The Future of Online Video Entertainment

steven spearDigital video is on the rise…and U.S. audiences are demanding content whenever and wherever they want it.  By bringing a new platform technology to market, companies like Orange County-based start-up DeskSite are revolutionizing the way viewers consume their favorite sports video content.

Most technologists will agree the concept of an “app” came long before Steve Jobs was around, since applications are as old as punch card programming.  However, we can thank Jobs for bringing the word “app” to the forefront of mainstream consumer attention through his cornucopia of “There’s an App for That” campaigns.  Nearly a decade later, apps have become so commonplace, most of us can’t even imagine a world without them!  With apps like Shazaam that can tell you the artist and title of any song, or Maps that can guide you to any destination, the landscape of our digital experience has been dramatically enriched through technological innovation.

But what about an app designed for “Big Screen” devices, such as tablets, laptops or desktops instead of smartphones? What about an app you can use to watch hours upon hours of exclusive HD-video content directly from desktop or laptop rather than streaming videos from websites? DeskSite has picked up where Jobs left off and is redefining how mainstream consumers will process an “app” – from exclusively associating apps with small screen devices like smartphones, to understanding their place on larger screen devices like home computers and smart T.V.’s.

DeskSite uses a carefully-crafted brand of thick-client technology to enhance the viewing experience of online sports video content.  Acting as a DVR for the Internet, your DeskSite will automatically download and store HD-videos from your favorite sports team directly to your hard drive when you’re connected to the Internet, notifying you with a “You’ve Got Videos” AOL-type audio alert upon completion. Once the videos have been downloaded to your big screen device, viewers can watch your favorite sports content whether online or off.  With a personal DeskSite, sports fans can even have a laptop or tablet connected to an airport Wi-Fi connection downloading up to the minute videos in the background while waiting for their flight to take off, and then catch up on exclusive HD sports video content with no buffering and zero delays on the plane – where airplane Wi-Fi speeds would never support streaming of HD content.

DeskSite also brings value to the out-of-market super fan.  NFL teams typically broadcast hours of highly produced television content to their local area market.  But a lover of the New England Patriots, who doesn’t live within the 75-mile wide Boston area broadcast radius, is likely missing out on Patriots-produced T.V. shows – unless he or she has installed a Patriots DeskSite.  Each week, the DeskSite will bring these television shows from Boston to anywhere in the world, placing them on fans’ desktops for playback at their leisure.

Over the last couple of years, founder and CEO Richard Gillam has turned this simple concept into a scalable solution for a new kind of online video entertainment network.  Starting with the most popular entertainment brand in America, the National Football League, DeskSite has partnered with more than a dozen of the most valuable NFL teams and plans to expand into other major sports leagues and entertainment brands in 2015.

So if you’re an out of market fan, or sick and tired of buffering and streaming delays, or simply want to access brand new exclusive sports content from your favorite team, just remember, there’s an app for that…

Tech in Motion Orange County hosted author Steven Spear, Engineering Manager at Desksite, at one of their Drinks & Demos events. For more information about seeing companies like Desksite at Ocean County events, please join the group.

Recap “Big Data: It’s a Big Deal”

On Tuesday, March 25th, San Francisco techies gathered at Tagged HQ with one common interest: big data. Tech in Motion’s “Big Data: It’s a Big Deal” brought San Franciscans together to network and learn about big data from two local experts, Dr. Konstantin (Cos) Boudnik and Jerome Banks.highres_346078872

Like most Tech in Motion events, the night began with networking and drinks. Tagged HQ provided a large, open layout for techies to mingle and network over drinks and pizza. While new connections were made guests were invited to explore booths from the sponsors Microsoft, Jobspring Partners and Workbridge Associates.

Presentations began midway through the evening with a compelling introduction to Microsoft’s OneNote from Orlando O’Neill. He gave a personal and thorough demonstration of how OneNote can be applied to everyday life. 2

Next came the big data experts. Dr. Cos Boudnik spoke first about his experience with big data and developing the software Hadoop, an open source framework for storage and large-scale processing. He discussed how open source can result in highly successful projects and is incredibly important for the future. He closed his presentation with a detailed demo for the audience.1965562_616075765153240_33412_oFollowing Boudnik was Jerome Banks, a data engineer working with Hadoop technologies and a primary contributor to the Brickhouse open source library of Hive UDFs. Banks explained how his work with the Brickhouse Library contributes to big data and functionality of projects. Upon finishing his presentation he opened the floor up for questions and discussion. Photo (3)

As the night came to a close, the speakers mingled with guests and answered lingering questions over glasses of wine. Attendees left with new contacts and a better understanding of big data as a whole. Don’t miss out on the next Tech in Motion event in San Francisco – join the group here.

