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Is it time to begin investing in 360 video content to engage the burgeoning virtual reality (VR) audience? Gauging by the panel of 360 and immersive video content creators who came together at the 2023 Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco, the answer is a resounding “Yes.”

The dynamic panel brought together experts from Time Inc., Major League Baseball and the New York Times to explore how companies are approaching new consumer behaviors for watching video in VR.

To kick off the discussion, the panel addressed the question of why their organizations decided to invest in 360 video and video for VR. Mia Tramz, managing editor of LIFE VR at Time Inc., noted that the adoption of 360 video gave their video teams “another tool in the toolbox” but was also a strategic brand decision.

“The way we approach 360 video content for People is very different from how we approach it for Time, and Travel & Leisure has its own strategy,” said Tramz. “So it’s been this process of going from brand to brand, and saying, ‘what is it that your audiences would really enjoy in 360?’”

Jamie Leece, VP Games/VR at Major League Baseball (MLB), described the role that 360 video has played in bringing fans closer to the game wherever they are, at all times. The MLB has focused on determining what type of stories they can tell in VR that they can’t tell with traditional 2D content, and found that their fans really engaged with this new type of content.

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Ultimately, investing in new types of interactive content is a way for brands to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to content consumption. Christian Tom, VP Sales and Publisher at NowThis, explained: “We’re always looking for the next new way that people are going to consume, specifically on social. We’ve made a strategic bet that 360 video is going to be on social one of the largest consumption patterns coming up.”

Developing a 360 Strategy

With these points in mind, enterprises may want to consider following the lead of these influential media companies. Some ways that businesses across diverse industries can consider leveraging the immersive nature of 360 video to boost their social media marketing power include:

Showcasing products with a “behind the scenes” look into how something works.

Giving consumers a feeling of being part of an event even when they aren’t attending it.

Promoting destinations within the tourism, travel and hospitality industries.

Leece described the MLB’s “behind the scenes” strategy to create scalable content for VR. For example, at last year’s All-Star game, they created a product that allowed people to watch simple 360 video content, and were overwhelmed by the response.

“We found fans just blown away, like most people are who have seen 360 content for the first time,” said Leece. “After seeing that, we decided that for the post-season, we were going to follow the teams around and capture their clinches and celebrations and take fans to places they love to go, like being inside the clubhouse when their team wins.”

Pairing Tech with 360 Video

As the adoption of 360 video and virtual reality experiences continue, brands will need to figure how to integrate it into their overall content strategy. “You need a reason to make 360 video that isn’t just novelty and ‘it’s in 360, you can spin around,’” Tom said. “The biggest challenge is finding the visual hooks and a compelling strategic rationale to do 360, so that it doesn’t just feel like making a 360 video for the sake of using 360.”

Get a look at some of the technology that is making 360 video possible and easy to capture.

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Oculus Reveals A Virtual Reality Headset For Everyone

But the biggest announcement that came from Oculus today was a partnership with Microsoft—the Oculus Rift will ship with a bundled Xbox One controller, and run natively on Windows 10, according to Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe and Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of Xbox.

We still don’t know resolution of the new Oculus Rift, but it will feature built-in (yet removable) headphones for 360 degree sound, and require a physical sensor for positional tracking. Luckey Palmer, the founder of Oculus, also debuted Oculus Touch: two handheld controllers that can track hand positions and gestures, so users can interact naturally in a VR space.

Oculus Touch

Oculus Rift will also come with its own software, a home screen for VR applications called Oculus Home, which slightly resembles Xbox’s home screen. From there, users can launch and demo games.

Oculus Home

The Oculus Rift has seen two developer iterations before this consumer model, the original Oculus Rift Developer Kit and then the DevKit2 in 2014, days before they were bought by Facebook for $2 billion.

The original Oculus Developer Kit

Oculus’ original Developer Kit launched with a 1280×800 resolution, which was upgraded to full 1080p (1920×1080) with an OLED panel in DevKit2. DK2 also introduced positional tracking with an included camera, and eliminated the original Developer Kit’s breakout box, a hub that provided power to Oculus and coordinated data output to the computer. Like the DK2, the consumer Oculus Rift will be fully powered via USB and HDMI.

