Cloud back-office service Bizer raises $815,000 from Salesforce and others

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(By The Bridge) – The progression of cloud migration of small and medium sized companies is predicted, and a variety of players are acting on this trend. BizGround, providers of the small to mid-sized company geared cloud-based back-office service Bizer, is also one of these players.

Tokyo-based BizGround recently announced that it has fundraised 1 million yen (about $815,000) from Salesforce Ventures, the investment arm of Salesforce.com, as well as from Incubate Fund.

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Launched as a platform for businesses to get counseling from professionals such as tax accountants and lawyers, Bizer subsequently added features for automatically generating paperwork and forms that are to be submitted to government offices as well as features to take care of other tasks involved in business operations. Gradually the service is becoming a total support back office platform.


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Along with the announcement of this round of funding, the company has announced a large scale site renewal as well as support for smartphone and tablet users, a 30-day free trial plan, and more. The screens of each feature have been completely redesigned for clarity and ease of use as shown below.

CEO Yuichi Hatakeyama says that in managing BizGround he feels there are two main values they must offer, those are “optimizing business with the cloud” and “crowdsourcing support”.

Hatakeyama commented on the necessity of human support and contractors as a small to medium sized business aimed service:

“We’re getting users who no matter what can’t get the cloud to work for them, but by also offering the human power of the “crowd”, I think we can expand the ways businesses get aid. Makitori, another service specifically focused on paperwork around hiring and retirement, is also seeing increased use.

From this I also feel that there are a certain number of users out there who are in need of this kind of human power. Moving forward we will continue strengthening the two main pillars of our services, “cloud” and “crowd”, but we also plan to strongly reinforce the human power support of the “crowd” part. Soon we are planning on releasing a new human power service, and we are also thinking about expanding the scope of our offerings.”

For small to medium sized businesses who haven’t made the move to the cloud yet, support to help handle that transition is indispensable. It seems that this may be Bizer’s biggest strength, as they focus their attention on their “cloud” and “crowd” hybrid service.

With this latest funding, aiming to strengthen the management system of the company, staff member Akiha Tanaka will take the position of company director while Keisuke Wada, a partner of Incubate Fund, will assume the role of external director. Currently the company is supporting the establishment of over 150 new companies, with requests for company establishment increasing monthly. Through this recent funding, the company will be strengthening their marketing efforts as well as offering their services to more people who are preparing to start companies.

In Japan, around 100,000 companies are established annually. As for Bizer, they have helped in the establishment of 10,000 companies, 10% of the year’s total, and in the future they are looking to help bring Japan’s business foundation rate up from the present 5% to 10%.

Translated by Connor Kirk










When data surprises you, have the courage to act

data analysis

To marketers, social media and other forms of consumer data represent new struggles. To turn these struggles into viable strategies, marketers need fresh and innovative approaches — but they should also follow the example set over 70 years ago by a World War II-era mathematician.

In 1943, near the time World War II momentum shifted against the Axis powers, the Allies faced a particular problem: They were sending a lot of planes on bombing runs over Germany, but not many of them were coming back.

The dilemma eventually fell to Abraham Wald, an Austrian-born Jew who’d earned his PhD at the University of Vienna before emigrating to the United States as the war broke out. Once in the U.S., he joined the Statistical Research Group, a collection of mathematics luminaries tasked with helping the Allies to solve complex questions that could win the war — such as how to mitigate aircraft losses.


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Before coming to Wald, researchers from the Center for Naval Analyses had performed a study of returning planes. At first brush, the researchers’ conclusion seemed reasonable and intuitive: The Allies needed to add armor to the parts of the planes that drew the most gunfire.

Wald turned this idea on its head. He argued the Naval researchers were mistaken to analyze only the planes that returned from battle. In all likelihood, these planes survived because they absorbed gunfire in places that were already adequately protected. By not considering the planes that were shot down, the researchers lost sight of the central question they needed to solve: Which parts of their aircraft were most vulnerable to enemy fire?

