XR creator Dominik Hackl: I developed Magic Keys to bring more joy to people
For his performance in the holocaust drama The Pianist, leading actor Adrien Brody won an Academy Award. A method actor, Adrien went to great lengths to portray his character, the Jewish Polish pianist who loses contact with his family during the Second World War and the struggles he faces to survive. To get into his character’s mindset, he lost 30 pounds in weight, sold his home and car, broke up with his girlfriend and practised the piano for four hours a day until he could master passages from compositions by Chopin.
Adrien Brody was 29 when he learned to play the piano. This goes to show that you can learn to play the piano at any age, even as an adult! It’s true that it’s too late to become a concert pianist, but if what you’re looking for is having fun playing music, there’s no better time than today.
If you’re reluctant to take up playing the piano because of the steep learning curve (you know: learning the notes, the music terms and so on), the Magic Keys app is the perfect solution.
Magic Keys is an extended reality app that helps you learn to play the piano in a new and easy way (you can learn the notes later).
The app was developed by Dominik Hackl, a passionate game developer with a strong interest in Virtual and Augmented Reality.
He’s also a pianist so he understands the needs of grown-ups who regret stopping piano lessons when they were kids or people who have never taken lessons but wished they had – like me.
For the people in either category, learning to play the piano is a dream come true (Check out the comments to his LinkedIn announcement).
In the interview below, Dominik answered a few questions on Magic Keys, the future of extended reality, what he would do if he were Mark Zuckerberg and the tech that makes his life easier as a creator.
BRAND MINDS. We’ve seen VR applications in many industries: healthcare, education, and entertainment among the most prominent. Why did you choose piano learning?
DOMINIK HACKL. I am a passionate pianist myself and I’ve been playing the piano since the age of 8.
So when I first got into VR/AR development I immediately thought of this idea and knew that the piano and AR would be a perfect match.
Also, I know many people who would love to learn the piano but are afraid of the steep learning curve. With the app, my goal is to make the instrument more accessible and bring more people to enjoy it.
BM. What is the future of mixed reality applications in your opinion?
DH. There are many areas which can seriously benefit from Mixed Reality applications. But in my opinion, there is currently a little too much hype around the whole metaverse concept.
We should first focus on creating solid applications that can actually be achieved with the current state of hardware rather than already fantasizing too much about transforming all aspects of our lives into some kind of metaverse.
These discussions are definitely important but I think there is too little emphasis on what’s currently possible.
BM. You are the creator of a number of games for Windows and Android. Is game development experience mandatory for developing projects in Virtual and Augmented Reality?
DH. I would not say it is mandatory but there are certainly a lot of overlaps. Both, (3D) games and VR/AR applications are interactive 3D experiences, so topics like 3D math, shaders and rendering pipelines apply pretty much in the same way for these disciplines.
And of course, nowadays both will usually be built on one of the big game engines, Unity or Unreal.
BM. I would like to become a mixed reality creator, where should I begin?
DH. As mentioned above, most VR/AR apps are built on a general-purpose game engine: Unity and Unreal Engine are the major players. So, I would definitely start by learning one of the engines.
Unity would be my number one choice because it’s slightly more general-purpose and tends to have earlier support for new hardware while Unreal is more tailor-made for games. Then a good level of programming is also required since all engines rely on scripting to create the behaviours for your app.
For the major engines (and their scripting) there are plenty of tutorials and guides online, so YouTube is probably a good place to start.
BM. Here’s a short imagination exercise: you have replaced Mark Zuckerberg at the helm of Meta, what is your first project? Remember, your budget for special projects is at least ten billion dollars, the amount of money the company has invested in developing the Metaverse.
DH. First off, I’m really glad I don’t have to replace him in his position 🙂
But if so, I would probably put as many resources as possible into hardware development and research since this is currently the greatest bottleneck (kind of what they are actually doing, I guess).
I would also try to clean their image as an untrustworthy data mining company by advocating for open standards when it comes to the metaverse and future development in Extended Reality (XR).
BM. What’s one myth about VR, AR or mixed reality that we need to stop believing in?
DH. That it will completely replace physical reality within the next decades.
I am really optimistic about the use cases for XR and I can’t think of any reason why we would want to replace the great aspects of our reality with a virtual one.
There are many obvious benefits of XR but then there are also obvious benefits of physical presence. Just because something can be done from a technological point of view, doesn’t mean it makes sense to do it.
BM. What tool is making your life easy as a creator?
DH. The Quest’s Oculus Link feature is still one of the best things they have done. Plugging your Quest into your PC to effectively make it a PC VR headset works just so seamlessly and it especially is a huge time saver for developing and iterating.
BM. What book are you reading right now?
DH. “Blood, Sweat and Pixels” by Jason Schreier. It tells the behind-the-scenes development stories of several famous video games.
Reading it makes you appreciate even more what an incredible miracle – from a technical, creative and business perspective – it is that any of these games are being created and finished.
BM. What app do you use daily?
DH. YouTube is by far my most used app/website. I definitely use it daily for work and for entertainment.
In return, I am almost completely abstaining from other social media apps and I don’t spend much time on my smartphone in general.
Meta’s VR green garden, playing music & painting in VR and more from Lenovo and Snapchat
Meta’s green garden in VR
Meta is going further with its metaverse plan, investing billions of dollars (10 billion to be exact) into technology advancements, specifically hardware.
According to new reports, Meta is planning to release four virtual reality headsets by 2024. These headsets, sources say, have high-resolution image quality that’s clear enough for reading text so that you can type emails or code within the VR environment.
Building in the metaverse continues and here’s a sample of the kind of experiences Meta is preparing for us.
Intersectional environmentalist @Leahtommi and visual artist Vartika Jangid got together and imagined what a community garden could look like in the metaverse — and one thing’s for sure — going green is always in style. pic.twitter.com/XstJxuoE8y
— Meta (@Meta) May 5, 2022
Soft knitted robotic fingers from MIT CSAIL
Scientists from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) have designed a robotic wearable comprised of soft pneumatic actuators*. Motion is powered by compressed air and the actuators are knitted with conductive yarn for sensing, allowing the actuators to “feel” what they touch.