In mid-May, Oculus released their recommended technical specifications for the “full Rift experience.” Recommended specifications are often seen as a baseline for performance, and much to the chagrin of laptop-users, Oculus’ recommendations included one of two high-end graphics cards, (NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD 290), 8GB+ of RAM, and an Intel i5-4590 processor (or greater).

This announcement comes on the doorstep of E3 (Electronics Entertainment Expo), which starts on June 16, where virtual reality is sure to have a huge presence. AMD and NVIDIA have already announced new flagship graphics cards optimized for virtual reality processing, and Oculus’ “growing” list of partnerships with game companies like Square Enix, Harmonix and Climax Studios will be revealed as time goes on.

Virtual Reality For Business: 9 Key Use Cases

Is virtual reality for business for real? This year could finally be the year virtual reality takes off, after so many failed attempts in the past. There is an abundance of hardware choices on the VR market and VR technology finally seems to be catching up with the concept.

However, VR for business is still on the horizon. VR is overwhelmingly being positioned as a form of entertainment and gaming. As of 2024 Q1, virtual reality for business is something of an afterthought, at least to the hardware vendors like Oculus and Samsung.

But that’s not to say businesses are shunning virtual reality. There are some exceptional examples of VR for business use that are slowly emerging even as people play games. Some are designed to give a virtual experience, while others give an alternate experience.

Virtual reality for business is still in its infancy but is already showing promise to help companies provide customers with information in ways that a 2D monitor simply cannot deliver. And it will only improve as vendors get better at it and more VR firms for business and not games enter the market.

Virtual Reality for Business: Key Uses

1) IKEA’s virtual store

Visiting an IKEA can be akin to torture, with its confusing layout and often chaotic activity. Then when you get to the floor models for room designs, the model might be only in one style and you don’t have the option of seeing other designs.

The app was has its roots in gaming, developed by French game company called Allegorithmic and using the Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games. The app is sold through Steam, the online store that is to PC game sales what iTunes is to music.

2) Excedrin’s Migraine Experience

Now why would anyone want to experience a migraine headache if they don’t get them? The answer is empathy. Excedrin’s VR Migraine Experience makes a non-sufferer go through at least the visual element of a migraine, even if it can’t simulate the pain (and be glad it doesn’t), so they see that what the migraine sufferer endures is not a minor experience.

Novartis, maker of Excedrin, says 36 million Americans are affected by migraines, about one-tenth of the population, but that “Migraines are still widely misunderstood — largely because those who don’t experience the condition can’t fully understand it.”

The purpose of the VR experience is to show what it’s like to have the visual symptoms, like sensitivity to light and sound, disorientation, and visual disturbances, sometimes manifesting as spots or jagged edges or flashes of light that are blinding.

3) Surgical streaming

In 2014, British oncology surgeon Dr. Shafi Ahmed live streamed the removal of a tumor from the liver and bowel of a patient using Google Glass. It was watched by 13,000 surgical students, healthcare professionals and members of the public in more than 100 countries.

Ahmed told the UK Guardian he he thinks the next step in a few more years would be to add additional components that would allow surgical users to experience touch and feel via a VR type of glove.

4) AOL’s virtual newsroom

AOL just acquired Ryot, the maker of a virtual reality-powered news service, which will be incorporated into a special subdomain of The Huffington Post to create “the world’s largest 360° and VR news network.” Ryot will be expanded to all of AOL’s properties, like Engadget, TechCrunch, and Autoblog.

5) Lowe’s Holoroom

Holoroom uses Marxent’s VisualCommerce to turn its products into 3D objects, which the customer then uses to design a kitchen or bathroom. They can choose from tile, countertops, sinks, faucets, appliances, toilets and other finishes and products. Selections can be swapped out at will to create a final design. Once the design is complete, the customer then can purchase the actual selection of products.

6) Drone Virtual Visuals

Drones have become a popular toy, and often misused. Just ask an airline pilot. But drones also have practical uses and can provide a really great high altitude perspective that would otherwise require renting a plane or helicopter. The problem is you might have to wait for the drone to land to get the video.

Drone maker Parrot has a fix for its quadcopter drone, known as Bebop. It uses Oculus Rift to see what the drone sees through its 180-degree fish-eye lens. This gives a first-person perspective, rather than squinting at a monitor, to give a direct view of something like inspecting a construction site.

