Category: Corporate Innovation

MAGIC LEAP: No Matter What it’s All Good

Image result for magic leap

source photo Variety.com

Opinions about augmented reality (AR) upstart Magic Leap (ML) today rage far and wide; endlessly. Investors have backed the reclusive startup to the tune of more than a billion dollars to create an AR system including a new type of headset that has the potential to kick the industry into high gear.  Other than a few video releases like this or this, most of us have gotten few glimpses of the system and products.  They’ve raised a lot of money, been building for a few years, and the “people” are getting antsy they want to see it.  In the absence of actual knowledge, the volume is up on the talk after the company announced it will ship products by summer’s end.

I’ve been saying this for a long time and will memorialize it here:  We should all be excited no matter what.  We will all be winning no matter if ML as a company wins or loses and here’s why:

  • Success. If ML succeeds the entire world will have access to amazing hardware and software to experience a better version of AR than we have now.  No doubt the applications will range from medicine to movies to industrial manufacturing and education, and so many others.
  • Fails.  Failure can mean many things.  The tech can succeed and the company fails or all sorts of other combinations.  But here’s the thing, ML employs hundreds if not thousands of people by the time it will be said and done,  and those people will have tremendous learnings to carry out into the world and spread around. In other words, technology evolutions work a bit like Lego blocks, the next generation is usually built on the successes and failures of what came before.   Thus, armed with the knowledge of a failed experiment, the next generation will be built until one works.
  • Regardless.  Regardless of what happens to ML, there’s no doubt its mere existence encouraged the world’s largest tech companies and so many others to hit accelerate on AR or MR or visual tech development. The startup triggered billions of investment into R & D and something is real likely to come out of it as a result.

My take presumes ultimately AR will manifest into daily uses, both at work and at play; I believe it’s coming.  Whether ML is a household name twenty years from now or not, it will have played a central role in developing what AR becomes.  #Truth.

 

 

 

Wearing your #AR or #VR: A Path to Commercialization?

source: inverse.com

Can you imagine this? Your hand open, palm up and suddenly with your finger tips you have access to anything you have right now, today in your smartphone?  This is a prototype from Leap Motion, VR/AR developers out of San Francisco.  Click here to read the full article. But before you go, check out this video.   I could watch it all day!

It’s exciting to see converging technologies- in this case #AR and #Wearables- converge  into a potential utility application.    Thank you Keiichi Matsuda, the creative director and VP of design who is developing this.  This application, tool, feels like a lovely path to commercialization.

 

 

 

 

Rubber Hits Road

The past two months I’ve been cruising along, working with my usual mix of entrepreneurs, investors, corporates, and academics right at that corner of new technology and real life. There is of course the intersection of cool tech and the movies which we visit on occasion, but mostly we are in the business of applying rapidly changing technology.

In the real world, AI, AR, VR, Blockchain, etc, are changing fast; faster than much of it can be productized and commercialized. There are a head spinning number of potential applications and developing usable products is of course the first step and then it must be injected into the way we do business.  Integration is a minefield of challenges.  And before that can all happen, more changes appear.

The past week I came across some interesting connections involving Generation Z and the news business.

Recently, I’ve met a few startup teams, focused on products for Generation Z, those born between the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. What radically struck me is this, they say  Gen Z is weary of technology and yearning for human contact. Of course they use their devices, computers, ipads, even smartphones (the average age  of attainment in the United States is 10 years old, at least according to this), but they also want in equal measure human connection.   This idea of injecting more humanity into tech is impacting  the nature of the tech being created to serve them.  One of the most interesting companies is Blue Fevr. So, hold that thought.

The news business, like many industries, is trying like crazy to define a sustainable business model.  It’s no secret, a free press is critical to a functioning democracy and our free press is struggling.  It costs “real” money to cover and report local, state, national and international news; and do it well.  The news business like many industries was slow to realize the import of radically changing technology in the 80’s and 90’s, to get in on that change early.  That resistance exists today for many reasons even in the face of real consequences (there are somewhere around 1000 less newspapers in the United States today than there were in 1980 and broadcast news audiences of simultaneously been shrinking).

News is about what people do, when they do it, how they do it and why they do it individually, collectively or grouped together in cities, states, organizations, corporations, firms, or businesses–it’s not going away.  But professional journalism is in trouble, perhaps it’s not too strong to say in jeopardy over the long term .  There is a tremendous amount of experimenting going on by and among corporate, public, and independent news entities which is encouraging.

Two startups I’ve also come across are NewsPicks and Purple.  Both of them are injecting a different kind of connectivity and human interaction.  Purple’s added value is the relationship between a journalist and her followers, a person not a bot.   NewsPicks for which I am a ProPicker in full disclosure, provides a commentary feature and allows for upvotes. Those features together encourage thoughtful engagement in an highly curated environment of premium content and a diverse group of professionals. Purple has apparently proven there is a market by racking up subscribers we will see where that goes.

Five years ago we talked a lot about algorithms, and they have found a place in headlines, article placements and other ways.  They will stay too.  But looking forward I find the interesting inflection point is how do we inject more humanity in our news products? How do we develop and discover the features audiences will decide they must have and will pay for?

 

From One Reality to The Next!

Where are we goin?

It’s 2018.  The new year has come, but we have no idea where this road is going to take us; which is exciting.  Steadily, every year the past three, I’ve witnessed increased interest, engagement, activity and work in emerging tech experiments and products. May there be many more in the year to come.

In the meanwhile, it was a pleasure participating in a variety of events and projects with the following companies, universities, corporates and organizations. Thank You: NYU-Interactive Telecommunications Program, NYC Media Lab, Google Daydream, Harmony Labs, Screenwriters Colony, Knight Foundation, Microsoft, New Inc, Guggenheim Museum Global Innovation Council, Bindercon LA, Producers Guild of America-East, NYC DOC, Games for Change, Liftoff.io, ARinAction, MIT Solve, VR2020 Summit and so many others.

Onward to productizing and scaling #VR, #AR, #AI and all the parts and pieces of converging technology that are and will change how we live.

Virtual Reality is Isolating, I Bet Not

The idea virtual reality is an isolating experience and thus won’t scale to the masses without a multi-user winning application, always puzzles me.  There are plenty of challenges, yes.  Indeed, it’s a tall order to ask someone to strap on an awkward chunk of plastic over their eyes. And if they  do it, there’s gotta be a serious reward.   Lots of brilliant people around the world are working on that part right now, as I write.

As for isolating. Yes and No. No matter what gadgets or technologies come to bear there are many things that humans like to do alone or better yet can really only do alone, like:

Reading

 

 

 

 

Painting

 

 

Writing-Typing-Computing

I could go on, but I won’t. You get the drift. Many centuries and many gadgets later, we are reading more books than ever. I bet nothing in the world, at least in my lifetime, is going to change that.  Virtual reality will find a place as it’s singular purpose is realized. I’m beting on that too.