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

ByteDance Buys Startup Pico, Virtual Reality Headset Maker

TikTok parent company ByteDance has acquired startup Pico, which, according to IDC, was the third largest virtual reality headset manufacturer worldwide in Q1 2021, with shipments growing 44.7. percent year-over-year. The purchase marks ByteDance’s first step into virtual reality and the company said that Pico’s “comprehensive suite of software and hardware technologies, as well as the talent and deep expertise of the team, will support both our entry to the VR space and long-term investment in this emerging field.” Continue reading ByteDance Buys Startup Pico, Virtual Reality Headset Maker

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

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

HTC Vive Pro 2: 5K 120Hz VR for Enterprise, Serious Gamers

The recently launched HTC Vive Pro 2 VR headset offers a sharp 5K 120Hz desktop virtual reality experience. Priced at $1,399 for the entire package — and $799 for the headset alone (for those who invested previously in the Vive Pro or Valve Index) — the Vive Pro 2 retains the same design as the 2018 model and relies on older controllers but offers a wide range of attractive features for gamers. The 2,448 x 2,448 pixels per eye is a dramatic improvement over the previous Pro’s 1,440 x 1,600 pixels, which also offered a slower 90Hz refresh rate. Its LCDs also have RGB sub-pixels for increased sharpness. Continue reading HTC Vive Pro 2: 5K 120Hz VR for Enterprise, Serious Gamers

New Netflix Hire Signals the Service’s Push into Video Games

As part of its plan to expand into gaming, video streamer Netflix has hired former Electronic Arts and Facebook executive Mike Verdu as its vice president of game development. At Facebook, Verdu worked with developers to bring virtual reality games and other content to Oculus headsets. At Netflix, Verdu will report to chief operating officer Greg Peters and is mandated with bringing video games to the Netflix platform within the next year. Sources said that Netflix does not plan on charging subscribers extra for gaming content. Continue reading New Netflix Hire Signals the Service’s Push into Video Games

Cinematic and Narrative Virtual Reality Tech Moving Forward

At the Cannes Film Festival’s XR program, VeeR co-founder Jingshu Chen delivered a keynote on monetization of virtual reality, in which she referred to Gartner’s well-known Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies. She pointed out that Facebook’s 2014 acquisition of Oculus sparked the “peak of inflated expectations,” followed by a downhill path to the “trough of disillusionment” beginning in 2017, when headset sales slumped and some VR companies pulled back. Now, she said, we could be on the upward “slope of enlightenment.” Continue reading Cinematic and Narrative Virtual Reality Tech Moving Forward

Illuminarium to Launch ‘Wild’ Immersive Experience in Atlanta

On July 1, experiential entertainment company Illuminarium Experiences will open its first location in Atlanta, Georgia, offering “Wild,” a virtual safari shot by RadicalMedia. The company’s immersive entertainment is intended to offer a kind of virtual reality — but without the clunky headsets. Instead, visitors walk through exhibits with 4K video on giant screens, spatial sound systems, haptic flooring and other interactive features including scent. Tickets for “Wild,” at $35, give the visitor an hour to walk through an 8,000-square-foot room. Continue reading Illuminarium to Launch ‘Wild’ Immersive Experience in Atlanta

Baylor University 6P Color Project Reveals Business Strategy

Baylor University’s Film & Digital Media Department just introduced a proposed multi-primary color system, dubbed 6P Color. Led by professors Corey Carbonara and Michael Korpi, the core team also includes cinematographer Steven Poster, ASC; Gary Mandle, Jim DeFilippis, Gary Feather and Dr. Mitch Bogdanowicz. On June 3, the team made their case — via streaming platform SMPTE+ — on why the standard RGB three-color triangle would benefit by the addition of new primaries. Baylor University also has a business plan for making the idea a reality. Continue reading Baylor University 6P Color Project Reveals Business Strategy

Esports and VR Games Expected to Benefit from 5G Speeds

Video game competitions played before live and online audiences, known as eSports, has become a booming market, and 5G is poised to ramp up its popularity. Among Big Tech companies, Intel and Ericsson stated that 5G will increase the realism of game imagery and action and potentially allow more players from different venues to compete in a single event. Virtual reality games will also benefit from 5G’s dramatically increased speeds and will permit lighter form-factors than today’s bulky backpacks stuffed with computers. Continue reading Esports and VR Games Expected to Benefit from 5G Speeds

OpenAI and Microsoft Introduce $100 Million AI Startup Fund

OpenAI unveiled a $100 million OpenAI Startup Fund to fund early-stage companies pursuing ways that AI can have a “transformative” impact on healthcare, education, climate change and other fields. OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman said the Fund will make “big, early bets” on no more than 10 such companies. OpenAI, with funding from Microsoft and others, will manage the Fund. Selected projects will get “early access” to future OpenAI systems, support from OpenAI’s team and credits for Microsoft Azure. Continue reading OpenAI and Microsoft Introduce $100 Million AI Startup Fund

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

HTC Vive Targeting Enterprise Market with New VR Headsets

At ViveCon 2021, HTC debuted two new Vive virtual reality headsets, the HTC Vive Pro 2, which connects to the PC, and the standalone HTC Vive Focus 3. The company, which teamed with Valve to make its first Vive headset in 2015, has seen the VR business explode in numerous markets served by its Vive Pro and Vive Focus, aimed at enterprise markets and debuting in 2018.  The new headsets feature 5K resolution, a 120-degree field of view and RGB sub-pixels. The Vive Pro 2 will go on sale June 4 and Vive Focus 3 on June 27. Continue reading HTC Vive Targeting Enterprise Market with New VR Headsets

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

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

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