MWC 2016.- Zuckerberg announces social VR group and partnership with Samsung

Mark Zuckerberg (CEO and co-founder of Facebook) announced on 21st February during the Samsung Unpacked event the collaboration between his company and the South Korean tech giant Samsung to bring Facebook’s dynamic streaming technology for 360º video to the Samsung Gear VR.

Zuckerberg unveiled as well that Facebook is working to bring new VR experiences to help people connect and share on its social network. To advance in this field the company has created a Social VR team entirely focused on exploring the future of social interaction in VR. This team will work work closely with Oculus and other teams at Facebook to build the foundation for tomorrow’s social VR experiences on all platforms.

Social VR developments, still in an early stage, but outcomes encouraging

Facebook has already helped people connect in a wide range of ways on mobile devices (from Facebook and Instagram to Messenger and WhatsApp). “Now we want to apply that same approach to the new medium of VR, as it will enable even more types of connection”, explains Facebook, ” like the ability for friends who live in different parts of the world to spend time together and feel like they’re really there with each other.”

© Samsung.<
© Samsung.

Although Zuckerberg’s company recognizes that their work in VR is still early, and there are a lot of hardware and software challenges that still need to be solved, “we’re encouraged by our progress to date, and we’re excited to continue building VR technology that gives people new ways to connect and share.”

Facebook’s streaming 360º video, soon on Samsung Gear VR

“We’re taking an important step toward improving 360 video in VR: Our powerful dynamic streaming technology for 360 video is coming to Gear VR.” It’s a more efficient way of delivering 360 videos, showing only the pixels you’re actually looking at in the highest quality, instead of delivering the entire 360 video in high resolution,” explains Facebook.

DJ Koh (President of Samsung Electronics Mobile Communications Business). © Samsung.
DJ Koh (President of Samsung Electronics Mobile Communications Business). © Samsung.

This advance quadruples the resolution quality of 360 streaming video in VR by reducing the amount of required network bandwidth by 4x, so videos look clearer and play faster.

To make this possible, Facebok creates dozens of variants for every 360º video that gets uploaded to the social network, each one tailored to a specific viewing angle, and then as the user watchs the video, Facebook quickly adjusts which variant is displayed, based on where the user is looking at.

Samsung puts 360 video creation at the tips of anyone

The South Korean tech company also unveiled on 21st february the Samsung Gear 360, a 360-degree camera that lets consumers easily create, view and share their favorite experiences through both video and still image content.

The Gear 360 is designed for travel, festive gatherings and every activity in between to provide an all-encompassing visual experience. The new camera leverages the best of the Samsung Galaxy experience so users can become the creator of their own virtual reality content to enjoy through Gear VR.

This VR camera , which is compatible with select Samsung smartphones including the newly released Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+, Galaxy Note 5, Galaxy S6 edge and Galaxy S6, will be available starting from Q2 2016 in select countries

“Samsung continues to push the boundaries of the mobile experience to extend beyond the smartphone,” said DJ Koh, President of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “On the heels of last year’s Gear VR release, Gear 360 continues to push the limits on immersive content – providing a visual experience that makes capturing and sharing life’s moments even easier.”

Samsung takes 4D VR to the streets of Barcelona

With MWC 2016 just around the corner, Catalonia Square is
also the location of a VR thrilling amusement park roller coaster, The Samsung 4D Theater.

After eagerly taking their seats, guests donned Samsung’s Gear VR headsets and were quickly transported from the city center of Barcelona to the tracks of Six Flags Magic Mountain’s Twisted Colossus, a hybrid wood and steel roller coaster that features barrel roll inversions and a near-vertical drop.

Samsung 4D Theatre at Square of Catalonya. © Samsung.
Samsung 4D Theatre at Square of Catalonya. © Samsung.

This wild ride offered a realistic, adrenaline-pumping experience, thanks to specialized 4D chairs that moved in sync to the movements displayed on the headsets. Yet, unlike traditional 4D theater in which viewers wear 3D glasses, Samsung’s 4D Theater with Gear VR offered an entirely new experience.

VR is going social and mainstream

VR is going social and mainstream and the pace in which this is happening is getting faster nd faster thanks to

Mark Zuckerberg (CEO and co-founder of Facebook). © Facebook.
Mark Zuckerberg (CEO and co-founder of Facebook). © Facebook

devices linke the Samsung Gear VR with Oculus tech inside, the Samsung Gear camera and social networks with You Tube and Facebook pioneering the 360º VR publishing and watch.

Some data shared by Facebook on the occassion of the Samsung Unpacked Event 2016 show this crystal clear.

Since Gear VR launched in November 2015, the response has been incredibly strong: More than 200 games and apps are now available for the platform in the Oculus store, and people have already watched more than a million hours of video in this device.

Facebook has also been developing new technology that will make video in virtual reality work even better. 360 video on Facebook is the first step, as it it allows users looking around and feel like they’re present while watching a video, whether it’s surfing in Tahiti or exploring the surface of Mars.

Already, millions of people watch 360 videos on Facebook every day. More than 20,000 have been uploaded, with hundreds more added daily. “And we’ve only just begun to explore the possibilities with this format”, says Facebook.

Image over the headline.- DJ Koh (President of Samsung Electronics Mobile Communications Business) -left- and Mark Zuckerberg (CEO Facebook) at the Samsung Unpacked, which was held as a previous event jsut before the opening of te Mobile World Congress 2016 in Barcelona (Spain). © Samsung.

Related external links:

On how cube maps make it possible to bring Facebook’s dynamic streaming tech for 360º video to the Samsung Gear VR

Related Eastwindmarketing links:

3D VR video to be launched on Facebook

Samsung Gear camera (infographic)

Related Eastwindmarketing links (Spanish edition):

Samsung lanza en España el primer wearable de realidad virtual para móviles

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