Ford has recently launched a virtual reality app that allows racing enthusiasts to experience the sites and sounds of a major car race, all from the comfort of their couch.
Picture yourself standing trackside at one of the biggest auto races in the world, next to one of the hottest supercars ever made. The sights, the sounds – all of it so intense. Only you’re not really there, you’re thousands of miles away in your bed.
The new Ford virtual reality app makes all of this possible. Launched for iOS and Android users in the United States, Ford’s new virtual reality app delivers a powerful storytelling platform for consumers and fans to experience Ford innovations like never before.
“We are very excited about this opportunity to provide truly immersive experiences that showcase the best of Ford Motor Company,” says Lisa Schoder, Ford digital marketing manager. “Our virtual reality platform allows us to tell dramatic, impactful stories, to show a surprising side of Ford.”
The first piece of featured content is the story behind the all-new Ford GT’s return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Fifty years after the original victory, the innovative balance of power and efficiency in Ford’s EcoBoost engine delivered an incredible class win earlier this year. Outside the U.S., viewers can watch the video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/8sla9kSxO8I
“Just as Ford GT goes beyond the traditional at Ford, our entry into virtual reality content creation demonstrates how our passion for innovation permeates every piece of our business and offers a new touch point for tech-savvy consumers to connect with our brand,” says Schoder.
To help achieve its goals, Ford partnered with integrated production company Tool of North America, a leader in virtual reality and 360-degree content and mobile app creation. Tool has won numerous awards for innovation in storytelling, including Emmys, The One Show, South by Southwest, AICP and the Cannes Lions Palme d’Or.
“As an auto and racing enthusiast, I was inspired by the opportunity and the challenge of helping the iconic Ford brand make its virtual reality debut,” says Erich Joiner, director and founder, Tool of North America. “For the innovative Ford GT, I wanted to create something that gives people an exciting virtual reality experience beyond the traditional. I wanted to use the immersive technology not only to transport them to a new place, but to take them where only a special few from the Ford racing team typically go – inside the famed track at Le Mans.”
The Ford virtual reality app is accessible to anyone with a mobile device. Each piece of content offers users the option to experience it with a virtual reality headset, but headsets are not mandatory.
Ford virtual reality app users can expect the next story to debut in September, featuring Hoonigan Racing’s Ken Block and Ford Focus RS RX. Users with their push notifications turned on will get the update when new content goes live.
The new virtual reality platform goes beyond showcasing Ford Performance vehicles.
“On top of sharing virtual reality stories about our innovative products, we are also looking to bring mobility issues to the forefront,” says Schoder. “As we expand our business to be both an auto and a mobility company, we are pursuing emerging opportunities through Ford Smart Mobility.”
Money talks and electronic gaming evolves
Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.
The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.
The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games.
It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.
MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.
“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”
New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.
“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”
Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.
Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.
This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.
What is blockchain?
A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.
A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.
Each block stores:
– A number of valid records or transactions.
– Information referring to that block.
– A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.
Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.
As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.
How is blockchain so secure?
Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.
Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.
In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.
What else can blockchain be used for?
Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.
Use of blockchain in healthcare
Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.
Use of blockchain for documents
Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.
Other blockchain uses
This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.
Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.
Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.