The Power of Sound: Entertaiment

Future(s) of Entertainment and AR Hardware

· glasses,podcasts,audio books,kid games,pet health
Hope is the ability to hear the music of the future; faith is the courage to dance to it today

- Peter Kuzmic, Professor of World Missions and European Studies

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As the countdown clicks to meet next week’s WWDC Apple weeklong thingy show, it is projected that one of their top executives may finally present the new Apple AR product named something like, “Glass” or “Glasses”.

And this is the perfect time to wind down my last special edition of The Power of Sound weekly series. Way back at the beginning of May ‘23, in Part I: I began heralding how difficult AR glasses were to build and even listed off the big names of the tech giants getting out of the space.

During my regular practice of gathering Signals of the Future(s) and the 20 minutes a day of free research time, I have collected many factoids and rumors about this possible announcement. I’d like to note that many insiders at Apple are not big fans of this AR product since there are no major technology game changing enhancements which consumers normally expect from their brand. Furthermore, the price is still high for the majority of price conscious, and inflation fatigued consumers.

Sadly, I could not find much regarding its sound capabilities, and it may be possible that it only has standard or no speakers and may be dependent on their Earbuds to complete the system.

If Apple did miss this key but expected speaker feature, then there are several emerging sectors waiting for future(s) minded developers and leaders to make some noise.

I’ll recap some of the features here, but we really won’t know everything until next Monday, June 5th at 1:00PM EST.

1) Look like sunglasses but not bulky like past smart glasses
2) No camera
3) Sees with LIDR technology
4) Morphing lends to match eyeglass prescriptions
5) Connects to iPhone for programing, storage, and all your PPI.
6) Will contain inter-lenes visuals programs and about 20 more third-party apps.
7) Costs $399+

And now that you have somewhat of a good feeling about Apple’s possible AR product, let’s review some key Sound/Audio/Noise based topics which were addressed in the previous five The Power of Sound thought letters.

Spatial Audio with dynamic head tracking creates a more realistic sound experience to enhance the sound of audio and video content and create a more immersive experience.

OTC and prescription-based health and fitness platforms and tracking systems. This is a key application for many future(s) wearable technologies, as it provides a way to selfheal by lowering stress and blood pressure levels with the benefit of monitoring real time data and other applicable information sets.

Sound as a tool, the projecting of, and recording, and is being used in more and more popular ways to experience business updates, events and personal life stage encounters.

As wearable technologies become more prevalent, they will play a deeper and more personal role in security and surveillance. This could include the monitoring of key areas, such as home, workplace, and public areas.

Wearable technologies could be used for better communication. This could include sending alerts when a person is at a location, or approaching a dangerous area, or detailed directions at large music festivals, concerts, parking lots, hospitals, corporate headquarters, etc.

The human auditory system is responsible for priority brain processing and decoding acoustic information, allowing us to understand our place in the universe, language, music, and localize sounds in our environment.

Creativity is often linked with negative moods and tendencies and impaired by negative emotions, which can lead to maladaptive thinking patterns and even deception but there must be a free and safe structure for creativity as it is reliant at times on the free flow of emotions.

We all know that Sound has been and still is a powerful medium for storytelling and can be used to convey emotion such as tension, suspense, and excitement. It can create our unique positioning in the universe or assist in transporting the listener to endless undiscovered countries.

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In recent years, sound-based entertainment has witnessed remarkable growth, with podcasting and audiobooks leading the charge. According to industry reports, podcasting has experienced a surge in popularity, with 80% of Americans aged 12 and older now familiar with podcasts. This widespread familiarity is accompanied by a significant increase in listenership, as 57% of Americans have tuned in to a podcast. The trend is particularly evident among younger audiences, with podcast listening having increased by 122% since 2014.

Alongside podcasting, audiobooks have also witnessed substantial growth, generating $1.8 billion in sales revenue in 2022. A survey reveals that 55% of Americans aged 13 and older have listened to an audiobook, indicating a growing audience.

Interestingly, there is overlap between podcast listeners and audiobook enthusiasts, with 43% of monthly podcast listeners also engaging with audiobooks. This growing interest in sound-based entertainment is further reinforced by research suggesting that audiobooks can also enhance comprehension and retention compared to printed text, offering a very valuable medium for content consumption.

