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University of Portsmouth invests in ground-breaking future for the Centre of Creative and Immersive XR with White Light’s SmartStage technology

19 October 2020

Having secured £3.6M in funding from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership, the University of Portsmouth will launch its brand-new Centre for Creative and Immersive eXtended Reality (CCIXR) in 2021.

The Centre for Creative and Immersive eXtended Reality (CCIXR) will be the UK’s first fully integrated facility to support innovation in virtual, augmented and extended realities. In order to deliver this ground-breaking project, the University has partnered with technical solutions specialist and pioneering innovator in XR, White Light (WL). The Centre will utilise WL’s multi-award winning SmartStage technology for innovation, research, and delivery of the Faculty’s cutting-edge curriculum.

CCIXR will offer 12 state-of-the-art XR areas of development, further enhancing the University’s globally renowned expertise in creative technologies. The facilities will enable staff and students, in collaboration with the University’s wealth of national and global partners, to engage with a diverse range of content in an innovative way. The flexibility of the SmartStage will allow users to push the boundaries of integration with different technologies, far transcending the parameters of other solutions. Content sources such as AR, photogrammetry, motion capture and volumetric video, streamed directly into the SmartStage, will make the Centre a one-stop immersive environment for XR innovation and learning.

With a precedent in revolutionising remote education for other leading academic institutions around the world, SmartStage provides an immersive platform to enrich the learning experience. The comfortable, user-friendly environment it creates enables academics, creatives and thought leaders to deliver engaging distance learning sessions and streamed events. This generates unrivalled return on investment for universities, significantly increasing their potential for student intakes via flexible distance learning programmes and maximising the reach for students worldwide to benefit from their expertise.

Richard Wilson, Director at WL comments: “As well as supplying our SmartStage technology for the new CCIXR, we are hugely excited by the partnership with the University of Portsmouth. This ongoing relationship will enable our experts to support the teaching of the next generation and collaborate on R&D with the UK’s leading institution in this sector.”

Pippa Bostock, Business and Development Project Manager at University of Portsmouth, adds: “SmartStage epitomises everything that we are trying to do with the CCIXR, as the UK’s home of ground-breaking, innovation in immersive XR technology. It is crucial for us to demonstrate to everyone coming into the Centre, what creative technology can do for them, in a rapidly advancing digital world. With SmartStage as its technological centrepiece, the Centre will be the very first establishment in the UK to bring this whole immersive pipeline together. Furthermore, putting our students inside a range of content to elevate their learning experience, will equip them with an indispensable set of transferable skills. We are hugely excited to partner with WL, Vicon and Digital Garage (as well as many other industry partners) to bring this vision to life and to cultivate and inspire the creative industries’ future generations.”

Andy Hook, WL’s Technical Solutions Director, concludes: “We have been deploying XR solutions globally for more than three years now, with SmartStage leading the way for success in corporate and broadcast markets, as well as education. The infrastructure for the CCIXR will help expose students to industry-leading equipment, such as disguise xR servers, which will allow them to unleash their creativity through a mixture of immersive display technology. Our commitment to R+D is enabling us to continually develop cutting-edge new iterations of this technology for our diverse client base, helping them to secure maximum ROI. We are extremely proud to be pivotal to the UK’s very first centre of excellence and innovation in this field. Collaboration in R+D for the CCIXR and beyond will be a huge part of our ongoing partnership with the University of Portsmouth.”

Photo courtesy of White Light Ltd – from left to right: Professor Trevor Keeble, University of Portsmouth Dean; Alex Counsell, University of Portsmouth Technical Adviser; Pippa Bostock, University of Portsmouth Business and Development Project Manager; Richard Wilson, WL Director; Andy Hook, WL Technical Solutions Director.

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