Gizmodo: Bleak new game trains teachers how to survive school shootings
EDGE Chief Engineer, Tamara Griffith explained that, “with teachers, they did not self-select into a role where they expect to have bullets flying near them. Unfortunately, it’s becoming a reality,” when discussing the reveal of a virtual-reality simulation aimed to help teachers handle school shootings. EDGE (Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment) is a $5.6 million VR program that was originally built to help fire departments and police officers handle mass shootings, but in the Spring of 2018 an updated version of the program will be released for teachers. This program breaks away from the norms of VR where you find yourself skydiving or traveling in space and opens the possibilities even further as to the endless purposes VR can attain over the years to come. The updated version will allow teachers to choose between three different roles: the shooter, a teacher, or an officer on the scene. The program will aim to be as realistic as possible, with panicked students all the way to gunshot echoes, making the experience almost unbearable at times. It is sad that our society has reached the point where a program like this is necessary; however, it is innovative solutions like these that can decrease the recurring pattern of tragic incidents.
Engadget: Google sold a Home speaker every second since the Mini launch
As Smart Speakers continue to surpass sale estimates, Google has declared itself as a top competitor next to Amazon’s Echo speaker. It has been reported that Google has sold “more than one” Home speaker since the Mini speaker launched on October 19th. It is unclear what model carried the spike in sales; however, it is likely that the cheaper model (Home Mini) was responsible for the majority of units sold. Google has been able to captivate such a large audience within a reasonably short amount of time because of its affordability. For a speaker with similar functions it is going to be increasingly difficult for the more expensive, Amazon Echo speaker, to stay ahead of Google’s $49 alternative. As the competitiveness continues to increase between Amazon and Google it appears that the market for smart speakers is only going to get larger.
TechCrunch: App revenue climbed 35 percent to $60 Billion in 2017
2017 was a huge year for the world of mobile applications as global app revenue rose 35 percent, reaching $60 billion. The year was content-rich for both Apple’s App Store and Google Play with over 92 billion apps downloaded globally. The growth in popularity roots from numerous sources: expanding into newer markets, the introduction of AR apps and of course Apple’s decision to support in-app subscriptions. Many studies have revealed that U.S consumers today download zero apps per day on average; but nevertheless, the implementation of augmented-reality apps, such as Pokemon Go, have likely caused the rapid increase of downloads, especially in these emerging markets, like China and India. With thousands of apps being uploaded daily, it is easy to say we really do love our smartphones.
TechCrunch: GoPro cuts 200-300 jobs, largely impacting its drone division
Another tough year for GoPro as they move into 2018 down almost 300 jobs. Following one of their toughest years back in 2016 where the company had to cut 100 jobs from its entertainment division, GoPro struggled transitioning into the drone market with their release of the Karma drone. After reports of Karma drones dropping from the sky, GoPro was forced to temporarily halt sales until the issue was resolved. Nevertheless, GoPro CEO, Nick Woodman, did not allow the failures faced by the drones slow down his aspirations to expand GoPro’s product line. In addition to drones, the company also moved into additional revenue streams throughout the year, including entering the virtual-reality sector. These attempts to diversify the company likely rooted the heavy layoffs that the many employees in the aerial division are currently facing. In a letter written to impacted employees, Woodman stated the job cuts were being conducted in order to, “better align our resources with our business requirements”. Time will tell if the company’s reconstruction will bring GoPro back to the top of their market, but for the time being, watch your head for falling drones!
TechCrunch: Spotify files to go public
With over 140 million active users and 60 million paying subscribers, Spotify has become a dominant leader in the digital music market. Sources have recently announced that Spotify has decided to transition into a public company; a risky decision for a company undergoing a $1.6 billion lawsuit for alleged copyright infringement. It appears Spotify may take a newer approach, exploring the possibility of listing on the stock market without the fundraising event; however, we have watched Pandora struggle to succeed after going public. With Pandora currently trading at $5 per share, it is hard to vision Spotify excelling on the stock market; but nevertheless, it will be interesting to witness what the future holds for the popular digital music platform.