7) Virtual home tours

Lowe’s and IKEA are helping with home redesign, but what about shopping for an actual home? That means driving around and doing walkthroughs of homes that might be presently occupied, having to arrange schedules, and so on.

In India it’s an even bigger problem, with home purchases taking six to 12 months and involving a lot of driving. chúng tôi India’s leading online real estate platform, has a fix for that with CommonFloor Retina. The application offers potential buyers the chance to view/review/assess multiple properties from anywhere at any point of time, walk through the home and see how it looks without disturbing the owner or making a pointless drive.

8) Retinad Analytics

9) Mechdyne

Big Data creates data sets that don’t fit onto a 23-inch monitor. So what better way to visualize them than to literally walk through them? Mechdyne uses Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE), which projects a virtual reality environment on three and six of the walls of a room-sized cube to visualize data in a number of ways, with special focus on modeling and simulation, Big Data, and collaboration.

A researcher can turn data into smart data that they can visualize and interact with. They see trends, patterns, outliers, and unanticipated relationships faster and more effectively in a 3D model than a 2D model on a flat monitor. This allows for more informed reaction and response to that data and more discoveries.

The visualization tools from Mechdyne enable users to see trends and patterns in the data, revealing opportunities to improve processes, strengthen customer understanding and retention, and drive efficiencies both inside and outside of the organization.

How To Create A Virtual Machine From Existing Windows 10 Pc

It can be handy for any number of reasons to create a virtual machine from your existing Windows 10 setup. A virtual machine allows you to quickly set up a replication of your current Windows 10 installation. It also allows you to test software that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to install on your PC. You will be able to safely test out tweaks or registry edits you want to make to the OS.

You can do this using various software (including Microsoft Hyper-V, which is integrated into Windows 10 Pro). But we found VMWare’s vCenter Converter to be simple and universally available, so we’ll be using that.

Learn how you can create a virtual machine from your existing Windows 10 installation.

Converting your Windows 10 to Virtual Machine

After the download, install VMWare vCenter Converter in your Windows 10 PC.

On the next screen, you can edit and specify which drives from your OS you want to virtualize: the devices, networks, and so on. In this tutorial, the total size of Windows 10 OS exceeds the capacity of where we want to save it. For this reason, the huge “D:” drive will be removed.

Once the conversion is done, you have successfully created a virtual machine from your existing Windows 10 PC. The next thing is to run it.

Note: If you want to run the virtual machine on another PC, go to its directory and copy it to an external hard drive. You may want to compress it using compression software like 7-Zip, WinZIP or WinRAR to save some space. Again, depending on the size of your VM, this may take a while. Plug the external drive into the other PC where you want to run the virtual machine. Transfer the file over and unzip it.

Running the virtual machine

On the computer where you want to run your virtual machine (which can be the same PC you’ve been using in this guide), you’ll need VMware’s free virtualization software VMware Workstation Player.

Now that you have learned how to create a virtual machine from an existing Windows 10 setup, If you are further interested in VMs, take a look at our list of the best free virtualization software for Windows 10. You’ll need a lot of hard drive space for some VMs, so it’s also worth checking the health of your hard drives in Windows 10.

Robert Zak

Content Manager at Make Tech Easier. Enjoys Android, Windows, and tinkering with retro console emulation to breaking point.

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Internship To Entrepreneur: How To Create A Foundation From Your Experience

It’s that time of the year when college students are applying for summer internships. Some are doing it to secure a job after college, some just want it for the experience, and others do it because their parents are tired of them “hanging out” all summer. Nevertheless, students tend to go through the motions when interning. During my summer internship at Ernst & Young, I was determined to leave with some type of road map to start a business.

Here are a couple of tips that helped me along the way:

 1.    Do more than expected

Don’t go the extra mile just to show off to your employer. Do it because you want to learn as much as possible on how a business is operated. As an entrepreneur, you are always expected to do more than what is expected. Being able to build such a work ethic as an intern prepares you for the bumpy road to entrepreneurship.  It also allows you to get a basic understanding of different departments within a business.Throughout the process, you find out what you are good at, but most importantly what you have a passion for. Working for a firm is a bit different. However, I asked if I could work with as many industry clients as possible. That’s where I found my love for technology-based companies.

