On the evening of July 13th, IIA hosted, “Cocktails & Virtual Reality: Breaking Innovation Boundaries with Broadband,” an event focused on how policymakers can support innovation and investment in high-speed internet infrastructure to help unlock the opportunities of a virtual reality ecosystem.

The event was held at Upload Collective, a hybrid co-working and incubation space in San Francisco where virtual reality demonstrations had been set up in three “holo-deck” rooms. Featured speakers for the panel included:

Evan Helda, Director of Sales and Partnerships, Meta Co.

Anjney Midha, Founding Partner, Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers (KPCB) Edge

Tony Parisi, Co-Creator of the VRML and X3D ISO standards for networked 3D graphics, Upload Collective

Alisha Seam, Product Developer and Solutions Engineer, AT&T Foundry

Adam Thierer, Senior Research Fellow, Technology Policy Program at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University

Among the questions asked by moderator Jamal Simmons and the audience were:

• What products do you see on the horizon?

• What is the biggest obstacle to a robust VR marketplace?

• When you began in this field what was the craziest idea you had and has it come true or are we still waiting on it?

• What is the most frightening or perilous thing about VR?

• What is the biggest network challenge to bringing these ideas to life?

• What is the role of regulation? Has it helped or hurt?

• What can policymakers in Washington do to support all of this innovation?

• if]What about using augmented and virtual reality in driving?

• What about building for 5G?

Many attendees at the event expressed that they had not thought about the network requirements for virtual reality technology or the role of federal regulators in developing new products in the virtual reality sphere. You can watch the full discussion, along with some clips of attendees trying out the virtual reality experience for themselves, below.