Recap: DC’s Panel Discussion on The Intersection of Government And Technology

On Wednesday, March 26th, our D.C. chapter hosted an expert panel discussion on the “Intersection of Government and Technology” at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in the District’s lively Chinatown neighborhood. As Washington D.C. is the epicenter of government, passionate representatives from both the private and the public sector delved deep into the impact of technology on government agencies, touching on everything from social media and open data to budgeting and red tape issues.

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Colby Hochmuth, a Tech reporter from FedScoop, moderated the event flawlessly as she asked the panelists intriguing questions about what the Government is doing to be innovative among its employees and to connect with citizens. Early on, Goldy Kamali, CEO of FedScoop, started off the discussion on a strong note.

“We’re scratching the surface with what technologies can do for government agencies,” said Kamali.

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Jessica Milcetich, Social Media and Digital Strategist for the United States General Services Administration, (GSA), touched on the topic of how government agencies are using social media, such as Twitter, to engage with citizens. Social media has created a new pathway of connectivity between citizens and the government, where individuals are able reach out through social media platforms to members of the government, rather than searching for a phone number or sifting through a content heavy website.

During the discussion, Gadi Ben-Yehuda, Director of Innovation and Social Media at IBM Center for the Business of Government, referenced his blog post in which he mentions how the Government can improve the Healthcare industry, using the example of open data being a “game changer.” Open data in healthcare (i.e. wearables) allows for more data to be readily available during moments when we make decisions, which in turn, will result in more informed health decisions. Fitbit, anyone?

Each of our panelists shared some great insight when asked what challenges both the government and its employees face when trying to be innovative. Our panelists agreed across the board that agencies are given small budgets yet expected to get more done using the mantra of “do more with less” as a guideline. Some solutions they provided were cloud computing, open data and outsourcing to citizens.

Milcetich deftly tackled this topic, having personally worked around the government’s red tape at the GSA.

“For us working in government, there is some red tape and we have to make sure the tools we want to use are federally friendly,” Micetich weighed in. “To strike that balance it goes back to what your agency’s mission is… if you tie whatever innovation you’re trying to accomplish to your mission, then I think that’s a good way not to run afoul.”

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When it comes to the private sector, Nate Nash, CEO of GovTribe, is a bit of an authority on the matter. When asked about the private sector’s role in government innovation, he remarked that a lot of the innovation in government stems from the private sector. In particular, the adoption of open data allows for a lot of intra- or inter-agency sharing which is not only good for government but also effective for the way it works.

The discussion came to a close with the question “What future technology trends can we expect to see in the government?” presented to each panelist.

“I see the continuation of two trends,” Ben-Yehuda succinctly replied, “More seamless government interaction and a more porous boundary and border between government and citizenry.”

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Thank you to everyone who attended and hope to see you at Tech in Motion D.C.’s next event! Join the group to stay up to date on our next meetup.

Recap: Fireside Chat Discussing the Past, Present and Future of Bitcoin with Brock Pierce.

At the end of February, Tech in Motion Orange County had the great pleasure of co-hosting an excellent Fireside Chat with Tech Coast Venture Network (TCVN) featuring uber entrepreneur, Brock Pierce. Before the discussion began, the event kicked off with around 45 minutes of networking with light appetizers and drinks from sponsors Total-Apps, Jobspring Partners and Workbridge Associates.

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As soon as Brock walked into the room, however, all eyes were on him. He immediately had quite the crowd circled around him, actively listening to everything he had to say.  As our tech enthusiasts gathered around tables and snacked on food, lively conversations about Bitcoin started up and attendees shared their opinions on what new knowledge they wanted to walk away with after the night was over.

networkingOnce everyone was seated, Tech in Motion organizers began an exciting “Superman 30 Second Elevator Pitch” contest that featured 100 dollars in bitcoins as the grand prize.  TCVN is one of Southern California’s premier technology business networks and their pitch contests give young startups and entrepreneurs the chance to get experience explaining their ideas in front of a crowd of potential investors.  The winner for the evening, Amerika Bernal, is a business student at Cal State Fullerton and one of the first college students to win through TCVN!

