Displaying items by tag: AR

Social networking colossus Facebook has announced that it is attempting to make a ‘technical ‘breakthrough in relation to developing and manufacturing futuristic ‘smart glasses’ specifically designed to allow you see to see virtual objects in the real world.

It has emerged that Facebook published a patent application for a ‘waveguide display with two-dimensional scanner’ which was compiled by three members of its advanced research division of Facebook’s VR subsidiary Oculus.

It has been reported that the display may augment views of a physical, real-world environment with computer generated elements. In addition to this, the patent filing also suggested that the display being developed may be included in an eye-wear comprising a frame and a display assembly yhat presents media to a user’s eyes.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has previously expressed his belief that virtual and augmented reality - represents the next major computing platform which is capable of replacing smartphones and traditional PCs. Facebook acquired Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion and has announced its intentions to continue to invest billions on developing more revolutionary technology.

The ‘smart glasses’ currently being developed by Oculus will use a waveguide display in order to project light onto the wearer’s eyes instead of a more traditional display. However, it has also been claimed that the ‘smart glasses’ would be able to display images, video and be compatible with connected speakers or headphones to play audio when worn.

Facebook has thus far declined to comment on the patent application, but analysts have suggested that the social networking firm have adopted a similar approach to Microsoft, when they launched its HoloLens AR headset. Oculus’s ‘smart glasses’ have also drawn comparisons with glasses being developed by Google start-up Magic Leap.

Interestingly, one of the lead authors of Facebook’s patent application is optical scientist Pasi Saarikko who joined Facebook two years ago, after he spearheaded the optical design of HoloLens at Microsoft. However, despite the announcement being made in relation to work commencing on Facebook’s ‘smart glasses’, analysts have claimed don’t expect to see the device anytime soon.

Chief scientist of Oculus, Michael Abrash said AR glasses won’t start replacing smartphones until 2022. He said, “20 or 30 years from now, I predict that instead of carrying stylish smartphones everywhere, we’ll wear stylish glasses. Those glasses will offer VR, AR and everything in between, and we’ll use them all day.”

Published in Gadget

Social networking colossus Facebook has seen its shares soar to a record high after it disclosed the financial results of its second quarter, which revealed that its mobile advertising business has grown by a staggering 50%. The results reaffirm the view that Facebook is now the venue of choice for an ever-increasing amount of online advertisers.

Facebook owns four of the most popular mobile services in the world, and it has seen it shares rise by more than 4% to $173 following after-trading on the Wall Street Stock Exchange. However, overall Facebook’s stock price has climbed to almost 44% this year.

Facebook has been adding more and more advertising into its Facebook News Feed, but that has become condensed, whilst it has also added adverts to its photo-sharing app Instagram, which has more than 700 million users. Facebook currently has over 2 billion users worldwide.
Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that he plans to monetize its two messaging services Messenger and WhatsApp, which combined have more than 1 billion users each. Zuckerberg has expressed his desire to see the company move faster on this aim, but claimed he is confident they will get it right in the long-term.

Facebook also continues to accelerate its push into video, the social networking giant has identified this as an opportunity to win advertising spend from the TV industry, as more and more people spend their time consuming news and video content on its platform. Facebook is expected to launch a new video service that will include scripted shows, which is a sharp change of strategy from an organization which is founded on user-generated content.

Zuckerberg has previously stated that he firmly believes that video represents the future of Facebook’s business over the next 2-3 years. Facebook has officially confirmed that its total revenue rose form 44.8% to $9.32 billion in the second quarter of the year, which beat the average forecast of the $9.20 billion predicted by financial analysts. Facebook enjoyed incredible growth in mobile advertising, which has increased to nearly $8 billion.

Facebook Chief Financial Officer, David Wehner, expressed his delight at the financial results, and claimed that he expected to see Facebook continue to grow its mobile advertising capacity. He said: “In mobile we're continuing to see great strengths. We're seeing more and more ad dollars getting allocated to mobile, and we think that trend will continue."

Published in Finance

SK Telecom CTO, Alex Jinsung Choi, has claimed that whilst AI (Artificial Intelligence) will undoubtedly play a critical role in enhancing 5G networks – the technology itself still has a long way to go. SK Telecom’s CTO was speaking ahead of a VR and AR summit at Mobile World Congress Shanghai. (MWCS 2017)

According to Choi, AI will become a natural part of a consumers daily life, but did expresses his fears that it still has a considerable way to go before it’s in a position to be commercially deployed on a large scale. However, he did concede that he feels that AI technology does have the capabilities to ‘transform our lives’ by realizing things beyond our imaginations.

Choi said, “Although AI is being talked about a lot recently, it still has a long way to go. However, it is clear the pace of AI development and advancement will be accelerated thanks to the rapid development of related software and hardware technologies. As a result, AI will be used in many more areas to become a natural part of our daily lives.”

