WEB 3.0 –The Changing Technological and Communication Landscape

A revolution is coming… again… in the form of Web 3.0. So what is this…

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Is the era of mixed reality upon us?

The future is “always-on, go-everywhere mixed reality”, according to Michael Abrash, chief scientist at Facebook’s Oculus.

This requires a different focus from where we are now, which is stuck in the middle of a digital obsession. We need to fuse the experience of the online and offline worlds together.

There is currently a disconnection between what consumers want and what brands think they want when creating experiences.

IBM recently asked consumers what mattered most to them when they engage with brands. It should take “less time” and be “more convenient”, they replied. In the same study, brands were asked the same question on behalf of their customers. They said their customers were “digitally savvy” and wanted “more control” – a rather different response that assumes technology is more important than utility.

Too often, digital transformation “hero stories” focus on examples where brands are shifting offline sales into online by enabling eCommerce, investing more of their advertising budget in digital channels or having a social media customer service strategy. This is digital maturity, not digital transformation.

In fact, transformation shouldn’t even be focused on digital. True transformation is about co-ordinating around the customer because they live both online and offline.

The IBM study highlights a critical point. Consumers just want their lives to be easier and they want their problems solved. But one of the biggest problems that consumers face is how difficult it is for them to live in a world where existing technology, brands and companies are forcing their offline and online worlds apart.

Truly transformational brands help to combine these worlds and use technology such as augmented reality as a means to true customer centricity.

Combining online and offline

There is a lot of talk that my generation – the under-30s – only want to exist digitally. But the fact is we still need and want to live in the offline world. We just don’t want the same experiences as the generations before us. We have grown up with information and convenience at our fingertips and, as such, like our experiences to be more convenient and richer in information.

A study by Accenture showed that the majority of Generation Z still prefer to visit physical stores to make our purchases. The difference is that we are turning these visits into multimedia, multichannel events thanks to the ever-present smartphone.

Currently, in the quest for a richer and more enhanced experience, the user is having an awkward time – caught in a painful collision between online and offline. The customer journey requires a multitude of apps – Google for price comparison, WhatsApp for a friend’s opinion, a banking app to check you’ve been paid – and then you put your phone away to join a physical queue to transact.

Now, let’s revisit this retail experience in the context of Abrash’s “always-on, go-everywhere mixed reality”, enabled by AR.

I walk into the store. Through my AR glasses or existing devices, I can generate and view reviews for products I might want to buy. I can see what I might look like in that product in a virtual changing room and then I can send that image to my friend for her opinion. Up pops a real-time update of my bank balance, and I transact. Naturally, my receipt is stored away safely for me on the cloud. And all this happens in a flash.

Transforming the customer experience

All this goes to show that transforming the customer experience can be boiled down to two guiding principles:

1 Solve a customer problem by giving them more information than what is physically available in front of them.

2 Enhance and add value to an existing consumer experience rather than force new behaviours.

AR meets both criteria. The technology acts as an information overlay to a real-life situation. It doesn’t try to force consumers into new behaviours and it adds value and convenience to existing ones.

Compare this with virtual reality, which seeks to “wall off” the consumer from the real world. Asking people to walk around in public with a whacking, great VR headset on is a good example of trying to create an impractical new consumer behaviour.

AR that is enhancing or resolving the offline/online gap has already sneaked into consumers’ lives – without them even thinking about it. Snapchat has transformed the selfie with its AR lenses that have helped attract 150 million daily users. Lots of its rivals are looking to emulate that location-based experience and functionality. Meanwhile, Pokémon Go has enriched the mobile-gaming experience by adding entertainment to people’s everyday lives and became the most downloaded app of 2016 in the Apple App Store.

Wider uses

AR is only in its infancy so, in terms of solving customers’ problems, it has only just begun. When we start talking about non-entertainment examples, such as the Ikea AR catalogue that helps customers visualise furniture in existing spaces or the Augmented Car Finder that can direct you to your car’s location, that’s when it gets exciting.

The Ikea AR catalogue helps customers visualise how the furniture will look in their home

The fact that AR is hiding in plain sight demonstrates that when we truly enhance experiences or solve people’s problems, digital and technology can actually just drop into the background, leaving us to focus on organising ourselves around the consumer. We shouldn’t even need to get to the stage where we have to radically transform our businesses.

Transformation is expensive, risky and painful. Understanding your consumer is not. It’s time we get ready for the era of mixed reality.

Source: Campaign Live

Incredible Google Maps Hyperlapse

University student Matteo Archondis’ work might inspire you to create something even more extraordinary using Google Maps.

