The two day VR World conference focused on featured sessions from industry leaders pioneering immersive technology in such fields as manufacturing, automotive, entertainment, healthcare, and many others.
One of the benefits of bringing together VR and AR industry leaders is to facilitate collaboration and work together on a unified vision for this new technology.
Here’s what they predict
Offices become obsolete
The future of work will center on a private, virtual workspace that immerses the user in a 3D desktop customized to provide the ideal working environment.
Several of the major HMD producers, like the Windows Mixed Reality platform and Oculus Rift are providing a virtual desktop experience for their users. There are also several apps like Bigscreen and Virtual Desktop working to make Latta’s vision a reality but the experience has a long way to go before becoming seamlessly integrated with our daily work lives.
Drive time becomes down time
road-based transportation will be completed within a personalized and autonomous, immersive environment allowing the passenger to work or enjoy immersive entertainment.
No more screen time
AR and merged reality will take away our need to look at screens – smartphones, watches, tablets, laptops, will all become a thing of the past. According to Cyril Tuschi, the CEO and founder of You-VR, super-lightweight AR glasses and XR contact lenses will soon become our standard companion. He believes that worries over the negative effects of screen time will be mitigated as our digital world will become seamlessly integrated with the real world. Tuschi also optimistically believes that there will be early education programs to help children navigate this new merged reality along with an AI driven opt-in program to mindfully deliver only relevant experiences to users.
Smarter planet — global knowledge and collaboration network
According to Paul Sweeney, VP and GM for DAQRI International, “immersive technology will enable collaboration between vast distributed teams, across languages, time zones and geographies thereby connecting large populations to rich digital information, in the physical world.
Echo Dot smart-home device aimed at children, is entering a busy and growing marketplace. More than one-third of U.S. homes with children has at least one “internet of things” connected toy—like a cuddly creature who can listen to and respond to a child’s inquiries. Many more of these devices are on the way, around the world and in North America specifically.
The toys connect wirelessly with online databases to recognize voices and images, identifying children’s queries, commands and requests and responding to them. They claim to improv children’s quality of play, providing children with new experiences of collaborative play, and developing children’s literacy, numeric and social skills.
Privacy is a concern for all their users with devices but children are particularly vulnerable and have special legal protections. Consumer advocates have raised alarms about the toys’ insecure wireless internet connections—either directly over Wi-Fi or via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet with internet access.
1. Unsecured wireless connections
Some “internet of things” toys can connect to smartphone apps without any form of authentication. So a user can download a free app, find an associated toy nearby, and then communicate directly with the child playing with that toy. In 2015, security researchers discovered that Hello Barbie, an internet-enabled Barbie doll, automatically connected to unsecured Wi-Fi networks that broadcast the network name “Barbie.” It would be very simple for an attacker to set up a Wi-Fi network with that name and communicate directly with an unsuspecting child.
The same thing could happen with unsecured Bluetooth connections to the Toy-Fi Teddy, I-Que Intelligent Robot and Furby Connect toys, a British consumer watchdog group revealed in 2017.
The toys’ ability to monitor children—even when used as intended and connected to official networks belonging to a toy’s manufacturer—violates Germany’s anti-surveillance laws. In 2017, German authorities declared the My Friend Cayla doll was an “illegal espionage apparatus,” ordering stores to pull it off the shelves and requiring parents to destroy or disable the toys.Unsecured devices allow attackers to do more than just talk to children: A toy can talk to another internet-connected device, too. In 2017, security researchers hijacked a CloudPets connected stuffed animal and used it to place an order through an Amazon Echo in the same room.
2. Tracking kids’ movements
Some internet-connected toys have GPS like those in fitness trackers and smartphones, which can also reveal users’ locations, even if those users are children. In addition, the Bluetooth communications some toys use can be detected as far away as 30 feet. If someone within that range looks for a Bluetooth device—even if they’re only seeking to pair their own headphones with a smartphone—they’ll see the toy’s name, and know a child is nearby.
