Microsoft Shares Vision For Present and Future Productivity

Microsoft recently invited journalists into its Envisioning Center for a peek into its vision of the future — in particular, its vision of the future of productivity. Inside the center, Microsoft houses some of its prototype work. Journalists witnessed teams working together on giant collaborative screens, meeting in rooms equipped with devices to automatically recognize participants, and doing work at touch-powered desks. The bulk of all provided demonstrations revolved around the use of touch, voice, and augmented reality. This marks a new way forward for Microsoft.

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Google Unveils New Devices, Privacy Features at I/O Event

At this week’s Google I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California, the company unveiled new tools for a number of its products designed to help consumers control their personal data and how their online activities are tracked. “We think privacy is for everyone — not just for the few,” explained Google CEO Sundar Pichai. “We want to do more to stay ahead of constantly evolving user expectations.” In addition to detailing privacy features, Google made announcements regarding its two latest Pixel devices, its newest version of Android, the Nest Hub Max smart display, and updates to Google Assistant. Continue reading Google Unveils New Devices, Privacy Features at I/O Event

Microsoft Promotes HoloLens 2 at Annual Build Conference

Microsoft’s Build developer conference got off to a bit of a rocky start on Monday. During the keynote, meant to demonstrate how the HoloLens 2 augmented reality headset could recreate the Apollo 11 moon landing in mixed reality, the presenters ran into technical difficulties. Microsoft partnered with Epic Games and Industrial Light & Magic chief creative officer John Knoll for the ambitious demo that worked well during earlier rehearsals. Despite the tech glitches during the live presentation, the HoloLens 2 remains an impressive device. A recording of the demo, captured as intended during rehearsals, is available on YouTube.

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WWDC: Apple to Unveil Apps, Software, Development Tools

When Apple’s 5-day Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) kicks off June 3 in San Jose, the company is reportedly planning to introduce an array of new apps, software features and development tools. According to those familiar with the plans, Apple is expected to introduce operating system updates for its Apple TV, Apple Watch, iPad, iPhone and Mac computers. The new iOS 13, codenamed “Yukon,” will offer new and updated features — while iOS14, codenamed “Azul,” will launch next year to support 5G wireless and new AR functions. Continue reading WWDC: Apple to Unveil Apps, Software, Development Tools

Epic Takes on Steam, Plans to Gift 500 Magic Leap Glasses

Epic Games has just made Steam an offer that’s hard to refuse: that it would “retreat from exclusives” if Steam “committed to a permanent 88 percent revenue share for all developers and publishers.” Since Epic opened its own store with that revenue share model in late 2018, a long list of high profile game developers left Steam to debut new titles with Epic. The company also partnered with Magic Leap to award 500 Magic Leap One glasses — normally priced at $2,295 — to developers working in augmented reality. Continue reading Epic Takes on Steam, Plans to Gift 500 Magic Leap Glasses

Verizon Media Tackles Production Tech With Global Studios

Verizon Media (formerly Oath) now has production studios located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, Singapore, Sunnyvale and Taiwan. In addition, it built a 5G Los Angeles studio with plans to help pioneer new formats and production tech enabled by advanced 5G wireless connectivity. The worldwide facilities are being used by Verizon Media brands such as AOL, HuffPost, TechCrunch and Yahoo. The L.A. space — led by Verizon Media’s immersive media arm RYOT — is outfitted with full motion capture and volumetric capture stages. Continue reading Verizon Media Tackles Production Tech With Global Studios

Two Facebook Groups Are Developing New Voice Assistant

Social giant Facebook confirmed a report that it is working on developing its own voice assistant. Originally, two former Facebook employees described the plans to CNBC, which broke the news. The company has been developing its own voice assistant since early 2018 in its augmented reality/virtual reality group based in Redmond, Washington. Facebook Assistant and AR/VR director Ira Snyder leads a team that has been “contacting vendors in the smart speaker supply chain,” according to sources. Continue reading Two Facebook Groups Are Developing New Voice Assistant

U.S. Tries Softer Tack to Limit Huawei at Prague 5G Confab

According to sources, on May 2-3 when officials from 30+ countries meet in Prague to discuss security principles for 5G networks, the U.S. will propose measures to prevent China’s Huawei from gaining dominance. The U.S. has long believed that the Chinese government can use Huawei’s gear to spy via Internet-connected products from AR to self-driving cars. Huawei has denied the accusations. The U.S. strategy at the upcoming meeting, said a U.S. official, is “softer” than its previous efforts to limit Huawei’s influence. Continue reading U.S. Tries Softer Tack to Limit Huawei at Prague 5G Confab

