Geo Week News

June 20, 2023

Three Takeaways from HxGN LIVE Global 2023

Hexagon’s four-day event in Las Vegas has come and gone, with large themes around sustainability, simplicity, and focusing on today rather than tomorrow.
Big "HxGN" sign placed in the keynote ballroom at HxGN LIVE Global 2023.

Last week in Las Vegas, Nevada, Hexagon held their HxGN LIVE Global conference, the company’s event to bring together industries and professionals revolving around digital reality technology. This year’s event, held at Caesar’s Forum, was a four-day affair with over 3,000 people in attendance representing 77 nations around the world. 

HxGN LIVE Global 2023 kicked off on Monday, with a handful of hands-on training sessions for professionals during the day before Hexagon CEO Paulo Guglielmini really got things going with his keynote Monday evening, which you can watch in full here. That led into Tuesday, which the conference dubbed as Innovation Day, highlighting some of the work both Hexagon and their partners are doing today with the most cutting-edge technology. On Wednesday, things were broken up more based on the conference’s “summits” – Autonomy & Positioning, Digital Defense, Digital Industrial Facilities, Digital Innovation in Construction, Future of Manufacturing, Future of Public Safety, Geospatial Asset Management, Intelligent Mining, and Pure Surveying – with keynotes focusing on the specific summits as well as breakaway sessions for more zoomed-in looks within the summits. That led to a wrap-up day on Thursday, and of course in between there was plenty of networking in “The Zone,” Hexagon’s show floor, as well as at evening happy hours and parties.

As one can imagine, there was a whole lot going on throughout the four days, from new product announcements to inspiring speakers and thoughtful panels, and great conversations with both Hexagon team members and fellow attendees about what’s coming in this industry, and what’s already here. Below are just a few of the many takeaways and themes which could be felt all week in Las Vegas.


If there was one word that any attendee would be unable to escape throughout the week at HxGN LIVE Global, it was “optimism.” In fact, it was the first word many encountered of the week, as the title of Gugliemini’s aforementioned keynote was Optimism at Scale. It’s an easy time to be pessimistic, with economic burdens ebbing and flowing over the last few years, political strife ever-present in many parts of the world, and of course the looming climate crisis casting a shadow over everyone’s day-to-day life. While acknowledging many of these, climate in particular, all of the speakers at this year’s event made a point to keep optimism front-of-mind, noting that our admittedly major environmental issues of the day can’t be solved without a belief that we can overcome them.

Crowd filing in to Monday's opening keynote.

Guglielmini spoke extensively about this idea of the necessity of optimism throughout his keynote address, and it was mentioned by speakers in just about every session I attended throughout the week. In particular, Erik Josefsson embodied this idea. The CEO of R-evolution, Hexagon’s sustainable innovation and green tech investment firm, spoke at the opening keynote and was present on the show floor throughout the event, discussing the ways technology can and is being used to address climate issues. One thing Josefsson alluded to multiple times was making “1+1=3,” stressing that optimistic collaboration can lead to results greater than the sum of the parts.

Of course, the week was filled with technology that directly or indirectly addressed environmental concerns. Hexagon showed off things that, for example, cut down on the number of flights necessary to collect crucial data, allowed for more seamless transition to new facilities to make more energy-efficient products, and sensors to monitor changes in the environment and alert surrounding communities if imminent danger was detected. That technology was certainly impressive, and should have a real impact, but as speakers stressed all week the technology can only go so far if it’s not accompanied by collaboration centered around optimism.


While there was absolutely a significant focus on sustainability and how technology can be used to help our planet, there was also no ignoring the commercial applications of the Hexagon technology. The company released or revamped a number of products throughout the week, and while the applications for these tools truly ran the gamut, one of the themes seen through most of these was the idea of simplicity.

That, of course, is not to say that the technology is rudimentary; quite the contrary. Hexagon’s tools are still plenty powerful and ever-improving, but it’s clear that they want to ensure as many people as possible can use them. Whether it’s the set-up, the interface, or the actual usage, the goal which came across in many of my conversations with the Hexagon team all week was reaching all levels of expertise. 

Consider the newly released Reality Cloud Studio. In a demo and conversation with Paul Burrows of the Hexagon reality capture team, he emphasized that this is simple to use even for those new to reality capture in general. He made sure to make clear that there are still plenty of uses for experienced professionals, but getting new stakeholders involved is going to be crucial in any true digital transformation, something that was hammered home throughout the event. Additionally, this was one of a couple of software-as-a-service (SaaS) products on display at the show, something that is often more user-friendly but not the type of tool Hexagon has generally offered.

Screen showing "Innovation Day"

Here and Now

Anybody who has been to any kind of technology-focused event knows that much of the buzz is often centered around what’s coming down the line, that next big thing. It’s generally hard to avoid given the audience and the constant excitement of what’s next in the world of technology. For this event, though, Hexagon largely bucked that trend. Sure, there were mentions of what’s coming next, but for the most part the focus was on the here and now. They emphasized that, in some ways, we’re already in the future.

In fact, much like Guglielmini’s keynote on Monday set the stage for the idea of optimism which would permeate the entire week, CTO Burkhard Boeckem’s “Innovation Day” kick-off keynote was titled Right here. Right now, which similarly set the stage for the rest of the week. Throughout the day sessions highlighted the ways Hexagon technology is already helping partners like Microsoft, AWS, and others perform their day-to-day jobs, and in some ways create entirely new workflows. We heard from companies like Divergent 3D, who is innovating in automotive manufacturing, Third Floor, who is using technology to help create some of the most popular and recognizable scenery in movies and television, and Mortensen Hotels, who are using modular construction to change the game in hospitality, all discussing how they are already seeing entire industries disrupted, and even new ones being created.

Since this is still a technology conference, and particularly in this age of exploding artificial intelligence, there was no shortage of conversations to be had about what’s coming next. But what was striking to me, having attended a number of these, was how much focus – both from the event itself and from speaking with people on the show floor – was placed on how industries are already undergoing change, with no signs of slowing down.

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