Wald reasoned that surviving planes didn’t show damage in certain places because the damage would have been fatal. Instead of improving armor where Naval researchers saw lots of bullet holes, in other words, the Allies actually needed to fortify areas where the surviving planes hadn’t been hit.

As marketers who face mounting pressure to make data-driven decisions, here are three ways we can learn from Wald’s example.

1. The only thing worse than the wrong answer is the right answer to the wrong question.

The Naval researchers erred by asking the wrong question. The correct question wasn’t where surviving planes had been hit; it was where the planes that didn’t survive had been hit, and why the damage had been so devastating.

Suppose a piece of marketing content receives a large volume of likes or retweets, for example. Many marketers would assume the content must be effective. But a marketing piece’s goal generally isn’t to accrue likes; it’s to increase revenue. Revenue doesn’t correlate with retweets any more than the number of bullet holes on a 1940s bomber correlated with vulnerabilities in the plane’s design. When a marketer celebrates retweets and likes without understanding how they affect revenue, he or she is just like the Naval researchers who saw a cluster of bullet holes and assumed, “We should put more armor there.”

2. The best insights aren’t prescriptive. They combine data and human curiosity.

Wald didn’t rely solely on common sense to refute the Naval report. His reasoning can be summarized into something that sounds like simple logic, but to get there he completed a range of complicated calculations. That is, he used a combination of analytical thinking and human intuition.

The moral for marketers: Instead of expecting analytics to be prescriptive, think of them as muses for your own creative process. The goal isn’t to find an algorithm that spits out complete, neatly-packaged strategies. Rather, the goal is to find the meaningful signals in the data and to use this information as a starting point for creative strategies. If you have a hunch, validate it through data. If you’re unsure how to proceed, stories in the data can put you back on the right path.

3. It takes courage and conviction to be data-driven.

When data defies what everyone expects, marketers have to boldly stand their ground, just as Wald did.

Suppose a movie isn’t tracking well. The studio can use a variety of data science and natural language processing techniques to course-correct before opening day. By correlating financial histories with language patterns in consumers’ online statements, for example, the studio could identify what’s working and not working in its current ads and make adjustments. When the studios do this, they sometimes have to discard ideas in which they’ve already invested millions in P&A expenses. This is neither an easy nor a comfortable thing to do, but it can save millions more in the long run.

To use Wald’s example for today’s data problems, ask the following questions to evaluate data strategies:

  • Am I asking the right question? Am I measuring the factors and using the correlations that will answer this question?
  • Are my analytics complementary to my human intuition? Can I explore my data while engaging my curiosity and creativity?
  • Do I have the conviction to turn my data into a strategy? When the data points in unexpected directions, will I stand firm? Or will I revert to the status quo?

Joshua Reynolds heads marketing for Quantifind. He has been spent the last 18 years advising senior leaders at disruptive companies across multiple sectors how to accelerate market adoption by focusing on an authentic purpose. Prior to joining Quantifind, he served as CEO at Blanc & Otus. Previously, he served for five years as the Global Technology Practice Director for H+K Strategies. He began his technology career as a Gartner analyst.










Why Silicon Valley needs to start internships for high schoolers

hands raised

As anyone in Silicon Valley knows, engineering jobs are in high demand, but we’re going through a serious skills shortage.

K-12 classroom technology education hasn’t kept up with the demand for qualified engineers, programmers and designers. Code.org, a consortium of big tech firms including Google, Facebook and Microsoft, last month made its case for reform when it wrote a letter to various Senate and House committees calling for computer science to be added to the list of “core academic subjects.”

But if we wait for government action, the problem may merely persist. It’s up for us in the tech community to help schools begin building the engineering pipeline we all need.

Give students real world experience

Startups are a real-world business and technology laboratory that we can make available to our next star developers.

Today, many large tech outfits have college or graduate student internship programs. Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak met while interning at HP.

