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Facebook plans Augmented-Reality sunglasses with EssilorLuxottica

Facebook Plans Augmented-Reality Sunglasses, for a 2021 Launch

Facebook Plans Augmented-Reality Sunglasses with fashion eye-wear maker EssilorLuxottica.   The new smart glasses could hit retail as early as 2021 according to the company’s annoucnements at its recent Facebook Connect conference.  The smart glasses will connect by wireless (Bluetooth?) to a nearby mobile phone and project an image of a mobile screen on the lenses.


To help Facebook in developing the augmented features for these smart glasses, Facebook employees will wear “Project Aria” eyeglasses in public starting this month.   While this eye-wear does not have augmented reality features (and are not available now for the public), these devices allow for capturing video, audio, eye-tracking and location data to be used in designing features for the smart eye-wear.


The many free-room location-based entertainment (“LBE”) companies coming to retail have been anticipating the arrival of quality “smart” eye-wear enhanced with augmented-reality capabilities.   Such smart eye-wear will allow all manner of immersive A/R experience and advertising for consumers.  As well, the A/R eye-wear will be able to deliver heads-up displays of local environmental and incoming communications updates in the same way that Air Force fighter pilots view such information on their cockpit windows.


A full review of the announcement of Facebook plans for augmented-reality sunglasses, is available at Mobile MarketerFacebook plans to sell AR-equipped smart glasses from Ray-Ban

Film Studios Development Consultants - SCP Experience

There Are 20+ New Film Studios in Development, Worldwide

Much of the development is occurring in the U.K., Canada, and in New York.

There are 20+ new film studios in development worldwide.   The slate of new production facilities is coming to market even as the global film industry copes with re-opening after the Covid-19 pandemic and the concurrent economic shutdown.


In fact, the number and scale of these new stages and production support venues may be at an all-time high for delivery of such facilities within a couple-year period.  As well, this surge of studio development arrives just as burgeoning content production has been overwhelming existing facilities.  In the following, we’re sure a few of these will lag due to financing and local land use approvals, but regardless, there’s a lot coming.


This new facility surge is primarily focused in the U.K., in Canada, and within the U.S., in the New York and New Jersey.  Many of these new film studios are coming to market as a direct result of visionary public officials seeking local economic development through creative repurposing of former warehouses, rail yards,  factories, and industrial buildings.


In the U.K., new film studios coming to market include Ashford International Studios (former Newton railway works site), Blackhall Studios (Reading), Dagenham Film Studios (at London East Business and Technical Park), OMA Film Studios (London), and Sky Studios (Elstree).  Mercian Studios (Birmingham) may also be on the horizon but does not appear to have a project site fully confirmed.    The Dagenham project may lag a bit with Pacifica Ventures having dropped out after being awarded the tender.


Over in Scotland, First Stage Studio (Port of Leith) now has a developer having won the tender by Screen Scotland for a repurposed site that has been used temporarily production of portions of the Disney/Marvel film, Avengers: Infinity War.


Among the largest new facilities coming to Canada are Martini Film Studios (Langley, BC) and Studio City Toronto (Ontario), and possibility, along with First Studio City (Markham) and Aeon Studio Group’s Hamilton Studio District.


In New York and New Jersey, newly-arriving film studios include Lionsgate Studios (Yonkers)), Netflix New York (Brooklyn), Sunset Park (Bush Terminal), Robert De Niro’s Wildflower Film Studio (Queens), as well as in New Jersey – Caven Point Studios (Jersey City) and the Industry Go facilities also in Jersey City.


A full list of the 20+ new film studios in development is provided in the Global Directory of Film Studios at the link below, along with a roll call of existing facilities worldwide.

Sports mega-complexes the new multi-purpose anchor

Sports Mega-Complexes are a Flexible Anchor; a New Kind of Gathering Place

SCP’s Projects Tracking & Monitoring


Sports mega-complexes (“SMC’s”) are a flexible new anchor for private and public sector projects.   The term “sports mega-complexes” refers to facilities that include playing fields (and surfaces), practice facilities, and support amenities, for more than one sport as part of a single integrated complex.   Sports mega-complexes can be outdoor, indoor, or a combination of both.


The coming generation of sports mega-complexes will pull from an array of “best practices” culled from like-kind venues.  Consider, the real estate industry has already grown accustomed to fitness venues situated within shopping centers.    Communities and private developers have now made the case for sports mega-complexes.   Some family entertainment center (FEC) operators have brought elements of both place-products within their facilities.   Even elements of so-called “recreation adventure parks” are adaptable and worthy for a role in sports mega-complexes.


