Announcing booomVR!

Announcing booomVR!

As I mentioned in my last post, I recently joined a new startup called Rocketbike ARVR as CMO & Creative Director. Last fall we pitched and received funding from the Vienna AWS Impulse XS to build a functional prototype for our first VR concept, which I am excited to say, is now completed!

In February, we held a press event in Vienna to announce booomVR.

booomVR is a virtual reality web browser and content aggregation platform. It allows for easy browsing, organizing and sharing of 2D, 3D, stereoscopic and 360 VR content within the same user interface.



Business Model

booomVR is targeted towards brands & VR content providers who need a marketing platform to reach VR end users: (aka the current 1.5 Million VR headset owners) We provide them with a solution that can: increase visibilty, discoverablity, engagement & time spent on content. Plus we can be platform agnostic, so it will work on any headset.

Our primary revenue models are providing licensing and advertising solutions to brands, content providers & advertisers. This includes:

  • White Label Licensing – Basic, Power, Premium & Distributor Liscensing Packages for brands that want their own app, powered by our software
  • Licensing Branded Content Channels, Portals / Environments in the Main booomVR App, which we will be launching later in the year
  • Advertising Opportunities within the app.

Seeking Partnerships!

Over the last two months, since we went public, there has been a whirlwind of activity and interest, including our first whitelable partnership, which I will be announcing very soon.

We have currently entered closed alpha release for Oculus Rift, with a closed beta coming soon and our main app launching later in the year. In the meantime, we are having a lot of discussions with investors, content partners and brands for both the main app and white lable projects.

If you are interested in more info on booomVR or how you can get involved, please get in touch!

Follow Us!

Since i’m pretty busy these days and don’t have a lot of time for my personal blog, I encourage you to stay up to date on all the latest info on booomVR and Rocketbike ARVR via the links below and by joining our mailing lists.

www.booomVR.com

www.rocketbikearvr.com

My New Role at Rocketbike AR/VR

My New Role at Rocketbike AR/VR

Well folks, it has been a crazy year and as a result, I have not had a lot of time for posting on my blog. WAY too much going on lately… Many of you have been wondering what I have been up to and so I wanted to give everyone an update about recent happenings.

Rocketbike ARVR

In May 2016, I accepted a new role at a startup called Rocketbike ARVR. Rocketbike ARVR is a stealth mode immersive technology studio, located in Vienna, Austria. Our IP is creating AR and VR experiences that inspire the imagination.

The company is made up of veterans of the games, movie, marketing and TV industries that have worked on everything from mobile games to AAA blockbuster franchises for some of the biggest studios and publishers in the world.

This fall, we pitched and secured funding to develop a prototype for a new virtual reality application which is currently in development. There are also additional projects going on behind the scenes that I can’t talk about yet, but when the time comes, I will let you know. For now, however, everything is still “hush hush”…

Join the Mailing List!

In the meantime check out the website and be sure to join the mailing list to receive updates when we have more news. We have some exciting and innovative new things to share soon, so be sure to keep checking in.

AR/VR Magazine

arvr_blog_mag2

In summer of 2015, I launched AR/VR Magazine. In just one year, my little website has been growing like crazy and is now being considered as a leading virtual reality and augmented reality industry resource.

Since the launch, I have made lots of great connections and have been doing tons of media partnerships with several global AR/VR industry events. The website continues to grow beyond my expectations and has been a great tool for both promoting my own innitiatives, and more importantly, to give much needed attention to all the great companies and products that have been hitting the market like a firehose this year.

AR/VR is seriously exploding right now, so it is an amazing time to have jumped in with both feet running!

Need AR/VR?

If you are a company who is considering AR/VR related projects, looking to invest in some great opportunities, or needing exposure for your AR/VR related business, please get in touch. I have a lot of irons in the fire and would be happy to talk to you about the possiblities.