But precious few fledgling firms welcome in high school students. That’s understandable – after all, managing an intern can come with a real cost in both time and resources.  But let’s start thinking about the long-term payback our companies could get down the line from welcoming, teaching and, perhaps even, welcoming back the next generation of developers.

What’s in it for us?

Through offering competitive, comprehensive internship programs, startups are in many ways proactively building their own talent pool.

Some of the hardest hires to make are for entry level positions. Accurately determining a young person’s drive, passion and discipline from an academic record can be challenging.

By bringing on interns – particularly high-school aged interns – startups play an active role in developing passion and teaching drive. Effectively, startups can help build the future employer pool they’ll turn to down the road.

Thirty five percent of employers’ full time entry-level hires come from internship programs. Knowing the skill set of your next hire saves time and resources on recruiting and training.

Students are ready to learn. It’s our job as companies to mentor and nurture that talent through exposure to the kinds of real-world problems computer science skills can solve.

Managing Cost

Companies interested in starting internship programs are often concerned with the time needed to educate and train young people. Efficiency is key in any successful and quickly growing startup. Running an effective internship program while keeping productivity high can feel like a challenge.

One way around this is to reframe the problem. Considering the high cost of recruitment today, anywhere up to $10,000 per employee, it makes sense to take the brief efficiency hit to train your interns – and likely your future employees well.

Another solution is to offer a shorter-term job shadow program. What if a high school student could shadow a lead developer on your team during the week of Spring Break? These students can assist employees with fundamental tasks like sorting data, while also accompanying employees to team meetings, events and lunches. But the program’s short duration will ensure employees keep their time and productivity.

At its core, any internship or shadowing opportunity needs to give students meaningful tasks while enfolding them into the company culture. Make sure to set that expectation with your employees.  Give that that young person interested in programming a seat writing in the middle of coding pit. She or he will learn from the chatter of the rest of your team.

The Payoff

Too many college students avoid picking computer science as a major because it seems too intimidating and foreign. And over 60 percent of college students majoring in STEM fields drop out or change majors, often due to a lack of prior education in the field.

Today, kids are skilled in navigating technology – but I’m not convinced they know how to actively play a part in building it.

And who better but the tech community’s leading engineers to educate and train the next generation of programmers? Let’s show what it means to write a program early in a student’s schooling, so that they can build the future, not just browse it.

Ready to get started? Programs like Startup High connect students with internships; other tech firms like Microsoft simply offer a high school internship option on its jobs page.

If the United States wants to maintain its global leadership position, it’s going to have to keep raising the bar for what its students know. We don’t need wait for government reform to make it so. We are a can-do economy that can make amazing things happen, if we choose to make a concerted effort.

Isaac Oates is CEO and founder of Justworks and a veteran of Amazon and Etsy










Facebook Says It Will Enable Safety Check In During More Human Disasters, Following Criticism

safetycheckmobielcarousel Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg committed to turning on Safety Check in more human disasters going forward, responding to criticism that the company turned on its safety feature for Paris but not for Beirut and other bombings. Zuckerberg explained that the Paris terror attacks marked the first time the company has enabled Safety Check for a human disaster, not a natural disaster like an… Read More

Why is the US killing its fintech industry?

dead

The World Economic Forum recently reported that the fintech industry can close a $2 trillion funding gap for small businesses globally. If given the right conditions, the industry can therefore power entrepreneurship the world over. Yet the United States, home to some of the most generous and talented VCs in the world, is killing this industry. Fintech, which is doing great things to the economies of other countries, such as the UK and Germany, is undermined at every turn in the US.

One-offs happen, like SoFi, which received $1 billion in investment recently. But the US is not playing to any of its strengths and is failing to build a healthy ecosystem for fintech companies more broadly. Here are five key lessons the US can learn from the UK on this front:

1. Good regulation vs. bad regulation

‘Regulation kills innovation!’ The progressive’s war cry might be memorable, but it is deeply misguided. Regulation can kill innovation, but if implemented properly, it can support growth. International law firm Taylor Wessing explains that not only is UK regulation and authorization clear and efficient, it is even open to collaborative reform.

