The power of IFTTT

If-This-Than-That-AppRecently I looked at IFTTT to see how we could use it for our clients and our own internal communications. What I found was an easy to use, free service that can really add bite to your social channels. After signing up, you soon get the hand of creating ‘recipes’ using ‘channels’ such as Facebook and Twitter. For instance, a popular recipe is sending a thank you message to new likes on your Facebook page. IFTTT can also help connect us to the internet of things by linking to devices, using geo-location and linking to SMS text messaging and more.

To demonstrate this technology I have set up a new recipe that automatically sends a message to Slack when someone posts. Hopefully this will mean automatically increasing the visibility of our blog internally (without increasing our inbox size).

To test this the first person from the MBA team to send me a message on Slack saying ‘IFTTT is great’ wins a prize…

Google Cardboard has landed at MBA!

If you’ve kept your eye on our blog over the past few weeks, you may have heard us mention Google Cardboard; Google’s mobile VR headset made from cardboard and inexpensive lenses. Our pre-made pocket-sized Google headset arrived this week and everyone in the office has been eager to take it for a whirl…

 

Google Cardboard ingredients

Google Cardboard headset

 

Google Cardboard shakes up the VR market

140625165116-google-cardboard-boxes-620xaOculus Rift has led the way in a revolution in virtual reality in recent years. For decades, virtual reality devices were the stuff of science fiction and Star Trek fantasy. But now there is a raft of VR devices, vying for prominence in a rapidly developing market place. Oculus themselves seem to have stalled, as their development device is still in Beta. Having been bought out by Facebook, you have to wonder if their bolt has already been shot.

 

The latest trend in this market is mobile VR devices, and there are plenty of companies and kick-starter campaigns claiming that they will turn your humble pocket sized device into a VR headset. One of the most interesting of these is Google Cardboard. Made from an old pizza box and some cheap lenses, this system is trying to compete with the big boys, but on a fraction of the budget. We have ordered a pre made version which is arriving soon, so we will let you know how it goes!

 

But where do we go from here? Well, first things first, it would be great to see a universal VR gaming device on the market place. With Oculus Rift still working on their second development model, it seems like there is a space in the market for others to fill. Sony are possibly the biggest brand to plan a VR device for the near future. I suspect it will be a case of the early bird catches the worm.

Digital Revolution: An immersive exhibition of art, design, film, music and videogames

© Chris Milk The Treachery of Sanctuary, 2012 The Creators Project, a partnership with Intel and VICE photography by Bryan Derballa.Yesterday a couple of us from the office visited the Digital Revolution exhibition at The Barbican.

The exhibition moves the user from a starting point of ‘Digital Archaeology’; a treasure trove of machines from the past (which made me feel very old, as I owned many of them first time around), through to glimpses of a future augmented by clever little digital helpers.

You can pass through the three main phases of the exhibition as quickly or as slowly as you like, but it took us around an hour and a half to move through the whole thing without rushing.

Highlights for us were Chris Milk’s The Treachery of Sanctuary (which elicits a ‘wow’ moment that will overjoy all Batman fans) and the final interactive light show, Umbrellium’s Assemblance, but I won’t ruin them by going into detail.

I’d hoped for a little more web-related content; e.g. some new technologies that might see their way into our online lives, or tech that could help connect a user more deeply when using the web. Still, it’s arguable some of the offerings could be used in a web context in the future.

Just go along and see it all for yourself. It’s well worth an hour and a half of your time if you have even a passing interest in our digital past, and the digitally augmented possibilities that the future holds.

Digital Revolution: An immersive exhibition of art, design, film, music and video games runs until the 14th September at The Barbican, London

The last 14 days in digital: 7 – 20 June

Simulated World Cup matches prove big hit

With the World Cup undoubtedly dominating the headlines at the moment, The Telegraph has teamed up with EA Sports to bring us simulated World Cup matches, hosted on Project Babb; a World Cup inspired microsite. Not only is The Telegraph experimenting with external microsites, Project Babb promises to virtually simulate all 64 World Cup games before they are played live on TV, attempting to predict the scores ahead of time by pitting computer against computer.

Amazon unveils Fire Phone

This week saw the launch of Amazon’s first smartphone – the Fire Phone. The smartphone offers ‘Dynamic Perspective’ by using gesture recognition software and four face-tracking cameras on the front of the device. Users can also change an image’s perspective by simply moving their head, while they can scroll through menus by tilting the device.

iPhone Photography Awards winners revealed

Who said you need an expensive top of the range SLR to capture the most breathtaking photos? The iPhone Photography Awards caught our eye this week, showcasing some of the most amazing, professional-looking photography, all taken by iPhones. Take a glimpse at the 2014 winners here.

Relax, kick-back and play with Chrome

And to round off this digital news blog post with more football fever and something for Friday afternoon, Google’s latest experiment - Kick with Chrome - allows you to play football games through your browser but using your smartphone or tablet to control the ball. You can thank me later.