Extended Reality Takes A Big Step Forward With Microsoft Mesh

Microsoft held a first-of-its-kind extended reality event to launch Mesh – Microsoft’s new extended reality platform.

Microsoft describes Mesh as a platform for “enabling geographically distributed teams to have more collaborative meetings, conduct virtual design sessions, assist others, learn together and host virtual social meetups.” Examples of Mesh demonstrated in the event included a virtual office headquarters called the Nth Floor for Accenture, a ship-based research “HoloLab” built by Director James Cameron, and the next generation of the augmented reality game, Pokemon Go.

The core promise of Mesh is that it will enable people in different locations to join together, in a shared virtual space, and to connect, as if in the same physical space. Participants can communicate naturally, and view and interact with the same holographic content.

You can actually feel like you’re in the same place”.

Microsoft Mesh Features

 

Holoportation

People can join together in a shared Mesh virtual space from anywhere with an Internet connection

Avatars

Visitors to a Mesh world are represented as their own customized avatars. These are currently cartoon-like characters, but in the future they will be made more realistic through the use of depth-scanning cameras like the Microsoft Kinect

Shared Interactions

Share and examine holographic content as a group.

Incorporate Volumetric Content

Volumetric scans are realistic three-dimensional video captures of people. The ability to capture these scans is currently limited to specialty studios such as Avatar Dimension in Washington DC.

Built on Azure

Mesh is built on Microsoft’s Azure platform, which delivers enterprise-level security and privacy features.

Cross Platform Support

Mesh is built to work on VR and AR headsets, desktop, and mobile devices (including iOS).

Big Tech is Going All-in on Extended Reality (XR)

 

Mesh is just the most recent example of an explosion in mixed and virtual reality technologies over the past few years.

  • Facebook’s Oculus Quest VR headset is estimated to have sold between 500,000 and 1,000,000 Quest 2 units in Q4 of 2020 alone
     
  • Facebook launched their own virtual world in 2020 called Horizon
     
  • Sony recently confirmed they will release an updated version of their VR Headset for the PlayStation 5
     
  • Rumors are increasing about a new headset from Apple, which would be their first new product category since the Apple Watch. A consumer device from Apple could be the final puzzle piece that pushes extended reality into the mainstream

 

Is the Metaverse the Next Version of the Internet?

 

The term “metaverse,” used to describe an immersive virtual world, was first coined in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel Snowcrash, but people may be more familiar with it from the movie Ready Player One. The creation of a real metaverse has been the inspiration driving the development of XR, who imagine a shared virtual world as the next evolution of the Internet.

 

A New Type of Live Event

 

The launch event itself was demonstration of the Mesh vision. Instead of a typical video livestream, the presentation was streamed from a virtual stage in AltSpaceVR –a shared social virtual reality platform owned by Microsoft. Presenters spoke on virtual stage that could transform with the subject matter. Virtual objects appeared around the presenters as they spoke–such as sea life and a hologram of a digitally scanned bridge used to diagnose infrastructure issues. The audience was populated by live digital avatars who could provide live feedback in the form of emojis.

How Can Pharma Harness Mesh and Extended Reality?

 

While this technology is still emerging, brands looking to be on the cutting edge can explore utilizing it now in several ways.

  • Hold a Mixed Reality Customer Event – attract attention by holding a customer event in virtual space. Your speakers can appear within a virtual environment and use holographic imagery as a presentation tool. Viewers can watch via web browsers and VIP guests could be provided with VR headsets to attend the event
     
  • Create an Immersive Marketing Experience – capture attention with an immersive MOA or patient experience that can be even more impactful when seen “from the inside.” You can include this experience as part of a customer event or host it within your virtual booth
     
  • Conduct Mixed Reality Details – create a shared mixed reality sales tool such as a holographic data visualization or MOA. These can be created as non-personal promotional tools now and in-person tools for the future
     
  • Build a Mixed Reality Work Space for Your Brand –we all are looking for deeper ways to connect with our colleagues–whether during pandemic-related remote work or for globally dispersed teams. A virtual meeting space could help deliver that sense of presence and face-to-face connection
     
  • Sales Force Training – create virtual training experiences such as simulated objection handling

 

What Is an Avatar?

 

Also first popularized in the novel Snowcrash, an avatar is a character that you embody in a virtual world. This can be as simple as a bitmoji, or a more complex three-dimensional creation. Try for yourself! You can easily create your own avatar that can be used in many virtual platforms by using readyplayer.me

 

VR, AR, XR - What’s With All These Realities?

 

Virtual reality, mixed reality, and augmented reality are all variations of experiences that merge the real world and the digital world. All three types of reality fall within the term extended reality or XR.

Interested in Learning More?

 

The Extended Reality (XR) Team at Studio Rx has deep experience in creating award-winning extended reality experiences and even conducts all their team meetings within virtual space! They can provide hands-on demos of the technology and help brainstorm ways to harness XR for your brands.


Please contact your account leads or ross.quinn@fcb.com if you have any questions or would like to discuss any of the above.c