Compare that with the US. There is a highly fragmented regulatory sector, particularly in regards to payment. Not only do regulatory laws differ between states and at the federal level, definitions do. This causes confusion, particularly in the payments sector, with precise licensing information lacking. Licenses vary depending on business type, US state, and which geographical area they serve. And that confusion is compounded by the fact that certain businesses that should qualify for money transmitter licenses actually don’t, such as gambling sites. This confusion will likely lead to large penalties for fintechs later down the line.

2. Simplification

For argument’s sake, let’s say the US and EU are similar entities – both federations made up of smaller constituent states. Now, in the US, the license you obtain in one state to become a money-serving business applies only to that state. To comply with laws of all states and be able to provide your services in the entire country, you will likely need to apply for 47 additional licenses and authorizations. This is clearly an inefficient and fragmented licensing procedure that limits an organization from the outset.

Meanwhile, in Europe a constituent member of the European Union may ‘passport’ the licensing rights obtained in one country to another, meaning they can set up their business in London and work in Berlin, Madrid, Paris and Rome without the need for further licenses. This means a payment-oriented fintech can grow in Europe much quicker than in the US.

3. Government support

The UK government helped form Innovate Finance, a not-for-profit platform for fintechs that acts as an all-purpose lobby for the industry. Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed the lobby’s manifesto entitled UK Fintech 2020, which aims to make the UK a fintech world leader in the next five years. He even appointed a special envoy — American VC Eileen Burbidge — to the sector to ensure that its phenomenal growth in the country continues. The UK even encourages fintechs to comply with regulation early so they can influence regulation in the future and simplify the sector. The government knows fintechs will boost the economy, and fintechs value government support as it helps create consumer trust.

The US, by contrast, makes things much more complicated. Its political system is more decentralized, and it struggles to support new industries as the number of conflicting parties and lobbies is enormous. There is also general distrust about government involvement in tech affairs due to the recent putsch between Silicon Valley and the NSA. Tech companies snubbed President Obama’s invitation to a cyber-security conference earlier this year, demonstrating that there is much work needed to repair this relationship.

4. Cities

The very geography of the country is against US startups. In the UK, despite London being relatively expensive, the media industry, politics, finance and law all jostle together in the same few miles. Networking and expertise are ready-at-hand, and there is no shortage of opportunity to build alliances and partnerships and to access the expertise you need. The financial area of Canary Wharf is particularly attractive for fintech incubator Number 39, as it provides access to the world’s best financial talent immediately.

Now think of the US: Finance in New York, media in Los Angeles, regulators in Chicago, politics in Washington D.C. While this creates massive advantages for individual cities in certain sectors, it can also lead to decline if the industry changes – like Detroit, for example. While Silicon Valley provides tech and startup expertise, that’s not solely what fintech is about; it requires a more diverse talent ecosystem to survive. London has a similar advantage over other European nations such as Germany, with its tech center in Berlin and its financial center in Frankfurt.

5. Low startup costs

It’s been estimated that fintechs need $2 million and two years to start up in the US – given the number of licenses, audits, and waiting times required to comply with existing legislation. In the UK and the rest of Europe, you need much less money and time. Tech City UK estimates that London-based fintech startups benefit from tax breaks and schemes designed to foster growth, such as the R&D tax scheme, which assists companies that employ fewer than 500 people.

What’s more, in London, a company requires much less time to process licenses, given that the rules are much clearer in the first place. This means you can reasonably expect to go from idea to operation within the space of six months. Now, I know that the US is normally considered the best home for business, but in the UK, you can set up a fintech in a quarter of the time.

What to do?

Everyone knows the US is the friendliest country in the world for budding entrepreneurs. Yet, here it is doing everything it can to ensure an entire industry has the most difficult route to success. Lagging behind European nations in creating hospitable conditions for fintech might not mean much right now, but investment — no matter how stupendous — will not last forever, and the US should be more fleet-footed in supporting the industry. After all, fintech helps small businesses prosper, and these are the lifeblood of any economy.

