6D.ai opens up its beta

After wrestling with the development of a technology that would create a three dimensional map of the physical world for over a decade, the team at 6D.ai is finally ready to open up its toolkit to developers that the company says has done exactly that. When company chief executive Matt Miesnieks announced the launch of […]

After wrestling with the development of a technology that would create a three dimensional map of the physical world for over a decade, the team at 6D.ai is finally ready to open up its toolkit to developers that the company says has done exactly that.

When company chief executive Matt Miesnieks announced the launch of 6D in March, he laid out a vision for its growth that had three goals. The company would build APIs to capture the three-dimensional geometry of the world; it would apply that three dimensional data to build semantic APIs so applications can understand the world; and it would partner and extend those APIs to create an operating system for reality.

Having achieved the first goal, the company is now working on the second.

“The whole purpose of this company wasn’t ‘Hey there’s this new technology!’ It’s what can AR do in its fully realized form and what is a native experience for AR that hadn’t worked in prior mediums and what’s stopping that stuff from being effective and how do you solve those problems,” says Miesnieks.

For Miesnieks the problems confronting augmented reality come down to creating believable visual objects that integrate seamlessly into the world. That act of creation depends on persistence, occlusion, and interaction, according to Miesnieks.

Interactivity, to Miesnieks should happen seamlessly rather than requiring a multi-step process that the 6D chief executive calls “just a bridge too far.”

“What needs to happen is you say, ‘Hey join my game.’ And it just works.”

Miesnieks argues that the kind of precision that synchronization requires demands a kind of on-device localization, which is exactly what 6D has claimed it enables.

“Once you have that 3D model then the virtual content can bounce off the 3D model. You can do shadows correctly. Extend that over large areas so that it doesn’t just work in a corner of my living room, but that it can work everywhere,” Miesnieks said. “We need these models and the only way to get there is to use a depth camera or offline photogrammetry.”

6D has already done some work with bands like Massive Attack and Aphex Twin that put its technology through some early paces. And the Victoria and Albert Museum have also used the technology. Soon it will launch a game with an undisclosed Japanese game developer (which has intellectual property similar to Pokemon)  and a virtual YouTube-like application with the Japanese social network, Gree.

For Miesnieks perhaps the most interesting application is with a big, undisclosed transportation company which is interested in navigation for terrestrial and other mobility.

“When we set the company up. we are pretty convicted that we want to say to the developers that this is reality. We will give you shared coordinates for multi-player,” said Miesnieks.

Underlying all of this are concerns about security related to who can see what in the space that users map. But Miesnieks said that the company had solved that problem as well.

“You can only get the data for a space if you’re physically in that space,” said Miesnieks. “I hold my phone up it looks at your living room based on what it sees it queries the server and if there’s a match it will serve that data up to that location.”

Based on research, the point cloud that 6D generates isn’t directly connected to the geographic structure. It’s slightly randomized so a user can’t look at the point cloud and see what is what.

“It’s unable to be reverse engineered by any known science into a human readable image,” said Miesnieks. “All the image would look like is a whole bunch of dots and blobs. That’s kind of what we’re doing so far.”

As the company builds out its three dimensional map of the world, it’s encouraging developers to think of it as a new kind of augmented reality platform.

“Our business is web services meet Waze,” said Miesnieks.

6D.ai opens up its beta

After wrestling with the development of a technology that would create a three dimensional map of the physical world for over a decade, the team at 6D.ai is finally ready to open up its toolkit to developers that the company says has done exactly that. When company chief executive Matt Miesnieks announced the launch of […]

After wrestling with the development of a technology that would create a three dimensional map of the physical world for over a decade, the team at 6D.ai is finally ready to open up its toolkit to developers that the company says has done exactly that.

When company chief executive Matt Miesnieks announced the launch of 6D in March, he laid out a vision for its growth that had three goals. The company would build APIs to capture the three-dimensional geometry of the world; it would apply that three dimensional data to build semantic APIs so applications can understand the world; and it would partner and extend those APIs to create an operating system for reality.