 

 

How to Win An Election With Social Media

How to Win An Election With Social Media

We are at a very critical time in history and the result of the upcoming US elections could have DRASTIC effects on both the future of our country and the world. The decisions in November could mean the difference between peace, security, economic prosperity or even, depending on the political climate of your particular country, life or death for you and your family. Things are that serious.

The time has come to ignore the cat pictures, the Oscars or whatever Kanye says and pay very close attention to the important topic at hand. It is time to take action and to take responsibility for your actions.

What I want to talk about here is a social strategy that will help your candidate win the election in 2016 and it’s very simple.

You do want them to win, right? Well, if so, keep reading.

Social Media is a Powerful Tool, But…

Social media is currently the primary driver for expressing, changing & manipulating public opinion on a global scale. What we do and say on social media has tremendous power and can directly effect how people share and develop opinions.

In this case, how it effects voting decisions.

The dark side of social media and politics is that what we say on social media is analyzed by government organizations, financial institutions, PR firms, corporations and most importantly, political parties to identify patterns of opportunity using software algorithms and analytics tools. Based on what they discover, they use either teams of people or automated software (bots) to manipulate social momentum on a mass level to promote their business or political agendas.

Despite the powerlessness we can feel by such a massive, corporate-political machine, social media still offers us a great advantage. What I am talking about here is the basic human interactions and opinions with which we can share between friends, family and social connections.

It’s the power of persuasion with people you have personal connections with and who trust your opinions.

Think, Before You Share!

I would encourage everyone to think very seriously about what you post on social media right now regarding politics and how it could potentially impact election results.

One simple post may not seem like much to you, but on a mass, collective level, it has a lot of power.

Unfortunately, WHAT you post, regardless of your intentions, also might have powerful reverse effects.

Why?

Conditioning, Conditioning, Conditioning!

Another factor which effects public opinion, especially in the media, is a process called Classical Conditioning, aka the old Pavlov’s Dog effect.

It begins with a simple process of repetition, where the brain begins rewiring itself to release certain chemicals based on a seeing or hearing repeated phrases, actions or stimulus. We see this in marketing with brands such as the red color of Coca Cola, aligning a perfume with sexual imagery, an annoying catchy melody in a terrible pop song, or in this case, political names and slogans.

Conditioning is a core tactic in hypnosis, brainwashing & propaganda, which over time, physically changes the brain chemistry so that it builds patterns of alignment & dependency to whatever has been repeated, even if the subject of the repetition is negative.

It is the first step in building an addiction.

In regards to politics, simply by repeating a candidate’s name, political slogan or sharing a MEME, even if it is negative and you oppose them, causes a conditioned response that gives leverage to that candidate

Sometimes negative MEMEs are even intentionally created to generate exposure to a brand because just by repeatedly seeing a name or image, creates subconscious patterns in people’s brains in connection with that brand or candidate.

The reason is that even a strong connection to a repeated “negative” creates a stronger bond than a non repeated “positive.” The result is that the brain becomes more comfortable by the chemicals it creates by being surrounded by the negative than the confusing, discomfort it feels when faced with the unfamiliar positive.

These patterns of alignment create herd mentality, which then becomes a social norm, which leads to people accepting, or at least living with the idea of a candidate that they don’t support.

We are literally building and spreading a chemical addiction to them on a mass scale, even if we hate them.

The Numbers

Here’s a simple example of how much conditioning is happening per candidate as of the time of this post. Despite political opinion, the numbers make it pretty clear who is in the lead, just by sheer volume.

Google Trends
googletrends_election2016

Twitter
election_tweets

Facebook
facebook_election2016

Take Control

Not happy with those results? Then you have to change the momentum. Here’s how:

The point here is to understand what is happening and don’t fall for the oldest trick in the book. Resist the urge to participate in the addictive skinner box mentality of sharing every little political “ha ha” moment on social media. Use it as an advantage, not as a virus, not as your controller.