Toby Triebel is CEO and cofounder of Spotcap, an online lender for small and medium sized businesses. He has 10 years of experience in the finance industry, starting his career at Goldman Sachs, and more recently investing in corporate and bank credit at a leading emerging markets hedge fund. You can follow him on Twitter: @tjtriebel.










Data science and predictive marketing: Using numbers to draw the future (webinar)

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Don’t miss this live webinar. Register here for free. 


Numbers. Numbers. Numbers. If there’s one thing a marketer needs to be good at, it’s staring at a lot of numbers — browsing the latest statistics of his client’s audience; noticing key patterns among the most engaging users; observing any crucial loss during the time period; and strategizing for the best course of action for the future. Undoubtedly, there’s not an aspect more important for marketers to understand than analyzing data.

However, analyzing data is not easy. With so many statistics coming from different sources, the end result is destined to be messy. The move to omnichannel communications often means dealing with different names, reports, and measurements. The effort required to consolidate and make meaningful insights out of it all is often daunting.

No wonder marketers today are feeling overwhelmed — and also making unwitting mistakes. Like unintentionally demonstrating confirmation bias by utilizing only the statistics that support your hypothesis, while ignoring the stats that don’t. Or, focusing on the wrong set of data that’s irrelevant to their company’s interest. And then there’s confusing an action for the result of another, and making bad business decisions based on a coincidence.

The hassle involved with proper data management is why some companies — often startups — make the poor choice of undervaluing the process, resulting in unclear direction for growth. When done right, data management can lead your company to strategies for expanding both your audience and revenue.

By joining this webinar hosted by VentureBeat analyst Jon Cifuentes and Eventboard CEO Shaun Ritchie, CEO, you’ll learn essentials about data management you’ve likely overlooked. No longer will you have to struggle with finding the right way to visualize your statistics, or figuring out how to take advantage of the data. Discover the best practices of data analysis from the top companies — and join them in their ranks.


Don’t miss out. Register now for free.


In this webinar, you’ll:

  • Discover the top platforms marketers are using to measure marketing impact from multiple sources
  • Learn best practices for managing your marketing data and making sense of the chaos
  • Get the secrets of marketing intelligence from today’s experts in top companies

Speakers:

Jon Cifuentes, research analyst, VentureBeat

Shaun Ritchie, CEO, Eventboard

More speakers to be announced

Moderator

Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat

 










Dear Google, your app store has a decompiling problem

Google Play

Dear Google Play team:

Thank you for creating and managing Android’s largest app store, which now serves as the central hub for the largest smartphone platform in the world. Thanks as well for Android’s open architecture, which has made it possible for billions of people across the globe to cheaply access the Internet and a lot of great digital content, often for the first time.

But with respect, let me say that Android’s very openness has contributed to a growing problem that must be addressed immediately. We share the concerns you recently publicized about security issues on some Android phone models. But our concerns over Google Play have only grown worse since I outlined some key issues with the platform in August. Since then, we have seen several serious security breaches stemming from Google Play. I fear many more are to come, especially as we enter the holidays, when app-based shopping is certain to increase.

Here is why:

The Problem with Decompiling

My team and I recently conducted a thorough search for Android apps on Google Play that can be decompiled. A decompilable app can have its code reverse engineered through the apps’ shared object library and DEX file — a process quite simple with malicious hacker tools widely available on the Internet.

You can read the full results here. What we discovered was sobering: 85 percent of Google Play’s top 200 free Android apps are left unprotected against decompiling. Decompilable apps on Google Play include extremely popular and well known messaging/photo sharing services, games, music/video streaming services, financial services, and ironically, several antivirus apps. All of them are vulnerable to malicious hacking, including piracy and malware injection. To cite just one past example, Snapchat’s well-documented problems with parasite apps are likely made possible through decompiling. (Read further explanations of the dangers from decompiling on our Medium blog.)