The wearable is a critical step forward in a variety of applications such as assistive wearables, robotics, and rehabilitative technologies.
— MIT CSAIL (@MIT_CSAIL) May 4, 2022
*Actuator is a device fitted on a robot which causes parts of the robot to move: wheels turning, arms rotating, fingers gripping etc.
Google acquires AR Microdisplay Hardware startup Raxium
Raxium is a five-year-old startup pioneering pixel technology with record-setting innovation. According to the company, the MicroLed technology that they are developing enables a new class of smaller and more powerful display products, ranging from augmented and virtual reality micro-displays to life-size panel-based light field arrays. And what they are building is 5x more efficient than anything available right now on the market.
Google announced the acquisition on May 4, saying that “Raxium’s technical expertise in this area will play a key role as we continue to invest in our hardware efforts.” It looks like Google is growing into a strong competitor for Meta.
Snapchat is crafting stories in AR
Augmented Reality is not just for fantasy animals or engaging games. The social platform with the most advanced AR features is Snapchat. In 2019, the company announced it would invest $1 billion in AR content and developments. Recently Snapchat rolled out a series of AR features focused on enabling purchases in-app for brands and creators.
Another use for AR is storytelling. Snapchat partnered with The Los Angeles County Museum of Art to explore monuments and murals, representation, and history. In the clip below, you can see The River Once Ran, a Lens created by artist Judy Baca and Lens creator Holliday Horton.
Artist @judybaca and Lens Creator @HollidayHorton built The River Once Ran as part of @LACMA × @Snapchat: Monumental Perspectives Collection II. The Lens activates layers of history, recovering stories of diverse communities and exploring the consequences of taming the LA River. pic.twitter.com/L4Y8axmW8I
— Snap AR (@SnapAR) April 20, 2022
Lenovo won 3 Webby Awards for its innovative AR campaign, MLKonMLK
There are 955 streets that bear Martin Luther King Jr’s name and Lenovo transformed all of them into an immersive experience to celebrate black history. The company partnered with the DuSable Museum of African American History and created the MLKonMLK AR campaign, an immersive educational experience that brings Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech to every single MLK street using augmented reality.
Congratulations, @Lenovo for winning 3 Webby Awards with the creative & innovative MLKonMLK #AR campaign! via @TheWebbyAwards https://t.co/tjS9hW8Nx6
How it was made: https://t.co/R8wjF9Gt9Y #AugmentedReality pic.twitter.com/pZ6Ix0AKlZ
— BRAND MINDS (@brand_minds) May 3, 2022
Do you have a musical ear? Now you can play music in VR!
Making music is now easier with VirtuosoVR, the VR musical sandbox. Started in 2020 as a hobby project by Jonatan Crafoord, audio director on Angry Birds, LittleBigPlanet, and Minecraft, VirtuosoVR was released on Meta Quest, Rift and Steam VR in March 2022.
Which instrument in Virtuoso is your favorite and why?👀🤩🎶
— VirtuosoVR (@VrVirtuoso) April 25, 2022
Discover your inner painter with Vermillion VR
We’ve seen VR use cases in entertainment, education, healthcare etc. Here’s another rather surprising use case for VR: painting, may it be as a hobby or for professional painters.
Vermillion is a VR oil-painting simulator created by Thomas van den Berge, a VR/AR developer. Vermillion started as an after-hours project during the first lockdown of 2020, where Thomas discovered the joy of painting through building a prototype.
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BMW’s awarded metaverse, Adidas launching NFTs and more top news in tech
BMW won a Webby Award for its Metaverse
We are proud to announce that BMW, BRAND MINDS event’s Innovation Partner has been recognized at the 2022 Webby Awards for Joytopia, the company’s Metaverse!
Congratulations to BMW for winning the 2022 Webby Award for Technology Virtual & Remote with Joytopia, BMW’s metaverse!
Joytopia is the world where BMW thinks out loud about the future: https://t.co/vNmXeeWtkI@BMW @bmwromania @TheWebbyAwards pic.twitter.com/MCNtjB3HeZ
— BRAND MINDS (@brand_minds) April 28, 2022
Pixy, your friendly flying camera produced by Snapchat
Pixy, the pocket-sized, free-flying camera is Snapchat’s newest video and audio recording device.
It can float, orbit, and follow wherever you lead, without a controller or any set-up.
In Snapchat, shoppers can try on outfits using AR
Snapchat is offering consumers new places to shop using AR, both on and off Snapchat.
Through this technology, shoppers can try on even more outfits more easily, from the comfort of their own home, simply by taking a full-body selfie.
Adidas is bringing customers into the ozworld
The iconic footwear brand Adidas is inviting customers to follow them into its Metaverse at ozworld.adidas.com.
Here, customers can claim NFTs to get exclusive merch and unlock unique digital experiences.
Hey Into the Metaverse NFT holders,
— adidas Originals (@adidasoriginals) April 28, 2022
Bored Ape Yacht Club is going mainstream with a movie trilogy
Coinbase will produce a series of animated short films called The Degen Trilogy featuring the apes in the Bored Ape Yacht Club.
“Bored Ape owners are invited to submit their apes for consideration as characters in the trilogy, along with made-up character descriptions that will be reviewed by an actual Hollywood casting director”, said Coindesk.
The trilogy will tie in to the launch of Coinbase’s NFT marketplace and will premiere at NFT.NYC in June.
CORPUS, the 5-story AR installation
“My belief is that future life will involve embracing interconnected embodied sources of intelligence- microbial, artificial, and carbon-based”, says Nancy Baker Cahill about CORPUS, the 5-story AR installation.
It’s definitely amazing to look at!
Anyone who works in AR knows the potential and limitations of the medium. I am so proud of what we were able to achieve with CORPUS, a 5 story, anchored AR intervention in the historic Bradbury Building for @berggruenInst’s WWLB symposium. @anakin78z you and SED are ⭐️ pic.twitter.com/0EVT4va3Qi
— Nancy Baker Cahill (@4thWallApp) April 23, 2022
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Creating non-intrusive ads for VR/AR and mobile games with Admix
Are you creating VR/AR content? Or developing mobile games? Creating non-intrusive ads is easier with Admix.
