On Cyber Monday, one of the oldest grocery retailers in America, Albertsons, started selling and delivering tangible items in the metaverse. Metaverse, a platform for augmented reality, enables users to build interactive experience that combine the virtual and real worlds.
Metaverse is very popular in online video games, like Fortnite by Epic Games, and offers immersive digital gaming and social space that is an example of a real-life metaverse-like environment.
As the other retailers, fashion brands and restaurants have been experimenting with connecting the metaverse to real life shopping, Albertsons is the first in the grocery space.
Its pilot program, called the “Meta Mega Deal”, was launched on Decentraland, a 3D virtual browser-based platform. Albertsons offered Signature Select pretzels, peanut butter cups and a six-pack of mini coke as a bundle, all for $1 with free delivery. Users of Decentraland simply scan a QR code, pay by credit card and get items delivered in 45 minutes.
Albertsons, who oversees more than a dozen grocery store brands including Safeway, Vons, Jewel-Osco and Acme will closely analyze the Meta Mega Deal pilot program to understand the on-line interactive behaviors of its younger customers.
Metaverse was announced to be the next big thing at CES 2023. According to McKinsey & Company it is predicted that by 2030, the metaverse may generate up to $5 trillion in sales as an alternative to physical brick-and-mortar store shopping.
One of the big differences in the Metaverse shopping vs traditional on-line shopping is the buyer is not simply looking at an on-line catalog of static photos of items. It is an interactive experience that presents a real-life view of actually being in a location and uses either the actions of the on-screen avatar or a simple QR code to enable the e-commerce activity.
The retail revenue from consumer electronics sales in the United States is expected to reach close to 505 billion U.S. dollars by the end of 2022, recording a growth rate of almost three percent – predicts Statista, a leading provider of market and consumer data.
The market continues to grow at a rapid pace as a major contributor in enriching people’s lives. It becomes most noticeable during the months of November and December, when consumer spending drives the holiday season compromising of about 40% of their annual revenue for most of the retailers during the year.
During the pandemic (COVID-19), that disrupted growth in several sectors, the consumer electronics market was resilient. With people spending a lot more time at home, increased demand for greater comfort and security through smart devices and appliances drove growth in the sector.
The consumer electronics market often appears to reach its saturation levels with proliferation rates at maximum, but there are always innovative products that act as critical drivers of growth in this sector. Today’s electronic devices are not only more technologically advanced than years ago, but also cheaper, more widely available, and more diverse.
According to Statista leading consumer tech product sales in US will be a smartphone. This largest electronics sector showed no sign to slow down. In 2021 reached a revenue 481 billion U.S. dollars and will continue to grow with 500 billion expected by 2026. In 2021, the television segment of the CE market reached a sales volume of 544 million units. Given the constant development of modern technologies, high-resolution TVs, such as 8K are becoming popular, while smart TVs with integrated internet features have already taken the world. Great consumer enthusiasm over the last years earns also wearable devices, which include fitness trackers and smart watches. The overall wearable market is projected to ship around 490 million units by 2023, an increase of approximately 80% compare to 2020. Strongly growing is also gaming consoles and VR/AR headsets. In contrast, digital cameras are undergoing a sustained market decline.
Welcome to the era of technology and Happy Holidays!
Electrification trends are shaping the future of mobility. At 2022 LA Auto Show that took place at Los Angeles Convention Center in the late November most of the press conferences were focus on electric cars, most talks were about electric cars and almost every auto manufacture present hybrid or fully electric vehicle of its own.
In a gasoline driven world, the latest electric vehicles are changing the landscape of the automotive industry. The negative environmental consequences of using gasoline can’t be ignored any longer. With the continuing high prices of gasoline that drivers face each time they fill up their automobile tanks at the gas station, consumers have an attitude like “it is what it is”. However, with the EV’s that have been introduced, they now have another viable option. Drivers will save not only on fuel costs but also will never have to pay any additional money for oil changes and smog check, not mention to be in fashion – environmentally friendly and concern about next generation future.
