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As Varjo and MeetinVR team up, can VR provide the human touch videoconferencing lacks?

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James is editor in chief of TechForge Media, with a passion for how technologies influence business and several Mobile World Congress events under his belt. James has interviewed a variety of leading figures in his career, from former Mafia boss Michael Franzese, to Steve Wozniak, and Jean Michel Jarre. James can be found tweeting at @James_T_Bourne.

Virtual and extended reality headset manufacturer Varjo has announced a partnership with MeetinVR, providers of virtual enterprise collaboration software, to help deliver more realistic experiences.

MeetinVR will release a dedicated version of their application which supports all Varjo’s headsets, from the VR-2, to VR-2 Pro and the XR-1 Developer Edition, as part of the partnership. New buyers of any Varjo headset will receive MeetinVR free for six months for up to five users.

The announcement was made during Varjo’s keynote at the influential AWE event, which naturally has moved online amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Varjo has previously looked to bolster enterprise usability of virtual reality through its product offerings. In October, as this publication reported, the launch of the VR-2 and VR-2 Pro aimed to ‘set a new standard in visual clarity, making it feasible for enterprise usability of VR technology.’

The company added that partnering with MeetinVR would aim to improve the user experience as many companies are adjusting to working remotely.

“Remote working is now becoming our new normal and the need to be able to virtually collaborate with colleagues, customers and partners around the world is business critical,” said Urho Konttori, co-founder and chief product officer at Varjo. “As enterprises adapt to a new work environment, we’re excited to partner with leading industry players, such as MeetinVR, to help build the future of virtual and mixed reality collaboration.”

While the coronavirus pandemic has led to evident struggle across industry and technology sectors, the VR industry has looked to take advantage of its position to bring greater innovation. IDC noted in March that, although short-term decline in hardware shipments was natural, the longer-term outlook will see greater enterprise VR interest.

One area in which Varjo and MeetinVR among others will look to capitalise is around the explosion in videoconferencing for remote meetings. While Zoom et al have done the job so far for communications, is there a greater need for face-to-face contact while the pandemic continues – and can VR supply it?

Consultancy firm Expressworks has been experimenting with conducting meetings in VR – including using MeetinVR – for this very purpose. Jonathan Berry, European practice director, said that the videoconference experience had not always been satisfactory. “We rely on more than words to communicate and many of the cues we are used to picking up on are lost through videoconferencing, as useful as it has been during this time,” he said.

The tests found that, overall, VR was not quite ready for prime time, with the primary concern for employees being motion sickness due to movement lag. Of the specific vendors trialled, AltspaceVR ‘offer[ed] an amazing experience but [not] the professional feel necessary for the corporate world’, while Rumii was ‘great for training and education but [not] versatile enough for large meetings’. MeetinVR was described as ‘the most promising’ solution, pending general availability.

Despite this, Berry was optimistic about future trials. “In our experiment there was a point in between the initial location excitement and the onset of movement lag induced nausea, at which the enormous potential for this technology was clear,” he said. “You are immersed in a virtual world which allows for almost complete concentration and focus.

“The technology isn’t there yet, but it feels close,” Berry added. “Maybe our ‘new normal’ will provide the catalyst needed to encourage the investment required to make this possibility mainstream.”

You can learn more about the Varjo and MeetinVR partnership here.

Photo by Lux Interaction on Unsplash

Interested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech ExpoBlockchain ExpoAI & Big Data ExpoCyber Security & Cloud Expo and 5G Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

Source: https://virtualreality-news.net/news/2020/may/28/as-varjo-and-meetinvr-team-up-can-vr-provide-the-human-touch-videoconferencing-lacks/

Blockchain

Members of WallStreetBets Forum Alleged in Telegram Crypto Scam Stealing $2M in BNB and ETH

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Members of the popular WallStreetBets Reddit forum were suspected of a presumable cryptocurrency fraud that could have caused losses of no less than $2 million. By creating a designated Telegram group, they duped investors by guaranteeing remarkable returns through capitalizing on the recent crypto market rally.

The Core of the Hoax

Per a report by Bloomberg, alleged members of the WallStreetBets Reddit Forum used the Telegram messaging service to execute a blatant scam. A particular account by the name of ”WallStreetBets – Crypto Pumps” presented users the chance to purchase a new token certified as WSB Finance before it was listed on crypto exchanges. The operation is known as a pre-mine sale.

The essence of the fraud was connected to the recent cryptocurrency boom as bitcoin and most altcoins skyrocketed in value lately. With some of the digital assets reaching 1,000% gains, the targeted WSB members conned investors into sending money without asking questions and with the potential of netting huge profits.