The consumer applications of AI continue to dominate the discussion at ICT industry exhibitions and tradeshows. However, Choi believes that AI represents great potential for mobile operators to utilize the technology to enhance the performance of forthcoming 5G networks.

He said, “Mobile networks have grown in complexity as they evolved from 2G to 3G, then to 4G. In the era of 5G the networks will become even more complex due to the use of diverse mobile technologies and massive cells. Also, the number of services, applications and devices it must support will grow explosively. AI will play a crucial role in operating these 5G networks in a stable and efficient manner.

Published in Telecom Operators

SK Telecom successfully showcased its AR·VR platform - 'T Real VR Studio' at Google I/O 2017, held in Mountain View, California from May 17 to 19.'T Real VR Studio' is an integrated AR VR service platform utilized in multiple VR platforms including Daydream, Google's VR platform. SK Telecom has interlocked 'T real', its AR VR service platform, with Google Daydream to provide opportunities for all to easily create, share, and play the virtual content.

The highlighted functions of 'T Real VR Studio' include: VR content creation in a mobile environment, Voxel-based 3D model creation and editing, multi-user content creation and, VR virtual camera playback and recording.

SK Telecom explained that the most distinctive feature of 'T Real VR Studio' is the easy accessibility to VR content creation. 'T Real VR Studio' provides voxel-based modeling functions optimized for mobile VR controllers, building a simplified content creating environment that does not require professional knowledge. The created content is uploaded to the cloud and automatically converted to specialized 3D format (obj or Unity Scene format), and later can be modified and reloaded by professional tools such as 3D Max or Unity.

As VR content creation requires high level of technical expertise, it was originally limited to professional designers and developers, and was passively consumed by users. Now, with 'T Real VR Studio,' all users including amateurs can create and share VR content in an easy and flexible manner.

In addition, 'T Real VR Studio' works together with Tango, Google's AR platform/device. VR content created in 'T Real VR Studio' can be utilized as AR content when played in Tango. It can also be extended to other VR platforms such as Gear VR, Oculus, and HTC Vive.

SK Telecom sees great potential of VR technology and believes that inexhaustible VR content will potentially appear in various application areas such as gaming, education, construction, and marketing with the advent of 'T Real VR Studio'.

For example, the platform may help to create a block game for children which they can play at home, or an architectural simulation program to design a new city and forecast diverse situations by arranging various buildings and facilities. Furthermore, it can even design program that helps to make better design plan by reorganizing internal and external structure of the machine parts materialized in 3D.

"To popularize VR, it is essential to enrich the VR content used in educational and industrial fields in addition to consumption-based content for gaming and entertainment', says Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO of SK Telecom. "As 'T Real VR Studio' allows concurrent multi-user access to produce and modify VR content, we at SK Telecom are expecting an innovative change in the VR environment, leading to a 5G era that enables ultra-high speed and ultra-low latency transmission of massive data", he added.

SK Telecom has been involved in AR·VR technology development since 2010. The company released an AR platform 'T-AR' in 2014, and extended to 'T Real' as total AR/VR platform in 2016. Regarding T real, the company is providing Soft Development Kit (SDK) to developers at no charge. SK Telecom is also actively cooperating with partners such as Leap Motion and Inuitive in developing manipulation technology for virtual content, such as gesture recognition and tracking based on 3D depth sensor. As part of the AR·VR projects, SK Telecom has demonstrated 'T-AR for Project Tango' in collaboration with Tango, Google's AR platform, at Google I/O 2015.

Published in Gadget

Pokémon Go gripped the world’s attention this year, becoming a cultural landmark for the augmented reality (AR) gaming market. The gaming app is a collaboration between The Pokémon Company and Niantic Labs. Unfortunately, despite Pokémon Go’s mega recent success, comprehensive data analysis by the group Axiom Capital Management suggests that its popularity is officially on the decline.

Axiom gathered data from several sources and released graphs depicted its research, resulting in what some reports say should have Nintendo “shaking in its boots”. The Japanese gaming giant was experiencing a major low-point at the beginning of this year, but the launch of Pokémon Go resulted in massive growth for the company at an extraordinarily fast pace. The new data analysis released by Axiom however, shows that Nintendo could see Pokémon Go decline just as fast as it became a hit.

A graph released by Axiom displays the number of active users of the Pokémon Go app across the world. As you can see in the diagram, the number of active users is steadily decreasing, after its peak in late July. Because of the mass popularity of the app when it was first released, just about everyone downloaded the app to try it out. Now Nintendo’s biggest challenge is finding new people to download the app.

Another graph provided by Axiom shows that daily engagement with the Pokémon Go app is also declining steadily. Augmented reality has always sat below virtual reality in terms of popularity, until Pokémon Go was launched this year and boosted AR to almost the same level of popularity as VR. But now that Pokémon Go’s popularity has declined, VR is once again proving its dominance over AR according to the Axiom graph.

