|By Esmeralda Swartz||
|July 13, 2014 04:00 PM EDT||
In Part 1, I looked at what could be behind Facebook's acquisition of WhatsApp and subsequent purchase of Oculus Rift. How are these seemingly different acquisitions related? There is no question that both Facebook and Google are in a race to build the next-generation computing/communications platform (after mobile) and the battle lines are being drawn between the over-the-top (OTT) players and telecommunications companies. After all, both Facebook and Google count on telcos to deliver services to their customer base. How will the WhatsApp and Oculus Rift acquisitions shape Facebook and impact the rest of the market including Google and mobile?
Facebook did not pay $19 billion for WhatsApp simply because it's an SMS replacement, a Skype and Twitter competitor, because it could grow its international subscriber base, or could attract customers among the coveted millennial demographic - although these reasons are icing on the cake. Facebook's WhatsApp acquisition was a shot across the bow to telcos: we will be masters of our own destiny and not be reliant on you to reach our customers. With the addition of voice calling to WhatsApp, this puts even more pressure on mobile providers who are already feeling the heat from WhatsApp, which has cost them billions in lost SMS revenue. Now, they have to worry about an even bigger impact on their bread and butter voice business if that follows a similar pricing pressure trajectory. With an already 450 million strong WhatsApp subscriber base added to Facebook's own customer base, Facebook has the ideal launch pad for the next-generation communications platform provided by Oculous Rift. While Facebook and Google have similar business (new subscribers and advertising revenue) and personal (secure a place in the history books) motivation that is driving both companies overall strategy, their approach is quite different.
Google Glass addresses the ubiquitous nature of communications, which started with the mobile phone. Google wants you to be able to communicate without taking your phone out and checking for messages, texting and more. In contrast, Facebook imagines a world where a computer has essentially removed you from the real world and placed you in a virtual world. While Glass enables users to text, receive messages, take pictures, record videos and chat, Oculus Rift provides users (remember that important Whatsapp subscriber base) with the opportunity to interact in a virtual online city. Think digital billboards, among other advertising opportunities. In a nutshell, the key distinction comes in the way these technologies are meant to be used: Google Glass wants to augment the real world by making technology and devices fade into the background, while Facebook wants to improve reality by eliminating it altogether. Google Glass thinks the real world is fine if you can speed it up and make it better with faster search and navigation - Oculus will put you in a room by yourself where you can communicate with people thousands of miles away, putting the real world out of your mind.
This difference in end goal is immediately apparent just in each product's design. Google Glass is slick and almost Apple-like in its appearance, and is convenient for everyday use, whereas Oculus Rift is bulky and is not likely to be worn outside. Google Glass may still look a little ridiculous for the time being if it's being worn in public, but nowhere near as ridiculous as Oculus - that is a virtual reality device only meant to be worn behind closed doors. Zuckerberg's comments on the acquisition provide additional support to the long-term Oculus play. "Strategically we want to start building the next major computing platform that will come after mobile. There are not many things that are candidates to be the next major computing platform. [This acquisition is a] long-term bet on the future of computing." He also views the technology as more than a device for video games, noting "Immersive virtual and augmented reality will become a part of people's everyday life."
So what can we conclude for Facebook's future? While gaming is a good place to start, there are many other future uses for virtual reality that can be imagined. With a growing developer community and partners, there is a myriad of applications that can be developed and monetized. With a user base of more than one billion and a growing and a shiny new virtual reality platform, Facebook might be ready for what's next. Imagine experiencing the FIFA World Cup, sharing adventures with friends or learning in a virtual world simply by putting your goggles on. This is Facebook, next generation. If it had to use its very deep pockets to acquire its way into this new world, so be it, but the social interaction with your online friends has the potential to become an addictive (and arguably scary) pastime.