2.     Pay attention to your environment

Besides group projects for school, an internship is the best way to take notes on what to look for in a business partner amongst your peers. If you are looking to start a business in college, the chances are you won’t be able to do it yourself and more than likely your partner will be a college student as well. I was very fortunate to intern with bright individuals and always took a mental note of different traits and attributes I wanted to surround myself with. Niklas Zennstrom, co-founder of Skype, says to “Surround yourself with smart, dedicated people. To build something isn’t a one-man show”.

3.     Find a Mentor

Before starting your internship, take some time to research executives at the company. Find the individuals with the experiences or talents you would like to learn from and reach out to them. It may sound intimidating at first, but you would be surprised to see how open people can be when it comes to mentoring others. Having a mentor throughout your internship enables you to see the business from an executive perspective. Ask questions such as: How did you get to where you are today? What would you do differently if you were 21?

When I was an intern, my mentor was a partner at the firm. I will never forget what he told me on my 21st birthday before my internship. He said,  “Even though I am partner I don’t make the real money. But I will tell you who does. The average Joe from Harvard with a great idea and a five year business plan.” That day, I decided I was going to make USD (University of San Diego) my Harvard, learn how to crunch numbers through my internship, and when a good idea came around, dive into it and never look back.

App Economy: A Reality Check

But of the more than 700,000 apps now available on the App Store – or a ‘candy store’ as tech columnist David Pogue nicknamed it – including more than 275,000 apps designed specifically for iPad, only a small selection turned their makers into instant millionaires.

The vast majority of developers barely break even. And of those who turn notable profits, not many quit their day jobs. Yet, the dream of becoming a millionaire overnight with a hit app lives on. So what’s wrong with this picture?

People who did dedicate themselves to writing apps full-time more often than not regret leaving the security of their regular income, health insurance and retirement plan. When the reality sets in, it’s usually too late to realize that the gold rush is long over.

With apps for just about anything, conceiving a novel idea is now tougher than has ever been. Competition is fierce and even the most potent app concept is no guarantee of success as hordes of fellow developers quickly jump on the opportunity to exploit your ingenious idea. Thereby, the niche market you carved for yourself soon gets infested with dozens of similar apps, many offered free of charge.

David Streitfeld of The New York Times takes a closer look at today’s app economy, part of the paper’s ongoing iEconomy series of articles. The story features several interesting data points.

The article notes that in 2010 there were more than a million computer software engineers in the country, which included app writers. The figure outnumbers farmers and has almost caught up with lawyers.

Some of the highlighted success stories include Ethan Nicholas, who earned $1+ million in 2009 after writing the iShoot game for the iPhone.

Mr. Nicholas wrote iShoot in six weeks, in his spare time. It sold 17,000 copies at $2.99 each on a single day, Jan. 11, 2009. That was a Sunday.

On Monday, he quit his job. By March, he had earned more than $1 million. “Sheer dumb luck and being in the right place at the right time,” he said.

Wouldn’t we all be this successful?

But there’s another facet to his story.

Nicholas then formed a company with a friend. “We were going to make another million or two”, he said. Turned out none of their new games sold like iShoot so the entrepreneurs turned to developing apps for the health care industry.

Mr. Nicholas has cautioned his new colleagues about easy money. “The time for that has passed,” he said.

On Apple’s 30 percent cut:

Mr. Nicholas has the same philosophy about Apple now as he did when he wrote iShoot. “I’d rather get 70 percent of a large pie than all of a small pie,” he said.

I’d definitely add the Pusetic brothers on the list of extremely successful developers.

The brothers’ well-regarded Doodle Jump game still moves 300,000 copies a month. With fifteen million copies moved so far, at 99 cents each, the brothers became bonafide millionaires overnight.

Here’s a video interview with the brothers from August (sorry, Flash-only – talk to AllThingsD!)

But no matter how you look at it, the simple truth is that the app economy is one weighted heavily toward a few winners. It’s as cut-throat a biz as any other. And some people are eager to resort to dubious practices in order to turn a quick buck.

