Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Toolbox

  • Monday, Dec. 10, 2018
GoPro to move production out of China over tariff concerns
This Nov. 11, 2015 file photo shows the GoPro HERO4 Session action camera in Decatur, Ga. Action-camera maker GoPro says it will move production of U.S.-bound cameras out of China by the summer over tariff-related concerns. (AP Photo/ Ron Harris, File)
SAN MATEO, Calif. (AP) -- 

Action-camera maker GoPro says it will move production of U.S.-bound cameras out of China by the summer over tariff-related concerns.

Companies have been voicing concerns over a looming trade war between China and the U.S. as both countries have been threatening tariffs against one another.

GoPro did not say Monday where production was moving or how much the move would cost.

The San Mateo, California-based company did say that it owns its own manufacturing equipment, so it will only be changing the physical location of where production will take place. Production of international-bound cameras will remain in China.

GoPro shares slipped nearly 2 percent to $4.88 in morning trading.

  • Friday, Dec. 7, 2018
Phil Ventre, Ben Dair join AR developer Ncam 
Ben Dair
LONDON -- 

Ncam Technologies, a developer of real-time augmented reality technology for the media and entertainment industries, has added Phil Ventre as VP, sports and broadcast, and Ben Dair as head of product management.

Ventre’s industry experience spans across sales, marketing, business development, partner and channel management, and project management, working for such entities as Apple, Avid, Ross Video and most recently AE Graphics. In his new role at Ncam, Ventre will lead the global business development and sales function for the sports, e-sports and broadcast sectors, working closely with CEO Nic Hatch to build on the company’s solid foundations and grow further in these key vertical markets.

Dair has vast experience in product management within the media and entertainment industries, having worked with companies including Quantel, Avid, Autodesk, Technicolor and most recently SAM as director of product management. At Ncam, Dair will lead the product management and cross-functional team to develop and deliver powerful real-time capture, tracking and processing solutions for live broadcast AR graphics and pre/post-visualization for film and TV productions. 

  • Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018
Peter Crithary named president of ARRI Rental US Camera
Peter Crithary
Carly Barber assumes presidency of ARRI Rental US Lighting; Jeff Pentek joins as VP
SECAUCUS, NJ -- 

ARRI Rental, a provider of camera, lighting and grip equipment, has put new top management in place for North America. Peter Crithary has been appointed president of ARRI Rental US Camera; Carly Barber will be taking on the role of president of ARRI Rental US Lighting, with Jeff Pentek joining as VP.

Over the past 13 years Crithary has had a number of roles at Sony Electronics, including market development and customer outreach for cinema technologies. He began his career as a cameraman in Australia and continued in the US, working in motion pictures, television, and postproduction before joining Sony. Based out of the Secaucus office, Crithary will be responsible for overseeing camera rental operations in North America, helping to develop new business opportunities, and building strong relationships within the creative community. He will also promote ARRI Rental’s proprietary technologies, which include the exclusive ALEXA 65 large-format camera system and ARRI Rental’s evolving program of in-house lens development. 

Barber and Pentek are lighting industry veterans with more than 30 years of experience: while Barber managed Hollywood Rental as VP operations and president for 15 years, Pentek worked in a rental company and as a member of
Local 728 in Los Angeles before both founded Illumination Dynamics in 2001. 

Barber commented: “I have been connected to ARRI Rental for years and am excited to be working as part of a very talented team to continue to drive the success of the lighting business in the Northeast.” Both Barber and Pentek will remain in their positions at Illumination Dynamics, a wholly owned subsidiary of ARRI Rental--Barber as CEO and Pentek as COO.

Newly promoted VP of lighting and transportation operations John Van der Linden will be overseeing all ARRI Rental lighting operations, while SVP Rental Hardwrick Johnson will continue to drive sales and participate in overseeing operations.

Furthermore, ARRI Rental is adding Billy Hines to the lighting team. In his position as marketing and productions relations manager he will be responsible for developing opportunities and building relationships with crew and production clients, while bringing his considerable knowledge and experience to enhance lighting operations. “Working for almost 30 years as a lighting technician on many feature and television projects Billy will bring an extremely valuable perspective to our team,” said Barber. Hines’ film and television credits include Spider-Man, The Interpreter, Bridge of Spies and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.

  • Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018
Army wants Microsoft's HoloLens headsets for battlefield
In this Sept. 24, 2017, file photo people use Microsoft Hololens to get an impression of Mercedes accessories on the stand of Mercedes-Benz during the first media day of the International Frankfurt Motor Show IAA in Frankfurt, Germany. Federal contract records show the U.S. Army has awarded Microsoft a $480 million contract to supply its HoloLens headsets to soldiers. The head-mounted displays use augmented reality, which means viewers can see virtual imagery superimposed over the real-world scenery in front of them. Microsoft says the technology will provide troops with better information to make decisions. (AP Photo/Michael Probst, File)
REDMOND, Wash. (AP) -- 

Virtual- and augmented-reality headsets haven't had much traction in the consumer market, but they're finding a place on the battlefield.

The U.S. Army said Thursday that it has awarded Microsoft a $480 million contract to supply its HoloLens headsets to soldiers.

The head-mounted displays use augmented reality, which means viewers can see virtual imagery superimposed over the real-world scenery in front of them. Microsoft says the technology will provide troops with better information to make decisions.

The Redmond, Washington, company says the new work extends its longstanding relationship with the Department of Defense.

Military bidding documents say the technology will be used for both training and fighting, bringing more situational awareness to troops to help them become more lethal and mobile.

  • Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018
Women in Consumer Technology to honor 6 Legacy Award recipients at CES 2019
Bridget Karlin, global chief technology officer and VP of IBM’s global technology services business
LAFAYETTE, Colo. -- 

Women in Consumer Technology, an organization that promotes the advancement of women in the consumer technology industry, has announced the six recipients of its 2019 Legacy Awards. The awards honor exceptional women who are transforming the consumer technology industry through leadership in the retail, sales and marketing, integration, publishing, and trade association segments. They will be recognized during the Women in Consumer Technology’s annual networking reception on Jan. 8, 2019, during CES.

“It’s hard to believe it’s been 10 years since we started our proud CES tradition of recognizing truly inspirational women in the consumer technology industry,” said Carol Campbell, founder of Women in Consumer Technology. “Year after year we’ve seen continued growth from women across all industry sectors, and a corresponding uptick in the number of impressive nominations we receive for the Legacy Awards. This year was the most difficult yet to select six recipients from such a talented pool, so congratulations to the class of 2019 for this hard-earned honor.”

Here’s the Women in Consumer Technology 2019 Class of Legacy Award honorees:

--Melissa Andresko, communications director and spokesperson at Lutron Electronics. In her role, Andresko oversees the strategic creation and implementation of Lutron’s residential North American public relations activities, including celebrity and industry relations. As Lutron’s spokesperson, Andresko frequently appears on national and local television programs as a smart home expert and advocate and speaks frequently at conferences aimed at the real estate and consumer markets. In October of 2018, Andresko was named One of the Most Powerful Women in Consumer Technology by Dealerscope magazine.

--Alexandra Harding, director of vendor management, business & consumer solutions (BCS) at Ingram Micro. With over 28 years of experience in the consumer electronics industry, Harding brings her strong retail foundation, market insight, and key business relationships to her role, in which she oversees the strategic development of relationships among CTS’s hundreds of tier-one manufacturing partners. Harding’s forward thinking allows her to lead an expert team in identifying new trends and emerging vendors — and in developing creative, profitable solutions to capitalize on the opportunities in this dynamic technology space. She was recognized by Dealerscope as a Powerful Woman in Consumer Technology in 2016.

--Bridget Karlin, global chief technology officer and VP of IBM’s global technology services business. She is responsible for driving the corporate transformation by developing and delivering the IBM Services Platform with Watson. Karlin also leads innovation across the entire services delivery life cycle to facilitate the adoption of hybrid, multi-cloud, composable services and IT as a Service. She currently serves on the executive board of directors of CTA/CES (Consumer Technology Association) and on the advisory board of Zynstra, a U.K.-based hybrid cloud software company. Karlin is a recipient of the 2016 Industrial IoT 5G Innovators award, the Malcolm Baldrige Software Quality award, and the BellSouth Technology Innovator award, and she listed in the top Fast 50 Tech CEOs.

