LiquidVR: The Present and Future of VR and AR SDKs

LiquidVR is an SDK designed to make it easier to for developers to create virtual reality software.

LiquidVR and the SDK

AMD, the chip manufacturer, is also the company behind LiquidVR.

According to their website, LiquidVR is intended to make VR comfortable and realistic by maintaining “what’s know as ‘presence’ – a state of immersive awareness where situations, objects, or characters within the virtual world seem ‘real.’”

The stumbling block to maintaining this presence, they say, is overcoming motion-to-photon latency. If it takes more than 10 milliseconds for the hardware and software to catch up with a user’s movements, then the illusion of immersion will be destroyed.

As you might imagine, VR requires immense processing power, which makes AMD an ideal candidate to fuel this platform.

They presented their platform at GDC 2015 in San Francisco. According to one of the AMD reps, you don’t need to use the Oculus SDK at all. You can simply “plug an Oculus Rift into a computer and start 3D rendering directly into the headset.”

Most of the time PCs will recognize Oculus as another monitor. But the LiquidVR SDK is designed to deliver a seamless plug-and-play VR experience: simply plug in an Oculus Rift and the computer recognizes it as a VR headset.

Ultimately, says Raja Koduri, the company’s graphics CTO, AMD wants to drive virtual reality to photo realism. This, of course, will mean “full sensory integration,” scalable, CPUs, GPUs, and more. 

According to Koduri, successful VR immersion means adherence to two essential principles: don’t break presence and “if your CPU and GPU can’t keep up, you throw up.”

AMD has many more plans in the works. They hinted not only at VR and gaming, but pointed out that VR will also have applications in education, medicine, simulations and training, and big data visualization.

There are also rumors of collaboration with HTC and Valve on the Vive headset, but details are still forthcoming. And most of these developments are still a ways away.

How LiquidVR Tackles Latency

Virtual reality has been around for 20 years, but it has yet to hit the mainstream. And this is why there are still plenty of skeptics who are hesitant to invest resources into the industry.

As mentioned, one big obstacle to this widespread adoption is latency: if it doesn’t feel real, then you won’t be immersed. And if the lag is too great, you might “throw up,” as Koduri put it.

Magic Leap’s CEO, Rony Abovitz, criticized VR technology for this very reason. He was blunt about his disdain for VR: “The worst thing going on right now is stereoscopic 3-D systems.” He went on to criticize technology such as Microsoft’s HoloLens.

In the past, Oculus has openly acknowledged these motion-sickness problems.

And AMD’s LiquidVR system is one potential solution to the problem.

It presents a variety of features aimed at removing “motion-to-photon” latency:

●  Latest Data Latch – This is designed for efficient GPU head-tracking. The two GPUs, which are present in each goggle, retrieve, or latch, the “latest data at the moment it needs to use that data.”

●  Asynchronous Shaders – By simultaneously using Asynchronous Compute Engines in Graphics Core Next architecture, LiquidVR can process VR images in parallel with rendering. This minimizes latency and reduces juddering.

●  Affinity Multi-GPU – This assigns one GPU to each goggle. It minimizes CPU overhead and reduces latency more than previous techniques such as alternate frame rendering – which could cause latency between each eye.

●  Direct-to-Display – With an AMD Radeon graphics card, the headset will gain direct application control, no matter who built the headset.

While new API advances have also been announced, such as DirectX 12 and OpenGL, AMD will currently be enabled only through DirectX11.

Upcoming Developments in the VR World

The AR and VR industries are both moving quite quickly, as can be seen from the surge in tech investments:

●  Microsoft debuted the Microsoft HoloLens, which impressed almost everyone…except the CEO of Magic Leap.

●  Facebook paid $2 billion to acquire Oculus last year. And it’s no secret that they are building virtual reality social media apps.

●  Apple has been sitting on VR headset patents for years. And at the end of last year, rumors swirled about potential VR developments when Apple posted job listings for VR programmers.

●  Google Glass has already been around for a while. And their enormous investment in the AR company Magic Leap makes it clear they will be a big player in the AR/VR space.

●  There are plenty of cheap smartphone-based VR headsets hitting the market, which will only increase adoption speed. Google Cardboard is one popular example, and a 3D-printable design has even been released.

