first_imgOne company trying to solve this is Limitless, which offers artists and directors an in-VR animation and scene development kit. Users can position animation points, set pieces, and actions all from within the VR space they’re creating. This means that when a set piece is added to a room, the user immediately sees what it looks like in VR, rather than having to go through a build and test process.Limitless was founded by former Pixar employee Tom Sanocki. Pixar focuses heavily on storytelling, and that’s exactly what Sanocki said he hoped to enable with Limitless. He said that his tool allowed a team to build a 10-minute interactive VR story in four months, a significantly shorter period than using traditional tools.What works and what doesn’tWhile that will definitely help developers get their experiences to market faster, it remains to be seen if that market is truly worthwhile. Sony’s Playstation VR system has been selling well, said the company, but other companies’ VR offerings aren’t flying off the shelves.There are some clear reasons for this, however. First of all, Playstation VR simply works with a Playstation 4, and requires no extra hardware. Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive both require a fairly burly PC with modern hardware inside, raising the barrier to entry far above the US$600 to $800 price-tag for the goggles alone.Another sticking point is that the Xbox One’s own VR offering, tied to the Oculus Rift headset, requires users to buy a brand new Xbox One console; the original cannot be used with the Oculus Rift.Still, VR manufacturers are not deterred. Rikard Steiber, president of Viveport and senior vice president of virtual reality at HTC, believes the real path to growth involves more outreach to consumers. This is likely to involve VR arcades, he said. Such VR shops would provide users with a pay-by-the-hour VR experience, and Viveport will even offer rental options and commercial licenses for software to foster these parlors.This is because, he said, when the public gets its hands on VR, it’s always exciting and popular. The big trick is getting people to try it out for the first time. He said that prices for headsets and equipment will certainly fall over time, but right now, the challenge is a market education problem.For VR developers (according to Damon Hernandez, 3D web and immersive technology developer for Samsung), mobile devices and WebVR are the platforms of the future for VR developers. He cited the ease of distribution and forthcoming support by major software players as the draw to WebVR.“If you’re a developer and you want to make money,” said Hernandez, “go for what everybody already has. The writing is on the wall: Facebook is having WebVR talks, Google is going [in] that direction, Samsung is going in that direction. The Web is the platform for content delivery. This year, is it worth it to ship a product on that? No, but it will be stable this year, and if you want to release in Q1, Q2 or Q3 of 2018, start looking at it now.” In years past at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, VR has been the thing of secret behind-closed-doors demos, and long lines for the peons. It was enough to have the hardware and a single demo to show it off, and you’d have lines around the booth.But this year, VR is just another platform among the many that developers must consider when building a new application. Between mobile devices, consoles, handhelds and desktops, the marketplace is as vibrant as ever, and the blunt realities of the business have led to something of dearth of content for various VR platforms. Put succinctly: There is no killer app.(Related: Microsoft releases Mixed Reality dev kits)While VR is by no means an understood concept from an interface perspective, the devices have nonetheless shipped and are thus driving sales. Developers are now able to see what’s working thanks to user feedback. In fact, many of the VR developers at GDC cited application discovery as the single greatest advantage of being in the space. Fewer competitors means that the VR games market is almost the exact opposite of the mobile market in every way. That is to say, it’s small. Fewer games, fewer buyers, fewer developers, and fewer noise to be heard over. That, however, is a recipe for small returns on big risks, something most companies wish to avoid.Such was the case for the team behind VR Invaders, a game developed by Russian game company My.com. Instead of betting big on VR, My.com’s development team formed and built their game a year ago in an agile fashion. Now that it’s been in the market for a full year, however, they’ve updated it for free to version 2.0, which implements advice from its player base.This is a somewhat different course for game development houses, which typically spend years working on a single project and then leave it for the next game as soon as it ships. Instead, when it comes to VR, the small size of the current hardware footprint in the marketplace seems to reward developers who release something simple and grow it through community feedback.Elsewhere in the VR scene, the pipeline is still hampering developer progress. Ikrima Elhassan, cofounder of VR game developer Kite and Lightning, said that building 3D art for VR is a painful process that requires slow handoffs between his company’s 3D art tools, the Unreal Engine, and the physical gear used to play the game. Because the process requires pouring art into the 3D engine and then outputting a new binary just to check if it works at all, development within the VR market can be a slow process reminiscent of the days when builds took hours.last_img read more