If funds are too tight or work is too busy for you to go on that world trip you’ve been promising yourself, then here’s a cheaper, altogether more convenient option.

Most impressive is that the Italian created the two-and-a-half-minute video using only screenshots from Google Maps, Street View, and Earth.

Archondis made the hyperlapse partly to celebrate this week’s 12th anniversary of Maps, and also to “show the potential tools we have to discover the world around us, even if we can’t afford to travel to places far away from home,” he told PetaPixel.

It’s a superb piece of work that takes you smoothly from famous location to famous location, zooming from up high to up close, and circling iconic landmarks. The carefully considered sound effects are a big part of the piece, too, so be sure to follow Archondis’ advice and stick a pair of cans on before you begin your globetrotting session.

To create the video, Archondis spent two days capturing just over 3,300 screenshots. Post-processing took a full week, with the main challenge to effectively blend and stabilize the content to create as smooth a journey as possible for the viewer.

The university student said the project was a good chance to “experiment with Google Maps and the Street View system, for me one of the best inventions to let us discover and see places from our computer without needing to leave home.”

Archondis added that he drew some of his inspiration from the amazing work of hyperlapse artist Rob Whitworth, who travels the world to make jaw-dropping videos of places like Dubai.

As for Archondis’ piece, we’re sure you’ll agree that it’s a stunning bit of work. Check it out in the video above.

Source: Digital trends

Sci-Fi Holograms are nearly a reality

A team from the Australian National University (ANU) believe we may be a step closer to achieving what we’ve been seeing in Sci-Fi movies for year — could we be sending messages to Obi Wan Kenobi?

The ANU team was able to develop a hologram device that gives the highest quality images to date.

When I was growing up we watch these amazing images various Sci-Fi movies such as Star Wars movies amongst others.

What will be the implications? How can such a platform be used? Is there a new communication platform to come and how will this fit in with AR and VR developments.

Watch this space…

Are VR Googles getting cool?

One of the things that has perhaps stopped VR from becoming a global phenomenon is the size and shape of them. They are cumbersome, uncomfortable to wear and not easy to transport.

This is the first step to VR / AR devices becoming something that we engage in daily and become part of our lives.

Scott Belsky’s 5 Forecasts For The Future

I’ve recently read the article from Scott Belsky, from Goldman Sachs and Adobe fame, where he talks about what we are already expecting and the what’s next.

Interestingly he sees that current situations is that we already expect self-driving cars, wearable hardware, a connected home, and augmented reality. These are given!

But what next? He’s started looking at what new problems will we be struggling with? What will kill us? What will connect us?

Here are his top 5 ideas.

  1. Social media will become passive.
  2. Our (augmented) reality will be a land grab, and always be under attack from brands.
  3. Interfaces will compete with the technology underneath.
  4. Autonomous vehicles in cities will become a public utility.
  5. We will transcend “tragedy of the commons” with technology that aligns self-interests with community benefits.

Read here for more details.

 

Looks like Augmented Reality development is hotting up with Microsoft bring out products!

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Whilst VR has hit the mainstream with Samsung and Sony driving forward with television advertising in the run up to Christmas, it is Augmented Reality or AR that is the focus from Microsoft. An it’s partly their way of getting into the VR space too.

Here is an exerpt from Engadget.com about the developement from Microsoft.

Microsoft is set to unveil several new products at its fall event on Wednesday, but that hasn’t stopped CEO Satya Nadella from dropping by Laguna Beach, California this Monday. During a WSJD Live interview with Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker, Nadella delved into topics that concern the company’s future. Specifically: augmented reality.

“The ultimate computer for me is the mixed reality world,” he said. “Your field of view becomes an infinite display. You see the world and in the world you see virtual objects and holograms.” He is of course referring to HoloLens, which is Microsoft’s take on augmented reality hardware. A few months ago, the company announced that it’s opening up Windows Holographic so that third-party makers could get in on it too, potentially creating VR headsetsin addition to AR ones.Right now, Nadella is still excited about the use cases of augmented reality, saying that Case Western Reserve University is already using AR in an anatomy class. He also envisions the technology could be useful in more everyday tasks, like home improvement, offering a solution for those endless trips to the store and back. “Imagine if you could see what your home improvement project would look like and then press order,” he said

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Legally Blind Man Sees Clearly For The First Time Ever, Thanks to Virtual Reality

Wow, what an incredible development. VR has helped a legally blind man to be able to see clearly.