●  And as AMD jumps on board the VR bandwagon with LiquidVR, it’s becoming obvious that the whole landscape is heating up.

 

While VR technology has a ways to go before current hardware can catch up, LiquidVR is clearly making major strides. As many new companies enter the marketplace, the VR industry will only continue to grow.

At this rate, 2015 may become known as the Year of VR. 

Software Monetization Guidelines 2014

Software <a ” target=”_blank”>monetization guidelines aren’t designed to help you get rich quick, though that sometimes happens. These guidelines will help guide you toward a sustainable monetization strategy.

Though these guidelines are designed with software developers in mind, if you follow the essence of these guidelines, they can also be applied to mobile apps and even blogs.

The Real Picture

The reality is that software and apps probably aren’t a one-way ticket to financial freedom. It happens occasionally, but there’s a lot of competition out there. The vast majority of software revenue goes to a small percent of developers, and that will probably never change.

That being said, when you do things right, you can turn your software into passive revenue generators. If you launch your software effectively, it can continue to operate and earn income for you while you move on to your next project.

If at first you don’t succeed, don’t get discouraged – just read our blog.

Build Traffic

You need a marketing arm that includes a website, at least one social media account, paid advertising, and perhaps some affiliate marketing thrown in for good measure.

Traffic equals users, and the more users you

have the

easier it will be to monetize your software.

If you’re new to

software monetization

, then brace yourself for small

conversion

numbers. It takes lots of visitors to get only a few click-throughs and downloads.

Assume for the moment that you’re using advertising to power your software; you’ll need to know that an even smaller number of users will click-through any advertising.

Promote with Mobile

Ads power the internet, from Google and Bing to Facebook and Twitter. Ads help you build your traffic, brand awareness, and

audience

. These all build revenue.

When you promote with ads, you’ll want to find out where your audience spends their time. These days, most people spend their time on mobile devices. Soon, over half of all searches will be mobile.

This means you need to – at the very least – include mobile as one of your major advertising and marketing channels. Find out which network is appropriate for your target audience and use it. Additionally, your website should be responsive or adaptive so that users stick around to read about your product.

Mobile

spend

is increasing year over year, so even if you’re developing a desktop product, you’ll want to target mobile.

Analyze Traffic

How are you marketing your software? Through an app store, software directory, or pay-per-install programs?

Track the number of downloads your program gets. If you’re using a pay-per-install program, track your customer’s journey. Find out what they like and add more value to that.

The internet is chock-full of metrics, so you can track your customers through software directories, websites, app stores, pay-per-download networks, affiliate programs, advertising programs, and so on and so forth.

Focus on Optimization

The common wisdom tells you to “create value first,” but once you’ve got value, it’s all about the numbers. Analytics give you those numbers and tell you something more important: what users want.

The best way to earn loyalty is by selling users what they

want but

giving them what they need. A user may want to get rich quick, but what they need is a solid monetization plan, so you sell them a get-rich plan that works practically.

Don’t compromise your product’s value with poor advertising or over-optimization. Instead, realize that your numbers tell you how you can adjust and optimize your product to provide users with a more palatable product. You can still provide the same quality – just adjust the appearance so that your conversions increase, your customer base builds, and your revenue goes up.

Allocate Wisely

No one has infinite resources, so at a certain point, you’ve got to choose. Where do you put your money and time? Building traffic with advertising? Optimizing your current funnels? Improving the quality of your product?

The call can be tough to make, but if you must make a decision, choose

traffic

. You are always free to improve your product and your funnels later on, but if you’re not getting traffic, you’re not getting money.

This can be a tough decision to make, because many developers take pride in their work and don’t want to put out an inferior product. But without incoming traffic, you won’t have anyone to look at your software updates.

Allocate your resources in that order:

1. Traffic Building

2. Product Improvement

3. Funnel Improvement

Why does product improvement come second? Simple. Your product quality dictates how long your users will stick around. In other words, quality products

creates

quality customers.

Improving your funnel through analytics, funnel customization, advertising optimization, and marketing adjustments will help boost the numbers of your existing conversions.

But that only comes after you’ve got a valuable product and an engaged customer base.

What is Software Distribution?

