One of the darlings of the Los Angeles' start-up scene is cashing in on a 1-billion payday -- a rise fueled by a disruptive business model and a series of offbeat viral ads. But this company does not traffic in virtual reality headsets, video games or disappearing messages. Its business, instead, focuses on one of mankind's oldest gadgets: razors. Dollar Shave Club's sale to consumer products titan Unilever, announced Monday, is the biggest acquisition ever of a venture-backed start-up in Los Angeles. And it's a vote of confidence in the city's start-up scene -- one that has quietly emerged as a hub for e-commerce.
Walking through the annual South by Southwest Interactive festival earlier this month, in Austin, you got the sense that one segment of the ever-optimistic U.S. tech industry was feeling particularly sunny. With Facebook just weeks away from launching the long-awaited consumer version of the Oculus Rift, which came out this Monday, virtual reality was clearly the belle of the ball. There were demonstrations everywhere, involving the usual suspects (Samsung, Google, cyber-pornographers) and a host of other brands. Budweiser offered V.R. tours of a brewery. McDonald's allowed guests to paint the inside of a virtual Happy Meal box.
Google's I/O developer conference has already begun in Mountain View, California. Among the things the technology giant first showcased at the event are the new features that are coming to the Google Maps app this year. The first new feature that's heading to Google Maps this summer is the "For You" section. It is designed to come up with personalized recommendations to users based on their interests. Google said the dedicated "For You" tab will present information about new restaurants opening nearby, trending spots and many more based on the places the users have rated and visited, MacRumors has learned.
On the 70th floor of the U.S. Bank building in downtown Los Angeles, a virtual reality camera crew took turns riding the Skyslide, the high-altitude tourist attraction that opened last year atop the city's tallest building. The several-second trip allows visitors to careen down a glass chute that is suspended a vertiginous 1,000 feet from the ground. With a compact VR rig in hand, the crew shot several trips down the slide, adjusting the settings on the eight-camera Nokia OZO to capture the right balance of morning light and adrenaline rush. The primary audience for this 3-D and 360-degree experience will be VR users in China, who producers hope will be intrigued enough to put down their headsets and hop on a plane to experience L.A. for real. As the VR industry looks to stoke user adoption, tourism has become a fertile field for content creators in Southern California and beyond.
This article is part of CMO.com's Industry Spotlight 2019 collection. Digital technology is advancing at breakneck speed--and it's putting pressure on businesses to produce new apps, tools, and technologies as they seek to compete in the digital economy. Not surprisingly, emerging technologies are at the center of this revolution. Artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and the Internet of Things (IoT) are unleashing enormous changes. Ditto for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), chatbots, image and voice recognition, advanced GPS, and analytics.