Microsoft Mesh: What augmented reality could mean for the future of your business
By: John Ratkowiak
What is Microsoft Mesh?
On March 2, Microsoft unveiled its newest program “Microsoft Mesh” with hopes of revolutionizing the industry of mixed reality and the future of collaboration.
Specifically, this program “allows people in different physical locations to join collaborative and shared holographic experiences on many kinds of devices.”. In light of this major tech industry news, we’re here to help you better understand Microsoft Mesh and its capabilities. .
After years of research and development, Microsoft has combined its advances in hand and eye tracking, the HoloLens, photorealistic holograms and artificial intelligence models to create this one-of-a-kind mixed reality platform.
Its capabilities were on display during their keynote session, which was filled with mixed reality experiences for viewers using VR devices. At one point, a holographic Alex Kipman, lead developer of the Microsoft HoloLens smartglasses, handed participants interactive jellyfish that they could reshape, resize and hand back to him.
What are its capabilities?
For the keynote, Microsoft divided the components of Microsoft Mesh into spatial maps, presence, holographic rendering and multi-user sync.
Spatial maps allow users to collaborate on holograms that are anchored in each user’s perspective and merged for real-time interaction. Additionally, co-creator Simon Skaria notes that spatial maps are “merged and optimized securely in the cloud.”
In the real world, this has allowed OceanX to create a holographic lab on board their research ship that can connect with researchers on submarines and those back on shore for streamlined collaboration never seen before.
Presence refers to the way Microsoft Mesh represents users in a digital experience through a photorealistic hologram – what they are calling “holoportation” – or an avatar. Skaria notes that spatial audio furthers this ability, allowing the collaborative session to reflect reality.
Microsoft Mesh allows users to collaborate on 3D models. With a 100 million polygon-rendering ability, the photorealistic quality extends to these models.
Multi-User Sync is “the magic that brings the entire experience together” with each user’s device displaying the mixed reality elements simultaneously. This “happens with under 100 milliseconds of latency because of the smart compression technology built into the platform.”
How could AR impact my business?
Microsoft Mesh and Augmented Reality will eventually allow for immersive, productive and entirely virtual team meetings. Users may observe and work on models or projects simultaneously, seeing each other live in the room or tuning in from other locations.
Especially with the talk of ‘work from home’ changing the way offices and businesses function post-pandemic, this technology could inform a unique and forward-thinking setup for your business meetings.
Will this development catch on?
The success of this technology is dependent on the quality and usability of the applications that develop around it. As Tom Warren of The Verge explains, “Microsoft Mesh will need some strong developer support or offer experiences you just can’t get anywhere else in VR to pick up momentum.” He cites that the cost of the HoloLens and other VR technology will bring many users to the mobile experience, which is lacking in comparison.
While the future is still unfolding, it’s already clear that Microsoft believes this program will be revolutionary to the future of collaboration. It could allow “geographically distributed teams to have more collaborative meetings, conduct virtual design sessions, assist others, learn together and host virtual social meetups.” It is unclear the speed at which this technology will catch on or be used in business, but the potential is strong for truly immersive work experiences.
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