This Week in ARExperience
March 10, 2022 by Jon Jaehnig
- Top story today, Full Sail University announced the opening of its virtual production studio in Winter Park, Florida. The $3M studio was announced in November and scheduled to open this year – and so it comes right on time.
- The IDC released a new report on “Embracing Augmented Reality Technologies to Accelerate Your Organization’s Digital Transformation.”
- The report covers how businesses used extended reality to overcome recent obstacles like the Covid19 pandemic, but also details lessons that we can learn for the future as the organization predicts continued growth in these technologies.
- Remote presence company VRDirect identified “soaring gas and energy prices” as a “new opportunity for the metaverse” in an email. The company’s platform, which allows the construction of interactive 360 scenes from a specialized camera or standard mobile device, has seen use in realty, training, and education and entertainment.
- AR-enabled messaging app Rakuten Viber has launched a series of initiatives in attempts to support the people of Ukraine, including the launch of channels for information and resources, and enabling calls outside of the country to non-Viber numbers – as well as direct donations.
- In the United States, Rakuten Viber isn’t as widely used as other AR messaging apps, but it is the largest communications service within the region, according to a representative of the company.
- XR authoring tool and production studio 8th Wall launched a number of high-profile projects this week including an initiative with eyekandy labs and Cazadores tequila, and an initiative with bully! Entertainment and Tinie.
- VR collaboration platform Virbela announced “HANDS IN 2022” – the company’s first in-platform user summit. The free, half-day, enterprise-focused event includes networking opportunities, a scavenger hunt, talks and workshops, tours of the platform, and culminates in a party to celebrate the platform’s 10th anniversary.
- FRAME, Virbela’s browser-based platform currently still in beta, also announced new updates including a multi-language in-world news browser, spatial audio from video assets, as well as bug fixes and tweaks to the platform’s user interface.
- On the entertainment side, Meta held its first-ever “Quest Night” on Tuesday evening. The event was a mixer in the simulation sports game Walkabout Mini Golf.
- In addition to the games themselves, users who invited their friends to join were entered into a sweepstakes.
- Meta also celebrated International Women’s Day by preparing a series of experiences “Honoring Women in VR.”
- In the world of enterprise headsets, Varjo announced Varjo Base 3.5, the newest version of the software that accompanies their hardware. The update improves a number of existing features, but also introduces a new distortion reduction model and personal settings for foveated rendering.
- Earlier in the week, Varjo also announced a new academic program. Awardees can get access to applications as well as discounts on hardware to be used for immersive learning and research.
Many of the items, particularly early in this week’s round-up, focus on using XR to solve real-world problems. This is always a welcome trend as gaming has long dominated the public’s imagination when it comes to these technologies.
That having been said, consumer engagement with marketing as we see through the 8th Wall activations and social uses and gaming like we see through Quest Night remain important sectors. As such, it is always a good sign to see vibrance in these sectors.
It is also worth noting that, while this round-up tries to maintain focus on experiences, activations, and announcements that impact a U.S. audience, VRDirect, Rakuten Viber, and Varjo are all overseas companies based in Germany, Japan, and Finland respectively.