--Tiffany M. Moore, senior vice president of political and industry affairs for the CTA. Promoted to the newly created position in April 2018, Moore now holds an expanded role that includes overseeing CTA’s U.S. Jobs, and Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. In addition, she leads the association’s advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill on issues including communications and technology policy, patent litigation reform, strategic immigration reform, and international trade. She also oversees CTA’s political action committee, CTAPAC. Moore’s career in Washington, D.C., spans 20 years, and she has served in a variety of roles including stints as a senior advisor to Congress, corporate government relations executive, political appointee at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and strategic consultant to tech and telecom companies and trade associations.

--Woman to Watch: Jennifer LaBollita, director of sales and marketing at InnerSpace Electronics Inc. Ambitious, passionate, and a team leader, LaBollita has been a part of the consumer electronics industry since 2012. With a core background in sales and marketing, she was a key player in the growth and development of Autonomic Controls Inc., bringing a unique skill set across all facets of the organization that contributed to its acquisition in 2016. A strategic leader focused on building cross-functional teams — and rallying for one mission: to succeed — she has transitioned into her current role at InnerSpace Electronics.

--Carol Campbell Inspiration Award: April Feller, chairman of the board for BGZ brands. Originally a small-screen protector website business started by Feller and her husband in 2002, BGZ brands is now the powerhouse parent company to three distinct brands of elevated value and quality — BodyGuardz, Lander, and Moxyo. BGZ brands is featured repeatedly as one of the fastest growing companies in publications including the Inc. 500 and Inc. 5000, and it has earned many “Top Workplace” awards. In 2015, Feller and her husband created The Relief Haven Foundation, which fosters and promotes self-reliance through targeted assistance.

The annual Women in Consumer Technology networking reception will be held during CES 2019 on Jan. 8 from 7-9 p.m.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018
Foundry launches Katana 3.1
LONDON -- 

Creative software developer Foundry has announced the latest updates to its flagship look development and lighting tool, Katana.

Continuing the rapid innovation and progress of the tool, Katana 3.1 incorporates a range of exciting updates that will enable artists to achieve even more complex and creative results faster. This latest update brings advancements that further enable studios to remain competitive in an industry with challenging schedules and ambitious client goals. Features continue to place artists and users at the core with valuable time-saving results that enable production to be achieved at scale.

The ongoing developments cement Katana’s position as the premier look development and lighting solution for visual effects (VFX) and animation studios of all sizes.

Key features of this release include:

  • Performance improvements: Katana 3.1 launches with rapidly improved 3D scene processing performance, drastically reducing time to first pixel for multi-threaded renderer plug-ins. Due to improvements in Katana’s Alembic library, multi-threading rendering plug-ins can be up to 5x faster than with Katana 3.0, which was already up to 10x faster than Katana 2.6. This will create an even more powerful pipeline.
  • Integrated powerful rendering with 3DelightNSI: Katana 3.1 incorporates the next generation of the 3DelightNSI rendering plug-in which has added a host of improvements, including incredible volume rendering speeds and quality. The latest update also brings fast multiple scattering support as well as a new 3Delight Principled shader. Live rendering via 3DelightNSI in Katana remains stunningly interactive and artist-friendly.
  • Hydra-powered viewer tab: Foundry has introduced a number of upgrades to increase the efficiency and usability of the viewport launched in Katana 3.0. Common tasks are now accessible by hotkeys and facesets support shader assignment. It is now more powerful and the new UX touches make it even easier for artists to use. 
  • VFX Reference Platform 2017 support: This version now uses Qt5 UI library and OpenSubDiv 3.1 to bring Katana into full compliance with the VFXRP 2017 standard. Now all studios have access to all key media and entertainment products which use the same set of code libraries. This will make working with Katana in a pipeline even easier.