Ad blockers have seen an increase in downloads in the past years. For the next period between 2018-2021, eMarketer says ad blocking is slowing down but not going away.
People are installing ad blockers not because they hate all ads (they like good ads and simply ignore the rest), but because they hate intrusive and annoying ads.
According to Google Chrome, 69% of AdBlock users were motivated by annoying ads.
What are annoying ads?
Popups that block the main content of the page, auto-playing video ads with sound, large sticky ads which make you close the page in frustration and many more (you can find all of them on Coalition for Better Ads). Once you have experienced an intrusive ad, you will definitely not be going back to the website which runs it!
The solution is not to eliminate ads entirely but to make them non-intrusive and as organic and relevant as possible.
If you are looking to create such ads, Admix is your plugin of choice.
What is Admix?
Admix is a monetisation platform for games, VR and AR.
At Admix, we hate intrusive advertising as much as you do. We built a unique technology empowering you, the creator, to generate revenue whilst maximising the experience of your users on any platform.
With Admix, you can place ads in VR/AR, on mobile and PC/console.
What ads can you create with Admix?
3D interactive ads
Admix allows you to create interactive 3D ads which are a mini brand experience consumable within your content.
Banner ads are the simplest ad format you can place, resize and customise anywhere in your content, and is supported by thousands of advertisers.
Short-form, highly engaging video ads with directional audio, to integrate anywhere in your content and maximise your revenue.
Features and Benefits of creating non-intrusive ads with Admix
The drag and drop plugin allows you to place ads wherever you want in a matter of minutes
Never ever intrusive
The plugin allows you to always prioritise user experience over revenue, and keep innovating on formats to never intrude or interrupt your users.
The team behind Admix works with the most reputable advertising partners to guarantee that your ads are always relevant to the environment and your users.
Whether you want to monetize a mobile game on Android or a shopping app on Oculus VR, our technology is totally platform agnostic.
Create stunning experiences with various formats which range from curved placements to programmable
Here are the results Rabbit Mountain got following the integration of the Admix solution:
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Grow Your Business With These 6 Tech-Powered Trends
We are living in a tech-driven, digitally empowered world. New technologies are developed at a faster rate than ever before. Does anyone remember the old rotary dial phones? Within just one decade they were replaced by smartphones. Computers used to be the size of a room, now their power is compressed into one chip smaller than your fingertip.
The digital revolution took the business environment by storm and changed everything from product design to sales, marketing and hiring.
It used to be that being digital was a differentiator and a competitive advantage. Now we are fast approaching the moment when the digital playing field will eventually even out.
Accenture, What the post-digital era will look like
How will then companies differentiate themselves from the competition?
The answer is innovation, creativity and looking for the greater good.
Let’s explore 6 tech-powered trends which you can leverage to grow your business:
1. Customization & Personalization
FITS is an app which suggests clothing for men based on their music preference. The app was created by Eison Triple Thread, a menswear fashion company. The user logs into his Spotify account, allowing the app to access his listening data and pair music genres and favourite artists with styles. The user then looks through the suggested outfits, giving his feedback with likes and dislikes. This process ensures that the client’s suits properly reflect his personality as well as personal style. And because all the company’s menswear is made to measure, the user can further customize each product, like choosing colour pairings or materials.
Razor manufacturer Gillette gives consumers the power to create and order customized 3D printed razor handles, with the choice of 48 different designs, a variety of colours, and the option to add custom text.
Startup Unspun has partnered with Fit3D to enable customers to receive custom-fitted jeans after undergoing a 20-second body scan. The company is also developing a 3D weaving machine that will eliminate fabric waste during the production process.
2. Tapping into different industries
Thanks to technology, powerful brands like Microsoft, Google and Amazon are erasing the boundaries between industries.
Innovators themselves, these tech giants establish footholds in other industries through acquisitions. Amazon is going into the smart home market and the healthcare industry, Microsoft is tapping into the gaming industry and Google has taken an interest in the transport industry in India.
3. Plastic Waste Recycling Revolution
Our world is currently fighting a silent enemy – plastic waste. One of the most important inventions of the 21st century, plastic is now a danger to our planet. Governments, brands and companies are now working to reduce plastic waste and find new ways to recycle it.
Plastic bags are a huge environmental problem in Africa. 98% of plastic waste in Ghana is dumped into a landfill (instead of recycled). Ghana company Nelplast found an innovative way to recycle the country’s plastic waste by turning it into roads.
Starbucks and McDonald’s led the creation of a $10 million challenge to create a fully recyclable and compostable coffee cup.
Adidas produced more than five million pairs of recycled plastic waste shoes in 2018, and they plan to incorporate the waste into at least 11 million this year.
4. Out-of-this-world experiences: AR & VR
Virtual experiences (AR, VR and more) are becoming as meaningful to consumers as those that happen in the real world.
In May 2019, Microsoft announced Minecraft Earth, a mobile AR version of the popular game. With a closed beta planned for Q3 2019, Minecraft Earth brings a Pokémon Go-style AR experience to Minecraft and allows players to build and place their creations in the physical environment around them via augmented reality. The app leverages Microsoft’s HoloLens and Azure Spatial Anchors technology.
An estimated 10 million gamers attended a live virtual concert inside online video game Fortnite in February this year. DJ Marshmello took to the stage and delivered what felt like “a glimpse into the future of interactive entertainment, where the worlds of gaming, music, and celebrity combined to create a virtual experience we’ve never quite seen before.”
There’s a common belief that such experiences are created exclusively for and enjoyed by Millennials. Well, Abba changes that.
The Swedish group who achieved global fame in the seventies are now preparing for an upcoming digital show. The event will feature ‘Abbatars’ (like the one we’ve seen in the Miley Cyrus Black Mirror episode) which will represent the four members of the group. Björn Ulvaeus said that the two-hour show will be broadcast in the UK and simulcast across the world.
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5. AI to the next level
AI is the latest most important technology development. Many fear AI will be the end of humankind while others see it as the biggest shift in our evolution as a species. Will we integrate AI in our biological brain? Yuval Noah Harari supports this hypothesis. Until that moment, here is how AI helps us right now.
