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Posts tagged ‘Virtual Reality’

Travel Trends & Technology

Expedia’s 2018 Travel Tech Trends and Industry Opportunities report, reveals that new technologies are seeing swift uptake from consumers, driven by consumers’ growing digital impatience and expectation for instant responses, answers and solutions to their queries and purchasing requests.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

AI makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs, mimic human behavior and complete tasks.

This can be found in some of the simplest, daily things such as Chatbots, which are offshoots of AI. Chatbot systems on their websites to help relieve the load on its hotlines. With Chatbots, time-starved (or impatient) travelers can get their queries across and expect a quicker response than, say, sending through an e-mail.

Companies that use it:

  • Air New Zealand (named Oscar)
  • AirAsia
  • Finnair (named Finn)
  • Expedia
  • Allora (named Dorothy)
  • Skyscann

In February this year, Japanese tour firm First Airlines rolled out a one-of-a-kind service that allows passengers to virtually visit destinations in a short two-hour “flight,” that would otherwise take upwards of 10 hours.

Passengers just needed to be strapped into a simulator to enjoy “traveling” to their destination in the comfort of first and business class cabins. The experience included everything that one would experience on an actual flight such as a safety announcement by the cabin crew and a four-course fine-dining in-flight meal.

Upon “arrival,” travelers will then be given high-tech virtual reality headsets to put on to explore their destination’s sites.

Other travel companies, such as Thomas Cook, Flight Centre, and Virgin Holidays are also using VR in-store to promote destinations they’re selling by giving immersive tours.

Renowned multinational hospitality company Shangri-La Hotels was perhaps the first if not one of the first hotel group to use VR across all its global sales offices to promote its properties worldwide.

Even the aforementioned Niantic-developed PokemonGO was used by tourism authorities worldwide to promote their destinations.

 

Translation: We have confirmed that the frequency to encounter Lapras has been increased in the coastal area of Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefecture. Apparently, it will continue until 23 Nov. It’s time to travel there where you can experience Tohoku district! We believe that you can find a lot of awesome things besides PokemonGO.

Blockchain

According to industry experts, emerging technology blockchain is the next major disruptor to the travel industry. And by the looks of how quickly companies are adopting cryptocurrencies, that seems to be true.

In February this year, Brisbane Airport, one of Australia’s biggest airports, announced it struck a game-changing deal with cryptocurrency travel firm TravelbyBit. The airport will become the world’s first airport to accept Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies as a legitimate currency.

 

Southeast Asian travel firm Smiling Albino has also started acknowledging Bitcoin installments for all treks to Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. The organization said it was “a more productive approach to pay for an excursion.”

The Virtual Home & Robots

Computer scientists have been working on teaching machines to do a wider range of tasks around the house. In a new paper spearheaded by MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and the University of Toronto, researchers demonstrate “VirtualHome,” a system that can simulate detailed household tasks and then have artificial “agents” execute them, opening up the possibility of one day teaching robots to do such tasks.Using Virtual Home, the MIT computer scientists have trained AI to do about 1,000 different tasks that one might expect a household robot assistant to be able to do. Robots trained in this way may oneday be a great help for the elderly or people who have trouble getting around, and perhaps even to the average person. But until they become useful, at least they’re entertaining to watch.

Black Filmakers Explore New Tech For Storytelling

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Black Public Media (BPM) held a summit at Google’s New York City offices on April 6. The event brought together Black filmmakers, producers, writers and directors, along with social justice activists, media and entertainment executives, funders, investors, and distributors to discuss ways to get Black content into the distribution pipeline.

The summit was part of BPM’s new initiative WOKE! Broadening Access to Black Public Media, which is designed to connect creatives working with new technologies to funding and resources, and help promote diversity in media.

Funders for the one-day historic event include the MacArthur Foundation, Google, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, along with the Wyncote Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs.

