Australia has one thing on most of the world: we get to ring in the new year before so many other places, and that means we have to do it in a pretty special way. Telstra thinks it has found that way, bringing in a dose of VR for anyone with a smartphone.
And since practically everyone has a smartphone, this opens the field right up for anyone keen to experience New Years in a different way, and that’s because Telstra is working with Google’s Cardboard to make a more immersive New Year’s Eve, while also offering 50 free SMS to Android and iOS (iPhone, iPad) owners.
“Telstra is thrilled to be collaborating with City of Sydney on one of the world’s most iconic New Year’s Eve events, providing global audiences with the opportunity to get into the heart of the action thanks to Telstra’s technology,” said Ben Cutler, General Manager of Brand Marketing at Telstra.
For the free SMS, Telstra is asking anyone keen to send them to set the 50 SMS up in the NYE app before 10pm on December 31, with the telco sending them on your behalf when midnight hits so you don’t run into the typical message clog networks tend to suffer from at the stroke of midnight.
As for the virtual reality side of things, the concept relies on a stream taken from cameras set up at key vantage points throughout Sydney, and after the clock strikes midnight, viewers will see a stream from those locations as if they were standing there with a 360 degree stream that your phone will pick up.
Taking advantage of the accelerometer in your phone, the app will allow you to spin around and look at Sydney as it crosses into 2015, seeing the fireworks and the people cheering as if you were standing there watching yourself.
Your phone can do this by itself, or you can pair it with a gadget called “Google Cardboard” which is a Google invention that takes cardboard, plastic lenses, velcro, and some magnets to create a budget virtual reality headset that takes its feed from a compatible phone.