This morning, Microsoft spent most of the Ignite 2021 keynote unveiling Microsoft Mesh, the new Virtual Reality platform that takes HoloLens and virtual reality to a whole new level. Now, after the announcements are over, Microsoft has released a series of new sessions on Ignite, all scheduled for today, Tuesday, March 2.
Microsoft Mesh is a new platform built on Microsoft Azure that allows developers to build immersive, multi-user, cross-platform mixed reality apps. With Microsoft Mesh, users can connect with presence, share in space, and collaborate in an immersive way as if they were in person, regardless of physical location. Customers can use Mesh to enhance virtual meetings, conduct virtual design sessions, provide better remote assistance, virtual learning together, host virtual social gatherings and gatherings.
Mixed Reality is the fourth wave in computing, followed by mainframes, PCs and smartphones. Mixed Reality is becoming mainstream among consumers and commercial, liberating screen-bound experiences into instinctive interactions in your space, between your stuff, with your people. Hundreds of millions of Niantic explorers around the world have experienced MR through the devices in your pocket. Because we lack personal social contacts, gatherings such as concerts and fitness training are moving to the virtual world. More than 50% of Fortune 500 organizations have implemented HoloLens and other Mixed Reality solutions to drive material ROI to their business. Given such large numbers, one would assume that hundreds, if not thousands, of Mixed Reality experiences would be developed today. But that is not the case. There are some underlying hard issues that keep developers from creating these immersive experiences, most notably:
- Representing people in MR with appropriate realism requires a lot of time and resources.
- Keeping a hologram stable in a shared MR space in time and device types is a non-trivial problem.
- It is difficult to integrate high-fidelity 3D models into MR to support our customers’ file formats.
- Synchronizing people’s actions and expressions in a geographically dispersed MR session is complex.
These challenges have prevented developers from enabling MR experiences for multi-user scenarios. It is this set of challenges that Microsoft Mesh aims to solve. Mesh provides a platform for developers to design immersive MR apps for multiple users without worrying about complex technical issues. Let’s take a look at the core components of the Microsoft Mesh developer platform: