This Week in ARExperience
March 24, 2022 by Jon Jaehnig
- Verizon continued trailblazing 5G-enabled XR experiences for its customers, this time partnering with Snap, Arcadia, and Cirque du Soleil for an exclusive lens. The lens recreates the “O” experience featuring motion-captured performances that even recorded finger movements of the actual Cirque du Soleil performers.
- Like other recent XR experiences and applications from Verizon, this experience is only available to 5G Verizon customers on 5G enabled devices. That’s still a pretty small percentage of the population, but it’s an exciting project all the same.
- In behind-the-scenes news, Snap acquired NextMind, a Paris-based Neurotech company. The release didn’t include specific objectives but said that NextMind would “help drive long-term augmented reality research efforts within Snap Lab,” and did mention Spectacles and the Snap Camera.
- It’s been a busy week for Snap – the company also announced an activation in partnership with DC Comics, WarnerMedia, and Ally Financial. The immersive experience includes information on iconic DC heroes, games inspired by those heroes, and raises awareness for the Milestone Talent Development Program, a training and mentorship program for diverse comic artists.
- Computing giant Qualcomm also had a busy week announcing a $100M XR development fund as well as a collaboration with game developer Square Enix to build out Snapdragon Spaces for immersive gaming.
- Web-based AR platform Zappar just announced SLAM updates to it’s ZapWorks Designer creator tool. SLAM, simulataneous localization and mapping, helps a device to understand the physical world so that virtual elements can be more realistically placed in AR scenes.
- Liquid Avatar Technologies, a company specializing in digital identity including avatars and virtual property, announced the “first-ever payment card and loyalty system for the metaverse.” The physical prepaid debit card gets users cash-back and reward points for purchases in the physical world and within Liquid Avatar Technologies virtual worlds and platforms.
- Speaking of digital identity, Metaverse Fashion Week kicked off in Decentraland this week. The four-day event features games, virtual parties, talks and informational sessions, and of course lots and lots of metaverse fashion.
- Also in the Metaverse Fashion world, cross-platform avatar creator Ready Player Me partnered with physical clothing company Pull&Bear to launch new virtual fashions. Pull&Bear also created their own immersive space for virtual try-ons.
- Digital marketing agency LookinLA has partnered with ZoomInfo, a suite of go-to-market software, data, and intelligence. If LookinLA were just any digital marketing agency, this would be an entry for another site. However, the company recently announced a new service “LookinMeta” to help companies navigate brand presence in virtual worlds.
- Finally, Meta announced parental control tools to make immersive experiences safer for children. The XR community has recently been shaken by reports of immersive experiences that may be unsafe for children. While some question whether any VR use at all can be safe and responsible for children, Meta’s new controls may be a step in the right direction.
A lot of this week’s news is in funding, partnerships, and collaboration. While these don’t always materialize into new experiences for users, they do tend to lead to improved experiences and more stable infrastructure. More than that, they lead to market stability and expansion which bodes well for everyone.
This week’s news also spends some time on the personal side as XR companies explore digital identity both through asset transportation and financial technology as well as representation through increasingly attractive and diverse virtual fashions.