Dish Adds IBM to Tech Arsenal in 5G Wireless Cloud Buildout

Dish Network has contracted IBM to help automate its new 5G smart network, which will largely target enterprise clients. The deal supports Dish’s goal of becoming the first cloud-native, OpenRAN-based 5G network in the U.S. IBM will provide “AI-powered automation and network orchestration software and services to bring broad 5G network orchestration to Dish’s business and operations platforms,” the companies jointly announced. Dish has spent the past few years acquiring 5G spectrum as part a transition from satellite TV provider to major player in the broadband wireless services space. Continue reading Dish Adds IBM to Tech Arsenal in 5G Wireless Cloud Buildout

Facebook and Ray-Ban Team Up on Next-Gen Smart Glasses

Facebook and Luxottica Group’s luxury sunglass manufacturer Ray-Ban unveiled new smart glasses that enable the user to record via cameras hidden in the frame. The Ray-Ban glasses — priced at $299 — are based on the classic Wayfarer model, with the addition of a very small recording light, two 5-megapixel cameras, three microphones and four gigabytes of storage. The glasses, which will come in 20 style combinations and either clear or prescription lenses, are powered by Facebook technology. Both Facebook and Ray-Ban parent Luxottica stated that, “privacy is built into the product.” Continue reading Facebook and Ray-Ban Team Up on Next-Gen Smart Glasses

Facebook Steps into Workplace VR with Horizon Workrooms

During the COVID-19 pandemic, IDC reported that Facebook sold more Oculus Quest 2 VR headsets than before. Now Facebook offers Quest 2 owners Horizon Workrooms, a free VR service that offers virtual meeting rooms. Users can participate with a customized cartoon avatar and the room offers virtual white boards for drawing and writing, a step towards what chief executive Mark Zuckerberg dubs the “mixed-reality future” for its 3.5 billion users. Zuckerberg introduced Workrooms in VR with employees and reporters in attendance. Continue reading Facebook Steps into Workplace VR with Horizon Workrooms

NEP Acquires Companies to Open Virtual Production Division

NEP Group is buying three companies in order to offer virtual production (VP) services for films, TV and interactive exhibits. Prysm Collective, Lux Machina and Halon Entertainment will form NEP Virtual Studios, a new division that, says NEP Group chief strategy officer Carrie Galvin, will be “a technical and creative services partner for content creators around the globe.” She added that NEP’s existing virtual production tools “start at the creative stage” and include special effects, augmented reality, and LED stages. Continue reading NEP Acquires Companies to Open Virtual Production Division

Facebook Posts Strong Earnings, Plans Its Metaverse Future

In Q2 2021, social giant Facebook’s profit doubled from a year earlier to $10.39 billion and revenue rose 56 percent to $29.08 billion, both numbers beating Wall Street expectations. Shares fell 3+ percent in after-hours trading, however, when Facebook predicted that revenue growth will slow for the rest of the year. Through the end of Q2, its stock has grown 22 percent. The company also said that Apple’s privacy changes in the new iOS will have a stronger impact in the current quarter as more users update their iOS devices. Meanwhile, Facebook continues to eye its metaverse future. Continue reading Facebook Posts Strong Earnings, Plans Its Metaverse Future

AT&T Debuts 5G Partnerships at WarnerMedia Innovation Lab

Having racked up 250 million 5G customers and removed data caps from its premium unlimited plan, AT&T doubled down on a 5G future with announcements of new partnerships. “We’re at the cusp of a decade of 5G… and we’ve been working up to this point for a long time getting all of the parts in place,” said AT&T vice president and general manager David Christopher. In the process of building out its 5G ecosystem, AT&T now sells mostly 5G-enabled phones, and Christopher said the pace of adoption has quickened. Continue reading AT&T Debuts 5G Partnerships at WarnerMedia Innovation Lab

Facebook F8 Event Highlights Tools for Developer Community

At Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg stated that the company would “refocus” on the developer community by spotlighting technologies that “enable developers and businesses to build and grow” on its platforms. The company announced, for example, that the Messenger API for Instagram is now available to all developers. It’s also adding third-party tools to its Facebook Business Suite, which was launched last year. Going forward, PyTorch will be Facebook’s default AI platform.