All of the above place-products are adaptable to relatively horizontal suburban and exurban locations, as well as more dense (vertical) urban settings.    The best mix of activities for a particular location is a matter of consumer demand and preferences in a local market.   Given the variation possible with the place-product, sports mega-complexes are a flexible anchor for consideration in a variety of real estate settings – malls, mixed-use, town centers, and of course, standalone community center locations.


Some examples past and present include Cocov Destinations’ repurposing of Summit Mall in Niagara Falls, to form the Niagara International Sports & Entertainment (NISE) complex.  Cocov has not only slated indoor and outdoor sports at NISE but has an adjoining outdoor soccer and baseball playing fields complex in planning.


Another very different example, Sport Center Las Vegas (1998), was a terrific new place-product that happened to be developed at a poor location, but included both indoor and outdoor sports and entertainment in a themed setting;  some nice ideas worthy of consideration for upcoming developments.

Sports Mega-Complex the new Anchor?
real estate expert witness - Global Real Estate Consultants

Sovereign Wealth Funds Get Their Test in 2020, Aiding in Covid-19 Pandemic Relief

To be sure, sovereign wealth funds (“SWF’s”) have gotten their test so far, in 2020.  As the COVID-19 pandemic has decimated the global economy, country economic downturns have created possible calls for draws on SWF reserves.  As well, the economic troubles have also hit the investment returns of many of these SWF’s, reducing the projected (hoped for) enhancement of portfolio asset values.   Such a time.


Norway’s GPFG has reported a negative return (loss) of -3.4% for the first half of 2020, a loss of $21.3 billion.   Bahrain’s will draw $450 million from its FGRF sovereign fund to provide funds for the state’s general budget.   New Zealand’s Superannuation Fund managed to achieve a 1.73% return for the year ending June 30, 2020, although since the fund’s inception it has returned an impressive 9.63% per annum.  Iran is using its SWF funds to stabilize Tehran stock exchange.


Generally speaking, these SWF’s were formed over the years to capture current wealth for use by future generations.   A great many of the funds were literal monetization transfer methods, where a portion of national oil and gas revenue (wealth) has been transferred into a country SWF.  Investment from any particular SWF have first been intended to build these reserves for the benefit of those to come.


For 2020, the existence of these SWF’s has been a helpful resource to provide funds at an unusually critical time, to stabilize national economies.    Tapping into held sovereign funds for “rainy day” purposes was always a possibility, but not a welcomed eventuality.  Norway will withdraw a record $37.72 billion from its SWF to address Pandemic impacts to the nation’s budget, and intends asset sales as part of this withdrawal.  Indeed, sovereign wealth funds have had their test in 2020.


Looking forward to the balance of 2020, we shall see how the 2020 pandemic impacts new SWF formations, in Indonesia, Oman, Israel, Mozambique, and South Africa, among other nations.   Within the U.S. and Canada, our many indigenous sovereign Native / First Nations are also facing particular financial stress this year, with operating asset revenues significantly down and available reserves at risk.  In discussions about SWF’s, these sovereign Native / First Nation tribes and pueblos are often neglected.


SWF formation has seen significant activity over the past decade, with just under 100 new national SWF’s getting their start.

Sovereign Wealth Funds Get Their Test in 2020
Most U.S. Halloween Attractions Will Operate this season.

Most U.S. Halloween Attractions Will Operate, Among Top 100

AEC’s Consumer Products Monitor


Most U.S. Halloween attractions will operate this season, according to a survey of the top 100 highly-ranked Halloween attractions in the U.S.  In fact, many have already commenced operations for the season, albeit with careful safety and distancing protocols given the COVID-19 pandemic.


The survey of attractions noted when each of these top annual offerings were established, which for many may be a surprise.  Most of the popular Halloween attractions in each region were established many years ago, indicating their substantial role in what is an $8.8 billion industry (2019).  CNN reported in 2019 that 172 million celebrated the Halloween season.   Given the contribution of this popular consumer out-of-home activity, it is not surprising that most of these U.S. Halloween attractions will operate this season.


The national survey was completed by The Horror Company for AEC’s Consumer Products Monitor.  Attractions were identified based upon the research team’s personal experience at various attractions, along with ratings from popular Halloween, horror, and haunt websites which review such seasonal attractions.

Themed Entertainment Consultants - The Horror Company product line - Halloween attractions that will operate this season.
A haunted hayride themed attraction in early ideation; a product of AEC's The Horror Company.
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