In Social News…

There are a lot of updates going on in the VR/AR world, but most significantly standalone headsets are becoming more real in the US, and with the Facebook F8 Conference this past week – the Oculus Go is now on sale.

The introduction of stand alone devices have long been hailed as the hardware that will truly change VR adoption by consumers. The need for a specific smart phone, gaming computer and/or large amounts of flexible walking space prevents your average person from consuming VR content – not even to mention price tags. While reports of the Oculus Go have circled for months, F8 made it official. The Go is coming and already has some critical relationships (Netflix, and Hulu) to name a few.

A feature I haven’t heard too much about, but I think is critical for mass market, is the ability to personalize with prescription lens inserts. This may seem like a small feature, but changes like this and the flexibility to customize devices will appeal to more consumers.

In other social news, AR Face Filters are continuing to make waves. Last week, Snap announced that it was opening it’s development platform to include AR Face Filters. They also introduced a applet ability (Snappables). Instagram, not one to be left behind, is following suit. To counter Snaps engagement with brands, Instagram is utilizing AR filters in conjunction with brands, in a different way.

Snappables

Also at F8, Facebook introduced AR Capabilities for Messenger, specifically for brands, which until now are housed in Facebook Stories. Brands are one of the largest user bases to use Messenger bots to communicate with consumers.

New “hardware” (a phrase I’m hesitant to use) continues to infiltrate the news – most notably, the “Force Jacket” from joint effort between Disney Research, MIT Media Lab, and Carnegie Melon University. This is a far leap from the 4D movie experiences of my childhood in creating interaction and imposing specific reactions on viewers.

Leaving the Social Networks behind…

Forgetting the social world, today, Vive released three new SDKs (currently in early access) related to interactions within the Vive. It seems that Vive is moving more towards pass-through AR and audio AR/VR. While it’s clear that the Pro is a more sophisticated and clear device, these updates to audio will continue to create more realistic environments for participants.

The New York Times is steadily increasing their AR usage – specifically in exploring the red planet. The Times is clearly pushing themselves into the digital age, seeing AR as a realistic future for engaging with content. The Weather Channel is also attempting to distinguish themselves, and utilize AR to more realistic indicate weather movements. Now this isn’t new news given that the station toyed with AR in 2015, but it’s certainly making waves currently.