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Six questions about VR/XR — Jacob Loewenstein

By Doede Holtkamp on October 16, 2017

Jacob works in AR/VR business development and product strategy at Samsung Next, Samsung’s software and services innovation arm.

1. What are the most inspiring aspects of your work in XR?
The opportunity to work in the diverse AR/VR community, helping companies and projects launch and scale. The industry, while growing, is still small. VR/AR haven’t arrived as everyday technologies yet. So there’s a feeling that the work we’re all doing together is building the future.

2. What is the most promising, exciting development now happening?
Distributed computing. I’m pretty excited about Improbable and Render token. Distributed computing solves a lot of problems around AR/VR form factors (can I practically contain the computing power I need within an HMD) and cloud services for AR/VR (can I practically store and stream the massive amounts of information needed to facilitate truly immersive experiences).

3. What is the blind spot in XR, something that people seem to overlook?
I think a lot of people don’t appreciate that until putting something on your face or spending significant time looking through a camera are habit, there’s a barrier to entry you need to overcome. So, ask yourself, VR/AR aside, why will people actually use this. Then ask yourself, does doing this in VR/AR make this SO useful or interesting, that people will be motivated to climb over the barrier.

4. What areas in XR have the biggest growth potential and why?
This is probably too specific but there are two mobile AR applications that I think will explode in the next 12 months: 1) An AR pet application will go viral (Tamagotchi’s 20 year anniversary is this year) and 2) A retailer of cosmetics will see substantial growth in online orders by enabling customers to try on products through their phone camera.

5. Where will XR be in five to ten years from now?
I think 10 years out we’ll start to see adoption of HMD-based AR. Before that, maybe a tethered or drop-in solution for specific use cases. No doubt in my mind that AR will feature VERY prominently in the work place 5–10 years from now. Heads up displays make a lot of different kinds of work a lot easier.

6. Anything else you would like to share with us?

Jacob Loewenstein’s presentation at VR Days Europe
The Phone is Only The Beginning — What Will It Take To Make AR Worth Wearing A Computer On Your Face

Excerpt presentation
ARCore and ARKit have generated deserved excitement about mobile AR. Yet, despite these incredible advancements, AR hasn’t yet reached the point where it will be an ever present part of our lives. What technological advancements will it take for AR to be so seamless and realistic that it will be worth wearing computers on our faces?

Bio Jacob Loewenstein
Jacob works in AR/VR business development and product strategy at Samsung Next, Samsung’s software and services innovation arm. He received his MBA at MIT Sloan, where he co-founded VR/AR@MIT, which is dedicated to fostering VR/AR/MR innovation. Additionally, he was a founding Co-Organizer of the Reality, Virtually Hackathon at the MIT Media Lab, the biggest VR/AR hackathon ever. Prior to MIT, he worked in revenue strategy and business development at BuzzFeed and as a internal management consultant at Bridgewater Associates. Jacob received his BA, Cum Laude, from Princeton University, where he studied the intersection of media theory and public policy.

He has previously lectured on VR and AR at AR in Action at NYU/MIT, Illuminate Global at Harvard, and Hacking Arts at the MIT Media Lab. He has also lectured on digital media at Princeton. Jacob also sings Macy Gray at karaoke.

Jacob will speak at the VR Days Europe — Check out the program and don’t miss out on the tickets!

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