The Walt Disney Studios’ StudioLAB (Virtually) Hosts Tech Leaders at Inaugural Partner Summit

On Thursday, August 13, The Walt Disney Studios’ StudioLAB opened its doors, virtually, for the first-ever StudioLAB partner summit.

On the heels of StudioLAB’s second birthday, the half-day summit brought together more than 100 participants across three continents, including leaders from StudioLAB’s Innovation Partners—Accenture, Cisco, HPE, Microsoft, Verizon—as well as executives from across Disney’s technology, streaming, accelerator, distribution and operations teams.

“Nothing could be more fitting than to use virtual technology to make this day happen. If there was ever a time to innovate and collaborate, that moment is now,” said Ben Havey, Vice President, Innovation, Marketing and Theatrical Technology, whose team leads the StudioLAB. “If we can connect and share strategies and experiences, we can all do so much more.”

The theme of the virtual summit, conducted via Zoom, was fittingly “The New Normal—Operating in Our Current Reality.” Senior executives from each of the Innovation Partner companies gave a presentation on how they are using advanced technology to adapt to the new operating environment. The event concluded with three breakout sessions facilitated by members of the StudioLAB team: “Software and Hardware Tools, IoT and Devices,” “Advanced Computing, Production Workflows and AI + Machine Learning” and “AR/VR and Virtual Collaboration.”

The summit demonstrated exactly why StudioLAB was launched: collaboration. StudioLAB was conceptualized as both a physical space and a community focused on advancing the art of storytelling with cutting-edge tools and methods. The StudioLAB team works alongside its industry-leading Innovation Partners to develop their technologies and share ideas in a filmmaking environment.

During the summit, Havey highlighted the progress made since the StudioLAB’s inception, noting, “Not only have we impacted several areas of our business, but we’re starting to see real, substantive deployments of technology coming out of the lab in a really meaningful way.”

From production technology and processes like cloud computing and AI for automation to experiential storytelling, the symbiosis of StudioLAB is flourishing.