Ubisoft Opens Its Doors to Heddoko | Faire Montréal
25 mai
Publié dans par le projet Les créatifs ♥ le futur Mtl inc0

Ubisoft Opens Its Doors to Heddoko

This March, we told you about our collaboration with video game giants Ubisoft through Fondation Montréal inc.'s Je fais Montreal program, designed to mobilize the Montreal business community and breathe new life into the city.

Through this program, accomplished entrepreneurs support startup businesses in the creative sector by offering tailored coaching services and support in order to help maximize chances of success, and transform projects from ideas into reality.

We are extremely grateful that Ubisoft selected Heddoko to mentor as part of this project.

It's been a few months since our collaboration was announced, and we'd like to give you a sneak peak in the form of a discussion between Ubisoft's Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Francis Baillet, and our Founder and CEO, Mazen Elbawab.

MAZEN: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO START THE PROJECT, "LES CRÉATIFS ♥ LE FUTUR MONTRÉAL INC." IN COLLABORATION WITH FONDATION MONTRÉAL INC.?

Francis: It is important to Ubisoft Montréal to support startups because they ensure our economy of knowledge will be passed on; they also contribute to the development of our collective wealth. In the context of Je fais Montreal, Ubisoft wished to get involved in the vibrancy of the industry by supporting young, talented entrepreneurs. To date, about ten companies from Montreal's techno-creative sector mentor one young company each over a period of 18 months and provide it with resources to help it get on the road to success rapidly.

MAZEN: WHY DID YOU CHOOSE HEDDOKO?

Francis: We chose to sponsor Heddoko because it is a startup with incredible potential, but also because of the many similarities between our two industries. First of all, Mazen, you are a former Ubisoft employee. Furthermore, you were inspired by the Xbox Kinect game Your Shape – that was the foundation to develop the technology behind the Heddoko suit. The technology is also inspired by capturing the movements of the human body that we integrate into our games.

We believe that Heddoko and its products are really good examples of the wide range of possibilities that the world of video games offers when we apply these concepts to other industries outside of the world of entertainment.

MAZEN: HOW DO YOU PERCEIVE THE COLLABORATION BETWEEN HEDDOKO AND UBISOFT MONTREAL IN THE MENTORING PROJECT?

Francis: Heddoko will enjoy privileged access to our employees who will be able to support your startup in marketing, communication, finance, distribution and programming. We have already provided advice on community management, marketing, and soon will begin programming workshops.

MAZEN: AS A LARGE, WELL-KNOWN COMPANY, WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR UBISOFT TO BE INVOLVED IN THE STARTUP COMMUNITY?

Francis: For us, our association with Je fais Montreal is a way of doing our part to promote the growth of creative content, and in doing so, to participate in putting Montreal on the map as the creative capital of the world. The city is overflowing with artists that simply want to create projects that will change the world, but sometimes they lack the support that would make all the difference.

MAZEN: WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE OF MONTREAL'S STARTUP COMMUNITY LOOKS LIKE?

Francis: We think that the economy of knowledge is the future of Montreal. We feel a major transformation in the attitude of young entrepreneurs. Startups are an integral part of the creative and technological city of Montreal.

Entrepreneurs have more and more support available to them to help them be successful. We are assisting in the establishment of innovation incubators, allowing young companies to take advantage of support, specifically in terms of location, consulting and financing.

MAZEN: WHAT IS ON THE HORIZON FOR UBISOFT MONTREAL?

Francis: In mid-June, the major event of the video-game industry, E3, took place in Los Angeles. We made several announcements, including a new intellectual property, For Honor, and two highly anticipated games, Rainbow Six Siege and Assassin's Creed Syndicate. Ubisoft firmly believes that the future is in open-world video games, which allow players to live a unique and memorable experiences. In the future, video games will be even more immersive, interactive and connected.

Other than that, you are aware that research and development are key in innovation industries such as the video game industry. We are actually experimenting with virtual reality and who knows where that will take us.

FRANCIS: MY TURN! WHAT IS THE HISTORY BEHIND FOUNDING HEDDOKO?

Mazen: Ever since I was child, I had a curiosity for technical know-how and practical problem solving. The obvious career path for me was engineering, and I followed it to work as an engineer at Ubisoft in Montreal. My second passion was sports. I used to spend endless hours playing soccer, volleyball and many other sports. What I loved most was martial arts, which I still practice today. It was only a matter of time before those two passions collided. Combining my passion for sports with my skills in engineering and motion capture, Heddoko was born.

FRANCIS: IN YOUR EYES, HOW CAN HEDDOKO'S SMART GARMENT REVOLUTIONIZE THE WAY ATHLETES TRAIN?

Mazen: We've created the first mobile 3D motion-capture system in the form of a smart garment that tracks an athlete's movement and provides real-time feedback. By measuring how athletes move, identifying inefficient movement patterns and giving feedback, we're working to increase their understanding of their own body and reduce their risk of injury. The technology also takes traditional motion capture out of the lab, and out of enclosed environments with complicated camera set-ups to the environments athletes actually train and compete in. Heddoko can be used to by coaches, trainers, and instructors to conduct movement screens to identify asymmetries or any "red flags" in terms of how people are moving.

FRANCIS: WITHIN THE "LES CRÉATIFS ♥ LE FUTUR MTL INC." PROGRAM, HOW DO YOU BELIEVE UBISOFT CAN HELP HEDDOKO?

Mazen: For any startup, it is extremely beneficial to be mentored by experts – working with such an established company with expertise in different fields really helps streamline almost every aspect of our business – from the tech side of things, to communications and marketing, and selling and distributing our product. Ubisoft has been incredibly supportive, and learning from you is an invaluable experience we are fortunate to have.

FRANCIS: WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU'LL FACE IN THE YEARS TO COME?

Mazen: The biggest challenge will be on the user-experience side of things – creating the right experience for the right people. As the technology evolves and more and more data comes in, people will know less and less what to do with it. We'll have to be very smart about sifting through all the noise, picking out the most important information, and displaying it in a way that makes it useful for people.

In terms of the technology, fully integrating multiple types of "fitness trackers" in one suit that provides biometric and biomechanical analysis and feedback is a big challenge, but also an incredible opportunity.

FRANCIS: WHERE DO YOU SEE HEDDOKO IN 10 YEARS?

Mazen: We're putting a lot of effort into research and development in the medical and sports therapy fields, and also entertainment – we can't really disclose them yet, but there are many specialized applications we're working on that will be part of our roadmap for many years to come.

FRANCIS: CAN YOU TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT THE STRENGTH OF YOUR TEAM?

Mazen: Our foundation must be even stronger than the technology and business we are developing, and that foundation is, without a doubt, our team. We're fairly young, but we're a group with incredible diversity and a wide range of expertise. We've got engineers, designers, marketers, biomechanics experts, software developers, etc. – everyone brings something completely unique to the table, but at the end of the day we're a cohesive unit of adaptable, quick learners and incredibly motivated individuals who are unbelievably passionate about what we're creating.