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Reggae Sumfest organisers Josef Bogdanovich (second right), Robert Russell (right) and Johnny Gourzong (second left) pose with Royalton White Sand's Andre Hudson (left) and Stayce Ingram during the event's launch party at the Iberostar in Montego Bay last Wednesday night.
Miss Kitty. - Contributed
From left: Print sponsors The Gleaner's Kristina Hylton and Adrian Frater pose with Iberostar's Tamika Higgins-Baker. 
Yanique 'Curvy Diva' Barrett

Reggae Sumfest set to make a 360 virtual reality turn

The revolutionary Reggae Sumfest 360° Live App is now available in the Google Play for Android and iOS Apple stores for download. The app is the first of its kind in Jamaica.

The much-talked-about 360° app enables global access to Reggae Sumfest 2016 performance nights on Friday, July 22 and Saturday, July 23. Viewers can immerse themselves in the festival from various points of view, including stage, front row and back stage. The app also gives exclusive access to the innovative 'Party Cam'.

App users can 'spin around' and see everything that is going on around them from that vantage point. The technology works with the built-in screen on most mobile phones and it works with the optional virtual reality (VR) headsets that are commercially available. While great for offsite viewers, the app also gives patrons unprecedented access to exclusive areas. In effect, everyone can have a front row seat to 'The Greatest Reggae Festival on Earth'.

Media pioneer Sepp Donahower and Yellow Bird developed the revolutionary Reggae Sumfest 360° Live cross-platform app.

"There is no textbook on how a 360° virtual reality app works. It is highly customised and we have worked with the best in the industry to make Reggae Sumfest available to markets untouched. What's more is it is available for free," said Josef Bogdanovich, chairman and CEO of DownSound Entertainment - producers of Reggae Sumfest.

Bogdanovich admits that, "Though this 360° technology is transforming the industry, it cannot replace Montego Bay and all the energy that is a mainstay of Reggae Sumfest".

He noted that there will also be a conventional broadcast style stream viewable on all devices (cell phones, tablets, lap tops and desktops). The festival website will have a clickable link for persons to watch as well.

The consistent evolution of technology is speeding up access to content. Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook said "... pretty soon we're going to live in a world where everyone has the power to share and experience whole scenes as if you're right there in person."

Many industries have experimented with 360° virtual reality technology. Sport franchises are now signing 360° content deals, allowing fans to feel like they are on the team and in the game. In fact, the upcoming World Cup and Olympics Games will be broadcast in 360° video. The upcoming Democratic and Republican Conventions will also be streaming 360° coverage.

360° cameras were first commercially used by upscale real estate sites to show properties. Then came Google Street views which lets viewers see actual locations from a selected point of view, and now with entertainment, 360° live cameras let persons into a venue, behind the scenes - feeling as though they are right there.

The hospitality sector is embracing it quickly. It is an effective way to take people to a location and make them feel as though they are there. Resorts and travel sites are engaging the technology.

To download the app to your device, go to your Google Play or Apple store and search for 'Sumfest Live', click 'install' and follow the instructions.

The transformed Reggae Sumfest kicks off in Montego Bay with a Beach Party at the Aqua Sol Theme Park on Sunday, July 17, hosted by Miss Kitty and Yanique 'The Curvy Diva' Barrett. The All White Party hits Pier 1 on Tuesday, July 19; and the Sound Explosion - where anything can happen - with Tony Matterhorn and Firelinks along with the island's top sound systems, takes place on Thursday, July 21, also at Pier 1. Dancehall Night revs up on the Friday at Catherine Hall with the big Reggae Night to close the curtains on Saturday, July 23. 


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