Developing software is one thing, but getting software into the hands of your users is something else entirely. When we talk about software distribution, are we talking about deployment, installation, marketing and dissemination, or the actual process and logistics of delivery?

What is Software Distribution?

There are a couple of definitions of “software distribution,” which can be a little confusing at first. One definition refers to a version or iteration of a software package, such as a Linux distribution – e.g., Ubuntu or Mint.

When used as a verb, however, software distribution just means getting your application into the hands of the user. This process involves several steps, including packaging, delivery, and installation.

Packaging

The efficiency of the deployment process depends greatly on the installer that is used. Good installers can accelerate downloads, decrease deployment time, and enhance the end user’s experience. In the same vein as Software-as-a-Service, third-party installation services often aid app developers who need a distribution solution. InstallFuel, for instance, allows developers to use their installer to distribute, deploy, and install a software package.

Benefits of Third Party Distribution Solutions

Software distribution may seem simple at first glance, but as the internet and the world of technology grows in complexity, so does the development and distribution process. App developers who use third-party distribution solutions can take advantage of a pre-existing digital distribution platform, which can target appropriate users with a customized, branded distribution package.

Packages such as InstallFuel simplify the software distribution process and often help you reach a larger network of users. This means that you can focus on your core business, while the third-party installer helps you reach high-quality, highly targeted end-users.

Another major benefit of such products is the monetization potential. People who ask the question, “What is software distribution?” are usually told that software distribution is getting an application into the hands of the end-user, and that’s true. But this definition ignores the possibility for monetization, and money is why we’re in this business. The distribution phase is a perfect opportunity for software publishers to monetize their software.

Beyond Deployment

There are plenty of resources online that describe deployment mechanics and the logistics of software distribution, version control, and planning the how-to side of things.

But any software publisher who wants to make money on their product should be thinking about more than just how to “get software into the hands of your user.” Software distribution certainly includes the logistics of packaging and installation, but it pays to think about ways to increase your audience. Enhancing your distribution to a larger audience has added benefits, such as increased brand exposure and increased revenue.

Another way to get your software into the hands of more users is through bundling your app as part of a suite of apps. By working with other parties, you can share audiences, which means more exposure, more sales, and more potential for revenue. And that brings us to one of the most important facets of distribution: promotion.

Increase Distribution with Marketing

Assuming you have the logistics handled, and assuming you have figured out a way to monetize your app, then the next step is to get more people to download and use your software. As mentioned, bundling your app into a package can help with both of those angles, but you’ll certainly want to maximize your exposure even more, if possible.

Good old-fashioned advertising is one of the best ways to increase your app’s visibility. This has some definite benefits, since you can get your app noticed quickly, and drive lots of traffic with properly placed ads. If your app has a good monetization system in place and you advertise appropriately, you can turn a profit pretty quickly. However, advertising’s not always an easy game to play, and costs for certain keywords can be expensive and competitive.

Content marketing, such as developing SEO-friendly web content or social media content geared towards your target audience, can be a cheaper way of establishing authority online and building relationships with your audience. Content is a good long-term asset that keeps on giving. The downside is that it’s a slower process and doesn’t always get you the same level of exposure as advertising.

If you charge for your software, joining an affiliate network can be a great way to get others to promote your product for you. Offer a high commission to entice affiliates to help you distribute your product, which will increase your exposure and user base. If you don’t charge for your product, put it up on all the major software directories, which also helps increase exposure.

There are plenty of other ways to monetize and enhance your distribution phase. It often requires thinking outside the box.

When you ask yourself, “What is software distribution?”  you should not only be asking yourself how to deploy efficiently, you should also ask how you can monetize, increase exposure, and add to your user base.

There are plenty of smart installers and third-party distribution networks that can help with both.

Top 5 Ways to Make Money with Software

Every developer aims to make money with software, but how do you do it? Fortunately, there are several ways to monetize anything. None of these monetization methods are very difficult.

And they can be mixed and matched to meet your needs and your revenue goals. Some work better for mobile apps and some work better for desktop, while some work just as well for both.

1. Freemium

The freemium model of advertising is one of the most common forms of monetization. This monetization method also goes by the name of “in-app purchases.”

It works like this: you offer your software or app for free, but with limited features. Users that want access to extra features must pay to access those features.

