Robert Scoble: Life and Tech #48: A New Life 

May 5, 2016

By Robert Scoble May 5, 2016

What a month it’s been since I wrote to you last.

I’ve been on a world tour, doing my homework, meeting influencers at conferences and startups. Since I last wrote you I’ve been to Pittsburgh, Quebec City, Napa, London, Palm Springs, New York, Mumbai, New Delhi and New Orleans. Next week I’ll be in Paris. Whew.

What have I been learning?

Every day VR gets hotter and hotter. Other enterprise-focused technologies continue to be profitable. At Datacenter Dynamics, I saw just how much momentum the cloud continues to have. At other conferences, talks on IoT continue to be packed and, while walking around Collision, which had hundreds of startups, I saw many using low-cost computers and sensors to make new products from garden sensors to new kinds of locks.

As Shel Israel and I continue working on our book, Beyond Mobile, we’re seeing billions of dollars being poured into products or companies like Magic Leap or Microsoft’s Hololens. Everyone knows something is cooking with VR, even though it’s two years away from even early adopter usage.

Heck, I bought both Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive within the first hour they were available and both just arrived in the past week or so (many still haven’t gotten theirs yet).

We’re in the middle of cycles. Or, as one VC put it to me, we’re in “hunker-down mode,” protecting budgets and getting ready for the next thing. Many companies are shedding workers. Intel just laid off 12,000 employees. That still hasn’t made a dent in Silicon Valley traffic or housing prices though, both of which remain as bad as ever.

I’m glad I made the choice to join Upload VR, and not just because they have cool coffee breaks. See video

Why? The other night two employees from Meta and Magic Leap were talking in my office. That’s why I love Silicon Valley: even big competitors get together to share info and build friendships. Why not? Can’t really talk to family and friends about rendering technologies or object recognition machine learning. They just don’t understand what you’re talking about if you try.

Here are some other things I’ve done or that have caught my eye over the past month:

To make sure I don’t just cover VR, I’ve been visiting a variety of futuristic companies. Here I visit Edyn, which makes high-tech garden sensors. See video

I visited Steel Wool Games, one of the first VR games on the HTC Vive Headset. See video

I played with Virtual Reality painting inside my new Vive thanks to Google’s TiltBrush.


Google | Tilt Brush: Painting from a new perspective

The team at Upload is working on a new mixed-reality studio for me. It will let me show you what I’m experiencing in VR. Here Ian Hamilton shares his work on that.

I visited Nokia to take a look at its $60,000, 360-degree, 3D video camera: See video

I got more than 100,000 views for that one. Whew.

USA Today picked up on what I saw at SXSW – eye sensors are gonna be a big part of our future.

While I was at Collision, I walked around with founder Paddy Cosgrave so you can get a sense of how big Collision will be (and it is a small sister to the much bigger Web Summit, which I’ll be at in November in Lisbon). See link

Daniel Rowinski wrote up my talk at Collision where I spoke about why Google Glass failed and what’s coming next.

I also saw new kinds of augmented reality furniture at Collision.

And I met execs from Leap Motion who showed me very cool hand-based sensors for virtual reality.

Minecraft for Gear VR (credit: Mojang Synergies)

The biggest news for my kids is that Minecraft is now available in VR inside Samsung’s Gear VR.

Orah 4i VR camera (credit: Orah)

At the Live in the Vineyard music event in Napa, I used a new VideoStitch Orah 360-degree camera. Here I interview both its founder as well as Claire Parr, who runs that event, about its importance to sharing music events with people.

Here’s the music video we shot.

Why is that important? YouTube just announced live 360-degree video.

When I visited Coachella, the famous music festival, I interviewed Gopi Sangha, head of digital strategy about all the technology used there. As Alan Smithson says: “Apple Pay and Android Pay!! Mobile VR. DAMN!!! American Express, Square, Verizon using VR, beacons, mobile and RFID payment — Coachella is THE most sponsor driven, technologically advanced festival on earth!”

At Coachella you can meet the guy who did its first VR app: See video

Also at Coachella I met the founder of Doppler Labs, who was selling new earbuds that augment your hearing. Very cool.

To put a punctuation point on what I see coming, here I was interviewed after I spoke to the Datacenter Dynamics Enterprise event in New York.


Datacenter Dynamics | DCD Enterprise: Robert Scoble on impact of IoT and virtual reality

In India I met a guy who has already given away 2.3 million VR headsets. The scale in that country just impresses. See video

Magic Leap starts to share a bit about what it’s working on in Wired Magazine.

Facebook impressed me with its social VR demo at its F8 conference.

Also at F8, Mevo announced a very cool new camera that lets you stream live from a low-cost camera with high-quality. Here you get a demo.

Just for something fun, in New Orleans I visited Brandan Odums’ very cool art studio.

Or, for a nerdier thing, check out these community-controlled robots.

Or, visit One Piano, which makes an amazing digital piano that teaches you to play.

Whew, what a month! See you next week as I travel to Paris for Loic LeMeur’s new Leade.rs conference.

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As Entrepreneur in Residence at Upload VR, I keep my finger on the pulse of Silicon Valley and global trends, to offer insights into what’s coming next in tech and why it’s important to you. Particularly in mixed reality (augmented reality and virtual reality), since I believe that will be the user interface to all sorts of things, from self-driving cars, services like Uber, your robot, and IoT, both at home and at work.

I read all my email at scobleizer@gmail.com and anything done in response to this newsletter goes to the top of my inbox. I’m also at +1-425-205-1921 or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/RobertScoble.

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And props to Hugh Macleod and team for creating art each week. Find more at http://www.gapingvoid.com/.