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After the pitch contest was over, Ash Kumra, our moderator, and Brock Pierce took their seats up at the front of the room and the Fireside Chat kicked off.  One of the first discussion topics was how one goes from a child actor to major entrepreneur. Brock explained that he began acting by age three and grew up in the business, so child acting was just a part of his day to day life; however, he had a very business savvy mind even while growing up in that environment.

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When the conversation moved from career path to the digital currency, Ash asked Brock exactly what Bitcoin is.

“Let me start by giving you an analogy,” said Brock, prefacing his explanation. “What e-mail did for communication, Bitcoin could do for money.”

According to Brock, bitcoins are peer to peer money, internet money and basically, a desensitized currency that isn’t regulated by any governing body, board of directors, bank or foundation.  It uses an Open-Source software that runs on Mining Machines.  In order to change said software, over 51% of the worlds miners would have to agree on the modification, and the likelihood of that happening is “very slim.”

The American population has had many misconceptions about Bitcoin, but as Brock sees it, it’s not really necessary here.

“In America we’ve got pretty good banking infrastructure … out of the 200 currencies in the world, arguably one of the very best,” Brock explained. “We don’t really need it [Bitcoin] here. It’s not something that is going to change your life tomorrow, at least not for most of us.”

A former CFO of Brock’s company was one of the first politicians in the U.S. to start accepting political campaign contributions in Bitcoin.  He is running for the seat as mayor in Oakland, which is an area in the U.S. that is largely unbanked, the type of place that stands to benefit the most from Bitcoin.

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Brock was then asked to address the Silk Road scandal and how Bitcoin has been associated with criminal activity.  He stated, “Silk Road was a hard scandal to argue with people about, because all of the press was sensationalizing Bitcoin and Silk Road.  They were like hand-in-hand; you couldn’t talk about one, without mentioning the other.  The argument could be made that if someone has Bitcoin and they do bad things with it, you don’t think that bad things aren’t done with U.S. dollars?”

After Silk Road was shut down, Brock explained, the market dipped and Bitcoin prices reached a low they haven’t seen again. When the market rebounded and saw record highs, the press began to disassociate Bitcoin from “bad” and then saw that this cryptocurrency was legitimate.

Brock also brought up another issue that arises, which is that Bitcoin is the digital equivalent of cash and all sales are final.  Once you give someone your money, you can’t get it back.

“So then you have a lot of hackers around saying ‘Hey, I want to get on your computer and steal your email like I would steal cash.’  The early ecosystem [for bitcoin] hadn’t built the technology and the security and the things necessary to protect against these things,” said Brock.  “In the early days, theft was prevalent and hackers took advantage of the early infrastructure weaknesses.”

The chat wrapped up with a great Q & A session and after it ended, Brock was surrounded yet again by the time he left his chair.  He stayed an extra hour talking with everyone in more detail about his life and all things Bitcoin.

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All in all, this event was not only informative and entertaining, but it really gave attendees a great understanding of the history of Bitcoin, what it’s doing today, and where it’s going in the future.

We want to offer a big thank you to Brock and Ash for their participation and to our sponsors for the night TCVN, Total-Apps, Jobspring Partners and Workbridge Associates.  Please join Tech in Motion: OC for details on our next event!

Recap: 3D Printing and 3D Scanning in the Silicon Valley

The last Thursday in February, Tech in Motion: Silicon Valley successfully kicked off their very first Demo and Drinks event at the SP2 Communal Bar + Restaurant in San Jose. The topic of the night was 3D Printing and 3D Scanning. The goal was to explore where the industry is now and where it hopes to be in the future.

We were personally invested in this topic because of how much possibility this technology holds. With 3D Printing, the limit is the user and the software. Tech in Motion was pleased to have Treofab, Artec Scanning, Afinia, and UpTech3D come out and show examples of how printers, printed pieces, scanning programs, and business worked.

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Here is a little bit more about the companies that came out to demo that night:

Treofab, who just came out of stealth mode, is an online market place that gives the consumer the ability to personalize and customize a product of their desire. This gives the designer the creative tools and promotional outlet for their designs, and allows the manufacturers the ability to showcase their materials, finishes, speed and delivery method.

