CES: Fragrance Diffusion System Has Multiple Possibilities

One of the more interesting exhibitors at CES Unveiled was Artiris Parfum, which showcased its Compoz natural fragrance diffusion system. There are a number of vendors offering necklaces and masks that emit synthetic odors for individual scent-enhanced VR and AR experiences. Paris-based Artiris Parfum offers a system that lightly diffuses customized, programmable blends of up to five all-natural fragrances into a room to create a group programmable olfactory experience. Continue reading CES: Fragrance Diffusion System Has Multiple Possibilities

OECD Aims to Regulate Where Online Companies Pay Taxes

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has devised a proposal to prevent digital giants such as Amazon, Apple and Facebook from avoiding paying taxes. The proposal, which would allow countries to tax such big multinational firms even if they did not operate there, would enable new taxes on all kinds of multinational companies — not just tech firms — that operate online. As of now, many of these digital companies avoid heavier taxes by moving profits to countries with low tax rates. Continue reading OECD Aims to Regulate Where Online Companies Pay Taxes

New Google Privacy Tools Aim to Limit Third-Party Cookies

In what could be touted as a privacy-related commitment, Google is expected to unveil new tools designed to limit the use of tracking cookies, including a dashboard-like function within its popular Chrome web browser that would give users information about where they’re being tracked and how to stop it, when desired. These tools are a product of years of internal debate, but the move could potentially strengthen Google’s lead in the digital advertising sector, while dealing a blow to other digital marketing companies.

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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

Google Ad Sales Flourish Over Small Exchanges Post-GDPR

Since the European Union’s new GDPR privacy law took effect, Google is prospering; the company has gotten individuals to sign off on targeted advertising at much higher rates than other online ad services. Because of that, Google’s DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM), a tool ad buyers use to purchase targeted online ads, is now directing more ads to its own marketplace rather than smaller ad exchanges because Google says it can’t verify that smaller firms have gotten consent of individuals who will see the ads. Continue reading Google Ad Sales Flourish Over Small Exchanges Post-GDPR

Facebook to Develop Live Video Filtering Chips for Faster AI

Facebook has used Intel CPUs for many of its artificial intelligence services, but the company is changing course to adapt to the pressing need to better filter live video content. At the Viva Technology industry conference in Paris, Facebook chief AI scientist Yann LeCun stated that the company plans to make its own chips for filtering video content, because more conventional methods suck up too much energy and compute power. Last month, Bloomberg reported that the company is building its own semiconductors. Continue reading Facebook to Develop Live Video Filtering Chips for Faster AI

Google Honors Georges Méliès Today with its First VR Doodle

If you visit the Google search page today, you’ll see what Google is describing as its first VR Doodle. Clicking it takes you to a YouTube player for a 360-degree animated short called “Back to the Moon” that celebrates French filmmaker, illusionist, and sci-fi pioneer Georges Méliès. The YouTube version is a teaser for the mobile VR experience, which is available for Cardboard and Daydream headsets via the Spotlight Stories app. While other Spotlight Stories such as “Pearl” and “Buggy Night” have been featured on YouTube in the past, the Google homepage promotion is a first. Continue reading Google Honors Georges Méliès Today with its First VR Doodle

Facebook, Google Pledge to Expand AI Investments in France

After top Google and Facebook executives met with French president Emmanuel Macron, the tech companies vowed to invest artificial intelligence resources in that country’s capital. Google will create a Paris-based AI lab focused on research into automatic learning, language and computer vision. Facebook, which already has created an AI lab in Paris, plans to double its 50-person team there by 2022 and spend 10 million euros ($12.2 million). Both companies also pledge to train that country’s citizens on digital tools. Continue reading Facebook, Google Pledge to Expand AI Investments in France

