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Inside AR

Inside AR (Jul 1st, 2019)

1.  Augmented Reality start-up RealWear has just raised $80 million to fund the expansion of its connected worker platform and hardware development. The round was led by industrial automation firm Teradyne, with additional money from Bose Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, Kopin, and JPMorgan Chase, bringing total funding to date to $100 million. In the past 18 months, the company has shipped 15,000 of its headsets to 1,300 enterprise customers such as Colgate, Shell, Uros, Globalfoundries, Airbus, and BMW. The HMT-1 headset is a sturdily designed, no-frills product meant to enhance productivity by essentially placing a 7-inch virtual Android tablet within the users's glancing range, just below their line of sight, with a micro display that can comfortably work outdoors. – VENTUREBEAT

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2. Papa John's is using Snapchat to create an Augmented Reality Spider-Man experience. In addition to the official "Spider-Man: Far From Home" AR app launched last week, fans can also play around with a pizza-themed offering. Customers ordering a Superhero XL two-topping pizza can scan a Snapcode with the Snapchat app for iOS or Android and then scan the specially-labeled "Spider-Man: Far From Home" pizza box to unlock a pair of AR experiences. On the rear camera, Snapchat's Marker Tracking technology builds 3D models of the Palace of Westminster, the Tower Bridge in London, and the Rialto Bridge in Venice. On the front-facing camera, Snapchat's face and hand-tracking technology act as the controls for a mini-game where customers catch falling pizza slices with webbing. – NEXT REALITY

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3. By the Numbers: 2019 VR and AR Headset Tracker According to an IDC report published last week, shipments for VR and AR headsets rose 27.2 percent year-over-year in Q1 2019, and the research firm expects the market to continue growing throughout the rest of the year as standalone headsets become more popular in both categories.  – TOM’S HARDWARE

  • 7.6 million units - Expected global shipments for the global VR and AR Market in 2019
  • 5.9 million units more than in 2018
  • One in three headset shipments occurs in the commercial sector. 

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4. The Weather Channel's award-winning use of Mixed Reality in its broadcasts has been a complex exercise in creative storytelling. Sarah Redohl goes behind the scenes with the channel's VP of Design Michael Potts, who talks about the logistics of the journey which saw them adopt the technology in 10 different experiences over the past year. "Everything we do has a science-and-safety message, and we wanted to show our audience rather than tell them," he explains when justifying the investment, saying that Mixed Reality helped them create hyper-realistic experiences that their audience could really relate to, engaging viewers across all age demographics and "lighting a fire on social." –IMMERSIVE SHOOTER

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5. Adi Robertson asks whether the long-awaited promise of a handset-free augmented world is about to be fulfilled. AR smart glasses, he writes, are still a rare sight, but they hold an outsized place in our imagination. – THE VERGE

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6. A New Zealand IT company specializing in training fire wardens and farmers has acquired a Virtual Reality creative agency, part of a consistent global trend that sees the training and education sectors embracing immersive technology.   – NEW ZEALAND HERALD

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7. Augmented Reality is drawing more attention from big companies and major players in the advertising space. Sol Rogers writes that brand awareness increases by as much as 70% with the creative use of AR, and points to recent success stories such as the Burger King app which went viral in Brazil by "burning" its rival McDonald's. – FORBES

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8. In the latest edition of "Shark Tank," entrepreneur Jan Goetgeluk asked for an investment of $2 million in exchange for a 10 percent stake in his Virtual Reality gaming company.– CNBC

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9. Microsoft has stopped stocking most partner headsets on its stores, prompting speculation that the company is scaling back its focus on Mixed Reality. Following a spell of tepid sales, the only remaining model available on its U.S. store is the Samsung HMD Odyssey+, while the U.K. site only has an HP model still listed.– TECHRADAR 

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10. Tourists can experience what the historic Dalmatian city of Zadar looked like over 2,000 years ago. The multi-lingual 90-minute VR experience commissioned by Magic Croatia costs 25 Euros (around $28) and takes visitors around 7 major points of interest around the town, including St. Chrysogonus’ church, which is otherwise closed to the public. – CROATIA WEEK

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This newsletter was written and curated by Alice Bonasio, a journalist and consultant obsessed with the immersive technology space, including AR/VR/MR/XR and any other acronyms that fit into the realities spectrum. Over the past 15 years, Alice has advised a wide range of start-ups and corporations on digital transformation and communication strategy and is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tech Trends. She also regularly contributes to publications such as Quartz, Fast Company, Wired, Playboy, The Next Web, Ars Technica, VRScout and many others. Follow her on Twitter @alicebonasio

 

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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