Having achieved the first goal, the company is now working on the second.

“The whole purpose of this company wasn’t ‘Hey there’s this new technology!’ It’s what can AR do in its fully realized form and what is a native experience for AR that hadn’t worked in prior mediums and what’s stopping that stuff from being effective and how do you solve those problems,” says Miesnieks.

For Miesnieks the problems confronting augmented reality come down to creating believable visual objects that integrate seamlessly into the world. That act of creation depends on persistence, occlusion, and interaction, according to Miesnieks.

Interactivity, to Miesnieks should happen seamlessly rather than requiring a multi-step process that the 6D chief executive calls “just a bridge too far.”

“What needs to happen is you say, ‘Hey join my game.’ And it just works.”

Miesnieks argues that the kind of precision that synchronization requires demands a kind of on-device localization, which is exactly what 6D has claimed it enables.

“Once you have that 3D model then the virtual content can bounce off the 3D model. You can do shadows correctly. Extend that over large areas so that it doesn’t just work in a corner of my living room, but that it can work everywhere,” Miesnieks said. “We need these models and the only way to get there is to use a depth camera or offline photogrammetry.”

6D has already done some work with bands like Massive Attack and Aphex Twin that put its technology through some early paces. And the Victoria and Albert Museum have also used the technology. Soon it will launch a game with an undisclosed Japanese game developer (which has intellectual property similar to Pokemon)  and a virtual YouTube-like application with the Japanese social network, Gree.

For Miesnieks perhaps the most interesting application is with a big, undisclosed transportation company which is interested in navigation for terrestrial and other mobility.

“When we set the company up. we are pretty convicted that we want to say to the developers that this is reality. We will give you shared coordinates for multi-player,” said Miesnieks.

Underlying all of this are concerns about security related to who can see what in the space that users map. But Miesnieks said that the company had solved that problem as well.

“You can only get the data for a space if you’re physically in that space,” said Miesnieks. “I hold my phone up it looks at your living room based on what it sees it queries the server and if there’s a match it will serve that data up to that location.”

Based on research, the point cloud that 6D generates isn’t directly connected to the geographic structure. It’s slightly randomized so a user can’t look at the point cloud and see what is what.

“It’s unable to be reverse engineered by any known science into a human readable image,” said Miesnieks. “All the image would look like is a whole bunch of dots and blobs. That’s kind of what we’re doing so far.”

As the company builds out its three dimensional map of the world, it’s encouraging developers to think of it as a new kind of augmented reality platform.

“Our business is web services meet Waze,” said Miesnieks.

Shopify opens its first brick-and-mortar space in Los Angeles

Shopify, the provider of payment and logistics management software and services for retailers, has opened its first physical storefront in Los Angeles. The first brick and mortar location for the Toronto-based company, is nestled in a warren of downtown Los Angeles boutique shops in a complex known as the Row DTLA. For Shopify, Los Angeles […]

Shopify, the provider of payment and logistics management software and services for retailers, has opened its first physical storefront in Los Angeles.

The first brick and mortar location for the Toronto-based company, is nestled in a warren of downtown Los Angeles boutique shops in a complex known as the Row DTLA.

For Shopify, Los Angeles is the ideal place to debut a physical storefront showing off the company’s new line of hardware products and the array of services it provides to businesses ranging from newly opened startups to $900 million juggernauts like the Kylie Cosmetics brand.

The city is one of the most dense conglomerations of Shopify customers with over 10,000 merchants using the company’s technologies in the greater Los Angeles area. 400 of those retailers have each earned over $1 million in gross merchandise volume.

In the Los Angeles space, which looks similar to an Apple store, patrons can expect to see demonstrations and tutorials of how Shopify’s tools and features work. Showrooms displaying the work that Shopify does with some of its close partners will also show how business owners can turn their product visions into actual businesses.

Like Apple, Shopify is staffing its store with experts on the platform who can walk new customers or would-be customers through whatever troubleshooting they may need. While also serving as a space to promote large and small vendors using its payment and supply management solution.

