By Tom Ffiske // 16 September 2020
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The Big Story
Let us talk about Facebook’s social strategy. I know, I know; Facebook Connect is later today, so it is like talking about the weather just before a massive tsunami. Still, what they are doing with Spark AR and Facebook Horizon is fascinating. 

Commentators tend to predict the future through the prism of the present. It is why analysts are focusing on the privacy and data collection. Makes sense, right? The predictions will likely be safe, it gets good social traction as it echoes the thoughts of others, and it brings safe kudos. It will always persist as a significant – and important – line of inquiry. 

But I think a lot of people miss out Facebook’s grand strategy. The company genuinely believes that the way we socialise will shift as immersive technologies get adopted. Facebook expects some countries to socialise in immersive spaces, or collaborate in new ways via their next computing platform. 

Yes, of course data privacy will be an overrunning theme in the company’s announcements. No question. But sometimes it feels like we are talking about the particulars of growing crops while Facebook is inventing new recipes. Facebook Horizon represents their vision of the future, and while it will not be perfect, their intentions are interesting to follow. 

Other Stories
Got a news story? Let me know at tom (at)
  • Want to go time-travelling in VR? (The obvious answer is yes)
    • Virtual Truth Experiences and Groove Jones made an experience where a user can pop back in time to see Noah's Ark. 
    • The experience was made for Ark Encounter, a Christian theme park that opened in Williamsburg, Kentucky in 2016.
    • Just to be clear: No, I don't think Noah's Ark is a part of history. Just want to throw that out there. But as an education piece for Ark Encounter, it's a nice use of the tech in action. 
  • Here are some events to consider: 
    • The VR/AR Global Summit is happening Sept 30 - Oct 2. It had 12,000 attendees last time, so it is doing very well. Have a look if you're curious
    • VR Training Summit is between 21 - 23 Sept. Does what it says on the tin, really. Check it out here
  • A lot of drinks brands are using VR through 2019 and 2020. 
    • Which makes sense! It's a very cool and trendy way to engage with customers. And effective, from what I can tell. 
    • As one example, Keystone Light drinkers can hunt for orange cans for prizes. 
  • Another great case of simulator training...
    • Health Scholars and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announced a partnership to co-develop VR training applications to equip first responders with skills vital to assessing and treating pediatric medical emergencies. Awesome!
  • A new player has entered the game! 
    • MARS Studios launched in the UK. Created by visual pioneers Bild Studios, it is an XR and virtual production studio based in London. Welcome to the community! 
  • Microsoft has a couple of nifty announcements: 
  • VR Education increased their revenue by 37% to €681k (H1 2019: €497k).
    • I mention this because, clearly, demand for immersive tech is rising quickly for some companies. Congrats to the team! 
  • Are you a teacher/academic who wants some funding? 
    • edify is funding teachers and academics to co-create their lessons on the platform for this academic year. £100k is up for grabs. 
  • I highly recommend Protocol's newest newsletter.
    • Next Up covers the future of tech and entertainment, and it is a delight to read. It's effectively my perfect read. Check out their latest newsletter, then consider signing up. 
  • Photogrammetry and AR goes together better than prawn crackers and sweet chilli sauce. 
    • (Yes, I am hungry while working on this newsletter. No judgement).
    • Anyway, Overly has launched a portable photogrammetry set-up, which is a smart deployment considering the market. 
  • FaceCake launched AR try-on for masks. 
  • James Watson, CMO at Immersive, recently departed. 
    • Farwell! And may the LinkedIn Gods help you find your newest role.
    • If you're looking for a seasoned marketeer, drop him a line. 
Jobs Board
Facebook is looking for a Product Design Leader, Workplace AR/VR. Click here for more information. 
Imagination Technologies is looking for a Ecosystem Director, PowerVR. Click here for more information. 
Niantic is looking for a Technical Program Manager, AR Research & Development. Click here for more information. 

That's all for this week! Want to have a chat, let me know about a news story, or talk business? Either reply to this email, or contact tom (at) Have an excellent day! 

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