DHAHRAN/DUBAI: The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) bridges the physical and virtual worlds to launch the third edition of its Creative Solutions initiative. Focused on creating immersive digital content, the Year 2 cohort will showcase 15 prototypes in the $100,000 program to potential investors at Ithra’s landmark building and on a virtual platform on February 1, 2023.
The initiative focuses on building an ecosystem of innovators working on immersive technologies including AI, VR, AR, MR, haptics and immersive audio. The Creative Solutions program is designed to boost Saudi’s creative economy by empowering digital content creation, and the latest crop of projects span the education, healthcare, oil and gas, tourism, art, technology and gaming industries. They were selected from hundreds of proposals by an international panel of judges led by Bafta- and Emmy-winning immersive storyteller Kim-Leigh Pontin, whose credits include Marvel’s Eternals AR adventure, and Anne McKinnon, Cofounder and CEO of metaverse platform Ristband, the digital space where the demo day will be hosted.
Participants received a grant and mentorship through a 15-week development phase, which included a technical track in partnership with HOST Unit Centre of Excellence and an entrepreneurship component with innovation specialists The Bakery.
“Immersive technologies have transformed how we work, play and communicate,” said Miznah Alzamil, Head of Creativity and Innovation at Ithra. “We are proud of our program participants’ contributions and excited to unveil their innovative products.
“The top proposals that made it to prototype stage demonstrate the spirit of innovative thinking driving the creative economy forward and propelling us further into a future guided by the Kingdom’s talent. This truly is a global showcase of Saudi innovation.”
The demo day making the end of the second year in the program, also announces the start of the initiative’s third cycle. Ithra’s Creative Solutions program is designed to bolster professional skills development in the Kingdom, while promoting knowledge sharing and the development of original creative content and marketable solutions. The program is open to all citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia over the age of 18. Proposal submissions for Creative Solutions 2023 are open until April 30.