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View the full story here: http://futurism.com/legally-blind-man-sees-clearly-for-the-first-time-ever-thanks-to-virtual-reality/

There are a lot of applications of VR that we haven’t thought about.

“Limitless potential”

“Indeed, virtual reality could be adapted for use for a myriad of other endeavors and to help with a great number of issues. As early as 2014, scientists proposed creating events and scenes using VR to give members of the jury a deeper understanding of the crime on trial.

TeenDrive365, meanwhile, developed a virtual reality distracted driving experience to help push its campaign for safe driving.

It could also be used to provide a safe environment for people to confront their phobias, like this app that can help individuals overcome their fear of public speaking. And honestly, this is just the beginning of it all. Researchers at the University of Birmingham’s Human Interface Technology (HIT) are using virtual reality to help train medical personnel in emergency medicine and anesthesia. With this technology, emergency nurses and paramedics can safely be trained in a visually realistic environment.

The project combines a representative human body, an inflatable ‘Chinook’ interior, as well as Virtual and Augmented reality aspects. Using these tools, the program shows medical personnel how to resuscitate and stabilize the wounded and safely transport them to a Field Hospital, and best of all, it simulates the real environment, which helps to prepare personnel in ways previously impossible.

And keep in mind, VR really only broke onto the scene this year…so far greater things are likely on their way.”

A Virtual Reality Full Body Illusion Improves Body Image Disturbance in Anorexia Nervosa

What a fascinating use of VR. What would be interesting to see will be the effect of the self-image of the people who experience this treatment, not only from a medical perspective in treating an illness but also from a psychological perspective in changing a states of being such as someone’s confidence.

vr-body-image

Absract

Background

Patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) have a persistent distorted experience of the size of their body. Previously we found that the Rubber Hand Illusion improves hand size estimation in this group. Here we investigated whether a Full Body Illusion (FBI) affects body size estimation of body parts more emotionally salient than the hand. In the FBI, analogue to the RHI, participants experience ownership over an entire virtual body in VR after synchronous visuo-tactile stimulation of the actual and virtual body.

Methods and Results

We asked participants to estimate their body size (shoulders, abdomen, hips) before the FBI was induced, directly after induction and at ~2 hour 45 minutes follow-up. The results showed that AN patients (N = 30) decrease the overestimation of their shoulders, abdomen and hips directly after the FBI was induced. This effect was strongest for estimates of circumference, and also observed in the asynchronous control condition of the illusion. Moreover, at follow-up, the improvements in body size estimation could still be observed in the AN group. Notably, the HC group (N = 29) also showed changes in body size estimation after the FBI, but the effect showed a different pattern than that of the AN group.

Conclusion

The results lead us to conclude that the disturbed experience of body size in AN is flexible and can be changed, even for highly emotional body parts. As such this study offers novel starting points from which new interventions for body image disturbance in AN can be developed.

Full article: PLOS

‘The Matrix’ revisited: Tech billionaires are certain we live in a simulation

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If watching The Matrix caused you to question reality, you’re not alone. Many powerful tech leaders in Silicon Valley and elsewhere are so convinced we’re all living in a simulation that some of them are investing in ways to help us break out of it, according to Vanity Fair.

At Vanity Fair’s 2014 New Establishment Summit, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made the case that our lives are not at all what we think they are. Musk concluded: “There’s a one in a billion chance that this is reality.” Earlier this year at Recode’s Code Conference, he broke it down: “The strongest argument for us being in a simulation is the following: 40 years ago, we had Pong. Two rectangles and a dot. Now, 40 years later, we have photo-realistic 3D with millions playing simultaneously. If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality,” he said. “It would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in base reality is one in millions.”

But it’s not just Elon Musk who’s convinced we’re living a game. Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator, told The New Yorker: “Many people in Silicon Valley have become obsessed with the simulation hypothesis, the argument that what we experience as reality is in fact fabricated in a computer,” adding that two tech billionaires “have gone so far as to secretly engage scientists to work on breaking us out of the simulation.”

Vanity Fair reports that Nick Bostrom of Oxford University wrote a paper that has become the jump-off point for the whole we’re-in-a-simulation theory. The paper, Are You Living in a Computer Simulation? argues that, as summarized by Vanity Fair, “as technology grows faster and more superior, we will eventually build remarkably powerful machines that can build simulations of our forebears. But if that is the case, or so the theory goes, how do we know that we are the not creation of a simulation already built by our forebears?”

New York Times science writer John Markoff isn’t buying the theory, but notes that others are all-in. “It’s basically a religious belief system in the Valley,” he said.

Source: Digital Trends

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