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Gear VR goes beyong gaming

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Although the Samsung Galaxy Gear VR was initially launched mainly for entertainment uses, many companies are finding it useful in the restaurant, travel and hotel sectors.

The Samsung Gear VR, the virtual reality gaming and multimedia headset, is ‘gearing up’ to move into other realms. Users of the Gear VR are already comfortable with the plug-and-play device’s ability to transport users into new gaming arenas.

But, it turns out, the Gear VR has valuable uses over and above individual enjoyment.

“The Gear VR paired with Samsung devices delivers an entirely new level of immersive virtual entertainment,” says Craige Fleischer, Director of Integrated Mobility at Samsung Electronics South Africa. “Consumers can now download a collection of games, multimedia and movies in HD quality with a 360° view.”

The Gear VR is already bringing new entertainment dimensions in terms of home movies, games and numerous app capabilities. Where it really shows its flexibility is in the spheres of business and education.

The Samsung Gear VR is adding value to the business industry in sectors such as restaurants, travel agencies and hotels, while the possibilities for educational use keep rising. Giving students of all levels the opportunity to interact with content in 3-D learning environments can be enormously productive, whether looking at school-level science pupils ‘walking with dinosaurs’ in 3-D or medical students learning how to perform a delicate surgical procedure.

Futurists have been predicting the rise of immersive virtual reality headsets as instructional tool. The Samsung Gear VR, through its personal engagement with the student, helps to make learning even more meaningful. It can ‘bring the world’ to learners wherever they might be. Significantly, it also allows students to become creators of content and not only consumers.

The Samsung Gear VR has the ability to enhance business performance as well. For example, a major credit card company is discussing how it might use virtual reality technology to give customers insights into places they are considering visiting and hotels where they might like to stay. Similarly, this thinking can be extended into the areas of real estate and luxury brands, offering potential buyers a truly enhanced preview of property or items they might be interested in buying.

Another futuristic business opportunity lies in fine dining. By adding in a virtual reality facility, restaurants can enhance the sensory experience of dining even further. Instead of only enjoying the taste of a region’s food, you could enjoy a meal while ‘looking’ around the area from which it originated: Imagine eating French-inspired food while gazing at the vista of a Paris café setting, for example.

“The technology offered by the Samsung Gear VR offers more than simply individual enjoyment,” says Fleisher. “We are seeing that the possible scope is no longer limited to gaming and consuming multi-media. Today, we are becoming ever immersed in creating content and using virtual reality to provide business and education solutions as well.”

*The Gear VR is compatible with the Galaxy S7, S7 edge, Note5, S6 edge+, S6, S6 edge

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As selfie cameras rise, so must selfie etiquette

Selfies were once a sign of narcissism or self-obsession. Now they are the new normal, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

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You can blame Oxford Dictionaries for making the “selfie” respectable. After all, being named Word of the Year, as it was in 2013, does tend to soften some of the self-consciousness in this most self-conscious of actions.

Once seen as a symbol of narcissism and self-obsession, it is now the new normal, to the extent that most smartphones are sold on the basis of the front camera. Or, as that feature is now almost universally named by manufacturers, the “selfie camera”.

I was one of the hold-outs, having a near-allergy to the selfie. I still resist, but succumb more often than I would like. The reason for continued resistance is that it remains a big leap from the word becoming respectable to the action itself shedding its narcissistic image. 

For most, it’s already happened, and for that you can blame Ellen DeGeneres. She  choreographed the most famous group selfie yet at the 2014 Oscars, when she roped a bunch of actors into a group selfie, using the then-new Samsung Galaxy S5 smartphone. Her tweet of the photo became what was then the most retweeted posting ever on Twitter, and was estimated to have been worth a million dollars in marketing value to Samsung.

Ironically, it was Samsung’s up-and-coming challenger, Huawei, that came up with a new word for this type of selfie: the “groufie”. Thanks to an 8 Megapixel front camera on the new Huawei Ascend P7 camera that year which took the highest quality selfies – and groufies – possible on a smartphone at the time.