Tech Companies Plan to Open Major Data Centers Worldwide

Some of the world’s biggest technology companies — namely, Amazon, Microsoft and Google — are investing in massive data centers, dubbed hyperscale computing, to better provide services in the cloud. In that vein, Amazon just announced that it will open an immense network of data centers in Stockholm next year. According to company filings, the three companies spent $31.54 billion in 2016 alone in capital expenditures and leases, in major part linked to improving cloud offerings, which increased 22 percent from 2015. Continue reading Tech Companies Plan to Open Major Data Centers Worldwide

Valeo, Wheego to Test Autonomous Cars on California Roads

The California Department of Motor Vehicles issued permits to French auto company Valeo North America and the privately held Wheego Electric Cars to test a single autonomous vehicle with up to four operators on public roads. Another company receiving a permit was Cruise Automation, which was then acquired by General Motors for $1 billion. So far, Alphabet’s Google has driven 2 million miles in autonomous vehicles on public roads. Permits are a marker of which companies are moving forward in the new field. Continue reading Valeo, Wheego to Test Autonomous Cars on California Roads

Cannes Film Market to Feature 35 ‘Indie’ Virtual Reality Films

At this year’s Cannes film market, the digital program NEXT will include a slate of 35 virtual reality films from several countries as well as roundtable discussions and workshops, all to be presented on two VR Days, May 15 and 16. Michel Reilhac, former head of film at Arte, the Franco-German network, helped to curate the films and also directed the VR short, “Viens!” (“Come!”). Other French VR films to be shown are “Notes on Blindness: Into Darkness,” and Pierre Zandrowicz’s “I, Philip,” about Philip K. Dick. Continue reading Cannes Film Market to Feature 35 ‘Indie’ Virtual Reality Films

Twitter Withholds Data, Tensions Rise Between Police, Tech

The battle over encryption is heating up on Capitol Hill where Manhattan district attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. said his office hasn’t been able to decrypt 230 iPhones possibly containing important crime-related information. Google general counsel Kent Walker and Microsoft president Brad Smith also visited lawmakers to make the counter-argument that weakened encryption would make their technology less secure. These latest salvos are part of a battle that ignited when Apple refused to decrypt a mass-shooter’s iPhone. Continue reading Twitter Withholds Data, Tensions Rise Between Police, Tech

FBI Tries to Unlock More iPhones, Debate Continues in Europe

Since the FBI broke the encryption of the iPhone 5C belonging to terrorist Syed Rizwan Farook, most likely with the help of the Israeli office of the Japanese mobile phone security firm Cellebrite Mobile Synchronization, it has been testing the method on other iPhone versions. It will not, however, disclose the phone’s flaw or the information found on Farook’s phone. European cases regarding locked phones are heating up, with France and England considering fines for companies that don’t help crack their phones’ encryption. Continue reading FBI Tries to Unlock More iPhones, Debate Continues in Europe

Europe Divides in Battle Between Privacy, Digital Decryption

As the issue of digital encryption versus privacy roiled in the U.S. over the FBI’s demand that Apple unlock the iPhone of a mass murderer in California, recent violence in Brussels and Paris has brought those same issues to the fore in Europe. Although privacy is enshrined as a basic right in much of Europe, lawmakers in some countries are considering proposals that would give greater powers to law enforcement to access personal digital data. But privacy advocates in those same countries are fighting back. Continue reading Europe Divides in Battle Between Privacy, Digital Decryption

Immersive Journalists Talk Real-Time and Long-Form VR News

Award-winning filmmakers and video reporters Nonny de la Peña, Sandy Smolan and Ben Solomon, along with ABC News Digital executive Dan Silver, took part in a wide-ranging discussion about immersive journalism at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival this past week. Among the ideas expressed were the importance of choosing the right stories for the virtual reality medium, of telling them with filmic finesse to maintain audience interest, and of designing the role of the on-screen reporter. Noted as on the near horizon for immersive reportage were real-time streaming, interactivity, and live action capture with the aid of videogrammetry. Continue reading Immersive Journalists Talk Real-Time and Long-Form VR News

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