Among many notables in attendance were TV One host Roland Martin, Lisa Cortes (Precious, Monster’s Ball), Yance Ford (Strong Island), Thomas Allen Harris (Through a Lens Darkly), Shola Lynch (Free Angela & All Political Prisoners), Richard Parsons (Imagination Capital), and Shukree Hassan Tilghman (This Is Us).

 

BPM’s overall mission is to help develop, produce and distribute “innovative media” about the Black experience, as well as invest in Black filmmakers, producers and directors.

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Sephora Uses Artificial Intelligence & Augmented​ Reality For Their Cosmetics

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Sephora is the industry-leading chain of cosmetic stores that have used technology to position itself as the number one specialty beauty retailer in the world. While other cosmetic companies rely heavily on department store sales, Sephora offers customers a number of tech options that allow them to personalize their shopping experience by trying on makeup virtually using AR, matching their skin tone to a foundation with AI, and sampling a fragrance via a touchscreen and scented air.

Sephora’s was founded in France by Dominique Mandonnaud in 1970, and acquired by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 1997. The company now operates some 2,300 stores in 33 countries worldwide, with more than 430 stores across the Americas.

Sephora Virtual Artist, an AR tool that allows customers to try on thousands of shades of lipstick, eyeshadow, false lashes, and many other makeup products sold at Sephora. It also lets users go through beauty tutorials on their own face digitally to learn how to achieve certain looks. A new feature called Color Match taps AI to help customers find the right color shade for their skin tone via an uploaded photo. Virtual Artist is available in the Sephora app as well as in select stores.

For the past five years, ModiFace and Sephora experimented with AR. ModiFace worked closely with Sephora to ensure every single color of a virtual product matches the product in real life.

Customers in New York City can try out the Innovation Lab’s newest tech venture, Tap and Try. The technology lets you pick any lip or lash product on an endcap display, and immediately try it on using Sephora Virtual Artist combined with RFID scanning.

Several stores across North America offer Sephora’s Fragrance IQ experience with a first-to-market sensory technology called InstaScent. After filling out an online scent profile, InstaScent allows clients to test 18 different scents using a dry air delivery system so they can test them out without actually trying them on.

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New Anatomy App Allows You To See Your Organs

Ed Barton and his UK-based startup Curiscope created a blend of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Using an anatomy VR app and the company’s Virtuali-Tee, a t-shirt, they are allowing people to see inside of their own chest cavities. This technology works using a highly-stylized QR code printed on the front of the t-shirt. When you scan the code with the corresponding app, you can explore throughout the chest cavity, including the heart and lungs.

 

 

KFC Plans To Training Their Employees With Virtual Reality Equipment

 

Training applications for the service and food industry have genuine potential, as seen in Google’s interactive learning tests, and Honeygrow’s training app for new employees.  Nevertheless, the sequence does introduce the basics of preparing chicken for KFC in a highly entertaining way, and could serve as a fun part of the employee initiation process.

With an atmosphere of light steampunk horror, including a somewhat disturbing version of The Colonel asking you to kindly fry some chicken, The Hard Way appeared to be an elaborate marketing campaign, but PC Gamer received an official response suggesting that the project is indeed going to be introduced to new employees in the future.

“KFC will use the VR simulation to supplement its robust, multi-step employee training program, called Chicken Mastery Certification, which provides detailed eLearning and hands-on training for cooks in each of KFC’s kitchens. KFC will provide another platform for training by bringing the VR simulation technology to its regional general manager training classes, quarterly franchise meetings, and employee onboarding.

Firefox Getting VR Support

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Firefox 55, is set to come out on August 8th complete with VR support. Firefox will be joining Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge, which also added web-based VR functionality this past year.

Web-based VR on Firefox will be available for all Windows users who have an HTC Vive or Oculus Rift headset. It’s  WebVR allows browsers to run virtual-reality experiences. It’s already available in Firefox Nightly, the pre-release version of Mozilla’s browser, and has very limited availability in Servo, a browser engine built by individual developers and sponsored by Mozilla.

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