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UMONS: The Heart of Entertainment Technology

Following Genoa (2011), Amsterdam (2009), Cancun (2008) and Madonna di Campiglio (2005), the 5th edition of the International Conference on Intelligent Technologies for Interactive Entertainment (INTETAIN) was held in Mons, Belgium, and hosted by the NUMEDIART Institute of the University of Mons (UMONS).

Mons is a charming medieval city in the heart of Europe which has been chosen to become the European Capital of Culture in 2015. Prepared as early as 2004, the “MONS2015 - where technology meets culture” event has boosted the involvement of the city into digital culture for the past decade, with the hosting of digital artists, the building of new rehearsal and performance theatres, and the development of the Mons Digital Innovation Valley, a scientific and industrial park which favours the outgrowth of creative SMEs. In this framework, it was natural for Mons to host INTETAIN’2013 (http://www.intetain.org/2013/ ), a conference which aims to foster creativity and mixes science and technology with artistic creations and creative industries.

This year, the conference focused on three main topics which were spread over the three days of the conference. The main topic of the first day was linked media, with applications to the future of television. A debate panel composed of both academic experts in television technologies and people from the broadcasting industry concluded the conference with a discussion on the future of television. David Geerts, Director of the User Experience Centre of the KUL, and Lyndon Nixon, Technical Leader of the LinkedTV EU Project, discussed this topic with Fabrice Massin, Director of New Media at RTBF, and Thierry Piette, Technical Manager at RTL-TVI. The debate was moderated by Roger Roberts from TITAN-RTBF. The second day focused more on gaming technologies while the last day was dedicated to live entertainment.

Along with the paper sessions, two demonstration sessions were organised. One of them was held in conjunction with the LinkedTV EU Project and provided both technological and artistic demonstrations from several visual artists. The second session mainly showed technical demos of the main track papers.

We were very pleased to welcome three outstanding keynote speakers at INTETAIN’2013. On the first day, David Geerts shared his enlightening views about the future of television, second screens and beyond. On the second day, he was followed by Gilles Pinault, co-founder of SoftKinetics S.A., who talked about the natural and gestural interaction interfaces of the future. Our final speaker was Indy Saha, Director of Strategy of Google Creative Labs in London, who talked about new real-time interaction possibilities through the web and especially through the Chrome navigator. 

The conference coincided with CUTE’2013, a free one-day hands-on workshop with four tracks:  Behaviour tracking and advanced MOCAP, Smart rooms, Performative speech synthesis in MAGE, and Sense & Perform. Several artistic installations were also shown at this event.

The organisers would like to thank the following sponsors that made INTETAIN’2013 become a reality: the European Alliance for Innovation (EAI), Create-Net, the University of Mons (UMONS), the 175th anniversary programme of its Faculty of Engineering (FPMs), the FNRS, the EU LinkedTV Project, the Twist industrial Cluster, Arts2 (Academy of Arts, Mons) and the NUMEDIART Institute. INTETAIN’2013 was a rich collaboration between artists, scientists and people from industry, showing the potential of creativity in our society.