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Virtual Reality Tours Could Be the Holidays of the Future

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Futuristic predictions such as pilotless planes and 3D printed plane food in addition to the use of virtual reality may be part of our holiday experiences by 2035, according to a new report by travel website Expedia.

According to the travel company’s latest report, Holiday of the Future, people may soon be turning their attention to virtual reality (VR) as a way of finding holiday inspiration instead of relying on information from friends and family.

The use of VR means that interested individuals can try a country out before buying a plane ticket to their chosen destination. With the use of technology through the Oculus Rift headsets, people have a unique opportunity to interact with their holiday surroundings from the comfort of their home.

Rachael Power from Virtual Reality News told Expedia that:

Virtual reality has the potential to radically change travel. People can ‘try before they buy’ by visiting locations in VR, from the UAE to the Irish Wild Atlantic Way.

It also opens doors to those less able or who might not be able to afford holidays.

Rachael added:

It also shakes things up for those who are immobile or on smaller budgets; the view from Machu Picchu is now simply the cost of a Google Cardboard headset away.

Changing How We Pay for Holidays

The report mentions that futurologists predict that a crypto-economy could be feasible in the future, allowing people to exchange goods without banks or currencies getting involved.

As the digital currency bitcoin continues to grow in our day-to-day lives with sites such as Expedia accepting the currency as payment, it may not be too long before paying in fiat currency becomes a thing of the past.

Robots at Your Service

Some future predictions are already in existence such as the use of robots with the technology already in use in Asia.

In the Expedia report, it mentions how scientists at the University of Cornell have invented a robot that can predict when you’re hungry, refill your cup, and even open doors.

It may be some time, however, before the use of robots are readily available to the masses.

Pilotless Planes and 3D Plane Food

Other predictions mentioned in the Expedia report include pilotless planes and 3D plane food.

Cockpit

While the mere thought of a plane without a pilot may be daunting, this type of technology already exists with the use of driverless cars.

In 2013, technology company BAE Systems flew a Jetstream aircraft, with passengers onboard and no pilot, across U.K. airspace. Once in the air, the ‘Flying Test Bed’ flight was completely automated.

Ben Kepes, a self-confessed technology evangelist explained to Expedia that:

Pilotless planes and point-to-point travel without much of the hassle of existing transiting paradigms will become the norm.

With planes comes in-flight food. This, of course, has never been too exciting, but according to Expedia ‘the future flyer could be offered an array of organic meals that are tailored to dietary requirements.’

Passengers could have the opportunity of designing their own menu, with many believing that the ability to print your own 3D food in-flight will become an option.

Images from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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From Credits to Cryptocurrency: Block-Gaming Here to Stay

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The relationship between cryptocurrency and video-games is getting stronger with reports this week detailing the launch of a self-proclaimed ‘Blockchain Game Alliance’, a collaborative initiative founded and comprised of a handful of organisations.

These range from the blockchain-focused (such as ConsenSys) to those specialising in video-games (like centralized crowdfunding platform Fig).

The Blockchain Game Alliance is one of the first of its kind to be seen, bearing a simple website which bears a subscription form and self-referential claims of being a

“coalition of gaming and Blockchain companies committed to advocate for the democratization of Blockchain within the gaming industry”.

French games publisher Ubisoft is notably the name that has featured in the greatest number of headlines around describing this event: and there are many reasons for this.

What’s So Special About Ubisoft

Ubisoft is one of the biggest names in the video-game business and is also part of a small, yet growing list of prominent video-game companies which have chosen to dip their toes in the sector (including Nvidia and AMD).

The company has enjoyed a 400% growth in stock value over the past three years, and releases a multitude of blockbuster franchise entries on an annual basis.

Additionally, this week’s news is only the latest in a series of recent stories indicating Ubisoft’s blockchain aspirations such as: a partnership with Google, and the release of a blockchain game entitled ‘HashCraft’.

From Credits to Cryptocurrency

Whilst a far cry from the integer based ‘credits’ system of arcade video-games, fiat-purchased digital currency is (and has remained) an integral part of the games industry ever since.

Original home-console implementations of digital currencies began with the distribution of points and in-game ‘money’ that can be used to buy items within that specific game they are involved in – like power ups and extra lives. This is in parallel to digital implementations of gambling games in casinos and online.

