As the year draws to an end, we are looking back on a fantastic 2016 for ZeroLight. It's been a terrific year with new additions to our team, exciting announcements, travel for events and client visits plus lots of fun along the way of course!

Meet the team
As a rapidly expanding company, we are always looking for talented individuals to join us. This year alone, ZeroLight has welcomed 18 new starters, from UI/UX designers to programmers and web engineers. Over the summer, ZeroLight welcomed Simon Hembert, a French game development student intern. Meanwhile, the marketing team doubled in size with four new additions including a new intern and a Web Engineer. Elsewhere, ZeroLight also hired a new Associate Commercial Director in the autumn. 2016 has certainly been a year of growth and we look forward to welcoming new people to our team in 2017 through our vacancies and the newly-launched Internship Program.

Travel & Events
In 2016, ZeroLight visited a whopping 34 cities in 11 countries across 3 continents. We kicked off the year's travel at CES in Las Vegas, where the Audi Walking VR Experience, made possible by ZeroLight's highly optimised virtual reality solution, was debuted to key delegates. February saw us in Hollywood for Vision Summit followed by an appearance at the Geneva International Motor Show with Pagani in March, where customers had the opportunity to experience the new Huayra BC via a real-time 3D digital recreation of the €2.3m, 789bhp vehicle.

April saw ZeroLight also attend NVIDIA's Global Technology Conference (GTC) with Audi AG in San Jose, California for the first public showcase of the Audi Walking VR Experience featuring the 1930s Silver Arrow. Later that month, we exhibited our Cloud solution off the back of a Top Gear exclusive, plus our VR and 4K solutions at Business Rocks in Manchester. Summer saw CDX at Silverstone and UNITE Europe (Amsterdam) respectively. In July CMO Francois de Bodinat presented the development journey of our award-winning Cloud technology at AWS London before joining Audi AG to showcase its success over a 100-day deployment to delegates at SIGGRAPH 2016 (Anaheim, California).

Whilst August focussed on preparing for a big move for the ZeroLight team, In September we presented to key industry professionals at Automotive Management's Digital Dealer conference, highlighting our vision for the future of automotive retail alongside key industry influencers. After announcing that TME had selected ZeroLight as visualisation partner in October we showcased the Toyota C-HR VR Experience in the UK for the first time at VR & AR World. Also at the event we presented our three commercial applications of VR at different points in the customer journey before discussing innovation as part of an automotive tech panel.

In November we presented at AWS Germany and completed a week-long visit to top tier agencies and automotive brands in New York before a trip to Las Vegas for the Amazon Web Services (AWS) re:Invent conference. You can watch coverage of ZeroLight's appearance at the AWS summit on our YouTube playlist. We saw off the year in December with client visits and an appearance at the inaugural China-UK Hi! Tech Festival, bridging innovation, collaboration, industry and venture capital between China and the UK.

Work-life Balance
One of the biggest things to happen here at ZeroLight in 2016 was our move to Live Works in the heart of Newcastle's Quayside. Staff members were involved throughout the transition process, with regular employee focus groups, leading to ZeroLight being nominated as SMB Company of the Year at the Employee Engagement Awards. Since our move to Live Works, staff have definitely been enjoying the surrounding area, especially the culinary delights offered at lunch, as well as being a great place for a spot of Christmas shopping.

ZeroLight in the Press
2016 has also been a great year for ZeroLight in the press. Early in the year we received international coverage from the likes of Fortune, Road to VR, the Verge, Top Gear, Upload VR and Huffington Post whilst GP Bullhound recognised ZeroLight as having the potential to be a $1bn business.

"It's the real deal. People will buy cars this way."

Chris Ziegler
The Verge

Later, we were featured regionally on BBC news (TV & radio) regarding coding in education, the launch of the Mirco:bit and the future of the North East's tech talent. This came alongside a second feature in Road to VR for our work with Audi AG whilst BBC Top Gear delivered a dedicated feature on ZeroLight with an exclusive reveal of our innovative cloud technology, described by Jalopnik as 'the best car configurator on the internet' when implemented by Audi AG. You can see the results of our Top Gear exclusive here.

"This online 3D configurator for the Audi A4 Allroad blows every other one I've seen out of the water."

Andrew P Collins

VR World, China Daily, [a]listdaily and the Vision VR/AR Blog provided further specialist coverage of our VR solution and its impact on automotive retail.

"Few companies know building virtual cars better than ZeroLight. The UK studio has proved itself as a master of crafting automotive visualization models."

Will Freeman
Vision VR/AR Blog

Summer saw Evo, the world's number 1 specialised motoring magazine, feature ZeroLight both in print and online titled ‘ZeroLight - Building a Pagani Huayra in the world's most realistic configurator'.

"The detail is mesmeric, and it's just the start."

Richard Lane

Following coverage in Automotive Management and a regional piece from Tech North, we were featured in the Bank of America Merrill Lynch primer on virtual and augmented realities. This preceded two New Statesman Spotlight supplements on The Northern Powerhouse and Emerging Technologies, alongside VR Focus picking up on our reveal of the Toyota C-HR VR Experience. After the launch of ZeroLight's insights section, VR Tech and the Huffington Post ran features on our perspective of the industry.

In January, ZeroLight was shortlisted for the FT ArcelorMittal Boldness in Business Awards in the Smaller Company Category followed quickly in February by winning the Cloud Technology category at the Techies Awards. April saw us credited twice more including the Red Herring Top 100 Europe whilst ranking 7th in the Startups 100 in March. August saw us win a Gold Tier STEVIE at the International Business Awards, in the ‘Best New Product/Service of the Year - Software - Cloud Application/Service' category. Described by members of the judging panel with reference to its category as:

"VR - Auto configuration is extremely hard to accomplish on websites. The Audi sample provided in the attachments is superior to any other product on the marketplace today in NA or Europe."

"The cloud solution provided by the company proves to the be first, and best car configurator for the industry. It moves the car retail industry away from the outdated and exhausted mode to an advanced process that benefits both the sellers and the buyers. It is truly remarkable and truly innovative."

September & October saw two more accolades including Innovator of the Year at the Dynamite Awards. In November ZeroLight was named as the most disruptive technology business at the UK Business Awards, recognising the influence of our technology in driving new sales models. Be sure to look at our awards section for the full list of our awards.

We'll be bringing you more blog content in 2017, in the meantime from everyone at ZeroLight, we wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!