Chester, the AI-based radiology assistant is a web-based system for diagnosing chest X-ray images. It’s a free tool which allows users to upload an X-ray within their web browser to receive a diagnosis on 14 diseases, such as pneumonia and emphysema with 80% accuracy.
Just as Game of Thrones Arya “kills” her enemies, so too Arya, the recruiting tool helps you eliminate the most common problems related to recruiting. The tool identifies top talent faster than the competition, engages automatically with personalized messaging, builds high-quality candidate pipelines that are ready to move and tracks successful hires and instantaneously searches similar candidates.
Ginger.io is an app which offers professional coaching services to support employees’ emotional wellness. It is a behavioural analytics platform which turns mobile data into health insights and its AI technology helps the app’s clinical team reach out at times that are most helpful.
Learn more about Ginger.io: This app supports your employees’ emotional wellness
6. Innovative solutions to solve social problems
In recent years, brands have leveraged the power of advertising campaigns to put the spotlight on various societal problems. If successful, such actions attract media attention, brand love and a lift in sales.
Customers are now expecting brands to go to the next level: solve the problems, not just tout about them.
A British doctor, Almas Ahmed, has created the world’s first range of makeup that will resist acid attacks. Unveiled at the Leeds International Festival on May 7th, the makeup works as a barrier on the skin, effectively repelling acid. The makeup range took ten years to develop and it will be available in 2020, starting in regions with the highest incidence of acid attacks including India, the Middle East, and the UK.
Imagine the scale of media attention this product would have received had it been created by one of the giant beauty brands.
- Customize and personalize your products/services;
- Is your brand powerful enough to expand to other industries?
- Joining the No Plastic global movement is an opportunity for innovation;
- Do you offer amazing experiences to your customers?
- Leverage AI-based tech to support your customers achieve their goals;
- Create products to solve social issues.
sources: Trendwatching.com and BRAND MINDS blog
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5G and The 4th Industrial Revolution
5G is the next generation of mobile internet connectivity. Experts say 5G connectivity not only means outstanding network reliability but also a major change of how we live and work – the 4th Industrial Revolution.
The connectivity benefits of 5G will make businesses more efficient and give consumers access to more information faster than ever before. Super-connected autonomous cars, smart communities, industrial IoT, immersive education—they all will rely on 5G.
How is 5G superior to our current 4G connectivity?
Here are the most important features and benefits of 5G:
- Increased Speed: 5G is approximately 20 times faster than 4G;
- Increased Download speed: 5G offers a minimum peak download of 20 Gb/s while 4G pokes along at only 1 Gb/s;
- Lower Latency: 5G provides below 1-ms latency compared with 30 – 70 ms for 4G.
Superior speed and increased download speed mean IoT will finally be made possible and smart cities will emerge.
Lower latency makes 5G-enabled technology highly suitable for critical applications that require rapid responsiveness, such as remote vehicle control.
5G isn’t just another iteration of wireless innovation.
Ronan Dunne, Executive Vice President and Group President, Verizon Wireless
Is 5G setting the world on the path to the 4th Industrial Revolution?
5G represents a massive upscale of network technology. It will provide data transfer rates many times faster than a blink of an eye, high bandwidth and greater opportunities for connectivity and reliability.
But according to Ronan Dunne, 5G doesn’t upgrade incrementally, but exponentially which supports the advent of the 4th industrial revolution.
5G will improve many industries and make new developments possible like the following:
- Social VR;
- AR in sports;
- Smart cities applications;
- Connected cars.
Social VR is The Next VR development
No matter the latest tech developments in regards to medium or tools, what we humans look for is interaction with others. This is the case for VR also. According to Verizon, 78% of survey respondents who have used VR said they wanted to interact with other people in the virtual environment. That’s why social VR is a new development in VR in recent years.
Social VR is when users create or visit virtual environments in the company of friends, hang out in clubs, get together at parties or at the movies. 5G will help make the VR experience feel more and more real; it will usher in a world where VR becomes our primary communication system.
AR for sports – Making sports experiences more fun for younger audiences
The average fan’s age is over 40 and major sports leagues are looking for ways to attract, engage and retain younger audiences. 5G promises to take sports experiences to a whole new level and make it more exciting for fans in their twenties or younger.
The goal of all major sports leagues is to have people buy tickets and come to the stadiums. 5G-enabled AR might just be the solution.
From AR games during timeouts, participation in game quizzes and polls to AR portals which will allow fans to virtually walk into the locker rooms, on the field or into a player interview.
5G will also prove useful for improving how the audience is experiencing real-time sports matches:
The high bandwidth of 5G will also allow fans to upload their view of the game so they can switch between feeds from the cameras in the stadium to feeds from the fans point of view.
It’s all about providing a personalized experience of the game and a personalized way to watch the game.
Smart cities – Smart society
5G has the power to lead our cities into the future. In this future, our cities will develop economically; they will be environmentally sustainable and will rise on the foundations of competitiveness, economic progress and security, social cohesion and innovation.
These smart cities will be seeds from which the smart society will bloom. A society that improves the quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors altogether.
5G could impact almost every aspect of city operations and service delivery: power and water grids, trash collection, transit, public health and education, pollution and disaster management.
Smart cities benefits:
- Smart traffic management;
- Smart grids;
- Smart homes;
- Smart healthcare and security;
- Smart transportation.
Connected cars are already here
What is a connected car?
A connected car is a car which is equipped with internet access and a wireless local area network.
Car connectivity has developed in two directions: vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) connectivity and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity.
V2V means vehicles communicating with others on the roads so drivers are made aware of the location of the other participants within traffic, their destination and speed. The benefits of this type of connectivity are many: advanced warning of traffic build-up, opportunities for drivers to adapt their driving etc. All benefits converge to a safer traffic environment and faster journey.
V2X means everything on the roads is connected: vehicles are connected with each other but also with traffic lights, the roads themselves, lampposts etc. Everything is fitted with sensors which will collect data on everything: the traffic, the condition of the roads, weather, air quality, parking spaces, etc. The collected data can be used to: automatically change the timing of traffic lights to speed up or slow down in order to avoid or reduce congestion, identify roads in need of repair etc.