Here’s how to apply this to social media and politics:

  • If you want your candidate to win, then don’t contribute to building patterns of momentum for the opposition.
  • Stop posting the names of the opposition and reposting their negative material. Let people know the name of the winner.
  • Build strong patterns by focussing only on who you want to win and only post positive info on them.
  • Fear is a stronger motivator than pleasure. (Sucks but it’s true.) Don’t focus on how bad the opposition is. Instead focus on the benefits of how your candidate will protect from the bad.
  • Create your own posts, MEMEs and hashtags and share them instead of reposting others. If you don’t do it, the bots will and they sometimes have an alternative agenda.
  • Follow your candidate. Unfollow the opposition. Post about them often. Numbers count.
  • Use every social platform at your disposal. Facebook, twitter, Instagram, pinterest, forums, chats and messengers, dating sites, etc. Any place where you can potentially reach a lot of people. If it is on a personal and emotional level, even better.
  • Make #hastags that promote your candidate, not the opposition.
  • Spread your message globally. Some countries dont use or have access to the same social platforms we use in the west. China uses WeChat and Weibo for everything. In Japan, Line is popular. Global opinions matter.

Don’t contribute to the problem, contribute to the solution. Generate positive patterns that build strong chemical bonds which align to your chosen candidate. In a world where we feel powerless to determine world affairs, we still hold the power of our connections and our ability to influence them.

Thats how you win with technology and thats how you win elections.

Retweet this Post

If you like this post, then please share it or retweet it using the hashtag #howtowin2016

Let’s see what happens and best of luck in the elections.

Virtual Reality Experiments – Motorcycle Configurator App For Google Cardboard

Virtual Reality Experiments – Motorcycle Configurator App For Google Cardboard

I’ve been doing some experimenting with the Google Cardboard SDK for Unity and I wanted to share this little prototype iPhone app I have been working on. This is a demo virtual reality motorcycle configurator app that features a 3D model based on the 2014 Harley Davidson Sportster Forty-Eight. (One of my favorite bikes, ever.)



So far the app allows you to change colors, start the bike, see lights and hear sound. I’ll share more as the project progresses.

PLEASE NOTE: This is NOT an official Harley Davidson project, I just needed a theme and I am a huge Harley Sportster fan.

Learning Unity, C# and Xcode has been slow going, as there is definitely a huge learning curve, but the process has been rewarding as well as a great introduction to building small VR applications.

As basic as it is, I really like working on VR apps for the phone, as opposed to the more involved projects using the Oculus DK2. Sure, Oculus apps look nice, but there is something about being able to just pull the phone out anywhere and let others experience things, as opposed to having to be tied to a PC and sitting in front of a chair, I think is really exciting.

Virtual Reality – A New Direction

Virtual Reality – A New Direction

It has been a long time (probably not since the first iPhone was introduced) that I have experienced a new piece of technology that really made me say “Woah, this is going to change everything.”

In May, we received an Oculus DK2 Dev Kit at the office and I had a chance to get my first introduction to Virtual Reality.

Once I had it configured and fired up the demo, I believe my first words were:

“Woah!! Oh shit… (thinking “I actually feel a little nauseous”) then “Weird, I can’t see my hands!” then “Hmmm, I kind of feel a little nerdy with this thing on my head” but then finally… “Oh my God, this is amazing! I’ve got to do this!”

The result has been a total shift in direction for me and ever since, I have been immersing myself (no pun intended) into learning as much as possible about developing Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality (AR, VR) and immersive 360 degree content.

A New Emotional Frontier

VR content is both, physical and emotional, at the same time. You experience being in the environment, not just looking at it from a distance through a rectangular window. As a result, you have a much more emotional connection with the content.

At the same time, you feel it physically, because your eyes, ears and brain are reacting as if you are there in real life. A great VR experience is thrilling. A bad one can make you nauseous. (Sim sickness, as it is called, is very real and not fun. A friend of mine admitted that he still felt sick even thinking about his first VR driving experience, weeks after trying it.)

