The more virtual reality (VR) spreads, the more applications, service and advertisers look to include it. As with any technological innovation sometimes that results in creative ideas that truly change the way you think about a product or service. Other times it’s something shoehorned in that has no real purpose in being there other than ‘it’s hot at the moment’.
One of the things particularly of interest at the moment is the combination of social with VR, augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR). We’ve seen this in the work being done with Microsoft on the Hololens and the demonstrations they’ve given involving virtual conference calls as well as the likes of Facebook Spaces – something we saw quite a lot of at this year’s F8 might well see more of it at this year’s Oculus Connect 4.
The latest to include social and VR in their product mix is Austrian start-up company e.com who are looking to launch their app connect, which they style as “the first Digital-Life-Network in the world”. The aim of Connect, is to do just as its name suggest – connect you, digitally, to your life be it social or working through a customisable virtual space for living, leisure and working. Bringing together email, video chat, social media channels such as Facebook under one space that can be experienced either in 2D using a PC, tablet or smartphone or in 3D as an immersive environment using a virtual reality head-mounted display (HMD). In your virtual apartment you will find a TV, a Laptop, a sound system, as well as virtual newspapers, magazines and books.
e.com are looking to bring the service to Kickstarter later this month on 18th July 2017 in order to achieve the funding necessary to complete and launch the app, which they say will be free of charge and will act as a hub. An ‘integrated Multi-Messenger-service’ that will bring all user connections under one roof, so to speak. e.com also confirm that receiving and sending via connect does not require the person at the other end to also be a connect user.
“This feature enables us to incorporate all SMS, emails, messages from Facebook etc. and connect in one single App.” Explains e.com CEO Michael Schoeggl, “Users save themselves a lot of time because their day to day communications are not spread out over various different apps.“
With so many accounts connected protecting user data is a concern, e.com address this with a guarantee of complete data security and end-to-end encryption with all messaging. “Selling Data is not an objective of our business model” explains Schoeggl. “We can’t even decode our users messages. Particularly in virtual or augmented reality, data protection and the protection of private personal space is an absolute must. Our primary goal as a business, is to offer a completely data secure, encrypted alternative to the currently available providers”.
Should the Kickstarter be successful e.com hope to release connect in October this year, with an Alpha version being made available to test for all those who back the campaign at the 5 Euro mark. With VR HMD support given to both the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift though no specific mention is made of Oculus Touch support for the latter.