Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality overview19-Mar-2020
With the awful COVID19 outbreak, here's a really quick overview of some of the companies working in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) as these technologies will likely be key enablers in the future of work, remote or otherwise. As an example, eXp World Holdings is a real estate company with hundreds of employees being run completely remotely and in Virtual Reality worlds.
Apple just introduced the new LIDAR-equipped iPad Pro with enhanced AR capabilities that will be the foundation, content authoring-wise as well, for the AR/XR glasses likely coming out next year. It can create a very detailed point cloud of the environment, for example you can scan your room/house/office to create a high fidelity 3D map for architecture, remodeling, placing virtual furniture etc. This technology is used a lot in archeology, or some self-driving cars/mapping vehicles, and used to be very bulky and expensive.
Apple notably believes more in AR and mixed reality than VR. Whereas companies like Facebook are more focused on VR. They acquired Oculus years ago and probably the Oculus Quest released in 2019 is now the best VR consumer headset you can get. Then there's Magic Leap, a Florida-based company famous for receiving an incredible amount of funding. Some still see it as vapor-ware. The Magic Leap 1 is a AR/mixed reality headset. There are other players in the space like Microsoft Hololens (Augmented reality for businesses), HTC Vive and several others.
High Fidelity was founded by Philip Rosedale, the founder of Second Life (still one of the top virtual worlds with its own economy). I've had the chance to meet him in Silicon Valley in 2013 and the vision is somewhat similar to sci-fi movies like Ready Player One. Still a very secretive company so it's hard to know what's really happening under the hood.
As Wikipedia puts it "High Fidelity provides a virtual reality platform for users to create, deploy, visit, and interact with virtual worlds along with other users. These virtual spaces can host up to 500 people at once. The software is free and open source. It can be used with most VR headsets or a traditional monitor in desktop mode.
To promote commerce and protect content from forgery, digital assets in High Fidelity are certified on High Fidelity’s blockchain-based Digital Asset Registry (DAR), which gives each item a unique fingerprint and provides a decentralized, publicly auditable ledger of transactions. Users can buy and sell virtual goods and services using High Fidelity’s stablecoin cryptocurrency, High Fidelity Coin (HFC)."
EngageVR is a company providing a VR platform for meetings, conferences and virtual lessons.
One of the top commercial VR platforms for remote collaboration.
A finnish company providing another virtual reality solution for meetings.
Next generation data visualization platform.
A browser-based VR environment by Mozilla.
A german startup providing another virtual reality solution for meetings.