Artec Group is a world leader in 3D scanning and 3D face recognition technologies. With offices in Luxembourg, Russia and the United States, the company manufactures and distributes various 3D vision products around the world. At Tech in Motion, they demo’d their hand-held scanner, which uses a bright strobe light to capture facial features, color, and even folds in fabric on the subject’s clothing.

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UpTech3D supplied attendees that night with examples of 3D printed items. UpTech3D has over 15 years in the injection molding industry and 6 years in 3D printing. They perform industrial and product design for customers in all industries.

“UpTech3D was founded to serve the newly emerging field of Personal 3D Printers, or personal rapid prototype printers,” says the company website. “Our goal is to provide you with information, products and services so that you may fully utilize this amazing technology.”

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The printer we had on display for tonight was provided by Afinia. The Afina 3D Printer comes fully assembled with easy to install software for both the PC and Mac. This printer can prototype a part or model that is up to 5 inches cubed in final dimensions, with an output accurate to within .15mm, and has 30% of the strength of injection molded parts. san fran

We would like to take this time to thank to our sponsors, Workbridge Associates and Jobspring Partners, as well as thank SP2 and their staff for hosting us again! Keep up to date with Tech in Motion Silicon Valley here!

Recap: Beer and Bitcoin

The topic of Bitcoin has been popping up in the tech world a lot lately as the cryptocurrency gains popularity, both from its rising value and the increasing number of major companies that allow bitcoins to purchase their items. With this hot topic in mind, Tech in Motion Boston brought local tech enthusiasts together for some drinks and discussion about this ever-changing cryptocurrency.

beer bitcoinOn Thursday, February 27th, many braved the cold and headed over to Lir for a great night of networking and tech talk. The first 45 attendees to arrive were lucky enough to snag a complimentary drink ticket from our Tech in Motion team.

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With a drink in hand, Boston techies set out to discuss the idea of bitcoins. Attendees with all different levels of interest in the digital currency were represented, from those who were beginners and unfamiliar with bitcoins to experienced miners. According to one of the Tech in Motion members attending the event, we weren’t the first group in Boston to want to talk Bitcoin; in fact, there had been three other events that week around Boston all buzzing about bitcoins.

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All in all, the evening was a great success, with more than 100 guests who continued to talk and network even after the event officially ended.

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A big thanks to our sponsors, Workbridge Associates and Jobspring Partners. Stay tuned for Tech in Motion Boston’s next event and make sure to join our official meetup group!

Recap: Technology Effects on the Entertainment Industry

This past January, Tech in Motion: LA teamed up with Maker Studios to host its biggest meetup yet, a panel discussion exploring the effects of technology on the entertainment industry. The panel featured Maker Studios professionals, as well as entertainment industry insiders, and was graciously moderated by Geoff Plitt, a Comedian and Engineer at Maker Studios. The Maker speakers included Sam Wick (Senior VP), Ryan Lissak (CTO), Ben Collier (VP of Product), and Chris Williams (Chief Audience Officer). The other four panelists weighing in were John Elerick (YouTube Personality, Actor), Kent Speakman (Co-founder at Engageia & Fameus.me, Producer & Entrepreneur), Chris Gore (Writer & Comedian) and Taz Goldstein (Award-winning Filmmaker & Author, creator of Hand Held Hollywood).

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Maker offered to host the event at their amazing space in Culver City. Their space is open and massive, a must-see venue and one of the best that Tech in Motion has had the pleasure of using. If you haven’t heard of Maker Studios, they are the number one producer and distributor of online video. They develop talent, create premium programming and build brands with engaged audiences.

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Like all of our events, the night started off with networking alongside some great food and drinks. The guests at this event ranged from technologists to content creators, which made for a lively discussion.The panel touched on various topics, keeping the diverse crowd interested; however, much of Maker Studios’ work is focused on YouTube, so that is where a chunk of the night’s conversation laid.

The panel explained how consumption and creation of TV and film is increasingly changing due to advancements in technology and the internet. Video monetization and the changing idea of “celebrity” were also hot topics. The general consensus from the panel was that with all the technological advances we’re seeing, more and more content will be uploaded and consumed via the web. Traditional media will have to continue to compete, as there is a new, tech-savvy generation that prefers web-based entertainment.

