InnoKOL | Aleko Lilly:XR Combines the Best of the Real and the Virtual Worlds

2021/05/31 Innoverview Read

On May 31st (GMT+8), InnoKOL had a fascinating conversation with Mr. Aleko Lilly, the Head of Business Development at SOMNIACS AG, talking about his successful crossover experiences and deep insights on the outlook of extended reality (XR) development.


Jokia: How would you describe yourself in three words? What’s your motto?


Let’s go with driven, thoughtful and friendly.

Keep moving forwards.


Jokia: Can you please share more about your educational and professional background? And we’d love to hear what brought you to extended reality (XR).


It’s pretty varied. I studied philosophy, then bartended and taught snowboarding for a while. Then I went back to school and got an MBA. I helped run a brewery for a while and then switched to Zillow Group in the real estate world.


After 3 years there I moved to Switzerland - long story - but that is what brought me into the XR world. I was lucky to find SOMNIACS when they were looking for someone like me. It’s an amazing company at the forefront of XR and exciting to be a part of.


There’s a huge appetite for XR in China. We just need the right partners to help us really enter the market fully. There is a Birdly at Power Station of Art in Shanghai Right now. And we’ll ship another one to Shanghai soon. Stay tuned...


Jokia: From your experience and perspective, why cool technologies sometimes flops?


Often, they are just too early for mass adoption. most people aren’t really first movers for tech, especially if it costs them money so it’s a hard environment to get started in.


But, as with any industry, most companies don’t survive or make a massive impact. So, in some ways it’s just business as usual. I think ultimately, we’re just on the cusp of a breakthrough.


Jokia: One of the most exciting pages of your biography is your 3-year adventure in senior management positions with Zillow Group. How do you think emerging technologies are moving the real estate industry forward?


VR and XR are slowly becoming more and more important in real estate. I think that consumers are actually ready for them, but the average real estate agent isn’t. They are always slow to adapt.


However, the pandemic has changed a lot and brought in more and more reliance on virtual solutions. We will see if they stay. Online travel agencies are slowly being in virtual touring as well. But all of these things are pretty small solutions that don’t really explore the vision of what’s possible with XR solutions.


Jokia: From your perspective, what’s unique and game-changing about extended reality (XR)?


It combines the best of the real and the virtual worlds. Amazing virtual experiences meld with reality to enrich entertainment, education and understanding.


Jokia: Do you think the application of XR for events industry will be a huge breakthrough in the era of post-COVID19?


Hard to say. I think people are pretty hungry to go out and have actual human contact. And a lot of thing just can’t be done in the virtual world. But for big companies, it is a lot cheaper, and I think internally a lot of companies will stick with it.


I haven’t met anyone who said to me that they liked a virtual event as well as a real one so the jury is definitely out on that question.


Jokia: How do you foresee the trends of XR for the next five years? How prepared is SOMNIACS to play a leading role?


With XR I think we’re starting to reach a point of acceptance, but the next 5 years are critical. XR tech needs to become more high quality and accessible. But also, we need to find more practical uses for it so that people need to understand the uses in everyday life. It can’t just be gaming. And it can’t be super niche business solutions.


I think one way to really integrate it is to find a better way to integrate with the tech we already have around us every day - phone, etc.


Regarding the preparation of SOMNIACS, we are really focused on the accessibility side of XR. Our goal as a company is to change how people explore and interact with the world.


With our Birdly simulator ( people fly through places they could never otherwise go, experience total freedom. We allow people to have travel and tourist experiences in an entirely new way.


And with our tech and the projects we’re working on we’re able to democratize these experiences so everyone can have them.


The goal is to make it possible for all 7 billion people on the planet - no matter income, location, or other limitation - to be able to experience and learn from the world. I think we’re well prepared to emerge as a true leader over the coming years since we already possess a lot of the know-how.


With more and more 5G and other emerging tech we will be able to create an ecosystem that gives everyone access to the XR world.

About the speaker:

Mr. Aleko Lilly, the Head of Business Development at SOMNIACS AG is an experienced inside and outside sales professional with a history in Advertising Sales, Management, Marketing, and Operations.

About the MC:

Ms. Jokia Yin is the Founder of Innoverview and InnoKOL,  the Vice Chatiman of HK International Blockchain Finance Association as well as the Head of Media at United States of America-China Chamber of Commerce。 Jokia has over 8 years of marketing and management experience, much of which has been in the Asia Pacific Region within events and PR industry. She has held key leadership roles executing market research and entry, developing sales channels and revenue generation, building marketing, finance and Operations related infrastructure for a more than 20 events related to retail, tourism, energy storage, blockchain, cosmetics domains.