She's 58-years-old, and she's already been a police officer, an astronaut, and the President of the United States, too.
But now, Barbie's a voice-interactive hologram. So that's fun.
From the looks of it, her mannerisms seem oddly modeled off of the sisters in "Frozen." She's also imprisoned in a box, so you just sort of look at her. She can change nationality with the snap of her fingers, though. So that's cool.
Still, all that voice interaction may come with some privacy concerns, however. But relax: Wired reports that the system uses 256-bit encryption and follows FTA guidelines.
So you can get back to talking to her as she prances around ... inside a box.
In the conclusion of our Summer 2016 digital marketing wrap-up on the Jim Blasingame Show, Jim and I talk marketing and the IoT.
You know we're entering new territory when Amazon is rolling out a Dash button for Mentos.
Jim's show focuses on startups and SMBs, so the discussion speaks to trends through that lens.
As things turned out, Jim and I got so engrossed in our conversation, we never got a chance to talk about what is probably the #1 buzz-generating digital marketing news story of the summer: Pokémon GO.
In the end, we decided to save that for another show, and perhaps that's for the better.
Even as word spreads that the game may not have as much GO in it as some thought (and with even Target appropriating its most conspicuous icon these days) the game's larger lessons for marketing in the age of augmented reality may be better absorbed with a little more distance from Pikachu's big moment.
Besides, we don't want it to completely overshadow some of the other major trends from the summer that was.
Still loving this hilarious video promoting the town of Basel, which capitalizes on the Pokémon Go craze with a fun stunt. Hey, the game's supposed to get you outside, right? Why not make a vacation out of it. I want to shoot a prank like this just for fun.
We're digging #MetMIRAGE, a 360-degree immersive 3D projection mapping experience at Metropolis at Metrotown in Vancouver. It's the latest work from Adrian Scott and the team at Go2 Productions, which we've used for a couple of award-winning 3D projection experiences.
Scott tells me his team developed an entirely new system for MetMIRAGE that automates much of the installation, and allows for live monitoring just in case there's a need to troubleshoot anything. A camera also captures images of people at certain points in the experience, and an iPad at the end enables them to upload the photo to their social platforms.
Check it out if you happen to be in Vancouver before the end of August. In the meantime, get the inside scoop on the LoopNet, Seagate and other cool 3D projection experiences below:
We're still digging this TED video of HoloLens and Kinect inventor Alex Kipman as he shares his vision for the age of holograms.
Of course, we haven't decided how much of this is overly staged to optimize for video capture (clearly it's mapped to the area he's working in here, and it remains to be seen if HoloLens will create the same effect in any space).
We're also amused by some of the hype involved (we're pretty sure a thousand years from now, even AR will be a distant memory, replaced by something that makes it seem antediluvian at best).
And yes, for some reason he had us thinking of Ernie & Bert playing around with an ancient form of augmented reality.
But Kipman's vision is compelling, especially given his work with Kinect, the motion-sensing technology that enables you to interact with AR elements through body movement.
One thing's for sure: We can't wait to see where it all goes in next decade—let alone the 990 years after that.
As I point out in a recent conversation with Charlie Kraus of Limelight networks, there's just one problem: None of these are actually VR. They're 360-degree videos.
True VR is (or will be) far immersive because these videos, while incredibly cool, are missing one key element: interactivity.
I'm not talking visual navigation. I'm talking about the ability to pick up an object. Crouch low or jump high. The ability to move in relation to the virtual environment.
True VR is more like a first-person video game, whether the environment is photo/video-realistic or clearly fantastical, as with video games.
While this current wave of "VR" is an important step in that direction, it's critical that we don't lose sight of the "Holodeck"-like vision on which VR is based.
The evolution of VR will bring us 360-movies and eventually, truly interactive VR—or even better, AR or "mixed reality," that brings fictitious dramas to life within real world environments—for the ultimate movie-going experience.
Dawn of Awesomeness
As blockbuster movie fans (myself included) gear up for this week's 3D IMAX release of "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice," I found myself thinking about a conversation I had a while back with Steven Amato, co-founder of Omelet LA.
In this short clip (from a source interview for my book, THE ON-DEMAND BRAND), I ask Amato about the future of feature-length mixed reality experiences, and what it could also mean for brands using VR/AR to develop branded content in a world where you might not just sit inside that MINI in "Backwater"—but actually drive it. And where you don't just watch Batman & Superman clash with each other and their villains—you join them.
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IIf Augmented Reality holds so much more promise than Virtual Reality, are investments in developing VR-specific devices like Oculus Rift just a waste of time and money—especially when mobile phones can be used for both AR and VR?
In the conclusion of my recent conversation with content delivery network (CDN) provider Limelight Networks' Charlie Kraus, we'll get answers to that question—and learn why when it comes to both AR and VR, it's voice that's the killer app.
It turns out the promise of virtual reality bites when compared to long-term prospects for augmented reality.
At least that’s according to research from Manatt Digital Media that estimates the market for VR-based solutions will account for only $30 billion of a total $150 billion combined AR/VR market by 2020.
But there’s always a “but,” right?