The EV’s are now presenting a new reason to get them into homes, providing power when the electrical grid goes down. Ford introduced the F-150 Lightning to their 2023 lineup which can power your home for up to 3 days automatically when it is connected to the Ford Charge Station Pro home charging unit.
These are great reasons to make a transition immediately to the electric cars, however is the automobile industry there? Gasoline, with all of its problems that it causes to the environment, is a very efficient way to store energy. It is definitely more efficient than an electric battery. In addition, plug-in electric’s also need a massive charging infrastructure and we already have a century’s worth of gas stations and other fueling infrastructures built. In conclusion, drivers’ expectations for electric cars presently do not compete the same way as the traditional gasoline cars do.
But there is no way back. The industry is heading to full electric models with powerful and smart chargers. Electrify America, that is an electric DC fast charging station network in the US, announced more than 791 charging locations (plus 90 coming soon) and over 3,531 individual charging units as of September 2022. The largest public fast charging network has been building out a convenient, reliable, customer-centric network of electric vehicles chargers nationwide – at workplaces, in communities, and on highways.
With the strictest list of COVID pandemic regulations that was forced on us, disrupting our normal lives in the past year, (i.e. six feet of social distancing, restrictions on indoor activities, and keeping ourselves within our “social bubble”), we now fully seem to realize how much we rely on our cars as a safe haven during these stressful times.
In a way, our car has become part of our social “bubble”, as many of our outdoor events and special activities have revolved around them. Occasions such as birthdays, graduations, even art exhibits and political events were all celebrated and performed from the safety of our cars instead of in person. Even drive-in movie theaters staged an impressive comeback.
It’s times like these when we are reminded how much time we love to spend in our cars. We treat them like a “second home”, as we always seem to find safety, reliability and comfort in them. Even with its confined space, (unless you have a trailer or a camper), it’s still our “home away from home”.
So what would make it as comfortable as being at home? For me, I would want to include an audio entertainment system where I can just sit down comfortably and listen to pure music without any other extraneous noise around me. Also, as an audiophile, I would want to have an immersive sound experience comparable to the one I have at home, as though I was sitting on my living room couch surrounded by multiple speakers, all perfectly calibrated to my Denon 7.2 channel Dolby Atmos receiver.
Now the exciting news!
At CES 2021, earlier this year, Panasonic showed off a proof-of-concept in-car system capable of playing Dolby’s immersive audio format, Dolby Atmos. After not wanting to really want to become part of the automotive business until the right moment, Panasonic found the perfect partners who shares their values and have joined forces to change the way we listen to music. According to Panasonic, “the proof-of-concept result is an impressive listening experience that features an immersive soundscape for the automotive cabin.”. The in-car system was made by Panasonic, in partnership with Klipsch and Dolby.
“Dolby Atmos Music are leading many of the innovative approaches to bringing Dolby Atmos music to the home, on-the-go and now, working with Panasonic Automotive to bring the Dolby Atmos experience to the road…we’re focused on making the cabin of your vehicle like a second home.”, says Scott Kirchner, the President of Panasonic Automotive Systems Company of America.
This sounds promising to the future of car owners who want to make their car their second home…given they have the car to equip the system.
However, there was no mention of Panasonic releasing this as a consumer product…
LUCID MOTORS – AIR UNVEILED AT SXSW
A few months after the CES announcement was made by Panasonic, it didn’t take too long to notice that auto manufacturers were taking advantage of the latest in immersive audio technology.
On St. Patrick’s Day, at the South by Southwest Festival (SXSW), startup EV manufacturer, Lucid Motors showed off their Lucid Air luxury sedan and unveiled it as the first vehicle to integrate Dolby Atmos, which incorporates a 21-speaker Surreal Surround system consisting of a front, rear, side, and height speakers as part of their upcoming Lucid Air Electric Vehicle.
Yes, I did not mistype this. It has 21 speakers….not to be confused with 2.1 speakers. What is even more impressive is that the speakers are discreetly concealed into the car. There are no signs of speaker cones or grilles anywhere in the car’s interior.