Facebook and Google see the next generation computing/communications platform in a fundamentally different way. Glass makes your everyday life easier; the Rift enables you to escape it all together. Which approach will win remains to be seen, but what is a certainty is that we will see more ads along the way than anyone can possibly consume - just the way both companies planned it. They will see a new wave of revenue, but their motivations are now bigger. The money from ads ultimately fulfills much bigger ambitions. Whether that's simply a place in the history books or changing the world in a fundamental way, time will tell.
WebRTC has had a real tough three or four years, and so have those working with it. Only a few short years ago, the development world were excited about WebRTC and proclaiming how awesome it was. You might have played with the technology a couple of years ago, only to find the extra infrastructure requirements were painful to implement and poorly documented. This probably left a bitter taste in your mouth, especially when things went wrong.
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The Internet of Things is in the early stages of mainstream deployment but it promises to unlock value and rapidly transform how organizations manage, operationalize, and monetize their assets. IoT is a complex structure of hardware, sensors, applications, analytics and devices that need to be able to communicate geographically and across all functions. Once the data is collected from numerous endpoints, the challenge then becomes converting it into actionable insight.
Aug. 31, 2015 07:00 PM EDT
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Aug. 31, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 243
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Aug. 31, 2015 03:15 PM EDT
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Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 461
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Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 420
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Aug. 31, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 141
Contrary to mainstream media attention, the multiple possibilities of how consumer IoT will transform our everyday lives aren’t the only angle of this headline-gaining trend. There’s a huge opportunity for “industrial IoT” and “Smart Cities” to impact the world in the same capacity – especially during critical situations. For example, a community water dam that needs to release water can leverage embedded critical communications logic to alert the appropriate individuals, on the right device, as soon as they are needed to take action.
Aug. 31, 2015 12:00 PM EDT
SYS-CON Events announced today that HPM Networks will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. For 20 years, HPM Networks has been integrating technology solutions that solve complex business challenges. HPM Networks has designed solutions for both SMB and enterprise customers throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.
Aug. 31, 2015 11:30 AM EDT Reads: 898
SYS-CON Events announced today that Micron Technology, Inc., a global leader in advanced semiconductor systems, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Micron’s broad portfolio of high-performance memory technologies – including DRAM, NAND and NOR Flash – is the basis for solid state drives, modules, multichip packages and other system solutions. Backed by more than 35 years of technology leadership, Micron's memory solutions enable the world's most innovative computing, consumer,...
Aug. 31, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 231
As more intelligent IoT applications shift into gear, they’re merging into the ever-increasing traffic flow of the Internet. It won’t be long before we experience bottlenecks, as IoT traffic peaks during rush hours. Organizations that are unprepared will find themselves by the side of the road unable to cross back into the fast lane. As billions of new devices begin to communicate and exchange data – will your infrastructure be scalable enough to handle this new interconnected world?
Aug. 31, 2015 11:00 AM EDT Reads: 162
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Aug. 31, 2015 10:30 AM EDT Reads: 664
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Aug. 31, 2015 10:15 AM EDT Reads: 306
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Aug. 31, 2015 09:30 AM EDT Reads: 124
SYS-CON Events announced today that IceWarp will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. IceWarp, the leader of cloud and on-premise messaging, delivers secured email, chat, documents, conferencing and collaboration to today's mobile workforce, all in one unified interface
Aug. 31, 2015 04:00 AM EDT Reads: 429
As more and more data is generated from a variety of connected devices, the need to get insights from this data and predict future behavior and trends is increasingly essential for businesses. Real-time stream processing is needed in a variety of different industries such as Manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Automobile, Finance, Online Retail, Smart Grids, and Healthcare. Azure Stream Analytics is a fully managed distributed stream computation service that provides low latency, scalable processing of streaming data in the cloud with an enterprise grade SLA. It features built-in integration with Azur...
Aug. 28, 2015 07:45 PM EDT Reads: 220
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Aug. 26, 2015 07:00 AM EDT Reads: 195
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Aug. 2, 2015 11:15 AM EDT Reads: 557
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Aug. 1, 2015 10:00 AM EDT Reads: 488