Investigation Opens into Possible Drone-Linked Copter Crash

The first-ever drone-related crash of an aircraft in the U.S. may have taken place last week in South Carolina. According to two helicopter pilots, a student and an instructor, a drone appeared directly in front of them, causing the instructor to take over the controllers. The helicopter’s tail hit a tree or brush, causing the crash landing, which they reported to the South Carolina Police Department. The National Transportation Safety Board is opening an investigation, according to spokesperson Chris O’Neil. Continue reading Investigation Opens into Possible Drone-Linked Copter Crash

Worldwide Ad Spending for Digital Beats TV for the First Time

For the first time, advertisers have invested more in digital ads than they did in traditional television spots. Magna, the research arm of IPG Mediabrands, reports that 2017 digital ad spending ($209 billion) represents 41 percent of the global market, while spending for TV ($178 billion) represents 35 percent. Magna predicts digital ads will reach 50 percent by 2020. According to Recode, “big TV advertisers have yet to move much of their budget over to digital, even though Facebook and Google are working hard to make that happen.” Magna expects digital spending to increase 13 percent next year, “while TV ads will grow 2.5 percent… thanks in part to one-off events like the Olympics and the U.S. mid-term elections.” Continue reading Worldwide Ad Spending for Digital Beats TV for the First Time

Amazon to Debut New Delivery Service in 37 Cities Next Month

Amazon is introducing Amazon Key, a service that, via a smart lock and a security camera, allows its couriers to unlock the consumer’s front door and drop a package inside. Similarly, Latch, a startup that makes smart locks, inked a deal this summer with Walmart online shopping site Jet.com to pay for its locks to be installed in 1,000 New York City apartment buildings. Amazon Key, which starts at $250, is a kit that includes an Amazon Cloud Cam (available separately for $120) and a Yale or Kwikset smart door lock. Continue reading Amazon to Debut New Delivery Service in 37 Cities Next Month

Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to Develop a Smart City in Toronto

Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt has always wondered what it would be like to apply all his company’s technology to a city. The company’s founders got excited about the idea, and now it’s about to become a reality. Plucked out of half a dozen proposals, Sidewalk Labs, an Alphabet subsidiary, will work with Canadian government officials and other technologists to develop 800 acres of waterfront property in Toronto, creating a potential model of the smart city and licensing its technologies to other cities. Continue reading Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs to Develop a Smart City in Toronto

DigitalOcean Provides Cloud Services for Smaller Businesses

Cloud computing startup DigitalOcean, based in New York City, is taking on industry leaders Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud by targeting smaller developers and startups. According to CEO and co-founder Ben Uretsky, DigitalOcean is offering simple and flexible solutions for smaller companies that may not necessarily need the same business-class services as larger companies. While it is not currently planning an IPO, DigitalOcean indicates it is on a $175 million annualized run rate (ARR) for this year. Continue reading DigitalOcean Provides Cloud Services for Smaller Businesses

Voice Shopping: Target Expands its Partnership With Google

Target announced that it is expanding its partnership with Google to cover a number of initiatives: consumers will be able to shop Target via Google Express home delivery (including by voice), Target’s REDcard payment card will be integrated into Google’s shopping platform, and new support for store pick-ups of purchases made through voice will be introduced. Amazon’s biggest rival Walmart announced in August that it would also team with Google for voice-based shopping efforts. The moves could help Google Home compete with Amazon’s Alexa-powered smart speakers. Continue reading Voice Shopping: Target Expands its Partnership With Google

Plans Confirmed to Merge Google Play Music, YouTube Red

At the New Music Seminar conference in New York, YouTube head of music Lyor Cohen said the company plans to create a new streaming service by merging Google Play Music and YouTube Red. “Right now, YouTube’s music ecosystem is unnecessarily complicated,” suggests The Verge. “There’s YouTube Red, which removes ads from videos and lets you save them offline, while also giving you access to Google Play Music for free. Then there’s YouTube Music, which anyone can use, but it gets better if you’re signed up for YouTube Red.” The move is meant to simplify the offerings and attract more subscribers. A date has not yet been announced. Continue reading Plans Confirmed to Merge Google Play Music, YouTube Red

Fox, Turner, Viacom Introduce OpenAP TV Ad Buying Platform

Fox Networks Group, Turner and Viacom announced the launch of OpenAP, a new Web-based platform designed to help advertisers target ads across television networks. According to The Wall Street Journal, the platform allows advertisers to “mix and match data sets to create ad targeting criteria that can be used for multiple TV buys. The move comes as the TV industry is looking to adopt some of the precision ad targeting and automation that has become standard for digital advertising.” The offering intends to resolve challenges involving transparency, consistency and standardization by serving as a centralized digital user interface that cross references data with third party sources. More details will be revealed at a New York event on April 7. Continue reading Fox, Turner, Viacom Introduce OpenAP TV Ad Buying Platform