Continue reading Facebook F8 Event Highlights Tools for Developer Community

Apple Still Leads Wearables Market, Small Rivals Fuel Growth

IDC reported that 100+ million wearables — including smartwatches, fitness trackers and AR glasses — shipped in Q1, a record-breaking number, especially in what tends to be a slow period. Q2 this year has also seen a 34.4 percent increase in sales year-over-year. The research firm revealed that Apple leads the sector, with a market share of 28.8 percent, followed by Samsung at 11.3 percent, Xiaomi at 9.7 percent and Huawei at 8.2 percent. After that, the next player is India’s boAt, which has a market share of 2.9 percent. Continue reading Apple Still Leads Wearables Market, Small Rivals Fuel Growth

Snap Unveils New AR Features for Advertisers, Pushing Trend

COVID-19 drove consumers to online shopping, with eMarketer reporting that global e-commerce sales grew to $4.28 trillion in 2020, from $3.35 trillion the previous year. Many advertisers shifted spending to social media platforms, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, which said that such ad revenue grew 16.3 percent to $41.5 billion last year and represented almost one-third of all digital advertising. Now Snap, Facebook, Pinterest and TikTok have debuted ads that use augmented reality to market products. Continue reading Snap Unveils New AR Features for Advertisers, Pushing Trend

ETC Executive Coffee: Disney on Immersive Media Storytelling

Disney executives met virtually with USC students on April 7 for the fourth installment in ETC@USC’s Spring 2021 Executive Coffee with… series. Mark Mine, director of the Technology Innovation Group at The Walt Disney Studios, along with his Disney colleague Daniel Baker, senior producer of technology innovation – interactive experiences, engaged a group of nine USC students in a one-hour discussion on “The Future of Immersive Media Storytelling.” They discussed the “aura” of effective immersive media, the balance between game elements and narrative elements, the use of light and shadow for user interface and user experience design, and the importance of navigation. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Disney on Immersive Media Storytelling

Snap Introduces Augmented Reality Spectacles for Creators

During last week’s Snap Partner Summit 2021, Snap showcased Spectacles, a new augmented reality version of its glasses that is not yet commercially available. Instead, the goal is to inspire creators to design new augmented reality experiences, with the aim of capitalizing on e-commerce. The company also updated the Scan feature, which, in concert with partners, allows use of the camera to identify everything from plants to dog breeds and car models. Chief executive Evan Spiegel said the moves are “a meaningful step forward in our platform strategy.” Continue reading Snap Introduces Augmented Reality Spectacles for Creators

ETC Executive Coffee: Verizon on the Future of Entertainment

To kick off ETC@USC’s five-part Spring 2021 Executive Coffee with… series, Serhad Doken, executive, innovation and product realization at Verizon, led a Zoom discussion on March 15. “Expectations for the Future of Entertainment and UI/UX design” was the framing question for a wide-ranging discussion. Six students from USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, Viterbi School of Engineering, and the Iovine and Young Academy participated. Topics included user experience expectations, VR and 5G, “gaming” the algorithm, recommendations versus serendipity, artists earning a living, and what experiences have yet to be adopted. Continue reading ETC Executive Coffee: Verizon on the Future of Entertainment

Facebook Advertising Revenue Soared in the Latest Quarter

Facebook’s advertising revenue rose 46 percent in the last quarter compared year-over-year, to $25.44 billion, and its profit almost doubled to $9.5 billion or $3.30 per share. That growth may not continue now that Apple is allowing users to opt out of being tracked by apps. Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said the company has been preparing for Apple’s new rule. Facebook expects revenue to slow in Q3 and Q4, even as its shares rose 6 percent in after-hours trading, a gain of 16 percent over the past three months. Continue reading Facebook Advertising Revenue Soared in the Latest Quarter

Hardware Demand Results in a Successful Quarter for Apple

Apple’s last fiscal quarter brought in a profit of $23.6 billion, with analysts predicting the year’s total profit will exceed $70 billion, almost one-third more than last year. Revenue also surpassed Wall Street estimates, up 54 percent to $89.6 billion. Apple announced a 7 percent increase to its cash dividend to 22 cents per share; the board authorized an increase of $90 billion to an existing share-repurchase program. Strong consumer demand for the iPhone 12, Mac computers and iPads is responsible for the results. Continue reading Hardware Demand Results in a Successful Quarter for Apple

Apple’s First 2021 Product Launch Highlights Use of M1 Chip

Apple’s 2021 “Spring Loaded” product launch this week included a new iMac, an updated iPad Pro with 5G and the company’s M1 chip, an AirTag lost-device tracking device, a refreshed Apple TV 4K with a new remote, and a purple iPhone. Apple shares fell 2 percent after the event. Previous iPad Pros used A-series chips, that power the company’s iPhones; the M1 chip in the high-end iPad Pros are used in its Mac computers. The 12.9-inch iPad Pro also offers an improved USB-C connector for high-res monitors and faster camera downloads. Continue reading Apple’s First 2021 Product Launch Highlights Use of M1 Chip

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