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NBA and VR Streaming Could Be Slam Dunk for Fans, Brands

You’ve been able to watch the NBA wherever you are for years. But now that’ll apply to games in virtual reality as well. The league worked with partners Turner and Intel to make it possible for fans to stream every game in VR, with a subscription service that launches at this year’s All-Star Game. VR’s not a new venue for the NBA (or Turner and Intel), but the extent of this initiative is impressive. It also provides a host of new opportunities for brands to engage with consumers through the NBA’s entertaining on-court product.

Your full rundown of VR/AR brand and advertising happenings are below. See anything else we need to include? Let us know.

NBA, Turner, Intel Team Up to Make Basketball Available in Virtual Reality [Variety]

Intel will set up a coterie of special lenses and cameras at arenas, said James Carwana, vice president and general manager of Intel Sports. Fans who are subscribers can call up a virtual reality game experience through a forthcoming NBA on TNT VR app on Samsung;’s GearVR and Google Daydream headsets that can be downloaded from Oculus and Google Play stores. The technology “allows us to transport you to the sideline,” he said, “and then you can go from the best seat in the house and move closer to the court.”

First Minute Capital Joins $5.8M Seed Round for AR Treasure Hunt Game Snatch [TechCrunch]

“By using AR we have people holding the phone up, connecting with and exploring the world around them through the Snatch lense that will, in time, allow them to engage more and more with each other as well as brands and both the physical and virtual worlds around them challenging them to actually step out and discover what the world has to offer.”

 

For Nike, Augmented Reality is the Perfect Way to Sell Sneakers [Engadget]

Most important (and perhaps unexpectedly), AR became the perfect tool for Nike to fight off bots, since the experience requires a physical interaction with buyers. And that seems to be paying off. Just a few weeks ago, Nike President of Direct to Consumer Business Heidi O’Neill said at Recode’s Code Commerce conference that bringing the tech to SNKRS “has come very close to eliminating bots, and taking the sneaker hunt [to] as close to a fair game [as] it is anywhere in the industry.”

A Closer Look at the Capabilities and Risks of iPhone X Face-Mapping [TechCrunch]

Yet it doesn’t take much imagination to think what else certain companies and developers might really want to use real-time tracking of facial expressions for: Hyper sensitive expression-targeted advertising and thus even more granular user profiling for ads/marketing purposes. Which would of course be another tech-enabled blow to privacy.

We Tried Amazon’s New Feature That Lets You Virtually Try Out Furniture Before You Buy It — And We Saw How it Could Change How You Shop Online [Business Insider]

IKEA, Target, and Lowe’s have all debuted AR shopping technology in recent years, but Amazon recently joined the fray by adding a feature to its iOS app that allows users to sample a limited selection of products, most of which are home furnishings or electronics. The feature works on the iPhone 6S and later models, and the phone must have iOS 11 installed. We tried the feature and, while the technology still has a few kinks to work out, it’s easy to see how augmented reality could continue to drive consumers away from brick-and-mortar stores.

Here’s Why Video is the Future of Content Marketing [TheNextWeb]

Adverts or social media campaigns created on Facebook Venues would interact with the audience in the most engaging way known to us to this day. By putting the VR set on and locating itself in the video, the viewer becomes an active part of the campaign.

Using ARKit to Provide a Mobile Content Experience [App Developer Magazine]

AR could essentially add a new dimension to any real-life experience. Think about concert-goers being able to purchase their favorite artist’s outfits just by pointing their phones at them, movie-goers buying merchandise as they point their devices at the screen. The possibilities are endless, and in initial trials conversion rates were enormously higher.

How VR Theme Parks are Changing Entertainment in Japan [CNN]

VR Developers Pivot to Location-Based Entertainment [VentureBeat]

What’s Holding Back VR? [TechCrunch]

WWE Experimenting With Virtual Reality [CNBC]

Farmers Insurance is Using Virtual Reality to Transform its Employee Training [Forbes]