Northern Ireland is showcasing some of its most innovative digital and immersive tech companies at SXSW 2019, one of the world's largest festivals of film, interactive media and music.

Immersed in Northern Ireland Day, a collaborative and innovative showcase of digital and immersive tech companies, exciting panel sessions and great hospitality, supported by Invest NI, Digital Catapult NI and Kainos will take place on Sunday March 10 from 09:30 to 19:00 in the Victorian Room at the Driskill Hotel.


  • 09:30 - Breakfast and networking with NI Companies, featured VR Showcases
  • 10:30 - Machine Learning and Life panel
  • 12:00 - Lunch and networking with NI Companies, feature VR Showcases
  • 13:30 - Generation Creativity: The Race to Break the Mould
  • 14:30 - Drinks, Demos & VR Showcases
  • 15:30 - The Future of Screens
  • 16:30 - Networking
  • 19:00 - Close

Find out more about the companies joining Invest Northern Ireland at SXSW 2019

Immersed in NI Day at SXSW 2019 | 10 March 2019

Fourteen companies will be joining Invest Northern Ireland at this year's SXSW, showcasing their innovative technology and immersive experiences at Immersed in Northern Ireland Day taking place on Sunday 10 March from 09:30 am to 19:00 in the Victorian Room at the Driskill Hotel.

Companies joining

  • Kainos

    Kainos is a leading provider of award-winning digital services and platforms to public and private organisations around the globe, helping them to work smarter, better and faster. It has added a Workday team which partners with Workday customers to launch, expand, test and safeguard their Workday systems. Kainos is headquartered in Belfast, Northern Ireland, with over 1,500 people employed in thirteen offices across the UK, Europe and USA.

Find out more about the three global expert panels and their speakers

Immersed in NI Day at SXSW 2019 | Sunday, March 10th 9.30am -7pm

Immersed in Northern Ireland Day will take place on Sunday, March 10th from 9:30 am to 7pm in the Victorian Room at the Driskill Hotel and will feature global expert panels discussing the following topics:

Machine Learning and Life Panel

Northern Ireland is a hotbed for activity in Artificial Intelligence, with innovative new business and products being developed with AI at their core.

The panel will discuss the application of AI and the regional capability. It will also highlight some excellent examples of AI being used in healthcare, government and training.

Find out who is on the Machine Learning and Life panel

Austin Tanney, Head of AI, Kainos

20 years working with start-ups to multinational corporations in Life Science, Healthcare and Technology. Currently Head of AI at Kainos, he is the facilitator of the NI AI Collaborative Network and co-founder and organiser of the Artificial Intelligence NI community.

Claire Houston, Machine Learning Engineering, Kainos

A Software Engineer from Belfast, working primarily in AI and Machine Learning. A recent graduate, Claire is a core member of the Kanos Artificial Intelligence Capability and has been exploring the use of Chatbots and NLP to change how customers interact with services.

Dr David Trainor, CEO, Sentireal

David founded Sentireal in 2013. He has over 20 years’ experience and expertise gained from academia and industry. He is involved in several industry partnerships and currently chairs the VRARA Industrial Committee for Training.

Daniel Crawford, CEO and Founder, Axial3D

Axial3D is a UK based medical technology firm focused on driving the global adoption of 3D Printing within healthcare. Axial3D is making 3D printing accessible to the entire healthcare sector; delivering personalised anatomical insights directly to a clinician using a combination of innovative software and expert services.

Cathy Coomber, Operations Manager, Axial3D

8+ years’ experience working within the medical device industry, formerly with biomedical engineering firm Intelesens. Responsible for the manufacture and distribution of the company’s class IIA and class III medical devices, QMS system and technical file draftings for MHRA and FDA compliance.

Generation Creativity: The Race to Break the Mould

With each new generation of ideas, apart from a few visionaries it takes a generation of people to be born into those ideas before they are fully realised.

With emerging technology enabling exponential advantages and the cost of failure running to zero it’s the creative-technology teams that dare to experiment that are blazing trails and breaking norms.

This panel explores what lessons can we learn from creative and technology visionaries to move faster, think differently and what tools are laying the ground work for the next generation of creativity.

Find out who is on the Generation Creativity The Race to Break the Mould panel

Moderated by Tom Gray, CTO Kainos

A 25+ year tech veteran and the driving force behind many of Kainos’ most imaginative and successful customer and staff initiatives. Tom is also Chairman of Ulster Industrial Liaison Board, a member of the Industry Board of Manchester Connected Health and former Director of Digital Catapult Northern Ireland.

Luke McNeice, Innovation Lead, Kainos

An award winning hacker working across a broad range of technologies and domains spending his time building teams, finding new tools, and developing people. Luke founded Immersive Tech NI, was a 2017 UKIT professional of year nominee and consults for a range of start-ups and UK government teams.

