A new initiative from Conexx: America Israel Business Connector aims to explore partnerships between Israel and the Southeast in the lifestyle sector.

The group held its first meeting Wednesday, April 5, at the Microsoft retail store inside Perimeter Mall.

“Lifestyle is about the parts of our lives that are a little more personal than everything else,” Lifestyle Connector chair Shira Grossman said. “The Southeast is a focal point for entertainment, sports, leisure, education, hospitality and dining.”

Israeli companies are creating advancements in the lifestyle sector, which includes water tech, physical security, supply chain and logistics, textiles, and 3D printing. Grossman said those companies are poised to build a presence in the Southeast.

The topic of the first Lifestyle Connector meeting was “Designing Virtual Worlds,” and it focused on advancements in virtual and augmented reality.

James Ashley, a Microsoft Mixed Reality MVP and owner of the Imaginative Universal, demonstrated the innovative Microsoft HoloLens, the world’s first self-contained, holographic computer and the company’s bid to lead in the augmented reality market.

Several Israeli companies have contributed to the HoloLens, including 3DV Systems, a startup based in the Jewish Federation of Greater Atlanta’s sister city of Yokneam. Microsoft acquired 3DV in 2009 to enhance the motion-sensing capabilities of the HoloLens.

The Israeli military has used the augmented reality capabilities of the HoloLens to improve battlefield strategy and train field personnel.

Ashley demonstrated the current capabilities of the HoloLens, including applications in gaming, the display of 3D AutoCAD models and hands-on training, as well as the possibilities of the technology, such as tech that would allow you to scan a stranger’s jacket and buy one just like it on the spot.

The HoloLens costs $3,000 to $5,000, but Ashley said advancements in the technology will make it cheaper and smaller the next few years.

Yaov Fael, the co-founder and CEO of Virtuality New Space, Skyped into the event from Israel.

Fael’s company uses virtual reality to reduce physical store space for retailers. He showed the group a demo of a natural-interaction VR shopping experience. (Watch it at youtube.com/watch?v=R2a0_WIV6qI.)

The third member of the panel was Michael Reznik, the CEO of Metanoia VR, based in the ultra-Orthodox Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Brak. He had technical difficulty Skyping in from Israel but did show a demo of his company’s product.

Metanoia brings cutting-edge virtual reality to the real estate market to help consumers and corporate clients see and walk through a property without being there.

Conexx Vice President Barry Swartz said Lifestyle Connector meetups are planned three to four times per year.

Conexx to Honor Governor

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal will be presented the Tom Glaser Leadership Award at the 2017 Conexx Gala on Wednesday, May 3.

Since taking office in 2011, Deal has supported Georgia’s economic and strategic ties with Israel.

He led a five-day delegation to Israel in the summer of 2014 that included business leaders and state officials. While in Israel, Deal met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat to explore business and trade opportunities.

The gala will be held at the Twelve Atlantic Station from 6 to 9 p.m. Get more information and tickets ($125) at www.conexxgala.com.