Archive for March 26th, 2014

By March 26, 2014 Read More →

Facebook Announces $2 Billion Deal with Oculus VR

OculusVRSocial networking giant, Facebook has announced a $2 billion deal to acquire the virtual reality company Oculus VR. The company is best known for their development of the Oculus Rift headset, which was originally funded on Kickstarter and was targeted at innovating gaming experiences.

However, Facebook’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said that he believed the virtual reality technology had wider implications. During a conference call with analysts, he stated: “Oculus has the potential to be the most social platform ever. Imagine sharing not just moments with your friends online, but entire experiences and adventures.”

Oculus VR founder, Palmer Lucky previously recognised the social potential of the Oculus Rift in an interview with PC Gamer. He said: “Think of Facebook. People interact on Facebook a lot and in real life a lot. But right now Facebook is largely a tool to organize meeting up with people in real life. And that’s because even though we talk to people online, it’s a very crippled experience to actually doing things and spending time with people in real life. It’s more convenient, but you lose a lot.”

“We’re in a similar situation with VR. Right now, VR is kind of a crippled version of reality where there are reasons to use it, but you wouldn’t use it for everything. When VR is going to be exciting is when it gets as good as real life at everything, and you start to say, well, why would I travel on a business meeting across the world just to go sit face-to-face with people, if we can just plug in Rifts and get all of the same nuance of communication we could have gotten otherwise.”

 

 

The news of the acquisition raised concerns among the gaming community, who saw the possibility for Oculus to not only become a gaming platform of its own, but one that could pioneer VR technology for other social gaming sites. The worry was that the deal could limit companies like Social Gaming Network and Full Tilt Poker who may not be able connect users from multiple social platforms or will be charged high rates to be able to use the technology on their own networks.

However, the deal will see the Oculus team work independently within Facebook and remain focused on creating other gaming experiences. There are also plans to create other experiences, opening up the possibilities of enjoying a court side seat at an NBA game, studying in a classroom of students from around the world or consulting face to face with specialist doctors for a fraction of the cost.

Despite this, the development community has been hit hard by the news. “I never would have backed them if I thought this was even a remote possibility. I’m literally sad because I feel like a promising future was really just a hopeless dream,” said programmer Chip Collier. “VR has just been set back another 20-30 years.”

George Buckingham, a developer with Die Gute Fabrik studio, mirrored these sentiments, saying: “I’m irritated. The FB acquisition of Oculus seems 80% likely to kill their momentum… It’s probably going to get locked down in annoying ways and stop being a cool, weird tech you can freely hack on. I hope someone else comes and makes basically the same thing. Though I guess, that’s Sony, now.”

However, others are taking a more optimistic perspective, feeling that Facebook can provide opportunities for Oculus Rift to move forward. Head of Games at IHS Technology, Piers Harding-Rolls concluded: “Reaction from the gaming industry will fall into two major camps. There will be independent developers that will feel alienated by this move and may shift their priorities to other platforms. Others will see the advantages of having a much bigger entity behind the platform with deeper pockets alongside a massive audience of potential consumers across Facebook.

“Judging by Zuckerberg’s comments, Facebook is keen to accelerate the development of Oculus’ gaming capabilities, but I sense this is more about proving the concept and driving early adoption for a much broader set of applications many years down the road.”

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By March 26, 2014 Read More →

Increase Productivity With a Small Business Technology Makeover

Depositphotos_38612687_xsMore than 80 percent of small businesses responding to a recent j2 Global survey said they are ready to retire their old systems in favor of new technology. Look at your company’s equipment and processes for those areas taking up too much of your time and money. Consider the following technology as a way to put new life, and efficiency, back into your business:

Small Business in the Cloud

Entrepreneur magazine sees the migration of small business practices to the cloud as a natural growth step. Once used primarily as a place to store information, the cloud now offers a variety of services, such as:

  • data backup and recovery
  • applications
  • testing and production platforms
  • networking services
  • disaster recovery

Some companies offer entire office environments in the cloud. Intermedia’s Office in the Cloud provides file storage, syncing and collaboration, office tools, voice and email services. All of these services are through secure connections and can be accessed by all desktop, laptop and mobile devices.

Back Office Processing Revamped

Many vendors have moved their standard business software offerings to the cloud, enabling customers to get rid of cumbersome and expensive desktop-based software, licenses and support fees. CRM, sales force management, marketing tools, accounting and payroll are all available in the cloud. For example, Intuit’s invoice application is now cloud-based, and like most products in the cloud, it includes mobile interfaces.

These cloud-based tools save you money and are accessible whenever you need them and wherever you can get a network connection. This makes your sales force on the road more productive or lets you look up current customer data quickly before an offsite meeting. It also opens up more outsourcing opportunities since it’s easy to give a remote worker access to these tools.

Updated Cash Registers

Point-of-sale (POS) solutions have altered the way payments are taken. Entire POS systems now run on tablet computers. Small card readers plug into tablets or smartphones and let you swipe credit cards. The smallest of retailers can now take a variety of forms of payments with these tools. Many of them interface with cloud-based accounting systems making reconciliation and reporting easier.

Phone, Netbook and Tablet in One

Fox Business predicts phablets will be adopted by small businesses in 2014. These phone/tablet devices have been on the market for a few years, but have not been well received in the UK and US. They are popular in countries where people want to save money by buying this all-in-one device versus a separate smartphone and tablet.

The larger screens are easier to work on and browse the Internet. With smartphones becoming even larger, phablets may have already filled the niche of people who want to do real work on their mobile phones.

A Cloud on Your Desk

Businesses are concerned about storing data in the cloud until a high-level of safety and security is proven. But they still want the ease of getting to it as if it were in the cloud. Western Digital’s My Cloud is a network drive that sits in your office but can be accessed by you and your staff over the network. Up to 4GB can be stored on the drive fully encrypted. Software lets you control who has access to certain areas. You can use any laptop or mobile device to get to the secured data. With devices such as this and cloud data storage, you’ll have access to all of your business information when working away from the office.

Posted in: Editorial