When discussing these concerns with developers or even your fellow colleagues at Google, we are often told that protection of the source code (such as that offered by obfuscation tools like Proguard, recommended by your own company) will be sufficient. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Since source code is viewable as plain text, it’s relatively easy to analyze even after it has been obfuscated. Which takes us to the broader problem we now face:

The Unintended Consequences of Google’s Openness

In many ways, this state of things is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Google had the best intentions in making Android open source, choosing the open source Java development language, and then running Google Play with an open market policy. But Java’s very nature in using a virtual machine means it’s extremely easy to decompile an app’s bytecode and see 99 percent of the original source code, which can lead to app tampering, IP theft, and the identification of zero day and one day vulnerabilities. In addition, Google Play’s open nature makes it easier to download these decompilable apps and upload apps harboring malicious code.

Perhaps if the Google Play team closed its platform and overlaid it with a rigorous review system, as Apple has, Android users would be far safer. But ironically, in doing so, Google Play and Android itself would lose the very essence of what they are and stand for. So perhaps we are at an impasse.

All is not lost, however.

Android vulnerabilities

Building a Safer Google Play

As Google has the most talented teams of engineers in the entire world, I am quite confident that they are well aware of this decompiling problem. It’s my hope that you are working on a solution even now, even though it will require substantial commitment and resources on your part.

But while we wait for whatever server or device-based solution you are hopefully developing, my recommendation is that you double or even triple your outreach to Android developers and consumers. For developers, this means adding binary protection to their apps before they are pushed to your platform, and overall, learn to approach development with security in mind. For their part, Android consumers must understand the vulnerabilities inherent in their phone platform and take the time to learn best practices for keeping their handset secure.

Whatever solution you choose, Google Play, I wish you a speedy success. Billions of Android owners are depending on you.

Sincerely,

Min-Pyo Hong

Min-Pyo Hong is CEO and founder of SEWORKS, a San Francisco-based security solutions developer. He has advised corporations, NGOs, and governments on digital security issues for over 20 years and led a team of five-time finalists at DEFCON.










America’s Whitest City Explodes With A Fusion Of Inclusion

portland It’s tough to see at first glance that diversity matters in Portland, Oregon. After all, Portlandia is widely known as the “whitest city in America.” But hidden within this environmentally friendly rain-soaked scenic city, there are intentional efforts ongoing in economic gardening across multiple community sectors to cultivate the growth of a diverse landscape of job creators. Read More

The 3 big challenges to Facebook’s teleporter dream

teleport

Just over a week ago Facebook’s CTO Mike Schroepfer promised to “effectively build a teleporter” by 2025, and even hardcore, optimistic techies had to raise an eyebrow in questioning cynicism. Reassuringly perhaps, he was talking about using virtual reality to transport us, as opposed to Star Trek’s dream of disassembling, shipping, and reassembling a physical form. Nevertheless, some current assessments of virtual reality’s capability (including Radu Rusu’s piece earlier this week) argue that it’s not realistic to believe we’ll soon be able to trick our senses into accepting you are somewhere you clearly are not. This is virtual reality’s version of the Turing Test, so it’s a massive deal for the technology.

Even as a staunch VR evangelist, I would have to concede that today’s production and headset capabilities fall dramatically short of the grand vision shared at Web Summit. But is the 10-year timeline to get there really so unrealistic? Below are the three big challenges the industry needs to overcome to reach a state of total immersion by 2025, and a prognosis on the likelihood of success.

Taking Touch Beyond Hand in Glove

Many VR systems in development will offer advanced haptics in the form of gloves that could replicate a handshake, a high five or the shock of ripping a five iron at Pebble Beach. But these gloves only cover a small range of everyday tactile experiences. For total sensory immersion to be a reality, a full-body suit would be needed to supply subtle sensations like the wind in your hair or the temperature differential in terms of stepping from the shade into the midday sun. The concept of a full-body immersion suit already has a strong sci-fi reference point in Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel Ready Player One.