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This event was one for the books, with a record turn out and a knowledgeable panel. Most importantly, the attendees took something important away from the evening. If you missed this panel, don’t you worry – Tech in Motion LA hosts monthly events that you can RSVP for today. Make sure to join the group to receive updates, invites and more!

The Case for Virtual Reality Cinema

wrNo9AP-Tech in Motion Orange County recently had the opportunity to have Total Cinema 360 founders, Adrian Vasquez de Velasco and Craig Gilbert demo their innovative 360 video software at a March Demo and Drinks event!

Before they jumped on a flight back to New York, we were able to get a deeper look into their innovative technology.

Tech in Motion: What inspired you to found Total Cinema 360?

My partner and I were working in New York as independent filmmakers in late 2012 when the current tidal wave of enthusiasm for the latest in virtual reality technology, epitomized by the highly anticipated Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, was first building in the gaming community.  In this technology we, like many professions in every imaginable field, saw the possibility for something truly revolutionary.  This is how the idea for live-action movies that an audience could experience and control in virtual reality came about and we have been working to make it possible ever since.

craig_gilbertTech in Motion: How does 360 degree video technology work?

360 video cameras are made up of multiple wide-angle lenses and sensors arranged in an outward-facing bundle, all recording separate video streams that cover the entire 360-degree space around it, with slight overlap so they can be stitched together seamlessly into a single all-encompassing image. Our Total Cinema VR Player for web and desktop then takes the input from the user’s VR headset, mouse, or even a device’s internal gyroscope to display the correct area of the sphere. This means that even before the Oculus or other VR headsets are commercially available, you can already move your iPad around you and essentially use it like a window into another world

Tech in Motion: Total Cinema 360 has been working on a full length feature film utilizing 360 degree video technology, would you mind telling us more about it?

Sure. Our ultimate goal right now is to make a full length feature designed for VR headsets. We have some smaller narrative projects coming out in the next several weeks that will help introduce the public to this type of content and hopefully generate a lot of excitement around the potential for this new medium. Think of them as a guide to 360/VR film concepts. While we don’t want to disclose any story information or technical concepts about the feature just yet, we should be in production later this year. It’s a little difficult to time out because none of the VR headsets have a release date yet, but we’ve already done a bit of casting and have a majority of the shots planned out.

adrian_vasquez_de_velascoTech in Motion: Total Cinema 360 also creates 360 degree sound for the videos, what do you do to provide that added effect?

Controlling what you see is only half the experience, so we realized early on that creating rich audio environments that change realistically depending on the direction you’re facing is essential.  Just like the lenses in our cameras, 360 sound is captured by using multiple outward-facing microphones to record audio from all possible directions from the camera position. This, along with hidden microphones and additional sound elements are engineered into a series of tracks that change and blend into each other based on the input from the VR headset or other device used to control it.

Tech in Motion: What is your favorite way to view 360 videos?

VR headsets such as the Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus are far and away the best way to view 360 degree video content. It is the closest we can get to authentically reliving or sharing an experience. Elements such as head tracking and full vision screens create the closest parallels we know of to our everyday interactions with the world. It’s not just an illusion. We’re providing dimensions to cinema that have never existed before.

Tech in Motion: Where can we go to check out some of Total Cinema’s videos?

All of our videos are available to view or download at TotalCinema360.com. You can watch them on your computer, smartphone, tablet, or VR headset.

Tech in Motion: How do you see 360 Degree video production evolving with the increased interest in virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift?

We believe that anything shot with traditional cameras will eventually be recorded in 360 degrees. It is only a matter of time, awareness, and investment. Right now the cameras are not exactly where we would like them to be and we are confident that you will see tremendous growth on the hardware side in the next few years. There are also a lot of unique aspects to a 360 degree shoot that haven’t been accounted for yet by modern production standards (i.e. how do you hide the filmmaking equipment and crew when everything in sight is in the shot?), so right now we’re doing our best to establish a common language for 360 degree content and help develop a lot of the tools that we think will be necessary for more ambitious productions such as blockbuster films.

Tech in Motion: What are your favorite projects to shoot in 360 degree video?

We’re filmmakers first and foremost. Movies are our passion. We just wrapped production on the first fictional narrative designed for VR headsets and it is definitely our favorite thing we have seen in 360 to date.