Internet-connected toys have cameras that watch kids and microphones that listen to them, recording what they see and hear. Sometimes they send that information to company servers that analyze the inputs and send back directions on how the toy should respond. But those functions can also be hijacked to listen in on family conversations or take photographs or video of children without the kids or parents ever noticing.
Toy manufacturers don’t always ensure the data is stored and transmitted securely, even when laws require it: In 2018, toymaker VTech was fined US$650,000 for failing to fulfill its promises to encrypt private data and for violating U.S. laws protecting children’s privacy.
According to consumer advice from the FBI, parents should carefully research internet-connected toys before buying them, and evaluate their capabilities, functioning, and security and privacy settings before bringing these devices into their homes. Without proper safeguards—by parents, if not toy companies—children are at risk, both individually and through collection of aggregate data about kids’ activities.
November 2016, the company announced the recall of 2.8 million washing machines that range across 34 of the company’s models. The essential details of the recall can be found on the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s recall notice. However over the weekend another Samsung washer exploded, this time in Irving, Texas.
The explosions reportedly stem from unbalanced drums, which can separate from the washing machine with enough internal force to cause other parts of the machine to detach — and in some cases launch with ample force to cause serious injury.
Samsung strongly encourages any customer who has experienced an issue with a Samsung product or authorized service visit to immediately contact us at 1-866-264-5636 or at samsung.com/us/tlw.”
It’s not an uncommon problem for the industry. In November 2017, a Whirlpool Duet washer owned by a family in Freeport, Minnesota, exploded, firing off ball bearings with the force of bomb shrapnel. The blast knocked a woman unconscious and left her with a concussion.
Two executives from Best Buy described the work they’ve done over the last three and a half years rethinking employee training by investing in support for customer and product interaction — as opposed to clunky, corporate technology — by using dedicated resources from a retail user experience and a change management perspective.
They believe it’s super important for their employees to feel like they have a place in the future of where we’re going.” These efforts have helped drop employee turnover by “well into the double digits.
Employee turnover is still problematic. The average turnover rate is north of 60%, according to the National Retail Federation, and retailers collectively lose over 230 million productive days and $19 billion in new staff costs as a result.
Last year, newfound investment in employee training became a priority for the National Retail Federation as well as 21 major retailers like Walmart, Target and Macy’s, which together launched the RISE Up (Retail Industry Skills and Education) program.
Although Best Buy is not a part of the program, the retailer has spent the last few years tackling the problem by conducting “hundreds and hundreds” of one-on-one interviews with employees across the country to ask about usability problems when it comes to applications and technology, and other pain points of the job.
“Through redesigning systems and bringing new technology into the stores they were able to cut their POS transaction time in half. This allows their associates to spend less time typing on keyboards or holding tablets and reinvest that time to connect with the customer experiences so they don’t end up cutting labor or anything similar.
The Center for Urban Science and Progress moved into 370 Jay Street in Brooklyn.
370 Jay Street will house engineers, research scientists, game designers, media artists, and musicians – all interacting and collaborating under one roof.
Launched in 2012, CUSP has earned a reputation as a leader in the study of urban informatics. The school integrates data and social sciences to understand and improve cities, working to solve challenges ranging from pollution and homelessness to crowded public transportation. The school offers a yearlong MS program that gives students the opportunity to tackle real-world problems in and out of the classroom, partnering with City and State organizations, including the New York City Economic Development Corporation and Department of Environmental Protection. Research projects CUSP has helped launch are the ongoing SONYC noise pollution research initiative that received $4.6 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, and a partnership with Women in Need to create the city’s first smart homeless shelters.
By 2030 up to 30% of the hours worked globally could be automated. According to a new report by the McKinsey Global Institute researchers estimate that between 400 million and 800 million people could find themselves displaced by automation and in need of new jobs, depending on how quickly new technologies are adopted. Of this group, as many as 375 million people—about 14% of the global workforce—may need to completely switch occupational categories and learn a new set of skills to find work.
Number of workers needing to find new jobs due to automation