Big News from XR Awards, Microsoft, Meta, and Sony
The metaverse is dead, and we have killed it, says XR Today’s Demond Cureton, who, this week, expressed concern over the way popular media is covering the immersive space.
General reports paint a negative picture of the space based on the actions of a handful of firms which hardly represents not only the success of the XR/immersive technology space but also disregards the hard work of individuals at all levels of XR adoption, innovation, and end-usage – especially at an enterprise level.
However, there will most likely be a changing wave of opinion after Apple announces its presumably killer consumer XR device. Apple appears to be very close to announcing an immersive product, with the leading computing firm prompting AR/VR/MR outlets to cover the event.
But XR Today is ahead of the coming wave of interest, forthcoming with Apple’s upcoming announcement. Notably, XR Today celebrated the best in XR enterprise innovation this week via the XR Awards 2023.
XR Awards Winners Announced
The XR Awards 2023, alongside an esteemed group of industry expert judges, revealed this year’s winners across 16 categories that showcase the best and brightest the space has to offer.
However, specific entries were just too impressive, so select categories include a “Highly Commended” honour for entries that, while not winning, deserved recognition.
This year’s winners and highly commended for the XR Awards 2023 are:
Most Innovative Product, Judge – Jay Latta
- FundamentalVR – Highly Commended
- HTC-Vive – Winner 🏆
Virtual Reality Solution, Judge – Tom Ffiske
- Dynepic – Highly Commended
- Pfizer Global Supply – Winner 🏆
Augmented Reality Solution, Judge – Yanna Zhu
- Lumus Vision– Winner 🏆
- Qualcomm – Highly Commended
Mixed Reality Solution, Judge – Amy LaMayer
- HTC-VIVE – Winner 🏆
- Trigger XR – Highly Commended
Metaverse Solution, Judge – Amy Peck
Healthcare Solution, Judge – Amy Peck
Education and Training Solution, Judge – Nathan Pettyjohn
- Igloo Vision – Winner 🏆
AEC Solution, Judge – Sophia Moshasha
- Igloo Vision – Winner 🏆
Manufacturing and Industrial Solution, Judge – Yanna Zhu
- RealWear – Winner 🏆
- SightCall – Highly Commended
Automotive Solution, Judge – Sophia Moshasha
- TeamViewer Frontline – Winner 🏆
Retail and E-commerce Solution, Judge – Faisal Mushtaq
- Imvizar – Winner 🏆
- Reactive Reality – Highly Commended
Immersive Collaboration, Judge – Amelia Kallman
- Igloo Vision – Winner 🏆
Arts and Entertainment Solution, Judge – Amelia Kallman
- Yord Studio – Highly Commended
- The Park Playground – Winner 🏆
Rising Star – Organisation, Judge – Tom Ffiske
- FundamentalVR – Winner 🏆
Rising Star – Individual, Judge – Jay Latta
- Christoph Fleischmann – Arthur Technologies – Winner 🏆
- Leon Laroue – Sphere – Highly Commended
- Richard Vincent – FundamentalVR – Highly Commended
XR Leader of the Year, Judge – Amy LaMayer
- Krissa Watry, CEO, Dynepic – Winner 🏆
Microsoft Introduce Immersive Workplace Tools
Microsoft introduced two immersive features for its product portfolio during its Build showcase this week.
New updates to Microsoft Mesh allows remote workers to add immersive experiences to private previews on the platform.
Teams users can now connect in immersive spaces, letting meeting attendees engage with others, such as walking over to groups, waving to others, and similar activities.
The update is accessible via VR headsets, smartphones, and laptops. Moreover, the update is part of Microsoft’s push to optimise its products with immersive features to combat modern challenges like Zoom fatigue and dial-in hurdles.
During the Build event, Microsoft officially launched Avatars for Teams, its immersive dial-in feature for its leading video conferencing service.
Microsoft’s Avatars for Teams lets workers create a personalised digital version of themselves with diverse customizable options, allowing them to create avatars for various digital business environments.
The firm initially debuted Avatars for Teams as an early access public preview feature. Now, enterprise end-users can access the Avatars for Teams service this week via Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise licenses.
Meta is Licensing Magic Leap
This week, rumours revealed that Meta might acquire Magic Leap licensing rights for upcoming XR hardware.
Meta looks to ink a deal with Magic Leap to share intellectual property licencing and contract manufacturing to create AR-based solutions.
According to reports, the “biggest asset” of the deal is Magic Leap’s high-spec waveguide components which transmit images from processors to the headset’s lenses.
Meta declined to comment on the dealing, leading to considerable speculation around the partnership – especially considering the current state of XR consumer hardware that sees Apple potentially revolutionising the space at its WWDC.
However, while not confirming the partnership, Magic Leap did note that partnership with third parties is a “significant line of business and growing opportunity” for the company.
Speaking to the Financial Times, Magic Leap cited the “complexities” in developing and manufacturing AR technologies and optics as reasons for its partnerships.
Meta Faces Record-Breaking €1.2 Billion Fine
The news comes as Meta faces a massive fine via the EU. Meta is required to pay roughly €1.2 billion to the EU in a penalty for allegedly violating transatlantic data transfers.
Ireland’s Data Protection Commission (DPC) slapped the tech giant with a massive sanction, marking the most significant fine against any Big Tech firm in history.
The Dublin-based organisation manages and oversees the bloc’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). A press release cited Meta Ireland’s alleged failure to safeguard data transfers from the EU to the United States.
Acussaors also noted how Meta’s data frameworks failed to “address the risks to the fundamental rights and freedoms” of internet users.
The DPC has ordered Meta Ireland to “suspend any further transfer of personal data to the US” with a five-month deadline. Meta also has a further six months to stop processing and storing data from European citizens in the US, namely those marked as violating GDPR.
Sony Debuts VP Collaboration Centre to Combat “Pain Points”
Sony representative recently spoke to XR today during a virtual production (VP) showcase at Pinewood Studios. During the event, VP and film production industry experts introduced Sony’s DMPC Institutions, located at Pinewood and Los Angels, respectively, two learning institutions the firm built for industry professionals and students.
VP solutions leverage immersive hardware and software stacks, enabling on-set professionals to project realistic virtual environments as backdrops with immersive visualizations viewable by a human’s and a camera’s eye.
The emerging XR tools allow studios to realistically project a real-world location without travelling or transporting resources to the site. VP solutions enable teams to resolve common workflow pain points, saving time, money, and CO2 emissions massively while improving on-set, efficacy, collaboration, and creativity.
Speaking exclusively to XR Today, David Grey, Managing Director at Lux Machina, noted that VP represents the “democratization of technology,” adding further importance to putting powerful immersive tools like Unreal Engine in the hands of film production workers.