Why communications is still an evolving and dynamic art form

July 8, 2022

Article by: Matthew Lombardi, Managing Director at OneEleven

Collision Conference 2022, or why communications is still an evolving and dynamic art form

Since last Friday, you’ve probably seen it all over social media — the near-obligatory, now-ubiquitous homage post of the 2022 Collision Conference attendee. Usually, this post is accompanied by a carousel of triumphant photos, showing your favourite lanyard-and-badge-clad techie engrossed in conversation with fellow attendees, or posing beside novelty oversized event signage, or in front of one of the many grandiose stages that populated the Enercare centre last week, at the first in-person Collision Conference since before COVID-19.
For the uninitiated, Collision is one of the world’s largest tech conferences, and has been called “the Olympics of tech” by Politico. This year, it lived up to its billing, selling 35,000 tickets and officially marking Toronto’s return to operating large scale events capable of attracting and hosting the world.
But the pent up demand for in-person socialization and revelry was not the only reason this year’s conference was a giant success, worthy of oh-so-many gratitude posts by everyone in your social feeds.
The reason is simple: despite what you might have heard about the new reality of working remotely, there is still an inexplicable, unfalsifiable, inimitable magic to gathering in person. Making the sort of rich connections with new and old friends alike that cannot be made via a Zoom call, is an obvious truism to those who gathered for Collision. The simple act of in-person conversation, with all its subtle cues and body language, is always a powerful reminder of how much is lost when you’re forced to speak via a flat medium such as a video call — the nuances that end up requiring 25 additional emails, when a simple nod would have sufficed.
It is a great reminder that our world isn’t flat, and communication should not be either.
Ok, I stole that quote…
But hear me out.
I borrowed it, and I’m about to tell you why.
At this year’s Collision, the most powerful reminder of how important three dimensional communication is, came from an unlikely source: a company that is working to evolve digital media itself into a more dynamic state of being. The company is called MODU Research, a startup founded by two friends in Ottawa — Abdou Sarr and Mo Alissa — that includes an end-to-end platform for capturing, creating, and sharing Media 3.0, including spatial audio and 3D photos. Already a Techstars-funded company, the MODU team emerged from two years of lab development, earning a coveted place on the centre stage at Collision, to unveil their vision and platform to the world.
With 400,000 active monthly users already, MODU have quietly become an underground sensation with artists and creatives, and their content partnerships with several major global brands has earned the attention of investors. But it was co-founder Abdou Sarr’s revelation that the company will soon launch its rich media offering as a full platform for consumers that had the judges most impressed as part of their Collision pitch finals entry.
Whether MODU’s new platform shifts the paradigm for how consumers interact with various forms of media, or they simply remind us that the world is not flat, and we should appreciate the richness of a three dimensional interaction, I am grateful for an incredible experience at Collision 2022. Like so many, I cannot wait to do it all over again next year in Toronto.

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