The Value of Oculus Rift For Facebook Users

Sergey Orlovskiy using the first version of the Oculus Rift.
Sergey Orlovskiy using the first version of the Oculus Rift. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

What Facebook adds most to my life is the ability to keep in touch with friends and family near and far within an immersive  and interactive environment. Within seconds I can see what’s going on with family in Indonesia or friends in Australia. Right now, that ability is limited to pictures, videos, and chat messages. Oculus Rift can change that by allowing 3D experiences.

I first tried a pair of the Oculus Rift before Facebook acquired the company at the 2013 Augmented World Expo in Santa Clara. When I used it I was instantly teleported to a villa in the French Riviera with geraniums and hanging terracotta pots and all.  When my head turned, I was able to virtually go into a different room in my French Riviera villa.  The eyepiece was heavy and I got a little nauseous after a few minutes but overall the idea and the experience of being able to move in a completely different world in 3D was awesome.

Facebook’s investment into the company would do well to improve the user experience – to make the eyepiece easier, more comfortable to use for longer periods of time, and yes let’s admit it – a little cooler. Ok much cooler.  The coolness factor is so critical in consumer technologies.  Just ask Apple’s shareholders whose investments have paid off hundreds of percent over.

Another Facebook initiative, Internet.org, strives to get every person on the globe, even in the remotest corners of the world, on the internet.  Imagine a doctor being able to conduct a live medical appointment and give treatment via the Oculus Rift.  Think Ebola patients and their team of medical providers. Or being able to join your sister’s wedding in Venice when you can’t attend because of work. The benefits can span from saving lives all the way to reducing carbon emissions by not having to fly as frequently.

The company has also reported that online video advertisements will increase in the coming years.  Imagine being able to run in the Amazon jungle solely by putting a pair of glasses on.  One of my recent favorite commercials was done by Dawn documenting a bird rescue.  I’d definitely pay a few hundred dollars for a pair of glasses so I can be right next to the birds as they fly off into the horizon or to instantly be teleported to a relative’s wedding on the beaches of Bali.

With Oculus Rift, the internet, and the Facebook platform, the world would be a much cozier and richer place.

 

Latest Trends in Tech

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This live demo of water simulation provided an awesome user experience at Augmented World Expo, quickly and effortlessly generating a group of eager testers including Metaio co-founder and CEO Thomas Alt who wanted to buy one for his young daughter.

As software continues to pervade every aspect of every day life, from ordering food to creating music, Silicon Valley is trail blazing the yellow brick road paved on new evolutions of technology including robots, wearables, and IoT innovations.  The big question that needs to be addressed first and foremost is how to design, market, and deliver for the end user in mind since they are after all the constituent that can make or break these huge capital-intensive endeavors.

Marketing and PR can only go a short distance without meeting fundamental human needs and desires. During graduate school I learned for the first time about human development theories which shed a deeper and more complex perspective on human behavior. Understanding, empathizing, and connecting with end users will be critical in delivering products and services that would be adopted with open arms.

Behind every wallet or time bank is a consumer with emotions and needs.  Some of these universal needs can include for instance, the need to feel safe, the need for privacy, the need to be connected with others, the need to be reassured that something will be done in the time they want it and the way they want it. Before customers’ wallet/ time bank can open, the emotions and needs must be met first – at least in free and open markets.

Google Glass Demo Interview #4: Drop

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I saw a few cool blue t-shirts hanging at Drop‘s table recently and couldn’t help but come by to ask what these guys were all about. Drop is in the business of letting iOS users leave location-based surprise digital messages along with an optional photo.  Founder Eric Noeth demos the app here:

Sounds like a work of tech I can surely try for WIPJam at Mobile World Congress. What happens however if reception at the conference will be minimal to non-existent? Text messages would not go through but could Drop still deliver?  This capability to transmit messages regardless of reception would be critical for me.  The use case for the app with this feature during emergencies would make it indispensable if not life saving.  During the last big California earthquake we had a friend who was in downtown San Francisco while we were in Berkeley, an area of lesser impact.  We couldn’t locate him even after walking around the vicinity of his office in the dark. Emergency response times could be vastly expedited if at least one of us had reception to send a message on where to meet.

When I contacted Drop’s support  they responded with this message:

“Devy,

Thanks for reaching out! To answer your questions:

– You will need at least a little reception in order to leave a Drop
– While it is possible to receive Drops in areas of little or no cell reception as long as your phone’s GPS is active, your location will be less accurate which could mean spottier deliveries. Note that you are able to send and leave Drops if there is a wifi network available even if there is no cell reception.

Please let us know if you have any further questions.

Thanks!
Team Drop”

When the last big northern California earthquake hit, we didn’t have wifi yet.  With some sort of data connection, messaging apps during emergencies would come in handy for communications.

Drop is winner of the TechCrunch Boston Pitch Off. You can download the app on iTunes under “Drop Messages”.

Google Glass Demo Interview #2: Shyp Your Stuff Off With A Hero

I’m a big fan of conference t-shirts so when I spotted a nice logo of wings on a soft baby blue one I couldn’t help but stop by their stand at Apps World North America to inquire what business these guys are in. Turns out Shyp is something all of us could use.  If you’ve got anything under 50 pounds you need to send anywhere in the world, you can just call a Shyp hero who will come to your home or business and they will pack and send it off for you.  If you’ve got just one item, there is a $5 pick up fee otherwise it’s free.  Shyp makes money solely from wholesale shipping prices.  Lucas and Ari breaks down the  service here:

As a frequent shipper myself, I could get discounted prices by buying postage online but the time and effort I would save in packing and printing out labels by using Shyp would make me a returning customer any day.  Plus Lucas affirmed that the company uses recyclable packing boxes and air packs over styrofoam peanuts making their service eco-friendly.

Shyp raised a total of $2.1 million in seed funding from a total of 22 investors by September 2013.  They entered beta for San Francisco in December 2013.  When you guys comin’ to Berkeley? I need a Shyp hero 🙂

Tomorrow’s interview will feature Moxtra, a beautiful personal and/ or enterprise application for collaborating on projects. Come back for more mañana ya hear?

Google Glass Demo Interview #1: Play With Your Friends in Candy Cane Casino

I was immediately captivated by Candy Cane Casino’s luscious and sparkly visuals at Apps World North America at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  Kahn Jekarl, former Zynga employee and Founder/ CEO of Flow State Media gives us a demo of his deliciously eye-popping mouth-watering game:

Flow State Media, a company of six guys from Zynga, has other games in the works. Kahn is an alum of MIT and UPenn.

Stay tuned for more of my Google Glass demo interviews with the startup community!  Tomorrow will feature Shyp, a venture-backed consumer web company that promises to make your life simpler!