Magic Leap Turning to Blockchain Ecosystem for User Data

Magic Leap has posted job listings for a senior blockchain architect tasked with “overarching responsibility for planning and execution of a portfolio of blockchain, smart contracts and Ricardian contract technologies,” as well as helping to “develop an overall blockchain ecosystem engagement strategy.” The company also advertised positions for several blockchain engineers. The job listings stated that Magic Leap plans to use blockchain for its “Lifestream business function,” referring to its planned archive of user data. Continue reading Magic Leap Turning to Blockchain Ecosystem for User Data

Real-Time Virtual Production Moves into Television and Film

To be able to bring real-time feedback to every step of the filmmaking workflow has been both the Holy Grail of production and an impossible dream. When Bradley Weiers began to work in film production, he chafed at the delayed feedback and found that the real-time ecosystem of game production was a better fit. Now head of immersive storytelling at Unity Technologies, Weiers said that for the first time, he believes he can connect his first love, film, and the preferable tools of gaming.  “There’s a bridge to cross over,” he suggested during a panel at NAB 2019. Continue reading Real-Time Virtual Production Moves into Television and Film

Immersive Digital Experience Alliance Launches at NAB 2019

The Immersive Digital Experience Alliance (IDEA) has debuted, with the stated goal of creating royalty-free specifications for all immersive media formats, including light field technology. The Alliance’s founding members include CableLabs, Charter Communications, Light Field Lab, OTOY and Visby. The Alliance has started developing the Immersive Technology Media Format (ITMF), slated for release in 2019, which the group believes will “serve as an interchange and distribution format that will enable high-quality conveyance of complex image scenes.” Continue reading Immersive Digital Experience Alliance Launches at NAB 2019

Innovators, Analysts Examine New Entertainment Paradigms

At 30 Ninjas, chief executive Julina Tatlock noted that “the urge for immersion” is one of the chief disruptors that she and her partner, director Doug Liman, see in the M&E industry today. Whether it’s augmented reality, virtual reality or 360-degree imagery, she challenged the members of an NAB 2019 panel on emerging entertainment to pick the one they think will impact production in the next two years. Greenlight Insights VR/AR analyst Alexis Macklin picked all of them — plus cloud computing and AI tools. Continue reading Innovators, Analysts Examine New Entertainment Paradigms

Snapchat Now Competing in the Multiplayer Gaming Arena

Snap Inc. announced yesterday that its popular Snapchat app now features multiplayer games, starting with “Bitmoji Party” and five other titles. The move is an effort to compete in a new social space dominated by “Fortnite” in which real-time, multiplayer games also serve as online communities. Snap plans to work with game developers such as Zynga and ZeptoLab. The combination of gaming and social networking is on the rise. According to Epic Games, its “Fortnite” had 250 million players as of March, while Netflix recently suggested that it competes with “Fortnite” more than HBO. Continue reading Snapchat Now Competing in the Multiplayer Gaming Arena

Nvidia Demos New Products at Deep Learning & AI Confab

Nvidia made a number of compelling announcements at this week’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC 2019) in San Jose, California. The company unveiled its GauGAN AI image creator that uses generative adversarial networks (GANs) to turn sketches into nearly photorealistic images. As part of its cloud pursuits, the company unveiled its latest RTX server configuration that is designed for Hollywood studios and those who want to create visual content quickly (each server pod can support up to 1,280 GPUs). Nvidia also announced partnerships with 3D software makers including Adobe, Autodesk and Unity to integrate Nvidia’s RTX ray-tracing platform. Continue reading Nvidia Demos New Products at Deep Learning & AI Confab

Microsoft Closer to Consumer AR, Streaming Games Service

Magic Leap and Apple are the two technology companies currently at the forefront of augmented reality, but, behind the scenes, Microsoft has also been working on AR for years. It’s easy to discount Microsoft, since its HoloLens AR headset is squarely aimed at the enterprise sector. But the company also has its sights set on the consumer market. In addition, Microsoft has started to leak details about its upcoming Project xCloud cloud-based game streaming system. Project xCloud will enter beta testing this year. Continue reading Microsoft Closer to Consumer AR, Streaming Games Service

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