Netflix, iPic to Simultaneously Offer Movies Online, in Theaters

Netflix is continuing its push into cinema by signing a deal with luxury theater-chain iPic Entertainment. The agreement would allow Netflix original films to screen theatrically the same day they are made available via the streaming service. Ten Netflix movies over the next year will screen in iPic theaters in New York City and Los Angeles, according to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, who indicates the deal could be extended. The agreement also includes the option for films to screen at the chain’s 13 other locations or independent theaters. Continue reading Netflix, iPic to Simultaneously Offer Movies Online, in Theaters

Live Streaming Will Get its Own Upfronts in NYC This October

“Today” show host Al Roker’s newly-formed Roker Media is teaming up with Brave Ventures to launch the “Live Fronts.” The NewFronts-style event, which will provide live-video companies with the chance to pitch to advertisers, will be held in New York City in October. Attendance will be open to “anyone in the business of live-streaming,” said Brave Ventures co-founder Jesse Rednis. Advertising Age describes the event “as a way to showcase the opportunities for marketers and content producers on platforms like Facebook Live, Periscope and YouNow, while at the same time hanging the open-for-business sign.” Continue reading Live Streaming Will Get its Own Upfronts in NYC This October

The VOID Debuts its First Mixed Reality Attraction in New York

The VOID has opened its “Ghostbusters”-themed experience inside Madame Tussauds wax museum in Times Square. “For $50, visitors can strap on a VR headset and a backpack computer fashioned into a ‘Ghostbusters’ proton pack, pick up a matching gun-shaped plastic prop, and act out a cinematic fantasy in real life,” explains The Verge, which describes “Ghostbusters: Dimension” as “stunningly intricate.” The experience utilizes tracking markers to create full-body avatars of guests and haptic feedback to add unique physical sensations. As Road to VR notes, its success “has something to do with its ‘4D’ components (e.g., the Slimer-cued mist, mock-rickety platforms, the vibrating vest)” and “the user engagement prompted by walking around in and interfacing with a semi-real virtual space.” Continue reading The VOID Debuts its First Mixed Reality Attraction in New York

Magic Leap and ILMxLAB Plan to Make ‘Star Wars’ Immersive

Magic Leap and Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB have partnered to develop “Star Wars”-related content for the former’s technology. Because Magic Leap has kept its mixed reality developments under wraps, neither company would reveal details about specific experiences that would result from the partnership. But Magic Leap founder Rony Abovitz, at the WIRED Business Conference in New York City last week, did show a teaser that showed two iconic “Star Wars” characters, computer-generated but very real looking, interacting with participants. Continue reading Magic Leap and ILMxLAB Plan to Make ‘Star Wars’ Immersive

Time Inc. and Wochit Partner to Help Publishers Create Videos

Time Inc., which purchased ad tech network and Myspace owner Viant earlier this year, is planning to publish 40,000 pieces of video content in 2016. To help achieve this ambitious goal, Time has partnered with New York City-based Wochit, a startup that helps online publishers produce short videos. Wochit provides pre-licensed content, editing tools and publishing options for social media and mobile platforms. The service analyzes article text and finds related graphics, photos and videos to build a video. Publishers can then add voice-over, music and more. Continue reading Time Inc. and Wochit Partner to Help Publishers Create Videos

Open-Source Startups and VCs Craft a New Model for Success

Today’s open-source software startups are trying a new tack to gain adoption, after the first generation mainly failed to successfully launch. That first generation sold services to support technology widely available on the Internet, but very few of them — Red Hat, with its $2 billion in annual revenue is one exception — were able to scale up. The new approach involves providing free software to users, followed by proprietary products that work with that software; VC firm Accel Partners is now funding some of these companies. Continue reading Open-Source Startups and VCs Craft a New Model for Success

‘Ghostbusters’ VR Experience Coming to Times Square in July

The VOID (Vision of Infinite Dimensions), a virtual reality theme park in Utah, is launching a new VR experience in NYC’s Times Square in partnership with Sony Pictures, for the studio’s new “Ghostbusters” film. Opening up small-scale versions of its Utah park is part of the company’s business plan, along with creating its own content and immersive versions of films and video games. In Utah’s park, attendees wear a haptic suit that tracks their movements and a VR headset, powered by a supercomputer backpack that allows untethered walking. Continue reading ‘Ghostbusters’ VR Experience Coming to Times Square in July

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