Games use this quite frequently and very successfully. Gamers who want certain power-ups, for example, may purchase those extras for real money.

This allows developers to distribute software for free, which vastly increases the number of downloads. But developers still make money in the process. Though turning freebie-seekers into paying customers can be tricky, the effort often pays for itself in dividends.

2. In-App Advertising

This is another common monetization model, which you’re probably familiar with. Ads are placed inside apps, either on a piece of the screen real estate or between screens (interstitial ads).

These ads earn income per thousand views or per click. Revenue then varies based on the ad network, the type of ad being displayed, the audience, and so forth.

This monetization method is second in popularity to the freemium model. And these two methods are sometimes combined: users can pay to remove ads, for instance.

To earn money with in-app or in-software advertising, you need a lot of users for your app. A larger percentage of users end up converting on advertisements than on freemium upgrades, but the revenue per conversion is less.  

3. Paid Products

With so many free apps and software programs online, it’s hard to get people to purchase an app. Customers who will spend five dollars on a latte won’t spend two dollars on an app. And, chances are, you’ll be competing against an app that’s free or freemium.

When you’ve got the clout, marketing resources, or market share, however, this is a top monetization strategy. If, for example, you’re the only company offering a niche product, then charging for the product may make sense. Also, if your company already has a reputation and a solid following, you may be able to charge for a piece of software or an app.

Game sequels or high-quality products are examples of software programs that may benefit from this approach.

4. Pay-Per-Install

Pay-per-install is trending as one of the most effective advertising, distribution, and monetization methods.

This approach is ideal for making money with software that’s distributed on desktop platforms. CodeFuel’s InstallFuel, for instance, supports Windows and Mac OS X. There are also options for mobile developers.

To monetize with a pay-per-install program, you integrate your software with a smart installer. The best smart installers aren’t just scripts, however, they’re full platforms that allow you to customize the installer to meet your needs.

You can tailor the look and feel of an installer, pick and choose the products you promote and advertise your own software through the network’s partners. Analytics gives you a 360-degree view of downloads, conversions, and more.

5. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing isn’t just for websites. Developers can design software and apps around affiliate deals. This can be one of the most lucrative ways to make money from an app or software program. But it can also be challenging and limiting.

In other words, if you want to develop a software program and earn money from affiliate deals, you’ll need to design your software for that purpose.

Travel apps and websites are good examples of programs that use affiliate marketing to earn money. Websites such as Orbitz and apps such as Hipmunk are simple travel programs, but each sale earns developers a commission.

As you can probably guess, this can be a virtual cash machine once it’s up and running. But it’s also tough to integrate it with a pre-made software program or app. A language-learning app or video game may be better suited to in-app advertising or a freemium model.

These are the top five monetization models, though there are other creative methods of earning revenue, such as selling analytics or code. Subscription models, when implemented properly, can also be a lucrative method of earning revenue.

The major benefit of all these models is that they operate relatively independently. Once you have an app up and running, you only need to tweak your monetization program and update your app from time to time. Developers can stack up to their apps over the long run: the more apps you release, the more money you’ll make.

CodeFuel – How to Monetize Software

It’s exciting times at CodeFuel. Not only have we just launched our brand new look website, but we are also proud to release our new monetization video.

The video starts with the question: “What on earth is monetization?” and then quickly takes you on a whirlwind ride showing you how to monetize software or apps.

On top of trying to be the next Steven Spielberg, we at CodeFuel have been busy redesigning our website, which includes a new logo, new look, and feel, as well as lots of new information from the industry’s leading software monetization platform.

Our website includes a new How it Works section, explaining just how we can help you can make money with your software. This section includes information on how simple it is to monetize your app or software. Simply, sign up at CodeFuel and one of our monetization experts will be in touch to discuss your business needs.

Once you have selected your preferred monetization solution our tech team will guide you through the simple integration process. Then once deployed, you’ll receive monthly payments. CodeFuel offers a range of business models including  Pay Per Install and Revenue Sharing.

Software Monetization Solutions

CodeFuel provides software monetization solutions for developers, publishers and advertisers worldwide, empowering digital businesses to make more revenue from installs, traffic, display ads, and search.

Our suite of free monetization solutions includes InstallFuel, a smart installer that offers targeted recommendations during installation, and MobileFuel, a new set of monetization solutions for Android app developers – including in-app search feeds that can be easily integrated to fit apps.

