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Social Media Giant Facebook Acquires AR Display Maker “Plessey”

Facebook said that its AR/VR team is focused on building the next computing platform centred around people.

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Facebook
Facebook said that its AR/VR team is focused on building the next computing platform centred around people. VOA

Facebook has acquired British company Plessey, a maker of Micro-LED displays for Augmented Reality (AR) devices, for an undisclosed sum.

Plessey, an embedded technologies developer in displays, designs and manufactures LED materials and products from their facility in Plymouth in England.

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“Under the new multi-year agreement Plessey will dedicate operations and manufacturing capabilities, as well as grant an exclusive license to some of its IP, to help Facebook prototype and develop microLED wafers for potential use in future AR/VR products,” Facebook said in a statement on Monday.

There were reports that Apple had expressed an interest in acquiring Plessey to push its AR dreams. Apple is reportedly planning to release a combined AR/VR headset by 2021 or 2022, followed by a pair of AR glasses in 2022 or 2023.

Facebook
Facebook has acquired British company Plessey, a maker of Micro-LED displays for Augmented Reality (AR) devices, for an undisclosed sum. Pixabay

Facebook said that its AR/VR team is focused on building the next computing platform centred around people.

“With a future AR glasses product, we envision a glasses form factor that lets devices melt away so we can be more present with our friends, families, and surroundings,” said the company.

ALSO READ: Nearly 84% Indians Believe That Recovery From Coronavirus Pandemic Will Take 6 Months To 1 Year Time: Survey

This will take years, so across AR/VR, “we’re continuing to invest in extensive research on this deep tech stack and components such as small-scale displays”. (IANS)

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Social Media: A Boon Amid Lockdown

Social media has proved itself a boon, be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life

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social media
Social media has proved its worth in these times. Pixabay

BY PUJA GUPTA

There have been several incidents when social media has proved itself a boon; be it dealing with a crisis or emergency and sometimes even saving a life. There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities.

‘My Pincode’ is one such group on Facebook that was launched by the NGO Social Media Matters in April when the entire country was confined in their houses. It is about local groups on Facebook to virtually connect, communicate, collaborate and create a support system for each other in their respective pincode areas. These groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support, relief, and share critical information.

Blood donation, ration supply, repair work, daily essential information, government advisories are the highlights of My Pincode as these demands top the charts across posts made by users. Partners like Sarvahitey, Akshay Patra Foundation, Blood Bank were fundamental in their roles to look into all the requests and take immediate action.

Shantanu Garg, who lives in West Delhi, posted on the group requesting for a blood donor on behalf of a friend. Within a few hours, moderators of the group who tagged all volunteers and other admins and started reaching out to other blood donor agencies were able to arrange the required amount of blood. There have also been other instances of such donor requests. Sajal Bhateja’s request for urgent requirement of blood on South Delhi Group was also addressed in two hours.

Social Media
There are various groups and communities formed on different platforms that work as a support system of communities. Pixabay

Other topics that are being discussed on the groups are:

Which is the nearest clinic I can visit?

Where can I get emergency help?

What does the situation look like right now on the roads?

What are the queues like at the shops?

How much longer will supplies last?

Are courier services working in the area?

Which are the nearest Government and Private Testing Centres?

Can I visit the police stations?

Are postal services working in the area?

How do I obtain a curfew pass?

What is the situation at the hospitals?

Are there any blood donor requests?

In an attempt to bring together communities from 170 hotspots of India across 17 states (as identified by the Central Government of India in April 15, 2020) and crowdsource help, open groups have been formed and are being managed by moderators and group admins, trained by the NGO. It will be further extended to 32 states and union territories.

Social media
Social media groups bring together users, community leaders, subject matter experts, resource points, and organizations at a very hyper-local level to provide immediate support. Pixabay

Each state has a moderator and several admins who have been moderating the discussions and letting users connect with each other for essential and verified information as to keep fake profiles/information away.