This will immediately please the wife who dislikes large speakers invading the living room space in the family home.
“The Lucid immersive system is really about this further evolution of dimension and depth…we always look at the automobile is like a captive environment…short of having a sound booth at home or wearing a high end set of headphones. The automobile is really like a captive sound chamber so to be able to partner up with a technology partner like Dolby means a lot.”, states Senior VP of Design, Derek Jenkins.
RECORDING STUDIO ON WHEELS
When the Tesla Model S came out, CEO Elon Musk said that it is not a car but a ‘sophisticated computer on wheels’. If that’s the case, then the people at Lucid Motors can say with confidence that the Lucid Air is also not a car but a “professional recording studios on wheels”.
“We designed the Lucid Immersive Studio System to be like a recording studio. It can handle hundreds of sounds and sources simultaneously,” says Antonis Karalis, Senior Product Manager, Audio Infotainment.
According to Lucid, “the intention is that the Lucid Air interior will be like being in a recording studio, and was tuned and perfected like that of the Capitol Records Studio C”.
If the sound is any indication as it is in the most sophisticated Dolby theater systems, I imagine this will be quite immersive, especially with so many speakers designed specifically in a confined and intimate space where the speakers are optimally integrated and precisely positioned in the interior cabin. We won’t just hear the music, but we will feel it pass through us, as well, since the individual sounds move around the cabin.
I certainly can’t wait to hear the demo in person.
Unfortunately, it is not quite available to the public just yet. However, you can pre-order the Lucid Air for a mere $70,000 after federal tax credits, as the car goes on sale next year. Not a bad price for a “professional recording studios on wheels”.
Now with more electric vehicles hitting the road with its battery quiet and motor-less autos, it only makes sense that the cars of tomorrow come up and re-imagine the car’s sound system to take advantage of the almost noiseless environment of the interior of EV’s.
Audi and Sonos announced prior to the Lucid Air announcement, that are also teaming up together on the new Audi Q4 e-tron EV, as well. However, it does not include Dolby Atmos.
I can imagine one day after hearing the Dolby Atmos demo at a Lucid showroom that I may never want to listen to my car stereo ever again. It’ll be similar to never wanting to watch a CRT tube television after experiencing an HD for the first time.
I just may need to make a down payment on a new recording studio very soon.
Originally published on www.mlsentertainment.wordpress.com
August 2019 – The MWC LA Conference is once again bringing
the latest technology and information on 5G, connected cars and everything
wireless to the US. The MWC LA
conference is the North Amercian centered show of the industry leading cellular
MWC Barcelona conference in
The Conference in LA shows off the new technologies for the
ever ongoing advanced in cell phone and the associated wireless
connectivity. While the big title may be
5G, it also means connected cars, new experiences for entertainment and gaming,
and security for all these connections..
For Entertainment, the long awaited higher performance for
mobile games is on the way. This will
allow the cell phone and table platforms to have similar gaming graphics as
console games offered just a short while back.
It also means that PC and console games can enjoy new wireless
controllers and connectivity bringing a new gaming experience.
The 5G technology is also supposed to be the last piece of
the puzzle to allow Virtual Reality to become the mainstream viewing
environment for all gaming and content.
It has been hypothesized by several VR makers that while their sales
targets have been behind for over a decade, with 5G deployment their sales will
beat all expectations and replace TVs and cell phones as the primary screens in
peoples lives. This are pretty big shoes
for 5G to fill.
The conference will also cover entertainment content which
is about streaming media in a cellular and wireless environment. These discussions pertain not only to being
able to enjoy your favorite movie and live sports with a better quality of
experience, but also for being able to
participate in high quality video conferences and intranet based video message
The conference has keynotes from many leaders including FCC
Chairman Ajit Pai, Executives from Verizon, Intel, US Cellular, Ericsson, Nokia
and Open Table.
The 3 day event is returning to the LA Convention Center
October 22-24, 2019.