The main point being, the experience is sticky. it can stay with you much longer than traditional media, because it embeds into your memory like a real experience.

As a result, VR is a very powerful storytelling medium for content and it opens up a lot of new and exciting opportunities.

Breaking Outside The Box

Another exciting aspect of VR is the fact that we are no longer restricted to rectangular content. When you think about it, not much has changed over the years in regards to how we consume content. Regardless of the UI, it is pretty much just square and rectangular screens of various sizes that display square and rectangular grids of images, videos, audio, games and text, which is read left/right/top & bottom.

As a user experience consultant and information architect, my job up until now, has been to create new interactive interfaces, websites, apps, software & content to fill them. More and more lately, the design industry has been struggling to come to terms with the fact that much of the web experience from a UI perspective, has been built.

Other than optimization, most of the big problems have been solved. Because of software like Google Material Design, Android, responsive web design, web components, bootstrap & contextual push notifications, etc, the web is becoming standardized. Reinventing the wheel in regards to the web UI is no longer necessary as the main focus.

The future is about experience design and it is all about the content and it’s context. With AR & VR, we can now break out of the box and experience a new immersive type of content that wraps around you in 360 degrees or appears as a layer over the real world.

Going to a movie will no longer be a 2 dimensional box you look at from a distance. Instead, you will be inside it. It has a front and a back, an up and a down. It has depth and you can navigate it like a first person shooter or a MMORPG video game.

It’s like the Wild West again, and I think that is both refreshing and really exciting. Sure, there are a lot of unknowns and a lot of experimenting to be done, but that’s part of the fun when it comes to designing the future.

New Devices & Content

Oculus has announced that their first commercial product, The Rift, will be on the market in Q1 2016, so I am betting that it will be the “must have” gear for Christmas 2016. They are projecting sales of over 12 million AR/VR devices in 2016, with 60% of them being Oculus products. By 2020, they anticipate the AR/VR industry to reach $150 Billion is annual sales.

To meet these projections, lots of VR content is being developed as we speak and many content companies, especially game companies, are switching their focus to primarily VR in the future.

Check out what my old coworkers at Crytek are working on.

There are also a number of other device manufacturers such as Microsoft HoloLens & Magic Leap, that promise some really amazing experiences. Only time will tell, but considering that one of my favorite sci-fi authors Neil Stephenson has joined Magic Leap as Chief Futurist, needless to say, these are really exciting times.

Google Cardboard

We are also not just confined to expensive headsets wired to your computer.  Google has released Google Cardboard, which allows you to take a simple smart phone, insert it into a piece of cardboard with two glass lenses and get a very similar Virtual Reality experience.

cardboard_blog

This makes the point of entry cost for VR experiences really low, allowing for some awesome opportunities for education and social causes.

Check out to my heart.

What I Am Working On

Over the past couple months, I have been basically experimenting and learning everything I can about AR, VR and other forms of sim tech.

One main focus is learning how to develop immersive content for Oculus and Google Cardboard using Unity, which is a 3D gaming engine. The C# coding aspect is proving to be a steep learning curve, but I am taking it step by step and I am committed.

Here’s a little instagram video of an experiment I did in Unity creating a maze for Oculus. Gotta have cats…



One exciting aspect of developing AR/VR content in a game engine is it’s ability to use artificial intelligence. I think the future of content combined with both, the new visual based VR/AR devices, as well as all of the connected products of Internet of Things will require some sort of 3D environment to both conceptualize and to build smart, connected, immersive experiences.

There are a lot of new User Experience issues to tackle with AR/VR projects as well. Lots of use cases, usability and design standards that need to be studied and developed for the industry. The “nausea factor” is a serious issue and a core focus of UX for VR is being gentle with the user and not making them sick. I think these are critical issues that need to be considered, especially for my own work as a consultant.

