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Technology, hardware or content: Which will shape the AR market?

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Vlad Vodolazov

There are lots of AR apps in the App Store and Google Play store. We all have powerful Android or iOS devices that are fully compatible with AR. We have ARKit and ARCore platforms which provide plenty of opportunities for developers. There are over a billion people like you, who want to use or try Augmented Reality. And yet, we can clearly see that AR has thus far remained a niche technology. What will help it become a part of daily life?

Hardware

Modern AR devices include iOS/Android phones, glasses and headsets, and even contact lenses in prototype form. However, glasses and headsets are some distance from mass adoption, as they have notable weaknesses and technical issues. Also, for instance, Microsoft’s Hololens mixed reality headset is quite expensive for a device that can’t replace your phone, tablet or laptop. Glasses and headsets have great potential, because they are real computers that are with you all the time, allowing them to interact not just with apps but with the real world around you. But for now, who wants to wear a computer on their head? I like Snap’s approach to this problem. They’ve made Spectacles, which are not AR headsets in the fullest sense of the word, but critically they are already useful and look fine. They can help to record the world around you and then augment it.

Let’s imagine that we have fully working AR glasses and we’ve solved all the technical problems. Will we wear these glasses all day long? Most likely, the answer is still no. Of course there are innovators who will, but it’s likely to be about 2.5% of all AR users, a niche of a niche, as with any new technology. The reason is very simple — not all of us wear glasses. Even many of those who have bad eyesight still don’t. Some people prefer contact lenses or wearing medical glasses from time to time.

I think that we are still far away from the mass adoption of AR headsets. What’s more, we need options — different sorts of wearables that will bring AR to us. That is why I really like the idea of AR contact lenses. It seems even more like science fiction, but when we have such a device, I’m sure you will see many people using it.

The great thing is that we already have hero devices — and they’re right in your pocket! Yes, these are iPhones and Android devices. In 2020, your smartphone can really understand the environment around you and add content depending on your position, surrounding physical objects and many other characteristics. Over a billion devices right now are able to deliver Augmented Reality in high quality, with lots of graphics and mechanics. The bonus is that you don’t need to buy any additional appliances; every component you need is built in.

1. How to use subtle AR filters to survive your Zoom meetings?

2. The First No-Headset Virtual Monitor

3. Augmented reality (AR) is the future of Restaurant Menu?

4. Creating remote MR productions

Content

Sometimes you may hear the phrase “content is king”. And that’s true, if we have advanced smart glasses and we don’t have apps for them, then we simply won’t use such devices. But this could be a misconception — we need not just content, but great content. We may have plenty of apps but if they’re useless or simply not engaging, again we won’t need such a device.

The interesting thing is competition. You actually can find many AR apps for iOS or Android. However, the vast majority of them are basically non-AR apps which added some kind of AR functionality, e.g. just using your environment as a background. Well, do you need this kind of AR? I believe that most of you don’t. The reason is that AR in this case just makes the UX worse and more complicated. What’s more, such apps are competing with existing apps that don’t use AR, and nine times out of ten, the non-AR app wins due to its greater simplicity. Augmented reality is a different prospect altogether, and not a competitor for other apps. Differentiation requires fundamentally different mechanics. Keep in mind this when you decide to build an AR app.

Technology

The last factor we’ll consider is technology — meaning any frameworks, SDKs and libraries which directly influence development. That is almost the answer: technology is the key for development. We may have wonderful hardware and expect to have engaging content for it, but this can’t be done without the right tools. Developers must be satisfied with the features and the quality of their tools, and that unlocks great content for their users.

When we talk about augmented reality, designers or just visionaries show such great imagination. During the day, they may came up with hundreds of ideas and use cases and bring them all to developers. But almost always, the developers’ answer is simple: that idea is amazing, but it’s just not technically possible to implement yet. Most companies don’t have the resources to create a novel technology just to add a feature to their app, even if that feature is vital to the app’s experience. Furthermore, lacking that technology may mean that developers are reluctant to press on. And to be honest, that is the right decision: we shouldn’t commit to a compromised vision if leaves users unsatisfied and doesn’t create value for them. So if we know we need an augmented reality feature but also know that we cannot create it ourselves — what can we do?

This is the problem we are solving at ARnDAI. We are creating the technology to allow developers to create remote multiplayer apps in augmented reality. Many times we’ve heard from a variety of developers that the lack of social interactions in AR results in a lack of interest from users. Every single non-AR app can be extended with social mechanics and this will certainly increase engagement. Users now expect to have social elements to share their content, progress or simply have fun together. It’s also common for users to want to interact even when they’re collaborating remotely, in different physical locations.