“Our new space in downtown LA is a physical manifestation of our dedication and commitment to making commerce better for everyone. We’re thrilled to be able to take our proven educational, support, and community initiatives and put them to work in an always-on capacity,” said Satish Kanwar, VP of Product at Shopify, in a statement. “We know that making more resources available to entrepreneurs, especially early on, makes them far more likely to succeed, and we’re happy to now be offering that through a brick-and-mortar experience in LA.”

Kanwar and Shopify chief operating officer, Harley Finkelstein, envision the new Los Angeles space as another way to support new and emerging retailers looking for tips on how to build their business in the best possible way.

“The path to being your own boss doesn’t need to be lonely or isolating,” said Finkelstein, in a statement. “With Shopify LA we wanted to create a hub where business owners can find support, inspiration, and community. Most importantly, entrepreneurs at all stages and of all sizes can learn together, have first access to our newest products, and propel their entrepreneurial dreams.”

We’re talking AR with Snap’s camera platform head at TC Sessions: AR/VR

For a lot of consumers, Pokemon Go wasn’t their first exposure to augmented reality, it was the dog selfie lens inside Snapchat. In the past few years, consumer use hasn’t evolved too heavily when it comes to what people are actually using AR for even though technical capabilities have taken some giant leaps. Snap was an […]

For a lot of consumers, Pokemon Go wasn’t their first exposure to augmented reality, it was the dog selfie lens inside Snapchat.

In the past few years, consumer use hasn’t evolved too heavily when it comes to what people are actually using AR for even though technical capabilities have taken some giant leaps. Snap was an early leader but now the industry is much more crowded with Apple, Google, Facebook and others all staffing up extensive teams focused on smartphone-based AR capabilities.

At our one-day TC Sessions: AR/VR event in LA on October 18, we’ll be chatting with Eitan Pilipski, the VP of Snap’s Camera Platform, a role that would seem to be pretty central to the long-term vision of a company that has long referred to itself as “a camera company.”

Snap has been throwing some updates to their developer tools as of late especially for their Lens Studio product which gives developers access to tools to create AR masks and experiences. There’s a lot of room to grow, and it will be interesting to see how much depth Snap can pull from these short experiences and whether it sees “lenses” evolving to bring users more straight-forward utility in the near-term.

The company hasn’t had the easiest bout as a public company lately, but it’s clear that it sees computer vision and augmented reality as key parts of the larger vision it hopes to achieve. At our LA event we’ll look to dive deeper into how they’re approaching these technologies and what it can bring consumers beyond a little added enjoyment.

As a special offer to TechCrunch readers, save 35% on $149 General Admission tickets when you use this link or code TCFAN. Student tickets are just $45 and can be booked here.

Salesforce acquires Rebel, maker of ‘interactive’ email services, to expand its Marketing Cloud

Salesforce’s Marketing and Commerce Cloud is the company’s smallest division today, so to help beef it up, the company is making an acquisition to add in more features. Salesforce has acquired Rebel, a startup that develops interactive email services for businesses to enhance their direct marketing services: recipients of interactive emails can write reviews, shop and […]

Salesforce’s Marketing and Commerce Cloud is the company’s smallest division today, so to help beef it up, the company is making an acquisition to add in more features. Salesforce has acquired Rebel, a startup that develops interactive email services for businesses to enhance their direct marketing services: recipients of interactive emails can write reviews, shop and take other actions without leaving the messages to do so.

In an announcement on Rebel’s site, the startup said it will be joining Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud operation, which will integrate Rebel’s API-based services into its platform.

“With Rebel’s Mail and API solutions, brands, including Dollar Shave Club, L’Oreal and HelloFresh, turn emails into an extension of their website or app – collecting data, removing friction from the conversion process, and enhancing the customer experience. Rebel will enhance the power of Salesforce Marketing Clod and fundamentally change the way people interact with email,” the founders note. It sounds as if the company’s existing business will be wound down as part of the move.

