Music Recognition App Shazam Taps into Augmented Reality

Shazam has introduced a new augmented reality platform that will let brands connect with users of the popular music recognition app. The Shazam app also has visual recognition technology, so users can scan objects and packaging. Now, when users scan mini Shazam codes on products, the app will open interactive content such as games, animations and product visualizations. Starting next month, Shazam is bringing the AR technology to its existing user base that numbers in the millions. Continue reading Music Recognition App Shazam Taps into Augmented Reality

Snap Opens Online Store for Spectacles and Readies its IPO

Snap Inc. will open the doors to a new online store dedicated to expanding sales of its connected sunglasses. Spectacles.com launches just as the company’s New York City pop-up store closes, and anyone in the U.S. can buy a pair of Spectacles, priced at $130. At the same time, Snap’s founders will start marketing its upcoming IPO to mutual funds and hedge funds in London. Snap released Spectacles, its first hardware product, before filing for its IPO. They were initially sold in a handful of vending machines. Continue reading Snap Opens Online Store for Spectacles and Readies its IPO

HPA Tech Retreat: NEC Exec Details Progress of 8K Broadcast

Yesterday during the HPA Tech Retreat, NEC Corporation executive engineer Dr. Masayuki Sugawara, who chairs the digital broadcasting experts group (DiBEG) and is vice president of the Institute of Image Information and Television Engineers (ITE), described the world’s first 8K regular broadcast. In Japan, the broadcast starts at 10:00 am and is transmitted all over the country for seven hours via satellite. “It’s in the test phase, aimed at moving to a commercial phase next year,” said Sugawara, who notes that NHK had its first public demonstration of 8K in 2002.
Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: NEC Exec Details Progress of 8K Broadcast

The Machine: HPE Prototype Intros New Computing Paradigm

At Discover 2016 in London this week, Hewlett Packard Enterprise revealed its early version of a working prototype for The Machine, which began as a research project in 2014. The prototype, in a Fort Collins, Colorado lab, tests the design that will soon be available to programmers to create software to exploit its capabilities. The Machine relies on memory technology to increase calculating speed, and will require a new kind of memory chip unlikely to be widely available before 2018 at the earliest. Continue reading The Machine: HPE Prototype Intros New Computing Paradigm

Amazon’s Reach in Online Retail Much Bigger Than Estimated

Amazon accounts for 15 percent of U.S. consumer online shares, according to the Department of Commerce. But Amazon’s actual reach in the retail market may be as much as double that due to an undetermined volume of sales transacted with third parties. Just as Walmart destroyed many smaller retailers, so may Amazon’s massive reach have an even greater disruptive impact. The comparison is apt because Amazon is now building pickup locations for groceries in Seattle that could open by the end of 2016. Continue reading Amazon’s Reach in Online Retail Much Bigger Than Estimated

Google Launches Jump Camera Rig and 3D Video Assembler

In fall 2014, Google began developing a project it just unveiled: the Jump 3D video capture and production platform for virtual reality. Just as the newly released Daydream View makes the VR headset affordable, with Jump, the company hopes to make VR production both less expensive and, with 3D, more immersive. Although 3D has lost popularity, its use for virtual reality creates more of a “you are there” experience by emulating the way human vision works. Most 360-degree videos are currently still shot in 2D. Continue reading Google Launches Jump Camera Rig and 3D Video Assembler

Facebook Debuts Workplace After Two Years of Development

After two years of development and testing in London, Facebook rolled out Workplace by Facebook, modeled after the company’s internal network and aimed at the corporate environment. Workplace by Facebook (formerly Facebook at Work) allows workers, even in different companies, to communicate and collaborate, for a monthly fee of $1 to $3 per user. By entering the enterprise communication space, Facebook will compete with Slack, Microsoft’s Yammer (accessible via Office 365), and Jive Software’s Jive among other solutions. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Workplace After Two Years of Development

Facebook at Work Enters Crowded Field But Offers Familiarity

Facebook at Work will be unveiled in London on October 10, marking the first time that Facebook has launched a global product outside of the U.S. The work “conversation” platform was developed in Facebook’s London office, and some major European companies — including Telenor and the Royal Bank of Scotland — took part in the closed beta. Facebook vice president of EMEA Nicola Mendelsohn will lead the event, with other Facebook leaders and “special guests” in attendance, although it’s not clear if Mark Zuckerberg will be there. Continue reading Facebook at Work Enters Crowded Field But Offers Familiarity