Our tools allow developers to create such multiplayer modes easily and not think about the challenges of AR tech or networking. We are putting a lot of effort into helping developers build great content and create useful and even outstanding AR experiences.

We already have over a billion users with very powerful devices right in their pockets. We also have the set of tools necessary to provide great content. Now it’s the time to create!

Share with me your ideas about remote AR apps, I’ll be happy to help!

Our website: https://arnd.ai

Source: https://arvrjourney.com/technology-hardware-or-content-will-shape-ar-5849c917b5ac?source=rss—-d01820283d6d—4

AR/VR

Jorjin Technologies announcing J7EF, the latest of its J-Reality

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🤖Jorjin Technologies announcing J7EF, the latest of its J-Reality™ smartglasses series and world-first AR product built upon Epson’s new high-performance Optical Engine. 👇

🗨 Jorjin Technologies, a 🏢Taiwan company that started working on Augmented Reality (AR) when the technology was still in its infancy, has spent the last 12 months developing J7EF, the latest member of its J-Reality™ smartglasses family. J7EF, the world’s first AR product based on Epson’s new Optical Engine, is now available in sample quantity and will be ready for volume shipment in December 2020.

🔥 Thanks to Epson’s Optical Engine, J7EF smartglasses users will enjoy a full HD resolution (1920×1080 pixels), with a 34 degrees FOV and a typical brightness of 1000cd/m2. They will feel like watching a 120-inch HD display positioned at 5 meters, with the added benefit of a breathtaking rendering of 3D content.

🎯 J7EF smartglasses also feature an 8-Mega pixels front camera, a 9-axis Inertial Measurement Unit for motion detection, and an optional low-power Time-of-Flight sensor. Jorjin has also designed a companion small form-factor Controller Unit powered by Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ XR1, a leading processing platform optimized for AR/MR applications. J7EF can connect to the Controller Unit through a USB Type-C cable or, alternatively, directly to most high-end smartphones supporting Display Port over USB Type-C.  👇

🚀 Jorjin believes that there is no “one-size-fits-all” answer to the smartglasses market and that it is important to introduce products optimized for unique use cases. Jorjin is eager to capitalize on Epson AR Optical Engine and on its J7EF design experience to provide ODM/JDM services to Customers around the world who are interested in developing their own differentiated high-performance smart glasses.

🗨 “Companies willing to market smartglasses fine-tuned for the needs of a specific ecosystem should get many benefits from Jorjin’s capability to provide fast spin-offs of our AR products”, says Tom Liang, Jorjin Technologies Chairman & Founder, “as it will enable them to enter the market they target without the burden of long development cycles. Notably, J7EF, world-first smartglasses leveraging Epson’s new Optical Engine and designed for smooth integration with Qualcomm® XR1 Platform, allows Jorjin to offer its clients a customizable Hardware and Software blueprint for a range of AR products fulfilling end-users requirements.” 👇

🏢 About Jorjin Technologies: ➡ Jorjin Technologies, a Taiwan company founded in 1997, has been at the forefront of the development of AR Smartglasses for the past 6 years. Its diversified product line includes 3 different families, J-Supporter™, J-Reality™, and J-Slim™, each targeting different use cases and being adopted by domestic and international customers. The company is also providing ODM services to worldwide customers looking for a safe supplier of differentiated smartglasses answering specific needs.  🔗  www.jorjin.com

👉 For more information, contact:  ⤵

Curt Riley
310-430-2349
curt@gtventures.io

 

 

 

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AR/VR

What the VR is Going on at Facebook? Accounts, Store Content and the Splits

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The launch of the Oculus Quest 2 has largely been a success with Facebook Reality Labs’ Chris Pruett reported as saying its: “beyond what we expected.” But that doesn’t mean to say it’s been entirely plain sailing as there has been a backlash from consumers over a range of issues, some more concerning than others.

Oculus Quest 2

A lot of the grievances stem from Facebook’s new policy of either needing a social media account or merging an Oculus and Facebook one together if you’ve bought the Oculus Quest 2 – no need to just yet if you haven’t. With the two intertwined this has brought worries such as banned accounts, what happens to bought content if you don’t want Facebook and using multiple headsets with the same account.

As widely reported Facebook can ban an account depending on how its used or whether it appears suspicious – no real activity for example. Vice President of Augmented and Virtual Reality at Facebook, Andrew Bosworth held an Instagram Q&A a couple of weeks back addressing that concern saying: “people should continue to make sure their Facebook accounts are in good standing before they buy the headset.” He went on to say that they are trying to resolve issues as soon as they appear. This isn’t likely to appease that have had an account ban.