[bctt tweet=”To make the 4th Industrial Revolution possible, 4G is simply not enough, but 5G has what it takes.” username=”brand_minds”]
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Learn A New Language With This Innovative App
Have you learned English or French in school from old worn out paper manuals?
Well, this old-fashioned way of learning languages is gone!
There’s a new and more exciting way introduced by this app: the Mondly Languages app.
What is the Mondly Languages app?
Mondly Languages is an app which combines solid neural science with cutting-edge technologies to help its users speak languages.
Mondly Languages uses AR and VR to offer its users immersive experiences. In this way, the user learns faster.
It also allows you to learn any of the 33 languages from your native language.
We founded Mondly to revolutionize the way people learn languages. We are passionate about using the latest technology in order to create the best and most effective language learning experience for our users.
Alexandru Iliescu, CEO of Mondly Languages
Mondly’s innovative features
- The first voice-enabled chatbot for language learning;
- The first Virtual Reality language app with speech recognition available for GearVR, Daydream and Cardboard;
- The first Augmented Reality experience in the world that uses speech recognition to help you learn languages;
- There are no computer-generated voices, all recordings in Mondly are made with native speakers.
Benefits of using Mondly Languages
- It’s fun, fast and easy;
- It offers immersive experiences;
- The app’s virtual teacher engages you in conversations, giving instant feedback on pronunciation;
- The Mondly chatbot brings language lessons to life.
Mondly in the media
INC.com – “The New Way to Learn Languages”
Bloomberg.com – “The closest thing to Classroom Education”
Forbes.com – “A practical approach to language learning likely to be widely adopted.”
Digital Trends – “The Mondly experience leverages the immersive quality of VR”
TheNextWeb.com – “The Closest Thing to Actual Immersion”
Huffington Post – “Virtual reality the new and sexier way to learn languages”
VentureBeat – “A lot more fun and easier than just reading flashcards”
Mondly by Numbers
- Founded in 2013 by brothers Iliescu, Alexandru and Tudor;
- 40 million downloads worldwide to date;
- Used by people in 190 countries;
- An average rating of 4.7 out of 5 from over 1M reviews;
- 33 languages.
Awards and Recognition
- Was chosen as “Editors’ Choice” by Google Play in late 2017;
- Won Facebook’s FbStart “App of the Year” in EMEA;
- Alexandru Iliescu, CEO of Mondly won Founder of The Year Award at the 2018 Central European Startup Awards.
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BRAND MINDS’ Guide to Successful Digital Marketing in 2019
Do you want your digital marketing to be successful in 2019?
Use BRAND MINDS‘ Guide to Successful Digital Marketing!
The world of marketing, especially digital marketing, is fast paced and ever changing. Blink and you might just miss the next big trend.
Implement the following 8 tips for digital marketing success in 2019:
1. Use Digital as a Key Component to TTL Campaigns
The important thing to remember with marketing today is that it’s no longer just about marketing digitally. Digital marketing has transitioned to marketing in a digital world, which creates more scope for campaigns.
I believe that digital marketing should be used as part of TTL marketing campaigns, so that your message gets attention from both ATL and BTL audiences. Online or offline, all areas should be explored when it comes to positioning your brand and aligning it with your audience. This will help you to maximise your reach and generate more leads and conversions.
It’s important to remember that by advertising across a variety of different platforms, you are expanding your audience. Some people believe that to be a good marketer, you should focus on one platform and do that right, but I believe that by advertising in as many places as possible, you gain increased visibility and generate stronger branding.
PR and Digital Marketing are also becoming ever more intertwined, with brands gaining exposure and building links across a variety of platforms. Co-marketing and influencer marketing are also great ways to increase reach and awareness.
[bctt tweet=”Use Digital as a Key Component to TTL Campaigns” username=”brand_minds”]
Clever personalisation is the key for effective marketing in 2019.
Gone are the days when a blanket email campaign would suffice. It is vital to segment your audience into relevant sub categories and to target the relevant cross sections with the most relevant offers and information.
Generating personal recommendations on your page is also a great way to get more sales. Link sell by showcasing popular items purchased by others after searching on the page that your user is on. If consumer behaviour is anything to go by, you should definitely see an increase in your conversions. This tailored user journey is also easy to navigate and enjoyable for your customer.
[bctt tweet=”Clever personalisation is the key for effective marketing in 2019″ username=”brand_minds”]
Chatbots and AI have become essential tools for online customer service. Save on time and money by implementing chatbot technology to answer FAQs quickly and effectively.
Over the next five years, the use of bot messengers will be ramping up and chatbots will perform 80% of all communication with customers. Chatbots can be connected to websites, apps and social media platforms to answer customer enquiries and to gather important user information that can be used to create better marketing strategies.
Learn more: How To Use Chatbots To Increase Sales
Grand View Research did a study in to the global chatbot market and discovered that the market had a 24% annual growth rate which amounted to $1.2 billion last year alone. 45% of end users also prefer using them as a primary mode of communication in customer service too apparently.
[bctt tweet=”Save on time and money by implementing chatbot technology to answer FAQs quickly and effectively” username=”brand_minds”]
4. Voice Search
Voice interfaces are becoming an ever more common feature in modern homes and people are using voice searches and features to search quickly and to share information via soundbytes.
According to Google nearly one third of the 3.5 billion searches performed on Google every day are voice searches. Personal assistant devices are used for the majority of these searches.
Like any form of SEO, voice search gives precedence to high ranking sites. Being an authority in your industry, responsive search functions and active social channels will help to boost your ranking. According to studies content with high levels of social engagement performs well on voice search, with content with over 1199 shares on Facebook and 44 on Twitter featuring more predominantly in search.
Other factors to consider are the use of https instead of http and remember to pay attention to your snippets. You’re increasing your chance of being discovered in voice search if your snippet becomes a featured one.
Take care to tailor your description of what your page is about for good ranking. Backlinko state that 40.7% of voice searches come from featured snippets which is staggeringly high. Be sure to use this to your advantage.
