Se-Je Lee is a software developer whose Seoul-based company, Salin Co., specialises in building VR/AR platforms. He creates a 'metaverse' where avatars communicate with each other.
“There’s a scene from the 2014 film, Kingsman: The Secret Service where board members sit around a table and wear smart glasses to hold a meeting via holograms — that is our ultimate goal,” he explained.
With clients in the media and education sectors, Lee only discovered the MICE industry last year, when the demand for virtual meetings soared. In this “unexpected market” Lee carved out his own niche.
“MICE is a specialised area, but we were lucky that one of our first clients — the Seoul Tourism Organisation (STO) — shared practical experience and industry knowledge that allowed us to grasp the [event planning] process. This served as a foundation for us to attract more MICE business.”
Salin worked with STO to build a virtual city complete with digital replicas of historical buildings and landmarks, for the 2020 Asia Pacific Union of International Associations (UIA) Roundtable.
Two days of workshops, conference sessions and live, 360-degree guided tours took place in a number of the city’s iconic venues. The main conference sessions, for instance, were held in the UNESCO World-Heritage-listed Changdeokgung Palace, while the famous Namsan Seoul Tower acted as an information centre where attendees could chat and download information about the city.
“Technology can connect a participant to more people and information,” Lee said. “For the planner, there are less [physical] limitations and more opportunities to analyse participant behaviour to improve future events.”
Being an entrepreneur in a city like Seoul, with its high-tech IT infrastructure, also has its perks.
“Resources for start-ups are abundant and I was amazed to discover the systematic support programmes in the public/private sector,” he said.