Equinix Offers AWS Direct Connect Cloud Service via LA Hub

With Amazon Web Services Direct Connect now available in Equinix’s Los Angeles data centers, the company has bumped up its number of metros offering the AWS cloud service to 12 (five of which are located in North America). Direct Connect enables companies to safely integrate their infrastructure with public cloud services to benefit performance, network consistency and overall costs. The Equinix LA campus features four IBX data centers connected via Metro Connect, providing a scalable and secure system for digital content and entertainment companies. Continue reading Equinix Offers AWS Direct Connect Cloud Service via LA Hub

Drivetribe: Fox Invests in Digital Platform for Auto Enthusiasts

21st Century Fox just invested $6.5 million in the London-based Drivetribe, a new digital media platform for car fans. This comes two weeks after early Facebook investor Jim Breyer and venture capital fund Atomico, led by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom, invested $5.5 million. Entrepreneur Ernesto Schmitt, former “Top Gear” hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, and the show’s former executive producer Andy Wilman are the creators behind Drivetribe, which launches in November. Continue reading Drivetribe: Fox Invests in Digital Platform for Auto Enthusiasts

NBC’s Live Streaming of Rio Olympics Tops 1 Billion Minutes

NBC Olympics’ live streaming of the Summer Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro reached 1.05 billion minutes on Wednesday, marking the first time the milestone has been achieved for an Olympics. According to the press release, “live streaming via NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app is up 232 percent from the equivalent day in London.” The day before, live streaming from Rio surpassed that for the entire London Games. “The 2016 Rio Olympics is the first in U.S. media history with primetime Olympic coverage on channels other than the primary broadcast network,” notes the release. “It is also the first time that the broadcast network coverage, including primetime, has been streamed simultaneously on digital platforms.” Continue reading NBC’s Live Streaming of Rio Olympics Tops 1 Billion Minutes

ILMxLAB Debuts ‘Tatooine’ VR, Develops Darth Vader Projects

Darth Vader is the star of an upcoming Lucasfilm virtual reality project centered on “Star Wars.” Although the project is largely undefined at this point — it has no name, genre, or release date — what we do know is that the story will both reveal new details about Darth Vader’s background and try out some innovative storytelling techniques. Lucasfilm’s ILMxLAB, which accesses award-winning VFX facility Industrial Light & Magic, Skywalker Sound and the “Star Wars” story group, is developing the project. Continue reading ILMxLAB Debuts ‘Tatooine’ VR, Develops Darth Vader Projects

Global Markets React to UK’s Decision to Exit European Union

British voters cast their ballots yesterday regarding the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum, and surprising to many, the country has opted to exit the European Union. Shortly after the results were announced, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would resign his position later this year, while leaders in Northern Ireland and Scotland have indicated they will seek independence referendums in order to reenter the EU. The immediate response has been a dramatic ripple effect in markets worldwide with expectations for future uncertainty and potential crises. The tech industry, which often benefits from the EU’s liberal trade and economic policies, will likely be impacted. Continue reading Global Markets React to UK’s Decision to Exit European Union

Twitter Eyes Machine Learning with Acquisition of Magic Pony

Twitter announced it is acquiring London-based artificial intelligence startup Magic Pony Technology to help provide a professional polish to tweeted live videos. The social giant reportedly paid about $150 million to purchase Magic Pony. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said he was buying the company “so Twitter can continue to be the best place to see what’s happening and why it matters, first.” Twitter has been emphasizing video in recent months, and machine learning is “increasingly at the core of everything we build,” said Dorsey. In addition to using machine learning, “Magic Pony’s technology uses artificial intelligence for visual effects,” notes Bloomberg. “It can be used to clean up pixelated images or create new images” and “to improve video streaming.” Continue reading Twitter Eyes Machine Learning with Acquisition of Magic Pony

YouTube Supports Live Streaming 360 Video and Spatial Audio

YouTube has begun supporting 360-degree live streaming video and spatial audio. Google has supported 360-degree video since last year and spatial audio in the Cardboard since January via the company’s VR platform. This announcement broadens that support to the main YouTube platform. For YouTube creators, all that’s required is a camera that captures 360 video. From the end-user perspective, there’s no extra technology or headsets required to watch 360-degree live streams. The videos will play on any device, including desktop, tablet, iOS and Android. Continue reading YouTube Supports Live Streaming 360 Video and Spatial Audio

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