Last month the Soaring City Innovation Partnership hosted the 8th Annual Innovation Gathering: The Metaverse & You at RITHM. Soaring City is led by Mark Sharpe the Chief Potential Officer of the Innovation Partnership. Mark’s vision is to make Tampa a leader in the metaverse economy. Sharpe, in his opening statements, said every company will soon have a metaverse strategy as it does with the internet and social media. He suggested that evolution is underway and in this evolution there will be an opportunity to build the next generation tech-enabled blue collar workforce.
“The possibilities that the metaverse brings for improving the way we live and work – in all walks of life – are endless and we are just beginning to see the companies, organizations, and individuals who understand and utilize this new world begin to stand out and succeed over those that lag behind, Sharpe said. “We want to make sure that Tampa and Tampa’s Uptown specifically are at the forefront of this revolution.”
The event, which was free to the public, was presented by Verizon, and was designed to provide attendees with a better understanding of what the Metaverse is, how it impacts our lives, and how Tampa Bay can position itself as a leading region in the metaverse economy.
Eight-time Emmy Award winning journalist and Senior Advisor in Communications at OmniPublictech consulting firm, Lissette Campos served as MC, hosting a program anchored by metaverse experts Ronny Abovitz and Guy Gilliland. Abovitz is the founder and CEO of Sun & Thunder and also known for founding augmented reality pioneer, Magic Leap. Gilliland leads the Technology, Media & Telecommunications practice for Boston Consulting Group and is an expert advisor on leveraging crucial information on latest trends in technology.
Regarding blue collar tech workers, Abovitz states that “…Tampa could be dominant,” and details how crucial the relationship the Innovation Partnership plays in brokering the relationships between metaverse companies and experts and the Tampa Bay Area.
Further breakout sessions included “Minting the world you want to live in” from Jennifer Brown of Space Coast Crypto Consulting, “How Web3 is impacting business” from Gabe Higgins of Blockspaces, “The evolution of news” from St Pete Catalyst publisher Joe Hamilton, and “Minting is publishing” from author and founder of Pubify Press, Peter Lopez, Jr.
Is Tampa the center of the Metaverse Economy?
The metaverse is a hypothetical iteration of the internet as a single, universal and immersive virtual world. The world can be accessed through the use of VR and or AR headsets. The metaverse has many practical applications and Mark Sharpe alongside his partnerships with Sun and Thunder and The Boston Consulting Group believe that their is an opportunity to build a blue collar tech workforce through the metaverse. RITHM Uptown in Tampa’s Innovation District anchored by institutions such as the University of South Florida and Advent Health are building a district that would be conducive to attract companies with metaverse and Web3 applications. The district is already home to Vu Technologies who raised one of the largest seed rounds for a startup in Tampa and The USF institute of Applied Engineering whose applications are being utilized by the US Central Command. Mark believes the next wave of successes will be through his recruitment of either building, scaling and attracting metaverse and Web3 companies to the district.
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