Then last week the account subject continued to boil as it was revealed that should you delete your Facebook account this will also delete your Oculus information including any Oculus Store purchases – deactivating the account will also stop Oculus access. Whilst this isn’t great news for those who love their Oculus Quest 2 but don’t want a Facebook account anymore, just remember that this practice is common. Most online services like this – Steam for example – require an account to access paid content. Delete the account and away goes your stuff. You only really own it if it’s physical and that’s only possible with PlayStation VR content – GOG.com being the exception.

Oculus Quest 2
Oculus Quest 2 with Elite Strap + Battery accessory

And then there’s this weekend’s furore into using the same account on two headsets if you own the original Oculus Quest and Quest 2 for example. This blew up due to Oculus Support telling someone that doing so could get them banned. Thankfully, this turned out to be wrong with Oculus Support tweeting: “Using the same Facebook account on two or more Oculus headsets simultaneously will NOT get your account “banned.”” Going on to say: “we plan to introduce the ability for multiple users to log into the same device using their own Facebook account.” So at least that’s some good news.

Lastly, there’s the Elite Strap problem. There’s been a massive amount of discussion (and images) over on the Oculus Quest sub-Reddit with customers reporting straps cracking, splitting and simply breaking all in the same spot, the plastic arms which connect the front to the back. A small number could be down to misuse yet the breaking trend continues to grow, very concerning for those with the more expensive battery option. Tellingly, on the Oculus website, both Elite Strap options are now unavailable in every country so this is a major issue needing to be rectified.

These first few weeks have been quite the thunderstorm for Facebook and its Oculus Quest 2 launch. Many will be happy with their new headset – VRFocus’ Oculus Quest 2 review praised the device – with new and improved content but the release hasn’t been plain sailing. Facebook is a dominant force in VR so love it or hate it all you can do is vote with your wallet.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/10/what-the-vr-is-going-on-at-facebook-accounts-store-content-and-the-splits/

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LBE VR: Past, Present and Post Civid Future

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As part of VRFocus’ current Better-Than-Reality-Awards, each category features an industry ambassador to delve into a particular aspect of their subject. Today, Apex Construct developer Fast Travel Games discusses location-based entertainment (LBE) VR gaming. Of course, don’t forget to cast your vote in The Better-Than-Reality-Awards now.

LBE virtual reality (VR) is an experience taking place within simulated environments, which operate in a specific location like theme parks, arcades, entertainment centres, and even movie theatres. While home VR gaming already offers highly immersive experiences, LBE VR raises the bar by offering streamlined options to play with a group of friends in the same physical location, allowing you to use your whole body while engaging with the content and often provides an unmatched level of graphical fidelity to further boost the quality perception.

Wraith: The Oblivion - Afterlife
Wraith: The Oblivion – Afterlife | Fast Travel Games

Alongside home VR gaming, the LBR VR industry grew rapidly from 2016 onward. According to Greenlight Insights, which focuses on augmented and virtual reality market research, the LBE VR market amounted to $3.6 billion with a growth rate of 44% worldwide in 2019. This year, LBE VR was in a position to quite literally “explode”: Greenlight initially estimated that the market would grow to a $34.6 billion business, almost a x10 increase vs the year prior which would have been a fantastic performance for such a relatively young industry.

However, just like with cinemas and sport arenas, the situation with COVID-19 has massively impacted LBE VR companies in 2020. Not only completely halting the expected growth, but the impact the virus has had on our behaviour in regards to crowd gatherings and health precautions has also led to many LBE VR companies shifting focus towards home VR entertainment or completely new business areas. “We went from a relatively healthy business to zero revenue”, SandboxVE CEO Steve Zhao said in June this year. “We have to rethink our strategy.”

The Void is considered to be one of the most prominent companies in the LBE VR industry today. Operating since 2015 and running VR centres in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East, The Void is known world-wide for their LBE VR experiences based on popular franchises like Ghostbusters and Star Wars. Still closed due to the coronavirus, on the official website you can now read: “COVID-19 is affecting all of us – as employees, travellers and communities – in a constantly evolving environment and in unprecedented ways. As a result, our terminals are remaining closed for everybody’s safety and to support our local health officials and government leaders.”

Star Wars Secret of the Empire

Most businesses, not only LBR VR, are affected negatively whenever there is a high level of uncertainty on the market and it is safe to say that COVID-19 has brought a kind of uncertainty we have rarely seen before, changing our everyday lives and how we go about the most mundane of tasks – like going to the food store or greeting someone on the street. I for one hope for a day when LBE VR can pick itself up again and keep building on the already impressive experiences offered. All the nominees in the ‘Best LBE Experience’ category have brought highly immersive content to life in an industry currently suffering badly. Given this, they are all winners in my book.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/10/lbe-vr-past-present-and-post-civid-future/

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