In this case, that “but” is followed by a question: How are we supposed to square Manatt’s research with seemingly contradictory estimates like those from Gartner, whose ever-popular Hype Cycle chart shows AR far behind VR—indeed, far behind even autonomous vehicles—in its advance toward true market traction?
Short answer: You can’t. And in my view, it’s VR’s fault.
A Virtual Conundrum
To get to what I mean, I went to Charlie Kraus, senior product marketing manager for Limelight Networks, which is a leading content delivery network (CDN) provider.
CDNs, of course, are used by carriers and others to deliver all that content you consume online—text, graphics, videos, games, music, etc.—with a high level of availability and performance.
As you might imagine, AR (content superimposed on the user's view of the physical world) and VR (content that immerses the user in a simulated world) can only be as good as the networks through which that content is delivered.
After all, if you think buffering at a key moment on “House of Cards” is innervating, just wait until you miss a critical turn as you make your way around an unfamiliar city using AR-based navigation, or find yourself frozen and subsequently fragged by opponents within VR gaming worlds, due to network congestion.
So while most of the focus is on manufacturers producing devices like Oculus Rift and app developers for more common devices such as iPhones, I figured content networks may have actual usage patterns from which to base projections.
In part one of this Q & A, I ask Kraus to spell out the differences between VR and AR for listeners who may be confused by the terms (and no wonder—look at this article out today that seems to equate the two), and why Limelight is especially bullish on AR.
Then I ask about what I see as a key problem with reconciling contradictory projections about adoption rates for both AR and VR.
Sure, AR seems pretty well defined. But VR is an entirely different matter.
Mobile is where it’s at again this year, though we quibble with its definition these days.
For instance, Facebook says nearly 80% of its ad revenue come from mobile advertising. But in our humble opinion, just because an ad is experienced on a mobile device doesn’t mean it’s “mobile.”
Small wonder then, that as in year’s past, most of our top pics for 2015 bring something more to “mobile” – by in fact, relating to place, or the specific capabilities or key functionality of the device in which they are consumed.
Here's 10 of our favorites from the year that was.
This wildly popular (and widely spoofed) holiday campaign from UK retailer John Lewis includes a mobile app featuring augmented reality that lets you point your phone toward the moon to unlock daily facts about each phase of the moon. There’s also a game in which the player has to avoid obstacles and collect power boosts to get a specific item up to the man on the moon.
Despite the fact that we're never ones to require any additional prompting to drink Coke Zero – we live on the stuff – this year’s “drinkable advertising” caught our notice. The campaign’s TV spots featured Coke Zero being poured from an onscreen bottle – before migrating to viewers’ mobile phone screens before transmogrifying into a coupon.
What’s not to love about the World Wild Life Fund’s “Last Selfie” promotion with Snapchat, which takes advantage of the fleeting, transient nature of Snapchat snaps with short ads that show just how quickly an endangered species can be wiped off the planet. Powerful, and perfect for the platform. In just its first week, consumers posted 40,000 tweets about the initiatives to 120 million timelines. And in just three days, WWF reached its fundraising target for the entire month.
This year, Guess's special mobile ad units enabled users to snap selfies and then “try on” sunglasses via augmented reality, complete with pointers on which styles work best for your face shape. The user takes or uploads a selfie, adjusts the placement, applies from a wide selection of sunglasses and can even share the image for feedback from far-flung friends via their social platforms. Add a "buy" button and this could be m-commerce magic instead of just promotion.
How do you get shoppers into store locations during the Easter season? Launch an augmented reality Egg Hunt for the chance to win store gift cards. Here’s a brick & mortar retailer (in Australia) that refused to shy away from mobile and instead embraced it to enhance the retail experience.
This summer, the online music streaming service rolled out a "Found Them First" microsite that lets users see which musicians the system knows they heard before the artists became megawatt sensations. Users can then build and share a playlist built on those early discoveries. In exchange, Spotify will offer them a new playlist with other new acts they might help “discover” as well.
MINI USA is big on short online films featuring its cars, so it made since that the brand would be among the first to take 360-degree video for a test drive. Two such films, “Backwater” and “Real Memories” are definitely worth a gander—and could mean big things for the road ahead.
Let’s face it: You’re not quite you when you’re hungry, are you? Which is why the latest installment of Snickers’ long-running "You're Not You" campaign includes a mobile app that enables consumers to create images related to their particular hunger symptoms and share them socially. The key isn’t to show off what kind of hungry you are, of course. It’s about calling out family and friends for acting “snippy,” “loopy,” “cranky,” “confused,” “spacey," or ... insert your own adjective here.
Yes, I’m still fixated on this VR initiative from Qantas, which enables you to go on a eight-minute, 360-degree virtual vacation to Hamilton Island. In fact, it was really hard to decide between this and our #1 pick this year. It is, after all, either instant justification for the VRevolution, or a sure sign of the Apocalypse. Once companies start producing VR content like this that lasts not minutes but for hours on end, the human race may just opt out of the “reality” part of the equation all together—at least when they aren’t physically going to these amazing locales.
Okay, there's rarely a moment when a large TV screen is much out of arms reach these days. So maybe this is the solution to a problem that few will ever face. But it's still hard not to dig the Pizza Hut Blockbuster Box - a pizza box that's also a movie projector. Throw in a cold one and this could be the best thing to happen to pizza since pepperoni.
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