[bctt tweet=”Optimise your website for voice search” username=”brand_minds”]
5. Social Stories
With popular culture reigning supreme, Stories have quickly become the marketing choice for savvy marketers.
Since the launch of Snapchat back in 2011, social media users everywhere have been getting to grips with advanced technologies such as filters, augmented reality, boomerangs and superzoom to allow them to get creative and to generate captivating and engaging stories for their followers.
Instagram Stores and Facebook Live became pivotal tools for story-telling in 2018 and will continue to do so in 2019.
According to Instagram, one in every five organic stories prompts at least one customer message. This is probably because these ads appear native in their format and are less interruptive than other social media ads. Either way the potential is huge.
[bctt tweet=”Be smart in 2019 and use Stories to your advantage.” username=”brand_minds”]
Video will continue to grow in 2019.
Live video is being used more and more to showcase and raise awareness for important brand moments. Videos have 135% times more organic reach than your typical Facebook post with 1200% more engagement than image and text posts (Forbes).
Learn more: How To Increase Conversions With Video Marketing
The stats below show the importance of video for brand:
- 70% of consumers say that they have shared a brand’s video (via Wyzowl);
- 72% of businesses say video has improved their conversion rate (via Wyzowl);
- 65% of executives visit the marketer’s website and 39% call a vendor after viewing a video (via Forbes);
- 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions (via Invodo).
The important thing to remember is that several companies have created 360 videos in the past year – especially for showcasing things like weddings and interiors. This trend will continue to grow in 2019.
The full capacity of 360 video has yet to be uncovered. This is just the tip of the iceberg and what’s to come will be even more exciting.
[bctt tweet=”Use 360 videos to showcase your products” username=”brand_minds”]
7. Micro Moments
Google’s research teams have uncovered a new type of consumer behaviour called the micro moment. These moments seemingly occur when people reflexively turn to a device to either learn something, do something, get to know something or buy something.
Google have coined these moments the:
Users experience these moments 150 times a day according to Think with Google. The trick with this is to target consumers with exactly what they want at that right moment to increase conversion rates.
[bctt tweet=”Leverage the Micro-moments to increase conversion rates” username=”brand_minds”]
Both augmented reality – which layers virtual components on a real life backdrop, and virtual reality – which creates an entirely virtual world that can be accessed via a headset, will become a bigger part of experiential marketing in 2019.
These tools aid in the decision making process for products that need to be visualised before purchase. The AR/VR experience is incredibly beneficial for interior design, weddings, clothing and beauty products to name but a few.
Clothing giants Gucci and Zara have both used AR in their marketing campaigns over the past year. Gucci launched the ‘Gucci Hallucination’ in 52 of its stores, while Zara introduced AR screens that showcase their lookbook in 120 stores. These screens have sensors that interact with mobile devices to facilitate easy shopping in one simple click, bringing a truly futuristic element to their marketing and marking a significant increase in conversions.
[bctt tweet=”Use AR/VR to shorten your customers’ decision making process” username=”brand_minds”]
- Marketing today is no longer just about marketing digitally;
- Use digital marketing as part of your TTL marketing campaigns;
- Clever personalisation is key for effective marketing in 2019;
- Save on time and money by implementing chatbot technology to answer FAQs quickly and effectively;
- Optimise your website for voice search;
- Pay attention to your snippets: 40.7% of voice searches come from featured snippets;
- Use Social Stories to your advantage;
- Use 360 videos to showcase your products;
- Leverage the Micro-moments;
- Use AR/VR to shorten your customers’ decision making process.
Join the Conversation
Now that you’ve read our BRAND MINDS’ Guide to Digital Marketing in 2019, we’d love to hear what you have to say. What will you be implementing in your marketing plan for the coming year?
How Luxury Marketing Will Look Like in 2018
The concept of luxury is changing, just like everything we are surrounded by is, like our preferences and sometimes passions. Consumer expectations of luxury continue to rise, and that what used to be luxury is now seen by the current generation of consumers, everyday experiences. And, as always, technology has a big part in this change as it makes everything easier,closer and more affordable, therefore what some years ago was considered luxury today might not be so. And just like what today is luxury in the years to come might not be anymore. The definition of luxury is changing, while “upper luxury” appears.
According to Deloitte’s “Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2018”, the world’s 100 largest luxury goods companies generated sales of US$217 billion in FY2016 and the average luxury goods annual sales for Top 100 companies is now US$2.2 billion. The report discusses the trends and issues that are driving the luxury industry. It also identifies the 100 largest luxury goods companies based on publicly available data for FY2016 (which they define as financial years ending within the 12 months to June 2017), and evaluates their performance across geographies and product sectors.
The growing importance of non-western markets for the luxury goods industry has been supported by supply chain leadership, technological innovation and international investment. These factors will help maintain further strong
growth in these geographical markets.
Deloitte’s “Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2018” points out:
Luxury brands have refocused their business strategies to capitalise on these changes. Giorgio Armani is engaged in an in-store installation collaboration agreement with Colombian artist Marta Luz Gutiérrez, while Louis Vuitton is conducting an advertising campaign using a
building designed by the late Mexican architect Luis Barragán. Rising prosperity in major cities and growing formal market power over the black market will ensure sustained Rest of the World (ROW) demand for luxury goods. To succeed in this context, luxury players should focus their investments on digital connectivity, upwardly mobile consumers and bold business models, which are key components of the
personal luxury industry today.
Some aspects that marketers must pay attention and act on in 2018:
Still according to Deloitte, collectively, Millennials and Generation Z will represent more than 40 per cent of the overall luxury goods market
by 2025, compared with around 30 per cent in 2016. Unlike Baby Boomers, many Millennial luxury consumers expect to interact with brands across a range of digital platforms, rather than only through traditional channels. Millennial consumers are also important for in-store shopping and expect a high-value, customized experience. Luxury brands should seek to change their business models to meet this demand, for example by providing more loyalty
programs and invitations to in-store events.