The launch of Katana 3.1 coincides with the product’s seventh anniversary, taking place throughout November. During this time Foundry has made Katana the industry standard, providing studios with the scalability needed to meet the needs of today’s most demanding CG-rendering projects.

  • Monday, Nov. 26, 2018
Apple to tutor women in tech in bid to diversify industry
In this Sept. 12, 2018, file photo Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the new Apple iPhones and other products at the Steve Jobs Theater during an event to announce new products in Cupertino, Calif. Apple is opening a new training camp designed to address the technology industry's scarcity of women in executive and computer programming jobs. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- 

Apple is launching a new program designed to address the technology industry's scarcity of women in executive and computer programming jobs.

Under the initiative announced Monday, female entrepreneurs and programmers will attend two-week tutorial sessions at the company's Cupertino, California, headquarters.

The camps will be held every three months beginning in January. For each round, Apple will accept up to 20 app makers founded or led by a woman. The app maker must have at least one female programmer in its ranks to qualify. Apple will cover travel expenses for up to three workers from each accepted company.

Like other major tech companies, Apple has been trying to lessen its dependence on men in high-paying programming jobs. Women filled just 23 percent of Apple's technology jobs in 2017, according to the company's latest breakdown . That's only a slight improvement from 20 percent in 2014, despite the company's pledge to diversify its workforce.

The idea behind the new camp is to keep women interested and immersed in the field, said Esther Hare, Apple's senior director of world developer marketing.

Apple's training camp is "a great step forward," said Lorrain Hariton, CEO of Catalyst, a group that fights for equal rights for women workers. "There a lot of talented women in technology. Hopefully, this helps set a tone for the entire industry."

But it's not clear how much of a dent Apple's new program will make. Google also offers training for girls and women pursuing careers in technology, but its program hasn't done much to diversify the workforce so far. Women were hired for nearly 25 percent of Google's technology jobs in 2017, up from nearly 21 percent in 2014, according to the company.

Apple and other technology companies maintain that one of the main reasons so many men are on their payrolls is that women traditionally haven't specialized in the mathematical and science curriculum needed to program.

But industry critics have accused the technology companies of discriminating against women through a male-dominated hierarchy that has ruled the industry for decades.

Apple isn't saying how much it is spending on the initiative, though beyond travel expenses, the company will be relying on its current employees to lead the sessions.

  • Friday, Nov. 23, 2018
Samsung apologizes over sicknesses, deaths of some workers
Hwang Sang-gi, right, father of former Samsung semiconductor factory worker Hwang Yu-mi who died from leukemia in 2007, shakes hands with Kinam Kim, left, President & CEO of Samsung Electronics Device Solutions after Kim apologized in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Nov. 23, 2018. Samsung Electronics has apologized for the sickness and deaths of some of its workers, saying it failed to create a safe working environment at its computer chip and display factories. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- 

Samsung Electronics apologized Friday for illnesses and deaths of some of its workers, saying it failed to create a safe working environment at its computer chip and display factories.

The announcement by the South Korean technology giant came weeks after the company and a group representing ailing Samsung workers agreed to accept compensation terms suggested by a mediator and end a highly-publicized standoff that went on for more than a decade. The company's apology was part of the settlement.

Kinam Kim, president of Samsung's device solutions division, said the company failed to "sufficiently manage health threats" at its semiconductor and liquid crystal display manufacturing lines. As detailed in Associated Press reporting over the past decade, dozens of employees who worked there have experienced grave illnesses such as leukemia and brain tumors.

"We offer our sincere apology to our workers who have suffered with illnesses and their families," Kim said during a news conference in Seoul, which was also attended by activists and relatives of the workers.

But while cutting a deal and loosely admitting to lapses in safety standards, Samsung has yet to fully acknowledge its workplace environment as the direct cause of the illnesses.

The standoff began in 2007 when taxi driver Hwang Sang-gi refused to accept a settlement after his 23-year-old daughter died of leukemia after working at a Samsung factory. Hwang's efforts to clarify the cause of Yu-mi's death and hold Samsung responsible for problems related to working conditions galvanized a broader movement to hold businesses and the government accountable for safety lapses in the chip and display industries, which use huge amounts of chemicals.

