Virtual reality (VR) is on the cusp of explosive growth. It seems like every day we see new startups posing innovative solutions to problems in the immersive technology industry. The best way to learn about a new emerging field is to speak to people directly working in the industry right now.

At VeeR, we have rounded up the best minds you should be following in the virtual, augmented, and mixed reality space today.

Do you know of these admirable individuals and how did you discover them?

1. Kent Bye
Host of Voices of VR, Bye has traveled to the top VR gatherings around the world since May 2014 to bring you a diverse range of VR perspectives and insights from over 500 makers and seasoned academics. He is by far one of the most intelligent minds on the scene of immersive technologies, with more than 600 episodes featuring interviews with the pioneering game developers, enthusiasts, and technologists driving VR. Bye is a VR developer himself, and his journalism is informed by both his technological expertise as well as a deeply embedded need to uncover best creative practices and social applications.

2. Alan Smithson
As chief executive officer at MetaVRse, a virtual and augmented reality (AR) consultancy, Smithson is focused on developing business applications and platforms for Fortune 100 companies across a diverse range of industries including retail, media and communications, travel/tourism, industrial, and education. His business has worked with companies like Samsung, HBO, Techweek, Microsoft, Comcast, and many more.

3. Sabarish Gnanamoorthy
Gnanamoorthy is a 14 year-old VR and AR developer. He is the youngest AR developer in the world to be sponsored by Microsoft to develop for the Microsoft HoloLens. He is also supported and sponsored by the Thiel Foundation for his venture, WaypointAR. WaypointAR is an AR navigation platform for airports, campuses, large conferences, and malls. Gnanamoorthy has been awarded a scholarship from Udacity for its VR Developer nanodegree program and is one of the youngest people to have built several applications for VR and AR. He is leading his young generation into the field of transformative technologies with the mentality of it can be done, no matter how young you are.

4. Alice Bonasio
Bonasio is one of the top journalists covering the VR industry. She answers questions like how immersive technology will change the way we learn and what other technologies VR integrates with. Bonasio writes for Wired, Fast Company, Scientific American, Ars Technica, and others. Over the past 15+ years, she has helped many start-ups, corporations, and institutions shape their communications strategy and tell their stories to a global audience.

5. Darshan Shankar
Shankar is the chief executive officer and founder of BigScreen VR. Bigscreen is bringing personal computing into VR with software that enables users to hang out and collaborate in VR.

6. Antony Vitillo
Vitillo is the former co-founder of ImmotionAR, a startup aimed at adding a full body of the user inside the virtual world. His blog, The Ghost Howls, is about VR, AR, and the startup life.

7. Cathy Hackl
Emmy-nominated communicator turned VR and AR producer, speaker, and futuristic content creator, Hackl was selected as a 2017 Oculus Launch Pad Fellow, a program designed to support promising VR content creators and help them bring their unique ideas to market. She currently helps innovative tech brands with highly specialized communications services while teaching communicators about the latest tools and tech. She’s also the founder of Latinos in VR/AR and one of the women leading the virtual revolution.

8. Nonny De La Peña
Called “the Godmother of VR” by The Guardian and Engadget, De La Peña is chief executive officer and founder of the Emblematic Group, one of the world’s leading VR experience agencies. She’s of the of the most influential pioneers in developing VR as a modern means of expression.

9. John Carmack
Carmack is the chief technology officer of Oculus and the co-founder of ID Software. He was the lead programmer of the id computer games Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Quake, and the Commander Keen series of games. Carmack regularly tweets out information and creates videos with top editorial publishers on the latest VR news from Oculus.

10. Charlie Fink
Fink writes about VR, AR and New Media for Forbes. He is the former Disney, AOL, and AG Interactive executive who famously came up with the idea for “The Lion King.” In the ’90s, Fink was executive vice president and chief operating officer of VR pioneer Virtual World Entertainment. He is now a consultant and frequent speaker/keynoter on the topic at conferences like CES, SXSW, AWE, ARinAction, and the VR Voice Entertainment Summit.

Editor’s note: This blog was originally posted on the VEER VR blog.

About the Author:

Mark Metry is the founder of VU Dream, an agency dedicated to helping virtual and augmented reality startups market their innovative products into reality. He is also the host of the Humans 2.0 podcast, a top charts iTunes podcast that features talented and impactful people in the 21st-century world. Metry has been featured in publications like the Huffington Post and VRScout.

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