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first_imgWe are entering a new stage of app development. While, until now, requirements for architecture were left to the discretion of companies, developers and their target audiences, recent legal changes in the European Union and the United States have brought a new player to the table: regulations. Most notably, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a much-needed update to 20-year-old legislation that also enshrines into law groundbreaking new principles that were until recently only the talk of policy circles. Taking a bold stand for individual privacy, the GDPR limits what data processors and data controllers can do with the information they collect and gives EU data subjects unique rights, such as the ability to revoke consent for data processing or request that their data be erased. The GDPR places all responsibility for data protection firmly on the shoulders of businesses and holds them accountable in the eyes of the law for any data breaches and leaks that may occur. The fines the regulation imposes for non-compliance are no joke: up to US$24 million or 4 percent of a company’s global annual turnover, whichever is higher. But there is one stipulation in the GDPR that directly affects developers: Apps from now on should be built with data protection by design. What this essentially means is that, while until now the decision concerning the level of security of an app or service was left in the hands of the company or the development team building it, under the GDPR, it will be mandatory for security features protecting data to be included into the design, from the first stages of the development process. In truth, when it comes to applications, security has always taken a back seat to features more likely to boost a product’s user-friendliness and saleability, such as  attractive UIs, enhanced tools, unique features, etc. It was – and still is — considered more important for a product to be appealing rather than secure. In its 2017 Application Security Statistics Report, WhiteHat Security reported that almost half of all applications are vulnerable on every single day of the year. From the 13 industries it looked at, the report found that approximately 60 percent of applications in the Utilities, Education, Accommodations, Retail, and Manufacturing sectors are always vulnerable.With most applications requesting access to personal information and requiring in-app payments, it’s no surprise the GDPR has decided to dedicate an entire article to adding new data protection standards to the development process.The challenges to boosting app securityAccording to WhiteHat Security’s report, most organizations are unable to resolve the vulnerabilities found in their applications. This means that it’s not so much a matter of choice that they decide to forego security features, but that their development teams lack the necessary skills to add them to their applications. Security is, after all, a niche unto itself. Specialized personnel are needed to accurately apply security guidelines and compliance profiles. Companies are thus faced with two choices: to hire security engineers or to train their own developers and familiarize them with best security practices. Both options imply high costs and neither ensures success. On the one hand, security engineers are few and far between and there’s no guarantee a company will easily find and hire one, let alone a team. On the other hand, although developers may be taught the finer points of secure app development, the chances are high that they will only be able to create basic or subpar security features in the applications they build. There is also the issue of maintenance. Security is never a one-off affair. It’s not enough for security to be added in the development phase. Protection profiles have to be constantly updated to the latest requirements and new features have to be added as new threats, attacks and vulnerabilities are discovered. This means a lot of extra work for developers. So how can companies efficiently build their applications to include data protection by design while keeping costs down? A third option, provided by technology, has begun emerging in recent years: cybersecurity APIs.Rise of the data loss prevention APIsGiven the mounting pressure to secure applications and prevent data leaks and theft, it is no wonder that cybersecurity APIs have started being developed — with giants like Google and Amazon leading the way.After first adding DLP features to Gmail in 2015 and then extending them to the entire G Suite, Google launched its Cloud Data Loss Prevention (DLP) API in fall 2017, with the aim of helping organizations protect and regulate sensitive data. Aimed at developers, it can be integrated with external data sources and used to scan large datasets in Google Cloud Storage, Datastore, and BigQuery.Amazon took things further by adding Macie to its offering, a DLP service for AWS S3 that uses machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) to identify, classify, monitor and protect sensitive information. Built using the AI-based algorithms developed by startup Harvest.ai, which Amazon acquired last year, Amazon Macie acts as an alerting engine, but that, integrated with other Amazon services, can automatically respond to incidents and apply remediation actions.At the same time, veterans of the information security sector have extended their product lines to include APIs with a strong focus on DLP and compliance policies. Aiming to broaden DLP APIs’ capabilities, products such as sensitivity.io and CloudLock offer more diverse implementation methods, moving beyond cloud storage, towards local native SDKs and Security as a Service. They also provide integration options for everything from apps to popular infrastructures, clouds and services.DLP APIs eliminate both the need for companies to invest in additional staff or training as well as the man-hours needed to maintain applications’ security features. Cybersecurity APIs can ensure compliance with regulations such as GDPR, GLBA, HIPAA and the like, while constantly adding new features and policies depending on how the regulations themselves are updated or changed.  Towards data protection by defaultSecurity is now a mandatory aspect of app development for anyone falling under the incidence of the GDPR. Companies will have to be able to prove that data protection features were added to their applications during development for any new product built after the regulation comes into force on May 25. This can be done through the guidance of security engineers or through the use of cybersecurity APIs that both hold the necessary expertise to correctly enact these policies at app level.  Nor should companies that need not worry about the EU’s new regulation ignore security. Any popular app, especially one whose vulnerabilities can be easily exploited, is one eager cybercriminal away from being compromised and the company behind it can lose all credibility and a significant number of users overnight. In the age of endless exploits, data trafficking and websites dedicated to leaks, data protection’s place will no longer be only on company networks and computers, but at the very heart of all applications and services.last_img read more

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