The closest we have to this vision right now is the Tesla Suit (no relation to Elon Musk’s electric sports car), which is a phenomenal piece of hardware, but remains a modular design and thus a partial full-body experience. However, given a decade of development, these suits could certainly be designed to replicate many of the sensory experiences the human body comes into contact with. It’s an ambitious vision, but given the existing capabilities, it is certainly within the realm of possibility.

Getting Tasty

So far so good, but touch might be the easy part. After “teleporting” to a new environment, what happens when you stroll into a coffee shop, grab a cup of Joe, and take a sip? Not much. Not only do you not get the fresh brewed smell, you don’t get the nutty coffee taste. Without this type of sensory immersion, the whole illusion falls flat and fails the teleportation test.


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The two intrinsically linked senses of taste and smell could prove the biggest hurdles for Facebook’s vision. With “smellovision,” there are tremendous advances already underway. Feelreal has developed an add-on to its virtual reality mask that offers over 20 distinct smells. Other headset manufacturers will surely enter the multisensory space, and the library of virtual odors on offer will grow exponentially over the next decade.

But taste goes beyond smell and offers a much larger challenge. The early stages of research of how taste can be replicated in virtual reality are underway. In 2013, a team from the National University of Singapore developed a “digital taste simulator” with silver electrodes that deliver sensations to the tongue, replicating sweet and salty. The researchers are even developing their interface into a digital lollipop.

Taking taste to the next level will involve moving beyond pure flavor and working in some of the innovation in haptics. It’s certainly feasible that within 10 years we’ll see a VR mouth piece that not only recognizes flavors but also textures and heat.

It might not seem immediately appealing to strap a series of nodes to your tongue, but people will likely feel more comfortable experimenting as their experiences with VR increase. Still, there’s a lot of work to do in this arena to make it a reality.

Keep on Moving

Those who’ve tried VR headsets will know that, even with the cordless variety, moving around can be perilous. Most systems use head movement, hand controllers, or eye tracking to achieve navigation, keeping the physical user stock still. This makes it difficult to become so immersed that you believe you are actually within a virtual world.

VR teleportation will require us to move freely within the virtual reality world, in the same way that we do in the real world – walking, running, jumping, crawling, climbing, etc. That’s more than possible to replicate pretty well within the headset visually, but how do you create a physical environment in the real world that keeps the “teleporter” safe as they rush across landscapes that exist before their eyes, but do not surround their actual physical body?

The development here will likely be in three stages.  First, omnidirectional treadmills that enable movement in any direction, allowing users to run or walk the full gamut of the experience. This could create experiences not dissimilar from the Holodeck in Star Trek. An early innovator here is Virtuix, with its “Omni,” designed for gaming.

Next would be a bridge stage where experiences are designed for standardized pre-fabricated rooms or environments. Imagine you can go to a facility in your hometown which provides a melded virtual and augmented reality experience with people all over the world who are in similar physical environments.  The live streaming capability to interact with other users in real time is already well developed, so creating physical spaces that allow users to have the same experience safely could be powerful. Curated VR experiences could become a big event industry as the progression to total immersion develops.

The final stage of development for uninhibited movement could be the mind-blowing tie in of 3D printing, with landscapes evolving around you as you move. Imagine the virtual world being created around you as you move through it and then removed and recycled. If virtual reality and 3D printing advance at the same speed and can dovetail, there’s no doubt that the cross of the two could create an unfathomably realistic “teleportation”-style experience. Likely, we’ll see people installing more complex, in-home VR for truly immersive experiences like this, while mobile head-mounted devices offer augmented reality and less immersive VR experiences on the go.

The challenges to meet the bold vision of a teleportation test laid out by Facebook’s Schroepfer are not insignificant, but it probably sounded just as hyperbolic for Kennedy to say in 1961 that they’d put a man on the moon within 10 years.

With close to a decade in hand, the teleportation vision is one that should inspire and ignite everybody working in the virtual reality field.

Endri Tolka is COO and cofounder of YouVisit.