Companies like Ubisoft have implemented and helped to pioneer movements such as micro-transactions (for downloadable content and in-game items). This is alongside ‘games-as-a-service’ models, which often requires subscriptions from players to gain access to content which is creatively updated and added to on a continuous basis.

These examples are centralized, with non-fungible ‘currencies’, and would make prime candidates for ‘tokenization’.

Digital Distribution + Blockchain

Quite arguably the most ubiquitous utilisation of virtual in cryptocurrency in video-games is the digital distribution model.

This is a method of purchasing video-game titles in whole through a virtual marketplace from which they are also downloaded and have been integrated into home-consoles for the most recent two ‘generations.

Beyond Sony and Microsoft’s stores: industry leaders at present include Steam (Valve), Uplay (Ubisoft), and Good Old Games (GOG).

Big Contributions. Small Companies

As proven by the roster behind the Blockchain Gaming Alliance, there is value to be gained from all positive contributions – whether the company specialises in cryptocurrency or video-games.

There is also value to be gained from the contributions of newer organisations which have been formed specifically to catalyse the marriage of blockchain and gaming.

Equiti Games is one such company, hailing itself as a revolutionary approach which will decentralize and tokenise video-games digital distribution. By removing centralized middle-men and platforms taking up to 30% in fees, Equiti Games plans to reduce costs for gamers.

This will be accomplished, according to the company’s website and whitepaper, by using the Ethereum blockchain to connect creators to their customers directly. A maximal proportion of profits will therefore be delivered to the creator whilst a second-hand market is opened up for consumers – making digital products retain their previously transient value.

Terra Virtua is another company which I have mentioned many times due to the pedigree of the executive team as well as their innovative VR-centric approach. They seek to combine two nascent technologies along with video-games, and they have key partnerships with companies like Epic Games (Unreal, Gears of War, Fortnite).

Final Words

So the biggest question which remains to be answered is: what exactly will this ‘Blockchain Game Alliance’ do to blockchain and gaming: both collectively and as separate entities?

Such big actions (and from such large ‘movers’) signals a turning of the tide with ideas that, if implemented, would open up cryptocurrency to a large consumer market and encourage mainstream adoption within and outside of the gaming-sphere.

Other giants in the gaming industry who could benefit the crypto-video game movement significantly include: Activision Blizzard (World of Warcraft, Call of Duty, Overwatch), and console makers such as Sony, Nintendo, and Microsoft.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Lloyds Bank to Use Virtual Reality for Graduate Programme Intake

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The Lloyds Banking Group is taking a different approach toward its 2017 graduate intake by using virtual reality to test the reactions of potential candidates.

Every year, Lloyds receives more than 20,000 applications from graduate applicants. Each of them is seeking a place on one of 14 placements in its Graduate Leadership Programmes. Naturally, undertaking such a mammoth task of going through each of the 20,000 applications takes a lot of time. Not only that, but reading something on paper doesn’t always demonstrate what a person can be like in real life.

lloyds-bank

In order to tackle this issue, the bank has reported that it will be utilizing virtual reality on the candidates who are interested in joining its digital and IT programmes. Each candidate will undertake a virtual reality situation that would not be possible in a conventional test, according to Finextra.

According to the report, each candidate will be immersed within a 360-degree virtual world where they will be presented with puzzles that have been designed to highlight their strengths and abilities while also pinpointing future leaders.

Chris Jackson, performance, talent & development director, said:

Adopting virtual reality into the assessment process demonstrates the Group’s commitment to digital transformation.

What is VR and AR?

Virtual reality (VR) is a three-dimension, computer-generated environment where a person can explore and interact in a location without physically being there through the use of a headset. In 2014, Facebook, which bought Oculus Rift for billion, was proclaimed as the VR technology that would change everything. It was reported that VR would ‘be used for all sorts of activities from gaming to business and education.’

Not only that, but according to travel website Expedia, how we travel in the future could all change with the use of VR as virtual reality tours become the holidays of the future. Through the use of a VR tour a person can experience the delights of far-away places without leaving the comfort of their home.