SearchFuel is a range of customizable search boxes and other search-based monetization tools. CodeFuel’s search tools are enhanced by its long-term relationships with major search engine providers including Microsoft’s Bing, with which Perion recently signed a new three-year agreement.

Monetize, Optimize, and Analyze

If all this wasn’t enough, the new site also boasts a new cloud-based Control Center that serves as an analytics hub for developers, providing detailed data on revenue, traffic, and installs, as well as real-time reports and A/B testing.

The Control Center also features an updated user interface, revenue analysis, and performance by applications, customizable dashboards, and a campaign manager feature to optimize product inventory and manage capabilities.

Software Marketing Strategies for Beginners

In some ways, software marketing strategies are the same as any other marketing strategies. You have to know what problem your solving, get to know your audience, and proclaim your product loud and clear for the whole world to hear.

But with software, you’ve got access to a few other advertising channels and tactics that aren’t necessarily available to those outside of the technology industry.

When developing your software marketing strategies, you’ll want to first develop a plan that covers all the bases: SEO and SEM, social media marketing, advertising, directories, and affiliate marketing. Instead of talking in theory, we’ll walk through a checklist that every budding developer can use to promote their products.

If you’ve just built your first app, then you can walk through this list to develop your software marketing strategies. If you’ve already gotten started with your marketing, take a quick look at this list to see if you’ve got everything checked off.

Build a Website

If your product is a simple tool or small app, then even a free WordPress blog will do. Most likely, however, you’re planning on a future as a developer, and you’ll want to purchase a .com domain.

This will serve as the online home base for your software program. In all likelihood, you’ll want to develop more apps or programs in the future, so choose a site that’s focused on your business name.

Prep Your Product for Distribution

Planning your advertising channels and payment method is key. Do you want to use a smart installer such as InstallFuel? Will you integrate advertising into the product itself? Will you charge for the product? Will you offer a free trial?

To find out the answer to these questions, check out what your competitors are doing. Find out what comparable products are doing and assume that they’ve tested their way into that position. Calculate how many resources you’re able to devote to marketing. The more resources you’ve got, the better you can position yourself in the market. The higher the perceived value of your product, the more likely it is you’ll be able to charge for it.

To find out the best advertising channels for your product, you’ll want to get to know your audience, find out where they spend time online, and find out how they like to be advertised to. The best way to do this is to talk to them.

Talk to Your Niche

Marketing means talking to your customers through forums, blogs, and the media. Larger products deserve press releases, and you can always contact tech blogs and relevant niche blogs to see if they’ll help with advertising, interviews, or articles about your product.

Media coverage is big business: it helps with publicity, SMM, SEM, SEO, and acts as advertising for your product or brand.

Distribution Platforms, Directories, and Monetization

Monetization, of course, is one of the major concerns for all developers and software publishers. As mentioned above, comparable products will give you an idea of how you can monetize and distribute your product.

Use freemium models, software directories, and distribution platforms to your advantage. Full-service monetization solutions, such as CodeFuel’s product suite give you access to a complete toolbox that extends your marketing reach and offers a complete monetization strategy.

Funnelize

All marketing and sales should be considered a funnel. On one side you have the customers, at varying degrees of awareness about your product and their own needs, and on the other side you have your product. The goal is to move them through this funnel toward the conversion. Ideally, they will become lifelong customers who contribute to your business over the long term.

Marketing is a never-ending story. Ongoing tweaks and adjustments to your marketing and sales funnel will help you improve your conversions. Data you collect from the funnel will help you connect with your customers and better understand their needs. Data you collect from your program will help you tailor your product more effectively. This information, in turn, can help you improve your marketing efforts.

Rinse and Repeat

Once you’ve got your first product and marketing funnel, it’s time to connect it to your next product with a product funnel. When you have multiple products, you can advertise these to your existing customer base from inside your product, on your website, and during installation. Chain-link your products together like a fence to get more loyal customers. Loyal customers can help spread the word about your product and build your brand over time.

This checklist covers the basics for all those beginning software marketers out there. It may seem complicated, but it’s pretty straightforward once you get the hang of it. All you need to do is go down the list and start checking off the items!