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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Microsoft Windows Mixed Reality

In this video Tom Warren of The Verge uses some mixed reality headsets for Windows. Watching them I’m reminded just how far this industry has to go. I’d call much of what I see in this video very much beta-level hardware and software.

It has only been 5 months since I wrote the aforelinked piece and we’ve seen some major, major movement in this space during that time. Facebook, Apple, Google, and Microsoft have all thrown massive amounts of resources into mixed reality. I feel the pace of updates will only quicken over the next 24 months. By 2020 everything we see in this video will look ancient.

/via Dan Kimbrough on Twitter.

Tim Cook on ARKit

Tim Cook, in a recent quarterly earnings call for Apple, on ARKit:

One of the most exciting and most promising announcements from WWDC was ARKit, a new set of tools for developers to create augmented reality apps. It’s still early in the beta period, but it’s clear that ARKit has captured the imagination of our developer community. We think ARKit will help the most creative minds in the industry tap into the latest computer vision technologies to build engaging content. We believe AR has broad mainstream applicability, across education, entertainment, interactive gaming, enterprise, and categories we probably haven’t even thought of. With hundreds of millions of people actively using iPhone and iPad today, iOS will become the world’s biggest augmented reality platform as soon as iOS 11 ships.

And, later:

I could not be more excited about AR, and what we’re seeing with ARKit in the early goings. To answer your question about what category it starts in, just take a look at what’s already on the web in terms of what people are doing — and it’s all over the place. From entertainment to gaming, I’ve seen what I would call more small business solutions, I’ve seen consumer solutions, I’ve seen enterprise solutions. I think AR is big and profound. This is one of those huge things that we’ll look back at and marvel on the start of it. I think that customers are going to see it in a variety of ways. Enterprise takes a little longer sometimes to get going, but I can tell you there’s a lot of excitement already in there. I think we’ll start to see some applications there as well. It feels great to get this thing going at a level that can sort of get all the developers behind it. I couldn’t be more excited about it.

I feel the same way. ARKit is a foundational technology and the applications of it are going to be far reaching. And, no, my app isn’t based on ARKit.

See also.

VR180

Frank Rodriguez:

VR180 video focuses on what’s in front of you, are high resolution, and look great on desktop and on mobile.

I think this looks like an excellent format. As I’ve mentioned in the past, 360 video is very difficult to follow if there is a narrative. While 360 might be good to virtually put you somewhere, 180 will be better to help tell a story.

Rodriguez goes on to explain that VR180 is easier to create and can be much higher resolution. Me likey.

Is VR overrated?

Kristopher B. Jones, an entrepreneur from near my neck of the woods, weighs in on VR in a recent Forbes piece debating the applicability of the technology:

I’m a strong believer that virtual reality is overrated, as it has limited applications outside of very specific industries. Industries like gaming and medical training are likely to see a boom from VR, while other industries such as food service, retail and finance with have limited to no applicability of VR. Much like Google Glass and 3-D television, the buzz will eventually die down.

In November of 2016 I said VR wasn’t ready. But that I thought it wasn’t far away. I was wrong because I was lumping VR in with a much larger mixed reality landscape. It wasn’t until I dug deep into mixed reality that I understood the subtle nuances between VR, AR, and the various other degrees of mixed reality experiences.

Kris likely understands this landscape even better than I do. He’s is right. VR will never be as big as the hype. In fact, I’d bank on it. However, “mixed reality experiences” (such as augmented reality) are popping up in every single app we currently have and will continue to do so. You already see it in Facebook, Instagram, Apple’s Clips app, even within the Uber app and Google Maps app. Facebook, Microsoft, and Google are already shipping platforms, frameworks, and APIs to help developers bring MR into their apps and services. And Google recently demonstrated an amazing technology called Lens that will be inside of Google Assistant and Google Photos soon. I also think the automobile dashboard and windshield is a huge future play for AR.

I don’t think Forbes or Kris lumps VR together with AR. But I do think that many consumers do. They think mixed reality is all about wearing huge goggles. It isn’t until you dig a little deeper that you see that mixed reality is all around us already. It’s already a hit. And it is just going to keep growing.

VR as a subset of MR is overrated. But, MR is far from overrated.

Build day 1 was great. I’m looking forward to day 2 as there are promises of Windows 10 and MR/AR news. Which, as you know, I’m interested in.

Dan Kimbrough on several trends for 2017

Dan Kimbrough touches on several trends he thinks will continue in 2017 such as this bit on AR/VR:

2017 will see AR & VR make great strides to becoming how we experience and interact with the world around us.

I agree we’ll see great strides in this area. I’m especially bullish on AR. But I still believe we’re a long way from it being “great”.

On live streaming video he says:

2017 will be the year we see live streaming go from a novelty for the masses to a tool for the business savvy.

I’m 100% on board with Dan here. Live streaming video has seen steady growth in terms of viewership and capability for nearly a decade but we are just now seeing this as a ubiquitous feature in nearly every communication service. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Slack, Messenger, iMessage, Instagram, etc. all have a live streaming video feature now. With just a phone you can reach your audience. It is an extraordinary time for that medium.

Back to Dan on personal branding:

2017 will be the year that brands willing to showcase themselves, their voice and their personality, will dominate.

He references my friend Gary’s daily vlog. Gary isn’t the first to do this, not by a long shot, but he may be the first to do it with a camera man (the excellent DRock) and several editors – giving his vlog a very specific feel and an “ease” for him personally that makes it sustainable. One of the most popular vloggers on YouTube, Casey Neistat, recently hung up his hat. It wears you out.

I’m uncertain if we’ll see this segment of the market grow too much, however, I do think we’ll see entire company brands built on top of personalities more in 2017 than we did in 2016. Think Kim Kardashian, Jay Z, Jessica Alba, Kate Hudson – each of these individuals have built companies worth hundreds of millions and billions of dollars on top of personal brands. We’ll see a lot more of this as social media gives people, as well as companies, enormous capability to tell their story.

And finally, Dan on video:

2017 will be one of the last years to adopt video as part of your marketing strategy if you want to survive.

His urgency isn’t unwarranted. Now is better than ever to jump into using video as a marketing tool. Both live and well-edited pieces. However, I think we’re going to see video grow, and not shrink, come the next decade. Video formats and Internet connectivity will both improve to a point where video will be as “expensive” to view as images are now. As it stands, some people are limited by their mobile carrier plan and their device’s capability to display rich video content on-the-go. These limitations will disappear over the next 5 years for most of the developed world which will only expand the video viewing market.

Great list of predictions from Dan. I’m glad he shared them on his blog.

 

VR is not ready in 2016

Danny Nicolas:

I hope someone is hard at work making an ubiquitous snow-crash-esq VR experience that compels everyone to rush to the stores to buy VR rigs, but 2016 was not the year where VR became the big thing. It might be the next big thing, but not this year.

I’ve tested a bunch of VR kits this year and I’m with Danny. There is a lot of people working really hard to bring some great VR experiences but there has not been a breakout title that is compelling enough for the masses to start purchasing them.

After playing with Oculus at the Microsoft Store I can see how this holiday season may give a boost in sales but we’re still a little progress away from people feeling like they need one. I don’t know what the breakout title will be. But for me it won’t be a game. And the industry shouldn’t be focusing on that. That is too narrow. For me it will be something akin to what Zuckerberg showed in this demo from early October. A way for me to have a “virtual office” anywhere in the world.

2016 isn’t the year of VR or AR. But it won’t be long.