"No apology would be enough when considering the deception and humiliation we experienced (from Samsung) over the past 11 years, the pain of suffering from occupational diseases, the pain of losing loved ones," Hwang said at the news conference. "But I take today's apology as a promise from Samsung Electronics," to improve the safety of its workplaces, he said.

According to the settlement, Samsung will compensate for various illnesses of employees who have worked at its chip and LCD factories since 1984, including as much as 150 million won ($132,000) for leukemia. The compensation also covers miscarriages and congenital illnesses of the workers' children such as child cancer.

Since 2008, dozens of workers have sought occupational safety compensation from the government. Few won compensation, mostly after years of court battles. Half the remaining claims were rejected and half remain under review.

Families of the victims often have depleted their savings and sold their homes to pay hospital bills. Some workers end up incapacitated and unable to work.

  • Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018
Havas Group continues to develop Havas Blockchain in tandem with ekino
PARIS -- 

The Havas Group continues to build its blockchain offering around the different areas of expertise of its agencies. Now Havas Blockchain in conjunction with ekino is launching a new strategic and tech support offering in response to growing market demand, particularly at international level (France, UK, US, Vietnam, India and Singapore).

Since its launch in March 2018, Havas Blockchain has been offering global and international communications support for companies operating in the blockchain ecosystem or launching ICOs. Winner of the international “Blockchain Innovation Marketing Award” in Beijing in October, Havas Blockchain has provided communications support to a number of clients, including Carrefour, Chain Accelerator and the ICOs launched by Talao and Sandblock. These two fundraising rounds raised several million euros for the development of a decentralized platform to connect major corporations and freelance talent (Talao), and a platform for converting loyalty programs (Sandblock), discount coupons and vouchers into cryptoassets.

In keeping with its “Together” strategy, Havas is collaborating with ekino, a digital consulting and implementation group. Conscious of the speed at which businesses and new innovations like blockchain are evolving, ekino’s teams integrate design, innovation, consulting, tech and data in order to support its clients in facing these new issues and achieving their digital transformation. Since its beginnings, ekino’s ambition has been to be a positive digital player which develops solutions that have a real impact on people’s lives.

The teams will help their clients to implement turnkey blockchain projects. The solution features a number of components:
 

  • Technology-agnostic consulting.
  • Technical audit solutions (due diligence, security, etc.).
  • Project design and build services.

The Havas Blockchain solution is unique in two respects:
 

  • Agnostic as regards both blockchain technologies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, RSK, etc.) and programming languages (Solidity, NodeJS, PHP, Java, ReactJS, etc).
  • Pragmatic (ekino's teams are specialists in both centralized and decentralized architectures, and thus able to recommend the solutions best suited to the needs of each client).

 
"Since the launch of Havas Blockchain, we are gradually moving beyond the realm of communications consulting alone and assisting our clients in other areas, in particular in strategic consulting and governance with Havas Paris or in sports marketing with Havas Sports & Entertainment. Because we aim to provide our clients with an ever more comprehensive service package, we were naturally keen to develop a technology support solution from Havas Blockchain that would be both agnostic and pragmatic. To achieve that, we put our heads together with ekino's engineers, who have been working on this subject for over a year," explained Fabien Aufrechter, head of Havas Blockchain.

Expert digital teams digital building on initial experiments
"In developing our solution as part of Havas Blockchain services, we are signing up to a vision that is both ethical and pragmatic. Plenty of firms are promising their clients the moon right now, assuring them that blockchain is the answer to all their problems when, most of the time, that just isn't the case. This new technology is still only in its infancy and, as digital experts, we have a certain responsibility to live up to. First we need to fully understand this technology, explain it and make it work for the end client. We have a duty to inform our clients of the opportunities and the constraints this new technology involves, while at at the same time taking the user experience into account. Yes, blockchain is indeed a revolution, but it is not going to solve every business issue. More to the point, its widespread adoption will depend on its value in use," insisted Malo Gaudry, ekino's managing director. Ekino's expertise will provide the final link in the Havas Blockchain offering, providing end-to-end project coverage, from consulting to completion by way of communications.