On the flip side, I can also anticipate a trend in extreme VR sports for the people who want a thrill. I totally anticipate a VR game coming out called “Don’t Puke” that tracks your eyes to make sure you keep them open during extreme, gut wrenching experiences. You win points for not vomiting. Kind of like the future’s answer to a drinking game. Or maybe drunk VR games will replace the mechanical bull?

Who knows…? Mark my words though, it will happen.

Another focus for me is how to better integrate my art in the AR/VR space. I have a few ideas, but for now I am just playing and having fun. As far as an art platform, AR/VR is wide open and there is SO MUCH potential for being creative.

More Apple Support Please!

On a side note, I have also started an Apple developer account and I am getting fluent on how to port content to the iPhone. Doing AR & VR for the Apple platform however, is proving challenging in regards to plugin and SDK support. Since Apple recently purchased Metaio, (which is one of the only AR software companies for Apple) and then shut down new accounts, AR on Mac is a bit limited until they come out with their own AR/VR device (whenever that may be…) Oculus will not be supporting Apple any time soon.

As a result I will probably tackle Android development soon, as well as possibly switching to a PC based machine. It’s looking like the next couple years will really be in favor of a PC based dev environment.

(Apple, if you are reading this, throw us a sign, will ya? At least a teaser that you have something cooking in this space or maybe when we can expect it.)

Getting Connected

I have also been joining a lot of AR/VR communities and trying to network with as many like minded enthusiasts as I can.

  • If you are a AR/VR fan, feel free to connect with me on all the socials. I would love to talk shop.
  • If you are an AR/VR company and have a project that you think might be in need of my skills, please get in touch. I am very interested in getting involved and getting some hands on experience however I can.

In the meantime, I will probably be posting quite a bit more on the topic so stay tuned.

 

Thoughts on The Future – #1 The Internet of Everything

Thoughts on The Future – #1 The Internet of Everything

According to a recent article on Singularity Hub, the CTO of Cisco recently quoted that the upcoming Internet of Everything (IoE) will be a $1.9 Trillion opportunity over the next decade.

At CES 2015 Keynote speech, Samsung announced that by 2020, all of their products will be Internet of Things (IOT) capable. Since they currently manufacture around 20 products per second, that means in 5 years (or sooner) there will be millions of IOT devices, all connected and gathering data about us.


And Samsung is just one of many…

TVs, mobile devices, toothbrushes, refrigerators, thermostats, lightbulbs, electrical outlets, vibrators, the clothes we wear, the vehicles that will drive us, the vehicles that will deliver our stuff, the lamp posts, the public utilities, the paint on the walls, our pets, our plants, our kids, and even the invisible wifi spectrum that floats around us, all will be gathering data.

Most of them already are.

Every aspect of our lives is being recorded and analyzed. Our needs, our desires, our health, where we go, how we feel, who we like, who we don’t like, what we do, what we say, what we buy, what we don’t buy, all will be analyzed by systems that will process our data and attempt to deliver targeted & contextual experiences back to us.

Privacy is a thing of the past. There will be no secrets. Everyone will be naked on someone’s TV. Lying will be impossible.

The Internet Will Come to You

With so much context gathering tech surrounding our daily lives, the role of a website as a destination will no longer be relevant. Arguably, it already has.

In the future, we won’t need to search Google because contextually relevant content will come to us. The internet will fade into the background as an omnipotent, invisible layer, just as electricity or running water did in the past.

For a while, we can assume that it will be insanely spammy. Combined with augmented reality, virtual reality and 3D holograms, things will start to become an overwhelming hallucination of multimedia ads and notifications injected into all aspects of our lives.

Media will be projected everywhere. 3D avatars and monsters will jump out of your burger, follow you down the street, be your companions and/or sell you insurance.

(This video below of a 7D cinema experience in Dubai might give you some idea of what that world could look like.)

Quiet Filters & Digital Prozac

The need for filters will become necessary for survival. Simple, daily tasks like walking down a busy street will become overwhelming. We will need Digital Prozac.

