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Netflix sees an ‘opportunity’ with interactive video

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black mirror bandersnatchNetflix’s “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” episode proved popular with viewers.Netflix
  • Netflix plans to make more interactive TV shows in the format of “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch,” company officials said Thursday.
  • The movie was popular with viewers and excited video content makers, officials said.
  • Company officials see an opportunity in offering the system Netflix created to produce “Bandersnatch” to content creators.

The choose-your-own adventure format of “Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” was a novelty when Netflix debuted the movie last month. 

But it’ll soon become a lot more common, if the streaming video giant has anything to say about it.

“You should anticipate we’ll do more of those [interactive shows] as we start to explore that format,” Greg Peters, Netflix’s chief product officer, said on a webcast Thursday following the company’s fourth-quarter earnings report.

Read this: Netflix falls after slight Q4 revenue miss and solid subscriber-growth numbers

Bandersnatch” is nominally about 90 minutes long. But viewers can determine the outcome of the movie by choosing different alternatives along the way. In total, the creators of the show produced five hours of video for it, giving viewers “countless” ways to experience the story, Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s chief content officer, said.

The interactivity of the movie excited and engaged consumers, company officials said. It also enticed video content makers.

The show “has got storytellers salivating about the possibilities,” Sarandos said on the webcast.”We’ve got a hunch that [the interactive format of “Bandersnatch”] works across all kinds of storytelling,” he continued, “and some of the greatest storytellers in the world are excited to dig into it.”

Netflix sees an ‘opportunity’ in interactive video

Netflix is also excited about it, and not just because such choose-your-own adventure shows could have viewers tuning into its service for longer periods.

Creating “Bandersnatch” was an intensive and challenging effort, company officials said. Netflix ended up creating a system called Branch Manager to make the process of producing the episode more manageable, company officials said in a letter to shareholders. The company plans to use Branch Manager to produce future episodes, officials said in the letter. 

But Peters seemed to imply that Netflix could eventually offer Branch Manager as a paid service to content creators or license it to them.

“In that challenge [of creating interactive shows] is an opportunity,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to bring technology to bear to create a tool set for creators to make that process easier and more effective.”

Netflix posted mixed fourth-quarter results. Although it reported a strong rise in paid subscribers, its revenue fell shy of Wall Street’s expectations and its own forecasts. The company’s stock fell 4% on the news.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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