For example, over at Google’s Play Store market for Android a bunch of fake paid apps from Apple Inc surfaced earlier this week. Google removed these within hours, but inevitably a certain potion of less experienced users took the bait and filled the pockets of this rogue developer.

The NYT story also offers several examples of people who cashed in their 401(k), in addition to selling their houses, cars and borrowing money from relatives in the hope of striking it rich making applications for the iPhone and iPad.

My favorite choice quote includes Shawn Grimes whose amateur apps pulled in more than $5,000 from Apple. After the engineer got laid off late last year, he along with his wife decided to work independently by writing apps for the overcrowded Apple platform.

The couple aimed for one new app a month, but progress was slow and sales were slower. In March, with the apps bringing in only about $20 a day, they cashed in Mr. Grimes’s 401(k), which yielded $30,000 after taxes and penalties. They had already spent the severance from his job at Legg Mason.

Soon, though, it got to the point where Mr. Grimes needed to take on freelance work, which brought in crucial income but took time away from Campfire Apps. By the beginning of summer, troubled by several persistent health care issues, he surrendered to the need for a full-time job.

Part of the blame for the Grimeses’ unrealistic expectations is on Apple itself.

Every media event the company puts on contains the obligatory App Store milestones meant to woo developers. Here’s Steve Jobs talking about the App Store in 2010.

Look no further than Steve Demeter, the brains behind the Trism puzzler. The game netted the young developer a cool $300,000 within a few months of the App Store’s 2008 launch. Apple couldn’t resists highlighting his success story in a WWDC promo video seen below.

CEO Tim Cook recently called Apple “a jobs platform” and the company told the paper it’s “incredibly proud of the opportunities the App Store gives developers of all sizes”, but declined to answer questions.

A TechNet study found that app economy, which includes both iOS and Android, has sparked an impressive 466,000 new jobs in the last four years in the United States alone. And as Apple is keen to point out, the iOS app making biz is directly or indirectly responsible for the creation of a half million jobs in the country.

That doesn’t change the fact that the overwhelming majority of apps struggle to gain traction. Blame it on the app discovery process, critics say as they slam Apple for favoring only the top-selling software. Meanwhile, apps that don’t make it into one of the App Store charts have little success of gaining the kind of recognition that moves the needle.

The iPhone maker did acquire app discovery engine Chomp in February and as a result shut down its services as Chomp engineers moved to Cupertino offices to presumably help improve app discovery on the App Store.

The App Store storefront on the iPad

The App Store storefront on the iPad

But apart from a few overdue tweaks here and there and new layouts, the App Store remains a mess when it comes to finding apps tailored to each user’s needs. Google’s Play Store, while providing more powerful search features and accessible web portal, is plagued with the same problem.

The issue comes down to a simple fact: it’s very tough to come up with a solution that will enable people to find a needle in the haystack. Browsing more than 700,000 items is a pain on full-blown desktop computers, let alone on tiny smartphone screens.

Yes, specialized apps for finding apps help alleviate the problem a bit. But until Apple comes up with a completely different approach, the App Store app discovery process is going to continue rewarding the highest-grossing apps at the expense of makers who aren’t so fortunate to have Angry Birds, Instagram or Camera+ and in their portfolio.

Wrapping up, it’s interesting how Steve Jobs originally hesitated opening up the iPhone to third-party developers. At the end of the January 2007 iPhone introduction, he told developers to use standard web technologies to build WebApps for Safari.

He said:

And guess what? There’s no SDK that you need! You’ve got everything you need if you know how to write apps using the most modern web standards to write amazing apps for the iPhone today.

So developers, we think we’ve got a very sweet story for you. You can begin building your iPhone apps today.

Here’s a short clip with that quote:

Walter Isaacson’s bio book on Jobs lets us in on the behind-the-scenes arguments and persuasion that took place at Apple:

Apple board member Art Levinson told Isaacson that he phoned Jobs “half a dozen times to lobby for the potential of the apps,” but, according to Isaacson, “Jobs at first quashed the discussion, partly because he felt his team did not have the bandwidth to figure out all the complexities that would be involved in policing third-party app developers.”

Which brings me to my final point: the world would have definitely been a much different place today had Jobs not relented and listened to reason.

Care to extend an opinion?

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