Luxury services will appear that filter only the “organic” healthy data to protect us from the “junk food” data that will fly out from all directions. We will pay a premium for the silence we currently take for granted.

Pop culture fashion & lifestyle choices will be based on which data filter you pick.

Over time, the systems will evolve and be so dialed in, that every action we take will have the most desired contextual reaction delivered to us. The systems will become so smart that they will predict things that we didn’t know yet. We will allow the system to have more and more control because without automation, we could lose our ability to function.

Our brain chemistry will permanently be rewired for constant distraction and constant entertainment. (it already is…) Turning it off will create withdrawals similar to quitting smoking or kicking heroin.

Getting hacked could make you insane or physically harm you. We will pay higher insurance premiums to insure we stay normal, healthy and alive, not just as a means to get paid when something happens.

Autonomous Vehicles, Transportation & Shipping

Autonomous driving will become a huge opportunity for relaxing and hands free media consumption.  As we sit back in these robot cars and consume content, (rolling movie theaters, offices, hotels, restaurants, brothels) the drones will take us to work, remind us of tasks, deliver our food, watch our children, clean our streets, care for the sick and injured and hunt down criminals.

They will make life or death decisions based on who pays the highest insurance. Drivers licenses, traffic accidents & parking violations will become a thing of the past.

Swarms of autonomous vehicles run by a central, corporate transit system will chain together like freight trains or break off into small personal taxis.

Automotive manufacturers as well as the transportation, travel, postal and shipping industries (any industry involving robot cars, trains, airplanes cargo ships, tractors, trucks, buses, etc) will at some point all be disrupted and forced to merge to become one, giant, autonomous shipping industry, focussing on transporting people and things.

(At least anything organic that can’t yet be 3D printed on location.)

Branded Neighborhoods & Cities

In the short term, there will be a chaotic mess of aggregating devices and software that all attempt to capture the data and compete for who owns the core experience. There will be a lot of broken, fragmented experiences, hype and a lot of money will be spent and wasted.

As the systems evolve, the big player data platforms (GAFA – Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon) will buy up the most successful companies, and continue to evolve into mega, lifestyle based, entities that will eventually control entire communities, economies and could influence political structures.

Based on copyrights and digital rights management, your neighborhoods and cities will be determined by your choice of Apple or Google. They will own the homes, the devices, the transportation, the entertainment and the utilities. All will be reliant on being logged in to some larger platform and system, all controlled by GAFA.

Because of DRM, you will own nothing. Nobody will need to (or be able to) own a car or a home, only rent it.  Your whole life will be one big subscription plan.

With so much monopolization and automation of every aspect of culture & civilization, the only areas left for control will be real estate, both in the wifi / communication spectrum as well as physical land and natural resources.

Jobs & Business of the Future

Since many of our jobs will be replaced with automation, our earning potential will be based on our ability to do creative or humanist tasks that can’t easily be replicated with artificial intelligence or robots. Our activity will generate both income and energy that can be sold or traded back into the system.

Everything we do will have the potential to be gamified and income earned from these gamified actions will replace our salaries. Every action we take will be collecting points that can be exchanged for goods and services, both physical and digital, in sub layers of micro economic marketplaces, where modern paper currency is replaced with a multitude of virtual currencies.

Where do we go from here?

For now I am going to stop and use this point as a launching pad for later discussions on more specific topics.

I can honestly say that, based on all that I have seen and experienced, the future looks both exciting and incredibly bleak. Many major disruptive changes will occur in the next few years that could change life as we know it for better and worse. Lots of opportunities, lots of unknowns. In many ways, we are on the verge of a major evolutionary shift.

In contrast to the present, admittedly, the future does seem overwhelmingly negative. I also think that there will be plenty of amazing & positive things on the horizon as well, so I also plan to touch on these things too.

I’ll share more as it comes to me. In the meantime, please comment and let me know your thoughts. If you have suggestions on particular topics related to the future that you would like me to touch on, I would love to hear them.

See you in the future.