Terms of the deal have not been disclosed in the Rebel announcement. We have contacted both the startup and Salesforce for further comment and to ask about the price. To date, Rebel — co-founded originally as Rebelmail by Joe Teplow and Trever Faden — had raised only about $3 million, with investors including Lerer Hippeau, Sinai Ventures, David Tisch, Gary Vaynerchuk, and others, so if the deal size is equally small, Salesforce likely will not be disclosing it.

Salesforce has made a number of acquisitions to build and expand its marketing services to compete with Adobe and others. Perhaps most notable of these was buying ExactTarget, one of its biggest-ever acquisitions, for $2.5 billion in 2013. (And according to some, it even wanted to buy Adobe at one point.) Competition has been heating up between the two, with Adobe most recently snapping up Marketo for $4.75 billion.

But on the other hand, marketing is currently Saleforce’s smallest division. It pulled in $452 million in revenues last quarter, putting it behind revenues for Sales Cloud ($1 billion), Service Cloud ($892 million) and Salesforce Platform ($712 million). Adding in interactive email functionality isn’t likely to float Marketing and Commerce Cloud to the top of that list, but it does show that Salesforce is trying to improve its products with more functionality for would-be and current customers.

Those customers have a lot of options these days, though, in targeting their own customers with rich email services. Microsoft and Google have both started to add in a lot more features into their own email products, with Outlook and Gmail supporting things like in-email payments and more. There are ways of building such solutions through your current direct marketing providers, or now directly using other avenues.

What will be interesting to see is whether Rebel continues to integrate with the plethora of email service providers it currently works with, or if Salesforce will keep the functionality for itself. Today Rebel’s partners include Oracle, SendGrid, Adobe, IBM, SailThru and, yes, Salesforce.

We’ll update this post as we learn more.

Apple’s new ad shows off “the largest display on an iPhone ever”

Apple’s new commercial, titled “Growth Spurt,” showcases its Super Retina display in two sizes, including “the largest display on an iPhone ever”.

Apple on Friday aired a 60-second video advertisement featuring its latest iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max handsets, showcasing their key features like bigger displays and better cameras.... Read the rest of this post here


"Apple’s new ad shows off “the largest display on an iPhone ever”" is an article by iDownloadBlog.com.
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Where to watch tonight’s Emmy Awards online

It’s the biggest night for television and streaming media services tonight as the stars are gathering to celebrate themselves at the 70th annual Emmy Awards. Tonight’s event at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles promises to be a big one for streaming media services like Netflix (with 122 nominations), Hulu (with 20 — thanks mainly […]

It’s the biggest night for television and streaming media services tonight as the stars are gathering to celebrate themselves at the 70th annual Emmy Awards.

Tonight’s event at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles promises to be a big one for streaming media services like Netflix (with 122 nominations), Hulu (with 20 — thanks mainly to the amazing The Handmaid’s Tale), and Amazon (which nabbed 22 nominations, mainly on the strength of the marvelous The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). 

Netflix’s dominance at the awards show marks the ascent of streaming as the biggest thing in new media — but the traditional networks, premium and basic cable, aren’t giving up without a fight.

Emceeing tonight’s festivities are Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost. The two are coming off an incredibly popular run which saw both comedians continuing the tradition of being one of the consistent highlights of the SNL sketch comedy juggernaut.

If you’re a cord-cutter who won’t be watching the show on television, NBC will be streaming the broadcast from 8PM Eastern both on the website and in its app. 

For those of us who don’t have cable, there’re a slew of other options available through streaming services, including: DirecTV Now, Fubo TVHulu’s live TV service, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV and YouTube TV. 

While NBC isn’t available on these services in all areas, check and make sure that your provider of choice has the network should a viewer want to tune in. Importantly for those cheapskates among you, there’re trial subscriptions available for all of these services, so you can sign up for free and try ’em out just to watch the big show.