PJ Holden – PJ Holden Illustration

A Belfast based comic creator and artist. Formerly in IT, now a comic creator who has drawn on some of the UK’s comic’s institutions such as Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper. Paul has created comics featuring Terminator, Robocop and World of Tanks video game. He has IP in sci-fi epic, Terran Omega, cyberpunk monster-horror Night Watch and DragonSlumber.

Robert Fitzpatrick, Chief Executive, Odyssey Trust Company Ltd (OTC)

Chief Executive of the Odyssey Trust Company Ltd. Robert has over 20 years’ experience in leisure and property management sectors. He has acquired, developed and restructured businesses continually adding value to the overall business performance.

Stewart Smith, Senior Consultant AR/VR, Amazon

Founder of Moar Technologies Corp, now Senior XR Consultant at Amazon. Previously worked with Google’s Data Arts Team and Creative Lab and won Cannes Gold Lion Award. He started creating Web-based virtual reality in 2015, wrote the popular VR hand controller library for Three.js and worked on the “Dance Tonite” VR music video for LCD Soundsystem.

The Future of Screens

What are the ramifications for content makers and Immersive Technology companies in the race to find the ultimate ‘future screen’? And are we, the audience, ready, for Ready Player One?

Join our distinguished and varied panel of international experts whose backgrounds include Art, VFX, Design, Film, Broadcasting and Technology to delve into what awaits us in the future of immersive experiences.

Find out who is on the The Future of Screens panel

Alex McDowell, Director, World Building Institute

Alex is an award-winning designer and storyteller working at the intersection of emergent technologies and experiential media, with 30 years’ experience as a production designer of feature films, including Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report. He leads the USC World Building Institute, and is founder and creative director of ‘Experimental Design’.

Cathy Hackl, XR Influencer and Futurist

As well as working as a Marketing Consultant for Magic Leap, Cathy is also an Emmy-nominated communicator, turned AR & VR Speaker, producer and author. She worked as an HTC VIVE Evangelist during the company’s partnership with Warner Brothers’ blockbuster, Ready Player One and is partner at Mixed Reality Ventures.

Warren Bell, Development Producer, BBC

Warren’s work aims to ‘unlock’ the BBC Archive to bring audiences new experiences. Having produced the acclaimed VR experience ‘1943 Berlin Blitz’ which uses actuality audio recordings on-board a Bomber during a raid over Berlin during WW2, he is currently incorporating AR into public delivery of the BBC News archive.

Deepa Mann-Kler, CEO, Neon

Deepa is an award winning artist currently using Immersive Technology to create apps for health and wellbeing. As a thought leader she speaks at conferences on the intersection of creativity, technical innovation, diversity and storytelling. Deepa is also Visiting Professor in Immersive Futures at Ulster University in Northern Ireland.

Aurelien Simon,Executive Producer, Emerging Technology, The Mill

Spearheading the production of the Mill’s award-winning experiential, interactive projects in LA, Aurelian’s expertise in blending technology and moving image make him a leader in the immersive storytelling space. His career has been recognized with over 50 industry awards and accolades, including working on projects with Samsung, Google and Sony.

Nigel McAlpine, Panel Host – Immersive Technology Lead, Digital Catapult Northern Ireland

Nigel spent almost 3 decades at the BBC, producing unique digital projects, including a powerful WW1 VR experience which puts the user at the Battle of the Somme in 1916. Currently with Digital Catapult he works with a wide range of industry stakeholders to highlight the potential of Immersive Technology.

Find out more about the VR showcases

Immersed in NI Day | Featured VR Showcases | 10 March 2019

Northern Ireland is showcasing some of its most innovative digital and immersive tech companies at SXSW 2019, one of the world's largest festivals of film, interactive media and music.


Created by PJ Holden, a Belfast-based comic creator and artist who, in addition to writing software for Ford’s UK, NBC Universal and contributing to CakePHP, is known for drawing some of the UK’s comic’s institutions such as Judge Dredd and Rogue Trooper.

PJ has also created comics featuring Terminator, Robocop and drawn for the international video game sensation World of Tanks. He has created his own IP in the form of sci-fi epic, Terran Omega, cyberpunk monster-horror Night Watch, and, his latest, DragonSlumber, which has been realised as an Immersive Virtual experience.

The Infinite Hotel

From the irreverent team behind Mona Lisa (mobile in development) and Schrödinger’s Cat and the Raiders of the Lost Quark(Steam/Xbox/PS4) see the latest “vertical reality” adventure entitled The Infinite Hotel.

The Infinite Hotel concept pitch boasts the creation of a narrative-driven, immersive VR game combining elements of popular, award-winning games like Job Simulator, Papers Please, and Grim Fandango… “all from inside a 5-foot square.”

In collaboration with:

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