Customize your approach according to your audience. Personalization is still key as a marketing technique to be used as 45% of luxury consumers are asking for personalized products and services. With different expectations, younger
shoppers seek a personalized shopping experience that seamlessly integrates both online and offline platforms. This shift has motivated demand for connective technology such as Augmented Reality (AR) and Artificial Intelligence
(AI). By using AR and AI technologies, luxury brands can provide a personalized consumer experience, reach a wider audience, deepen product experience, and build stronger customer relationships. In parallel, the development of technologies such as voice commerce and the Internet of Things (IoT) are reshaping the entire luxury industry.
Luxury brands positioned as reliable sources of AI-driven recommendations are improving how they engage with consumers. More widespread adoption of AI is also making consumers increasingly reliant on suggestions and advice
provided by their various devices, rather than making decisions based on personal experience.
Social media becomes an important marketing tool for luxury as well. Instagram became the leading social media platform for fashion designers. Gucci more than doubled its Instagram followers between 2016 and March 2018, with successful Insta-campaigns such as #TFWGucci.
In future, the biggest challenge for luxury brands will be to make optimum use of social media without compromising their brand values. The success of a social media strategy will be converting “likes” into an interactive and engaging experience for customers.- Deloitte
An omnichannel approach – onnichannelluxury
A true omnichannel global market environment would require luxury brands to close gaps in customer experiences across channels, to offer a seamless, unified brand experience irrespective of the device or physical touchpoint used. Therefore, each channel needs to interact with and support
others to establish a single brand presence. Demand for an omnichannel approach is a natural development from the spread of digital technology and
e-commerce markets. During this process of change, the ability of luxury brands to leverage available inventory will be a key differentiator.
Digital must remain a priority to define an omnichannel strategy compatible with target expectations. The percentage of online sales perceived as being additional, and not a cannibalization of, physical sales is decreasing each year, with China the least cannibalized country to date.
“Luxury brands should develop their mobile strategy: 55% of luxury consumers buying online use their mobile phones versus personal computers. Peaks appear among the youngest generations and Chinese consumers, 75% and 77%, respectively, of whom use mobile. Social media and influencers are gaining power. For the first time, social media is the first source of information and the channel of primary impact used by true-luxury consumers, followed by magazines and brand websites. Five platforms (Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, Weibo, and QQ) are dominating the social media world, but Facebook is losing momentum to Instagram in the Western world and QQ is losing momentum to WeChat and Weibo in China,” states in “True-Luxury Global Consumer Insight”, the fifth edition of an annual study by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and Altagamma.
Millennials: Consumer Aspirations Are Disrupting Luxury
Collaborations with streetwear brands and artists are becoming the norm for Generation Zers and Millennials. “Collaboration covers demand for newness in a less risky way. It gives brands a cool edge and strengthens brand awareness as well as increases willingness to buy the brand. Collaboration is increasingly in demand and turns out to be a very effective purchasing incentive,” said Olivier Abtan, a partner in BCG’s Paris office and the global leader of the firm’s luxury, fashion, and beauty topic.
Unlike “absolute luxurers,” who buy luxury items exclusively, millennials do not hesitate to mix and match. According to BCG’s study, about 55% of this group trades down to buy handbags or T-shirts from cheaper brands, or mixes their style by buying sneakers and luxury shoes from luxury niche brands (including luxury sports). This trend appears to fulfill consumers’ need to create their own style. When they do look for different brands, it’s because luxury brands don’t have offerings in certain categories or because of the Millennials’ desire to have a unique style, express themselves, and seek out niche brands.
Use iconic personalities in your communication
With all the big changes, some things are meant to last and take the test of time. Chanel’s iconic marketing history began with a print advertisement for its perfume, Chanel No.5, in 1921. Its first celebrity endorsement didn’t feature until 1954, with Marilyn Monroe. However, it wasn’t until 2005 when Chanel first adopted videography, and from here, the rest is history.
“Despite not adopting social media and integrating the platform with videography until 2009, its marketing strategy is nothing short of stupendous. Selecting admirable public figures such as Keira Knightley and Nicole Kidman to star in Chanel’s unmistakable short films, revived the brand as an iconic symbol of both cultural and digital relevance. With the use of video and social media integration, Chanel has grown to having more than 57 million social followers globally, the highest in the luxury fashion industry. The brand focused on Facebook as their initial social media platform, due to the video capabilities such as extended video length, that Twitter and Instagram do not support. For the brand’s primary consumer, the more wealthy and mature client, Facebook was the ideal platform for accessing this demographic,” wrote Little Agency.
According to Retail Insider, British Airways is encashing big on a recent study on sensory sciences by Oxford about how sound influences the taste of food. Based on the findings of this study, they launched a list of 13 in-flight tracks to enhance the taste of the meals served during the flight, providing a truly luxurious experience. Moreover, Soundwich in Portugal delivered gourmet sandwiches packed in metal boxes that play music chosen by the chef when opened.
More ideas you can see here.
Worldwide technology trends in 2017
The technology is advancing nowadays even faster than the speed of light. Its advances and upgrades can seem overwhelming, thankfully though we have the specialists to help us understand where we are heading and how to handle it. The Deloitte’s 2017 report outlines how companies presently must sift through the promotional noise and hyperbole surrounding emerging technologies to find those solutions offering real potential. To realize that potential, they should become ‘kinetic’ organizations—companies with the dexterity and vision required to thrive amid ongoing technology-fueled disruption.
While the report identifies key trends that will likely revolutionize enterprise technology in the next 18-24 months, the exponentials chapter looks even farther into the future, describing four key areas that blend science and applied technologies.
The 2017 trends identified by Deloitte, digitaltrends.com, Forbes and Gartner are as follows:
IT unbounded—The boundaries surrounding IT are fading as technology becomes integral to almost every business function and relationship.
IoT and Smart Home Tech
A multitude of wireless technologies now exist to serve your smart home needs — Zigbee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and more. And there’s more smart home platforms to consider than ever before too — Wink, SmartThings, Iris by Lowe’s, even systems from security providers like ADT and big brands like Comcast. While centralization in theory should make things easier, it’s made it worse.
The AI world will have a head-on collision with the Internet of Things in 2017, too, Gartner predicts. IoT is where everyday items get chips or sensors, and apps, and join the internet — from your car to your toothbrush. It makes total sense that the apps that control IoT devices will also make use of machine learning.