Interestingly, enough, though, a recent New Scientist article questions whether VR will ever have mainstream appeal. According to the article, if you believe the hype, 2016 is supposed to be the year of VR after it burned out in the 1990s. With the likes of Facebook’s Oculus Rift and Sony’s PlayStation VR, recently released, finally on the market, it seems people are thinking of ways how these devices can fit into their lives.

But, even if it does become mainstream, how will people use it? It would certainly be a niche thing for VR to become popular, possibly targeting live sports channels where individuals could watch a game on the sidelines of their favorite team.

Of course, with Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, stating that VR will have a slow start before taking off, it’s possible that more attention will focus on augmented reality (AR) instead.

As the opposite of VR, AR provides a user with a view of the real world through a computer-generated image that they can see in real time. Think of the popular Pokémon Go, as what many consider the first AR application to gain mass appeal. This AR app is the first example that connects the physical and digital worlds together.

Of course, while Tim Cook, Apple CEO says that AR and VR could encourage human contact, whether most of us will be sitting down with a headset strapped to our faces or seeing a computer-generated image in real time through AR in the next few years, remains to be seen.

Images from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook Wants Augmented and Virtual Reality Tech to “Encourage” Human Contact

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So far, Apple has been the slowest of the big boys to getting an augmented or virtual reality product to market. The company’s iPhone is the single most popular smart phone on the planet and its computer products enjoy relative popularity (in early 2014, they were almost 9% of the market, a quadrupling from turn-of-the-century numbers). On a trip to Tokyo this week, CEO Tim Cook told BuzzFeed that he believes there is “no substitute for human contact. And so you want the technology to encourage that.”

Tim Cook

Cook also said he thinks augmented reality can be “huge.” And if the numbers from the recent phenomenon of Pokémon Go are any indication, he’s absolutely right. Apple’s various platforms add up to a big opportunity, but their phones in particular could pave the way for the company making a serious play in the augmented and virtual reality space.

In many ways, modern humans are already experiencing many of the things previously only dreamed of in science fiction. One can walk down the street and have a video call with someone a thousand miles away. Perhaps the next step on this path will be the spectre of hologram calls. Back in 2013, Skype told the BBC that it was already capable of as much. Apple would certainly make waves if it were the first major platform to make this Star Wars-esque technology an everyday reality.

Other potential exists on the hologram front. Video entertainment and gaming could reach a whole new level. The Apple TV is one of the less successful ventures the company has ever launched, but the advent of holographic television shows taking place in one’s living room might revive interest.

Apple store logo sign

Apple has made a number of acquisitions that point in the direction of holographic, augmented, and virtual reality technology. The company which created the original Microsoft Xbox Kinect sensors, PrimeSense, is now owned by Apple, along with Faceshift, who provided real-time motion capturing for Star Wars productions. The two main reasons to acquire a company are either to stop it from competing with you or to make use of its assets, and Apple presently has no major dog in the augmented reality/virtual reality fight. Therefore, it’s safe to assume that somewhere in Cupertino, someone is working on something for the future.

Cook also said that he doesn’t think virtual reality is as “broad-based” as augmented reality. The company has been in meetings with immersive technology companies such as Jaunt, a company which makes films compatible with virtual reality technology. Cook seems most interested in the communication aspect of AR and VR, saying that conversations could be made more productive.

I think that things like these are better when they’re incorporated without becoming a barrier to our talking. You want the technology to amplify it, not to be a barrier.

Perhaps Cook, like many, fears a future of people walking around with helmets, totally immune to their surroundings, and would rather find ways to boost traditional communication and technological capabilities. More of a Google Glass than an Oculus approach to the thing, as it were. In any case, it does seem that virtual reality, augmented reality, and even holographic communications are just around the bend for consumers.

It’s important to remember that just a decade ago, a smart phone in every pocket was hard to imagine, so the rise of these technologies could happen faster than anyone expects. The success of Pokémon Go was only a preview of things to come.

Images from Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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5 stars on average, based on 2 rated postsP. H. Madore has covered the cryptocurrency beat over the course of hundreds of articles for Hacked's sister site, CryptoCoinsNews, as well as some of her competitors. He is a major contributing developer to the Woodcoin project, and has made technical contributions on a number of other cryptocurrency projects. In spare time, he recently began a more personalized, weekly newsletter at http://ico.phm.link




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