The notorious account also urged users to transfer popular cryptocurrencies such as Binance Coin (BNB) and Ethereum (ETH) to a designated crypto wallet and then to reach its ”token bot” to gain WSB Finance coins.

However, the perpetrators never dispatched those coins. Furthermore, another message on Telegram revealed that the people who had already issued a payment had to send an equivalent amount again or they would risk losing their initial investment.


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The Aftermath

After executing the hoax, more than 3,451 Binance Coins were withdrawn on Tuesday (May, 4th) from the wallet inside the Crypto Pumps messages.

Since the price of BNB at that point was approximately $625, the fraud caused losses of more than $2.1 million. Following the scam, thousands of people expressed their frustration and tried to expose the individuals behind the account. Moreover, the quantity of the other cryptocurrency – ether – still remains a mystery.

Two weeks ago WSB admins warned about offers that might try to take advantage of the forum’s name in order to allure the crypto audience. The ”WallStreetBets – Crypto Pumps” account has been removed from Telegram but whoever managed it left a message that might stun the affected victims:

”Buying Lambo now.”

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/members-of-wallstreetbets-forum-alleged-in-telegram-crypto-scam-stealing-2m-in-bnb-and-eth/

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Blockchain

South Korean Crypto Exchange Accused Of $1.5 Billion Scam

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The South Korean cryptocurrency exchange platform V Global was accused of luring 40,000 people into illicit multi-level deceit. The entire scheme amounts to more than 1.7 million won, which equals $1.5 billion.

The Investigation

As reported by the Korean officials, the police raided many places in the country related to a virtual cryptocurrency exchange, and its notorious CEO – known as LEE – alleged to fundraising without regulatory permission. The authorities blocked the exchange’s cash deposits as a part of the investigation.

In total, the Gyeonggy Nambu Police Agency reported that it searched the exchange’s headquarters in southern Seoul along with 21 other places and froze more than $214 million left in the account.

Another report from today shed more light on the developments. According to Yonhap News, the name of the organization is V Global. The Korean police are examining the accusations against them for fraud under the Certain Economic Crimes Weighted Penalty Act, the Similar Receiving Act, and the door-to-door sales business.

The main accusation against the exchange is gaining a deposit of 1.7 trillion won ($1.5 billion) from 40,000 members in the period between August 2020 and January 2021. The announcement revealed that most of the people were elderly or housewives with no experience in cryptocurrency trading.


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Too Good To Be True

The investigation revealed that the exchange urged investors to entrust their funds to an account and lured the members that the expected return would be three times higher than the initial investment. According to the authorities, there was a pyramid element in the scam as the exchange promised to grant an introduction fee of 1.2 million won ($1,065) for every newly recruited member.

The report affirmed that the trading venue paid some members in the form of a block. Therefore, people who signed up earlier received funds from individuals who entered the exchange later.

Moreover, the Korean police seem confident to deal with the fraud case as it revealed its intention to confiscate 240 billion won ($214 million) left in the V Global account as of the 15th last month, even before the prosecution process.

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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/south-korean-crypto-exchange-accused-of-1-5-billion-scam/

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Blockchain

Georgia’s central bank is exploring ‘Digital Gel’ CBDC

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The National Bank of Georgia said that it is considering launching a central bank digital currency.

In an announcement today, the central bank hinted at the issuance of a central bank digital currency, or CBDC, in an effort “to enhance efficiencies of the domestic payment system and financial inclusion.” The National Bank of Georgia, or NBG, said it would be inviting fintech firms and other financial institutions to participate in the project, named Digital Gel after the symbol for the country’s fiat currency, the lari.

“CBDC holds the promise to unlock the tremendous value of innovative business models for the benefit of society,” said the announcement. “The introduction of CBDC could increase financial intermediation efficiency, help introduce new financial technologies, facilitate financial inclusion, and reach previously unbanked populations.”

However, the bank mentioned the possibility of risks in the launch of a CBDC in the Republic of Georgia given the “new and potentially disruptive technology.” The NBG said it may conduct extensive testing of the CBDC in a controlled environment to ensure a smooth rollout, but did not provide any details regarding a timeline for launch.

With a population of roughly 4 million and a gross domestic product of approximately $15 billion, a nation like Georgia falls at the smaller end of countries exploring CBDCs. The Bahamas officially rolled out its Sand Dollar central bank digital currency in October, while China has been piloting its digital yuan in select cities prior to a full-scale launch. In the United States, Fortune 500 company Accenture announced this week it would be partnering with the Digital Dollar Foundation to conduct CBDC trials.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/georgia-s-central-bank-is-exploring-digital-gel-cbdc

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