In 2017, watch for devices to start to communicate and help each other make decisions. “As intelligent things, such as drones, autonomous vehicles and smart appliances, permeate the environment, Gartner anticipates a shift from stand-alone intelligent things to a collaborative intelligent things model,” Gartner says. Gartner estimates that six billion connected “things” will be actively requesting support from AI platforms by 2018.
The total IoT market is estimated to grow from $157.05 billion in 2016 to $661.74 billion by 2021, predicts Markets and Markets.
Artificial Intelligence and Automation
AI and chatbots that understand context a whole lot better than ever before. More and more jobs will also be automated, we’ll also see smart devices gain from increased automation, learning your patterns and preferences without you needing to tell them and making better and more accurate suggestions and recommendations.
Research firm Markets and Markets estimates that the AI market will grow from $420 million in 2014 to $5.05 billion by 2020.
Artificial Reality and Virtual Reality
According to Gartner, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) transform the way individuals interact with each other and with software systems creating an immersive environment. For example, VR can be used for training scenarios and remote experiences. AR, which enables a blending of the real and virtual worlds, means businesses can overlay graphics onto real-world objects, such as hidden wires on the image of a wall. Immersive experiences with AR and VR are reaching tipping points in terms of price and capability but will not replace other interface models. Over time AR and VR expand beyond visual immersion to include all human senses. Enterprises should look for targeted applications of VR and AR through 2020.
As forbes.com points out we’ve already seen some major steps forward for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology in 2016. Oculus Rift was released, to positive reception, and thousands of VR apps and games followed. We also saw Pokémon Go, an AR game, explode with over 100 million downloads. The market is ready for AR and VR, and we’ve already got some early-stage devices and tech for these applications, but 2017 it’s going to be the year we see things really take off. Once they do, you’ll need to be ready for AR and VR versions of practically everything—and ample marketing opportunities to follow.
“Look for navigation services to get even more specific — maps in a store’s app, for example, to direct you to a specific aisle to find exactly what you’re looking for. So called “augmented reality,” where virtual objects and information are displayed on top of the physical world, will make its way to our phones. Search engines are already expanding on image search, allowing you to point your camera at something and search for information based on what the lens takes in,” said Ed Oswald for digitaltrends.com.
IDC predicts that worldwide revenues for the augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) market will grow from $5.2 billion in 2016 to more than $162 billion in 2020.
Advances in computer vision and pattern recognition allow companies to unlock insights from unstructured data that until now, have been lost in the dark.
Machine intelligence is helping companies make better decisions, embed complex analytics into customer and employee interactions, and—with adoption of bots and robotic process automation—automate increasingly difficult tasks.
“Throughout 2017, I expect to see machine learning updates emerge across the board, entering almost any type of consumer application you can think of, from offering better recommended products based on prior purchase history to gradually improving the user experience of an analytics app. It won’t be long before machine learning becomes a kind of “new normal,” with people expecting this type of artificial intelligence as a component of every form of technology,” predicts Jayson DeMers for Forbes.
Mixed reality (Physical-Digital Integrations)
Companies are exploring more immersive and engaging ways to combine the physical world and digital systems, creating a new, mixed reality that’s more natural, intuitive and intelligent.
Mobile devices have been slowly adding technology into our daily lives. It’s rare to see anyone without a smartphone at any given time, giving us access to practically infinite information in the real-world. We already have things like site-to-store purchasing, enabling online customers to buy and pick up products in a physical retail location, but the next level will be even further integrations between physical and digital realities. Online brands like Amazon will start having more physical products, like Dash Buttons, and physical brands like Walmart will start having more digital features, like store maps and product trials.
Open standards, cloud-first designs and loosely coupled architectures are the norm in start-ups. Now, large enterprises have similar ambitions.
Traditional business products are being reimagined as services as organizations modernize core systems and the technology stack.
According to Gartner, within three to five years, billions of things will be represented by digital twins, a dynamic software model of a physical thing or system. Using physics data on how the components of a thing operate and respond to the environment as well as data provided by sensors in the physical world, a digital twin can be used to analyze and simulate real world conditions, responds to changes, improve operations and add value. Digital twins function as proxies for the combination of skilled individuals (e.g., technicians) and traditional monitoring devices and controls (e.g., pressure gauges). Their proliferation will require a cultural change, as those who understand the maintenance of real-world things collaborate with data scientists and IT professionals. Digital twins of physical assets combined with digital representations of facilities and environments as well as people, businesses and processes will enable an increasingly detailed digital representation of the real world for simulation, analysis and control.
source: Blockchain Technologies
Blockchain, a way of distributing a database across many far-flung computers, is emerging as the mainstay for digital identities in the emerging trust economy.
Exponentials watch list – Advances in disruption forces like synthetic biology, energy storage, quantum computing, and nanotech could exponentially transform the way we do business. Remember the big Bitcoin phenom of 2015? It turns out that the coins themselves could be far less valuable than the underlying technology, called blockchain, that created them.
Market Reports Hub believes the global blockchain technology market will grow from $210.2 million in 2016 to $2.3 billion by 2021.
Advances in disruption forces like synthetic biology, energy storage, quantum computing, and nanotech could exponentially transform the way we do business.
Humanized Big Data (visual, empathetic, qualitative)
Big data has been a big topic for the past five years or so, when it started making headlines as a buzzword. According to Forbes, the idea is that mass quantities of gathered data—which we now have access to—can help us in everything from planning better medical treatments to executing better marketing campaigns. But big data’s greatest strength—its quantitative, numerical foundation—is also a weakness. In 2017, I expect we’ll see advancements to humanize big data, seeking more empathetic and qualitative bits of data and projecting it in a more visualized, accessible way.
Adaptive Security Architecture
“The evolution of the intelligent digital mesh and digital technology platforms and application architectures means that security has to become fluid and adaptive. Security in the IoT environment is particularly challenging. Security teams need to work with application, solution and enterprise architects to consider security early in the design of applications or IoT solutions. Multilayered security and use of user and entity behavior analytics will become a requirement for virtually every enterprise,” points out Gartner.