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Travis and Stewart are back with a bang after the holiday break with Season Two of VB Engage! It’s exactly like last season but even better, because it’s available now.

In this episode, we continue our series of Web Summit interviews with the one and only Robert Scoble, who was carrying a Microsoft HoloLens in his jacket pocket the way you and I would store our smartphones. He gives us the lowdown on the future of VR, AR, MR, and the iPhone 8.

And in the news segment, we focus on CES in Las Vegas. Travis has been walking the floor, checking out all the latest developments, including those in mobile, AI, and the Internet of Things. When you hear just how many devices will be connected by the year 2020, and how they might control each other autonomously, you’re either going to embrace our new overlords or book that one-way ticket to Mars.



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By listening to this episode of the VB Engage podcast, you will hear:

  • Welcome to Episode 34 of VB Engage! [00:04]
  • Exhausted… “because 2016.” [00:36]
  • Stewart admits to fully losing his mojo like Austin Powers and needing an extended vacation to recharge. [01:02]
  • Travis and Stewart discuss hilarious “out of office emails.” Stewart is notorious for his. [01:15]
  • We are in the first part of 2017. What that means is CES is upon us, and Travis is in Las Vegas. [02:55]
  • It is the 50th anniversary of the consumer electronic show (CES) [03:36]
  • Do people care about CES anymore? [03:50]
  • Everything that’s going on at CES is another battleground for marketers to think about. [04:21]
  • All your devices are interconnected, including something we don’t talk about often, internet faucets. [04:45]
  • Samsung made a big announcement about the number of Gear VRs it has been able to “shift.” [05:40]
  • Mobile VR is becoming a prevalent technology. [06:50]
  • Stewart’s prediction is that consumer livestreaming 360-degree hardware, at a reasonable price, is going to be available from this spring. [07:35]
  • Livestreaming is something to keep a close eye on for engagement for this year. [08:00]
  • Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have all jumped on board with live video. [08:18]
  • Insta360 and Orah are interesting, high-quality 360-degree cameras. [09:40]
  • The number of 360-degree videos that we’re going to see from all these locations around the world is going to be pretty fascinating. [10:20]
  • Apps are still the place people go if they want to engage with a brand, but people are using messaging apps more and more, so we must talk about artificial intelligence and chatbots [11:00]
  • Travis sat in on a session with the CEO of eMarketer, Jeff Ramsey, where he was talking about the future and the 35 billion devices that will be connected by 2020. [11:30]
  • Travis states: The triad of tech that will overcome apps is AI, chatbots, and voice. [12:00]
  • Travis went to the Huawei party, where the company announced the Mate 9, the very first smartphone to partner with Alexa and Amazon. [12:30]
  • Conversational UI is going to be huge, especially combined with AI later. [13:30]
  • Travis announces the official release of his book Digital Sense and discusses details of the book. [14:18]
  • And now, the one and only Robert Scoble! [15:50]
  • Robert Scoble is rocking the HoloLens, tired of the old Google Glass. [16:00]
  • Stewart introduces Robert as a HoloLens peddler! [18:25]
  • We discuss engagement, mobile marketing, digital marketing, and community, and how that is all going to change when we’re walking around with mixed reality headsets. [18:40]
  • Robert has multiple sources who believe the next iPhone is going to be “clear” with 3D sensors that are so sensitive they can see your heart beating. [18:55]
  • Computing is about to change from being something you do to something you wear and can carry with you everywhere. [19:13]
  • Scoble believes that in the next five years, or perhaps even a year from now, we’re going to see full mixed reality that’s going to be mind-blowing. [20:22]
  • Apple has been building this for six years, and it has been holding back a lot for its next iPhone. [20:35]
  • Scoble says that every brand is going to have a virtual component and a physical element, though some brands might be entirely virtual and some might stay in the past. [20:50]
  • Sephora, for example, is making augmented reality makeup for your iPhone, and soon for mixed reality glasses. [21:00]
  • What are the advertisements of the future going to look like? [22:28]
  • The key here? Prepare for the VR world by getting a virtual reality system today. [22:55]
  • Scoble recommends HTC Vive for people to get used to what VR means and learn to code in Unity. [23:10]
  • Stewart did research on what consumers are likely to buy, which includes PlayStation VR. [24:20]
  • By the end of 2017, Scoble believes the iPhone is going to match the HTC Vive or Oculus Rift. [25:30]
  • HoloLens is cordless and its batteries last hours, but it is heavy. It needs to be smaller, cheaper, and faster. [25:55]
  • Qualcomm has a “sugar cube,” which has a processor, GPU, and storage all in one tiny unit. Stewart hopes Qualcomm doesn’t make it look like a sugar cube, or it’d accidentally end up in a cup of coffee. [27:38]
  • Marketers are not sure if they can show ROI on AR/VR yet. [28:10]
  • Shopping malls are already building apps for virtual reality. Westfield’s labs have already talked to Scoble about mixed reality applications. [30:55]
  • Imagine using MR in a mall with the “clear iPhone,” asking Siri where a particular pair of blue jeans are, and a line shows up on the floor to take you to the destination. [31:25]
  • Scoble’s new book called, The Fourth Transformation covers many of these topics. [32:05]

Next week, we talk with Katia Beauchamp, the CEO and founder of Birchbox, which was the first subscription box service startup: A great interview from our continuing Web Summit series. You’ll want to join us for that — we could have talked with Katia for hours!

If you missed the last episode of 2016 with Paddy Cosgrave, the founder of Web Summit, you can listen to it right here. And to start 2017 off right, you should subscribe to VB Engage below, and give 5-star ratings to everything you review for the next week or so, because that’s a great resolution to have!


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