Published in Apps

Virtual Reality: The next big thing in content consumption

Written on Monday, 01 August 2016 08:03

The explosion of video consumption and the different ways that people now view content has caused internet traffic to grow exponentially. Think phones are a big part of our digital life. Virtual and augmented reality will be even bigger; a key player in the tech industry. It’s the next big thing in content consumption that will be used in all manner of activities, not just games.

“It’s going to be huge... It has the opportunity to eclipse the smartphone market,” said Clive Downie, chief marketing officer of Unity Technologies, whose software is used to build thousands of games on phones, personal computers and game consoles. “VR and AR will be the next in a series of technologies - electricity, radio, movies, TV, smartphones - that profoundly changes everything we do,” he said.

Virtual reality presents a computer-generated 3D world to people wearing special goggles that track head motion to offer an immersive artificial realm. Augmented reality is related, but adds a virtual layer atop a view of the real world. Both require you to buy high powered, expensive computing equipment and burden your head with awkward gear, but computing giants like Google, Facebook, Samsung and Microsoft are scrambling to improve the technology so they’ll be at the center of the next stage of digital living.

What makes the development of virtual reality worthwhile?  The potential entertainment value is clear. Immersive films and video games are good examples. The entertainment industry is, after all, a multi-billion dollar one and consumers are always keen for novelty. VR has many more applications which include architecture, sports, medicine, art and entertainment.

Moreover, virtual reality can lead to new and exciting discoveries in these areas with the capacity to impact our day-to-day lives. Wherever it’s too dangerous, expensive or impractical to do something in reality, virtual reality is the answer. From trainee fighter pilots to medical applications as trainee surgeons, virtual reality allows us to take virtual risks in order to gain real world experience. As the cost of virtual reality goes down and becomes more mainstream, you can expect more serious uses, such as education or productivity applications to emerge. Virtual and augmented reality could change the way we interface with our digital technologies, continuing the trend of humanizing technology.

When it first started, initial attempts at VR failed to take off, with the Virtual Boy headset by Nintendo, for example, discontinued after one year following an influx of customer complaints. However, where Virtual Boy failed, many more are now gaining momentum. In fact, a report by CCS Insight predicts that augmented and VR hardware will become a $4 billion market by 2018, increasing from 2.2 million shipments to 20 million in the next three years.

Understandably, VR is a concept that many people are extremely excited about, and when VR is done right, it can create incredible results. One of the most exciting areas that VR presents for content creators is shared experiences such as the Eve: Valkyrie game due to ship with Oculus Rift. Then there’s Red Bull and its plans to launch a full-time linear Red Bull TV channel, which will bring virtual reality elements to its sports, music and entertainment content. Imagine putting on a headset, which transforms your surroundings and puts you in the midst of your favorite band performing to a crowd on their headline tour, live.

While all of this sounds exciting, the additional strain that VR will put on networks is a major concern. To be able to support data-powered innovations such as VR, global connectivity providers have invested heavily in capacity, engineering a future-proofed backbone that shouldn’t buckle under the extra pressure. The biggest challenge lies in last-mile networks which need to be able to carry VR content to homes and provide a seamless, genuinely immersive experience for consumers.

The issue is the huge increase in bandwidth demand generated by VR content: VR requires about five times as much bandwidth as HDTV, as well as very low latency to support an immersive experience. While large service providers offer the backbone capabilities, cloud footprint, advanced traffic management and content delivery networks at the core, many of today’s access technologies at home do not support such requirements, preventing high quality live streaming of VR content from the cloud. Instead, the user will need to buffer or store the content locally, which limits commercial opportunities with VR, starting with online gaming.

Intelligent traffic management solutions, compression algorithms and investments in very low latency, high throughput networks will help last-mile networks to cope with the demands of VR content. Only such investments will prevent a stop-start and delayed connection that could dampen the experience, or potentially destroy it.

In the future, as VR begins to reach the masses, the next natural development will be for these technologies to go mobile. Today’s 4G connections won’t be able to handle VR, so fiber networks will play a central role as the backhaul for delivering the seamless, high quality connectivity that these immersive experiences will demand.

Beyond the hype of the latest and greatest VR gadgets, there needs to be a deeper understanding of the pressure that this rich traffic will place on networks, to ensure that networks are smart enough and robust enough to provide the brilliant user experience that consumers expect.

According to Downie, VR and AR will be for gaming first, but eventually will spread far beyond that, touching upon training, education, virtual travel, and just hanging out with our fellow humans. It’ll add another very significant twist to social media and how people interact with each other, including virtual meetings and collaboration at work.

VR’s success will be largely dependent on last-mile networks which will enable it to flourish – taking entertainment to a new level and opening up new revenue streams for content providers through cloud-based distribution on-demand. Investments in low latency, high throughput and intelligent networks could mean that a technology that was dreamt up around 60 years ago will finally become a reality for millions.

Published in Featured