Where to watch tonight’s Emmy Awards online

It’s the biggest night for television and streaming media services tonight as the stars are gathering to celebrate themselves at the 70th annual Emmy Awards. Tonight’s event at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles promises to be a big one for streaming media services like Netflix (with 122 nominations), Hulu (with 20 — thanks mainly […]

It’s the biggest night for television and streaming media services tonight as the stars are gathering to celebrate themselves at the 70th annual Emmy Awards.

Tonight’s event at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles promises to be a big one for streaming media services like Netflix (with 122 nominations), Hulu (with 20 — thanks mainly to the amazing The Handmaid’s Tale), and Amazon (which nabbed 22 nominations, mainly on the strength of the marvelous The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel). 

Netflix’s dominance at the awards show marks the ascent of streaming as the biggest thing in new media — but the traditional networks, premium and basic cable, aren’t giving up without a fight.

Emceeing tonight’s festivities are Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update hosts Michael Che and Colin Jost. The two are coming off an incredibly popular run which saw both comedians continuing the tradition of being one of the consistent highlights of the SNL sketch comedy juggernaut.

If you’re a cord-cutter who won’t be watching the show on television, NBC will be streaming the broadcast from 8PM Eastern both on the website and in its app. 

For those of us who don’t have cable, there’re a slew of other options available through streaming services, including: DirecTV Now, Fubo TVHulu’s live TV service, PlayStation Vue, Sling TV and YouTube TV. 

While NBC isn’t available on these services in all areas, check and make sure that your provider of choice has the network should a viewer want to tune in. Importantly for those cheapskates among you, there’re trial subscriptions available for all of these services, so you can sign up for free and try ’em out just to watch the big show.

Announcing the agenda for TC Sessions: AR/VR in LA on October 18

TechCrunch is heading to UCLA on October 18 and we’ve assembled some of the AR/VR industry’s most prescient founders, investors and executives to chat about the startups and trends driving virtual and augmented reality in 2018. The world’s top tech companies have heavily invested in AR/VR and are persistent in broadcasting the technologies’ potential to blur […]

TechCrunch is heading to UCLA on October 18 and we’ve assembled some of the AR/VR industry’s most prescient founders, investors and executives to chat about the startups and trends driving virtual and augmented reality in 2018.

The world’s top tech companies have heavily invested in AR/VR and are persistent in broadcasting the technologies’ potential to blur the lines of how consumers interact with the digital world. Beyond the tech titans, it’s the small startups that are dialing into what’s missing in the ecosystem right now. Our agenda showcases some of the powerhouses in the space, but also plenty of smaller teams that are building and debunking fundamental technologies for virtual worlds.

We still have a few tricks up our sleeves and will be adding some new names to the agenda over the next month so keep your eyes open. In the meantime, check out these agenda highlights:


