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IEEE Determined To Bring Consensus On VR/AR Standards

IEEE and the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) announced a series of standards projects for virtual reality and augmented reality. Participants working on the projects include over 200 device manufacturers, content providers, service providers, technology developers, government agencies and other parties relevant to VR/AR technology advancement.

Our Take: Clear AR and VR standards will serve as the necessary glue between manufacturer interoperability and future mainstream retail selling.

Polaroid Brand Gets New Owner

Polaroid-brand owner PLR IP Holdings has been acquired by a group of investors that includes the current manufacturer of instant film for legacy Polaroid cameras. The deal — which switches ownership from Gordon Brothers, Hilco Global, the Pohlad family and others — is led by Wiaczeslaw (Slava) Smolokowski, the majority shareholder of The Impossible Project, which manufacturers instant film and purchased the last remaining Polaroid factory in 2008. Smolokowski is also cofounder of Mercuria Energy Group Limited, a commodity trading house. The deal took effect May 5. The price is not being shared.

Our Take: While some may be scratching their heads over this deal, the (albeit small) success of vinyl demonstrates there is indeed a market for nostalgia.

Sears’ Eddie Lampert Blames Media As A Source Of Turnaround Woes

Sears Holdings chairman, CEO and chief investor Eddie Lampert told the Chicago Tribune that undue press reports of a possible bankruptcy are diverting attention from his turnaround efforts. In a rare interview on the eve of its shareholders meeting, Lampert also listed his accomplishments, complained of excessive credit scrutiny from vendors, and acknowledged the challenges that Sears and other retailers are facing.

Our Take: Much like some other chiefs who blame “ fake news” and “unfair press,” Sears’ troubles can be attributed to far more things than the headlines.

Virtual Reality Is Coming To A Gym Near You

VirZoom, a manufacturer of VR games, announced a strategic partnership with AMD that has the chipmaker providing graphics cards to power its VR experiences in commercial venues — including fitness centers. “Partners like AMD, HTC and Life Fitness have been instrumental in making our vision of VR exercise games in a gym setting a commercial reality. The AMD and Radeon teams have gone above and beyond to create a powerful PC experience for high-end virtual reality suitable for a commercial gym environment,” said VirZoom CEO Eric Janszen. The company is currently installing its VR exercise game platform on Life Fitness SE3 Discover Series upright and recumbent bikes around the world.

Our Take: We just hope the headsets get wiped between uses.

Phone Lost Or Stolen? There’s A Site For That

CTIA has launched a tool that lets consumers determine if a used or refurbished smartphone has been reported as stolen or lost. The free Stolen Phone Checker website is intended as an aid to both consumers and law enforcement, the wireless communications industry group said. CTIA president and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker likened the service to the auto industry’s Carfax. Consumers and resellers will be able to verify if a device has been reported stolen or lost before making a purchase by entering a device’s an IMEI, MEID or ESN code at the GSMA Device Check-powered website. Insurers will also be given better information on loss and theft claims, said CTIA.

Our Take: This could prove to be a successful service for the device-refurbishment channel.

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