The overall global games market generated $184.4 billion in revenue last year, beating all other entertainment sectors such as music and video, combined. Since many people enjoy playing games, it should be a safe bet that if Apple does release “Glasses”, it will have a preloaded game or two.

Jonathan Wegener, one of the most innovative product thinkers constructed a sound only game called PairPlay. Built around Apple’s Airpod tech, it’s an iOS app that guides kids (A7-11) through imagined custom scenarios within their own homes.

In PairPlay, a voice tells game players to face their AirPod partner, and then delivers two different versions of a scenario, one to each earpiece. There are a series of episodes, more akin to scenes and in one such episode, one of the participants is turned into a robot. In another series of episodes, both become secret agents. Another simulates a zombie apocalypse, urging players to race around the house, close the windows, and find hiding spots, all the while not knowing if the other person has been “infected.”

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Here are a couple of prototype dog products which makes me double down on my future(s) forecast with a strong ten-year growth of the anti-sound market.

If you're a dog owner, you know how disturbing big noises like thunder, fireworks and other unexpected city noises can be for your fur baby.

Ford, the car maker, is using active noise-canceling technology which is normally used in vehicles into soundproof doghouses. One of these doggy sanctuaries will be built with acoustic isolation panels, soundproof ventilation, anti-vibration block risers, and of course, an automatic door. When microphones inside the kennel detect the sound of fireworks, a built-in audio system emits opposing frequencies to cancel out or significantly reduce the noise and protect your dog's super sensitive hearing.

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As of time of printing, these kennels are currently only prototypes but could have a major impact on the lives of pets and pet parents when brought to market.

AR Hardware

Future(s) forecasting smart phones and devices is futile since they will most likely not be present in the future(s) and turn into stories about how you use to keep your Blackberry on your belt, like a cowboy, just so you don’t miss an email. However, in celebration of the possible Apple announcement next week, here are several products who put in the basic enhancements so their consumer will have a much better immersive experience.

This new XR startup has already changed the way we approach interactive experiences, combining portability, functionality, and style in its line of wearable tech, The VITURE One XR glasses. Its accolades include being named a CES® 2023 Innovation Awards Honoree, one of TIME’s Best Innovations of 2022, and winning the Fast Company 2022 Innovation by Design Award.

Designed to deliver unique audiovisual experiences, the glasses utilize HARMAN AudioEFX technology, which delivers immersive audio experiences via a near-ear surround system and electrochromic film, which enables users to switch between Immersive and Ambient modes.

NOW, the surround sound experience doesn’t have to be confined to a premium movie theater or multi-speaker home theater set-up, and informed my readers that NOW all you really need is a simple pair of quality headphones. DTS Headphone:X® makes all those things possible with an incredible technology that simulates the 3D environment of the audio’s original mixing stage. That means that all your future(s) movies, music and games sound exactly the way the artist intended.

For only about $150 more than the pending Apple Glasses, and like most consumer AR glasses on the market today, Rokid Max is presented exclusively as a virtual screen for mirroring a smartphone. That can mean online content, downloaded movies, games, or any productivity apps. Consumers can also switch to a “3D mode” for viewing 3D content in an app or WebXR experience. Rokid promises superior sound with noise cancelation, but we’ll have to wait and see.  

I believe the Shokz OpenRun Pro are as premium as bone conduction headphones get and has tons of app support for iOS & Android. Their app is simple but opens the door for future(s) firmware updates to keep the headset competitive down the line. You can take these headphones just about anywhere without worrying about damaging them and I believe you can swim with them too.

In conclusion, as we eagerly anticipate the unveiling of Apple's potential AR product, it's important to reflect on the Power of Sound and its influence on our biological, physiological, business, educational and entertainment experiences. Podcasting and audiobooks have witnessed significant growth, captured the attention of millions of listeners, and generated substantial revenue.

These trends underscore the value of sound-based systems and their ability to engage audiences in unique and immersive ways. As company leaders consider the future(s) of their organizations, it is crucial to embrace the Art of Futurism and harness the potential of new or recycled technologies. Companies can easily position themselves at the forefront of a rapidly evolving industry, captivating audiences and driving growth in the next digital era.