TechCrunch Sessions: AR/VR
UCLA, Los Angeles // October 18
See full agenda here

  • Kickstarting an Industry
    Yelena Rachitsky [Oculus
    Oculus has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into funding VR content, and while the headset market is still small, developers have built plenty of games and experiences. Facebook’s VR future rests on people finding new worlds that they want to step into, how will Oculus make this happen?
    .
  • The Social Experiment
    Adam Arrigo [TheWaveVR]Sophia Dominguez [SVRFand Gil Baron [Mindshow]
    If anything, the OculusVR acquisition in 2014 signaled that Facebook saw VR as a social final frontier. No one really knows what exactly those interactions looks like though, but there’s an awful lot that’s already been explored.
    .
  • Reality Checks
    Niko Bonatsos [General Catalyst]Catherine Ulrich [FirstMark Capitaland Jacob Mullins [Shasta Ventures]
    “[VR] is the frothiest space in the Valley right now. Nobody understands it but everyone wants in. Any idiot could walk into a f***ing room, utter the letters ‘V’ and ‘R’, and VCs would hurl bricks of cash at them.” Erlich BachmannWhile this may have indeed been the case a couple years ago, investor cash has been a bit sparser in 2018. Where are the opportunities now?
    .
  • Staying Lean and Mean
    Maureen Fan [Baobab Studios
    Baobab Studios has raised $31 million from top investors to create cinematic VR that excites audiences. While VR startups raised plenty of cash in 2016 and 2017, slow headset sales have caused startups to focus on building for a virtual future that might take a couple more years to reach.
    .
  • Cloud 6
    Matt Miesnieks [6D.ai] and Bruce Wooden [6D.ai
    AR is out there, but the experiences available today are still feeling pretty isolated. 6D.ai is building out cloud AR tech to link these experiences together on a digital layer of the real world.
    .
  • Ditching Headsets for Holograms
    Shawn Frayne [Looking Glass Factory]Brett Jones [Lightformand Ashley Crowder [VNTANA]
    Augmented reality may be a powerful sight, but it requires participants to own expensive hardware. Is there a workaround? Startups are working to centralize the experience but it’s going to look a lot different.
    .
  • Game Theory
    Nathan Burba [Survios] and James Iliff [Survios
    While VR might not just be about gaming, it’s accurate to say that, in 2018, it mainly is. Survios has raised nearly $55M to show the potential of VR gaming, as the studio continue releasing new titles, can they keep their momentum going and will gaming continue to be the big opportunity?
    .
  • Early Days, Early Bets
    Peter Rojas [Betaworks] other speakers to be announced soon
    Fewer AR/VR startups seem to be raising big seed rounds in 2018, but how have early-stage investors changed their approach to funding new talent in the space? How should founders get their attention?
    .
  • Building Inclusive Worlds
    Monika Bielskyte [AllFutureEverythingother speakers to be announced soon 
    If you had the chance to redesign society, where would you even start? As game developers continue designing massive online virtual worlds where we will spend more and more time, how should we look to correct issues we encounter and how can we build a better future?
    .
  • Augmenting the Office
    Clorama Dorvilias [DebiasVR] and Derek Belch [STRIVRand Morgan Mercer [Vantage Point] 
    How can businesses learn from mistakes before making them? By training employees with VR, there’s the potential to more accurately simulate key scenarios and push people towards good choices.
    .
  • Your Virtual Self
    Parham Aarabi  [ModiFaceother speakers to be announced soon
    Smartphone AR is already in your pocket, but what can consumers actually use it for? While Snapchat face filters took us half-way there, new tech is making it easier for us to augment our faces with real world use cases while also getting closer to building out realistic avatars of our virtual selves.

Early Bird tickets are still on sale for one more week. Buy your early bird tickets today for just $99 and you’ll save $100 before prices go up. Student tickets are just $45. Book your tickets here.
.

Instacart links up with Walmart Canada to expand its same-day delivery service

Instacart has teamed up with Walmart Canada to bring shoppers in Toronto and Winnipeg same-day grocery delivery. The agreement is part of a pilot program for the two companies that will allow Instacart users to order groceries from 17 different Walmart locations across the two cities. This is the first time shoppers in Winnipeg will […]

Instacart has teamed up with Walmart Canada to bring shoppers in Toronto and Winnipeg same-day grocery delivery.

The agreement is part of a pilot program for the two companies that will allow Instacart users to order groceries from 17 different Walmart locations across the two cities. This is the first time shoppers in Winnipeg will have access to the grocery delivery service and the first time Toronto residents will have the option for same-day delivery.

Interestingly, Instacart doesn’t have a partnership with Walmart in the U.S. Walmart, rather, has relationships with several other grocery delivery companies including DoorDash and Postmates. Instacart does have a deal with Sam’s Club, a subsidiary of Walmart. That partnership was announced in February and gives Sam’s Club members same-day delivery via Instacart.

Instacart initially launched in Canada in September 2017 and will continue expanding throughout the country to meet demand.

The company, which has raised $350 million at a $4.3 billion valuation this year alone, is available in 5,000 different stores in the U.S. and Canada and in more than 4,000 cities. As of late August, the business says it’s available to 70 percent of U.S. households.

This week, Instacart hired Mark Schaaf as CTO. He joined from Thumbtack where he held the same role. That announcement came one day after the company confirmed its chief growth officer and former VP of product Elliot Shmukler was leaving to pursue early-stage opportunities.