It didn’t end there, and selfies and groufies have morphed into variations like selfscapes (selfie in a landscape), skyfies (selfies from the air, using remote controlled devices) and jerkies (selfies to make an idiot out of yourself). I invented all of those on the fly, so it’s easy to imagine a new word emerging for every type of selfie.

Continue reading about selfie improvements through the years.

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Mickey’s 90th for SA

Disney Africa announced the local launch of the Mickey the True Original campaign, joining the global festivities honouring 9 decades of Mickey Mouse, his heritage, personality and status as a pop-culture icon.

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As 18 November 2018 marks 90 years since his first appearance in Steamboat Willie in November 1928, a series of world-wide celebrations will be taking place this year and South Africa is no different.

The campaign will come to life with engaging content and events that embrace Mickey’s impact on the past, present and future. The local festivities kick off in earnest this month, leading up to Mickey’s 90th anniversary on 18 November 2018 and beyond:

  • An exclusive local design project where ten highly talented South African artists will apply their own inspiration and artistic interpretation on 6-foot Mickey Mouse statues.
  • Once revealed to the public, the statues will form part of the Mickey the True Original South African Exhibition, inspired by Mickey’s status as a ‘true original’ and his global impact on popular culture. The exhibition will travel to 3 cities and delight fans and families alike as they journey with Mickey over the years. Featuring 4 sections highlighting Mickey’s innovation, his evolution, influence on fashion and also pop culture, the exhibition is in collaboration with Samsung and Edgars, and will visit:

o   Sandton City, Centre Court: 28 September – 14 October

o   Gateway Theatre of Shopping, Expo Explore Court: 19 October – 11 November

o   Canal Walk Shopping Centre. Centre Court: 16 November – 26 November

  • Samsung continues their collaboration with Disney as they honour Mickey’s 90th anniversary nationally at all Samsung and Edgars Stores. Entitled Unlocking the Imagination, fans are encouraged to visit these stores, take a selfie with a giant Mickey plush toy using their Samsung Galaxy Note9 and stand a chance to win not only a giant Mickey plush, but also an international family trip. Visit www.Samsung.com for more information
  • Mickey’s 90th Spectacular, a two-hour prime-time special, will be screened on M-Net 101 later this year. The elegant affair will feature star-studded musical performances, moving tributes and never-before-seen short films. Superstars from music, film and television will join the birthday fun for the internationally beloved character.
  • In addition, look out for special programming on Mickey’s birthday (18 November) across Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303), Disney XD (DStv, Channel 304) and Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309).
  • In retailers, Edgars will be stocking a complete collection of trendy fashion, accessories and footwear for the whole family, inspired entirely by Mickey Mouse.
  • Mickey will be the central theme of an in-store campaign nationwide this November and December, with brand new products, apparel, toys, as well as titles from Disney Publishing Worldwide, including books, arts & crafts and comics
  • Discovery Vitality and Disney are celebrating healthy, happy families this festive season by offering helpful and exciting tips and tricks on how to eat nutritious, yet delicious, foods, all inspired by Mickey. There’s also a trip to Disneyland Paris up for grabs. Log on to www.discovery.co.za/vitality for information.
  • And much more – check the press for updates

“Binding generations together more than any other animated character, Mickey Mouse is the “True Original” who reminds people of all ages of the benefits of laughter, optimism and hope,” says Christine Service, Senior Vice President and Country Manager of The Walt Disney Company Africa. “With his universal appeal and ability to emotionally connect with generations all over the world, no other character quite occupies a similar space in the hearts and minds of a global fan base and we are thrilled to be sharing these local festivities.”

Mickey’s birthday is celebrated in honour of the release of his first theatrical film, Steamboat Willie, on 18th November 1928, at the Colony Theatre in New York City. Since then, he has starred in more than 100 cartoons and can currently be seen on Disney Channel (DStv, Channel 303) in the Mickey Mouse cartoon series and on Disney Junior (DStv, Channel 309) in Mickey and the Roadster Racers.

South African fans are encouraged to share their Mickey Mouse moments on social media using the hashtag#Mickey90Africa.

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