Ekino's teams, headed by Hugo Briand, digital architect and Blockchain lead at ekino, have now been operational for over a year and are already trying out several solutions on blockchain technology. These include:
 

  • A chatbot developed on Ethereum to detect fake news, and structured on a collaborative model. Users are awarded a reputational score and vote on the reliability of a news item.
  • Joint experimentation with Prisma Media on introducing an HR token.This project will democratize the use of cryptocurrencies amongst the participants and identify user experience issues associated with the use of cryptocurrencies.
  • The introduction of Bitcoin and Lightning Network nodes to enable clients to make payments in cryptocurrrencies, and to confirm transactions on these networks.

"This comprehensive offering enables our clients to open up to new opportunities and give a new dimension to their projects. Companies will now find the decentralized web easier to onboard thanks to a truly turnkey solution. It is from this angle that we are experimenting with solutions. It helps us find concrete use cases and identify he constraints associated with these architectures. A pragmatic approach is essential, especially when working with new technologies such as blockchain," added Briand.

A few months after Havas Sports & Entertainment's launch of the first blockchain-based fan loyalty program for sports organizations, the Group has already formed a number of strategic partnerships, with Blockchain Partner (consulting and project development) and Coinhouse (compliance) among others.

Havas Blockchain’s new offering is now operational.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018
Blackmagic Audio Monitor 12G unveiled
Blackmagic Audio Monitor 12G
FREMONT, Calif. -- 

Blackmagic Design has introduced Blackmagic Audio Monitor 12G, a new, upgraded model of its extremely popular rack mount audio monitoring solution. The new Blackmagic Audio Monitor 12G features 12G-SDI video input, HDMI output, analog and AES/EBU inputs, a powerful class D amplifier, dual subwoofers, extended range speakers, an LCD and precision meters that can display VU, PPM and Loudness ballistic scales.

Blackmagic Audio Monitor 12G will be demonstrated on the Blackmagic Design InterBEE 2018 booth at #8216.

The Blackmagic Audio Monitor 12G features the latest advanced 12G-SDI technology, along with professional balanced analog XLR and AES/EBU audio inputs, as well as consumer level HiFi audio inputs. That means customers can use it with virtually all analog and digital equipment. The multi rate 12G-SDI connection automatically switches speed based on the input signal, making it compatible with all SD, HD Ultra HD and DCI 4K equipment and formats up to 2160p60. Customers also get a 12G-SDI loop through for sending the original signal back out to other equipment, and an HDMI output for monitoring the signal on a big screen television.

Designed to fit in a single standard rack unit, the Blackmagic Audio Monitor 12G is incredibly small yet features a surprisingly loud, crystal clear sound. The powerful new class D amplifier, combined with a dual subwoofer design and new extra wide range speakers, delivers a wide and smooth frequency response curve with crisp highs and powerful deep bass. It’s powerful and loud enough to hear in noisy environments such as broadcast equipment rooms, in the field in a fly away kit, or on the road in an outside broadcast truck.

The elegant front panel is designed from a solid block of machined aluminum and features a volume knob, control buttons, a standard headphone connection, precision meters and an integrated LCD screen. The audio meters feature 27 individual multi colored RGB LED segments per channel so the meter scale is infinitely customizable, making it easy to monitor a wide dynamic range. Meters can be customized to display VU, PPM and Loudness ballistic scales with a choice of EBU or BBC meters. Plus, they’re brightly lit, clear and easy to read, making them perfect for viewing in both bright or dark environments.

“The exciting thing about Blackmagic Audio Monitor 12G is its incredible sound quality and the fact that it can be used anywhere, and works with virtually any signal,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “It’s completely flexible and is perfect for monitoring broadcast feeds and transmissions in control rooms, monitoring audio in tight broadcast trucks, or even when working in a post production suite!”

Blackmagic Audio Monitor 12G will be available in November for $1,195 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

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