It’s proving a watershed year for virtual reality with consumer launches of Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Samsung Gear taking VR experiences beyond the hardcore gaming community and into everyday mobile and desktop browsers via 360 video. However, the extraordinary level of hype surrounding virtual reality means people expect to be knocked out by their first VR experience, even though it is still very much a nascent medium, according to the new IAB report, Is virtual the new reality? A market snapshot of VR publishing and monetization.
Digital maps outfit Here – formerly a Nokia unit but now owned by Audi, BMW, Audi and Daimler – is rolling out a real-time traffic information based on crowdsourced data collected from car manufacturers’ vehicles. That means regular updates on the road environment to provide drivers with insights on the likes of upcoming road hazards and parking space availability in cities.
Large companies have to demonstrate to shareholders that they are re-inventing themselves to meet the challenge of tech disruption and many see moving their premises to a more vibrant part of town as means of getting a touch of innovation. And while a number of mature tech and media firms in London have already adopted the ‘born-again start-up’ strategy, it look likes more conservative firms are set to open innovation centres in the UK capital to stay ahead of disruptors, says Knight Frank in its Global Cities report.
BandLab Technologies has taken a 49% stake in esteemed music mag bible Rolling Stone, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. BandLab? It’s a Singapore-based start-up which bills itself as a social-music company and it operates a digital community for creating and sharing music. It will join forces with Rolling Stone to launch Rolling Stone International, a business to be headed up by Meng Ru Kuok, BandLab’s CEO and co-founder (and scion of one of Asia’s richest families).
More than three-quarters of CEOs of the UK’s leading companies are considering moving either their headquarters or their operations outside Britain following the June Brexit vote. And, unsurprisingly, pretty much the same percentage of those execs voted to remain in the EU, according to a survey conducted by KPMG. Asked what would encourage them to continue investing in the UK, a majority ranked certainty over EU trade terms as the most important factor.
The UK’s cities are lagging behind European metros when it comes to skills, productivity and innovation. Nine out of 10 British cities come in below the European average in terms of productivity, more than three out of four have a lower proportion of high-skilled residents than the average, while only Cambridge and Oxford place in the European top 20 for innovation, according to a new report, Competing with the Continent, from Centre for Cities.
Sony Pictures is joining forces with immersive media outfit Reality One to develop, produce, and finance virtual reality content based on the film studio’s output, writes Steve Mullins. Sony Pictures says the move it part of its efforts to develop new audiences and new revenues from its content with high-quality, interactive storytelling. The studio is making a serious play here, having already rolled out virtual reality experiences based on Ghostbusters and The Walk.
Scientists at the Sony CSL Research Laboratory have created what they claim are the first complete songs composed by artificial intelligence in the shape of Daddy’s Car and Mister Shadow. The lab workers say the songs are in the style of The Beatles, though there seems to be more than a touch of the Beach Boys about them. The two tracks are excerpts from an album composed by AI slated to be released in 2017.