuring technology and storytelling, and consulted to organizations incorporating mixed reality experiences into their strategies. Matt believes in growing the industry and the power of collaboration, providing support to both proven and emerging organization’s techies, and artists. The success of MAMMOTH VR recently led to launch of sister company, MAMMOTH AR, specializing in Augmented Reality development. Matt’s VR and AR experiences feature a variety of interactivity and have been purposed for education, health, marketing, and entertainment.





VR/AR Association