Also Read: Beat Summer Heat With these Coolers

Every day the lead moderators sift through all the groups to look for any inappropriate content that is posted/approved/queried. As soon as users post on the group, the network of admins gets activated and they look into the prime information or request made by the user. Once that is identified, the request is verified and then the network gets activated to resolve the request. (IANS)

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Messenger Rooms: Facebook’s Group Video Chat feature Available on Instagram

Facebook Messenger Rooms is now available in Instagram as users can invite upto 50 for a video conference

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Messenger Room
Facebook has introduced Messenger Room feature in Instagram. Pixabay

Instagram is the latest in Facebooks family of apps to be integrated with the new group video chat feature Messenger Rooms.

With the latest update, Instagram users will be able to invite up to 50 people for a video chat session.

“Beginning in the present day, you’ll be able to create @messenger Rooms on Instagram and invite anybody to hitch,” Instagram said in a tweet on Friday.

Meanwhile, Instagram also shared a video revealing the steps to make use of the brand new characteristic.

A user first need to go to Instagram Direct messages. There, tap on the video chat icon. Then select Create a Room. One can now send invitations for the room to their Instagram friends.

WhatsApp
Messenger Rooms integration is also coming to WhatsApp. Pixabay

Instagram will then create a room and show a link to it. It will also give an option to Join Room or Send Link and if a user tap on Join Room, Instagram will ask to open the room in the Messenger app.

Messenger Rooms integration is also coming to WhatsApp and has been noticed in the beta version.

Also Read: Facebook Workplace Gathers 5 Million Paid Users

Last month, Facebook announced Messenger Rooms which allow group video calls of up to 50 people with no time limit.

People can create a room right from Messenger or Facebook, and invite anyone to join the video call, even if they don”t have a Facebook account.

In Facebook Messenger Rooms, the users can post links in their News Feed or in Groups or event pages. (IANS)

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Facebook Workplace Gathers 5 Million Paid Users

Facebook Workplace has added 2 million paid users since October

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Facebook
Facebook has added 2 million paid users, out of the 5 million since october. Pixabay

With the Covid-19 pandemic dramatically accelerating the shift to remote work, Facebook’s collaboration tool for businesses, Workplace, has amassed five million paid users — up two million since October.

And Work Groups, a type of Facebook Group that helps people connect with their coworkers, has over 20 million monthly active users after just six months, Facebook said in a blog post on Thursday.

“Today we’re introducing new video features in Workplace We’re also adding features to Workplace on Portal, and widely releasing Oculus for Business to meet early demand for VR-powered training and collaboration,” the social networking giant said.

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Now users can invite up to 50 people to a video call. Pixabay

For example, with Workplace Rooms, users can invite up to 50 people to a video call even if they are not in their company or do not have a Workplace account.

“Whether you’re holding team meetings, hosting a virtual happy hour, or just jumping on quick one-on-one calls, you can easily create video call links from Workplace Chat, Groups, News Feed or Portal, then share them in a chat, post, email or text message, Facebook said.

A new way to go live on Workplace from your desktop is “Live Producer” which lets people to schedule live videos, share their screen and use the live Q&A feature to let people ask and vote on questions.

Facebook
“Live Producer” lets people to schedule live videos, share their screen and use the live Q&A feature to let people ask and vote on questions. Pixabay

You can turn on automatic captions for live videos in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish. Workplace will also automatically translate videos in one of these languages into the other five, so employees around the world can follow along, Facebook announced.

Also Read: Snapchat Brings ‘Lensathon’ to India

Facebook said it is also bringing some of the Portal video-calling device’s interesting features such as Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered Smart Camera and Smart Sound to Workplace Live on Portal so that users can have professional-level broadcasting wherever they are.

The social networking giant also announced that Oculus for Business, an enterprise solution designed to streamline and expand virtual reality in the workplace, is now generally available.

Oculus for Business is built on Workplace, leveraging its security infrastructure and privacy practices. (IANS)