Published on February 20th, 2020 | by Emergent Enterprise0
Spatial, Nreal, and 5G Carriers Team Up for Holographic Collaborative AR
Is the business trip headed for extinction? Jeremy Horwitz has a post at VentureBeat about an augmented reality holographic collaborative solution that could virtually place an employee in a “face-to-face” meeting instantly anywhere in the world. It will take a perfect confluence of hardware, software and internet access for this to perform correctly but the potential for collaboration across an enterprise seems unlimited. There is similar technology being touted by Microsoft Hololens but this solution appears to be more affordable and perhaps even more user friendly. I’ll meet you in the virtual conference room soon.
Image Credit: Spatial
Spatial’s eponymous holographic collaboration software is one of the most impressive augmented reality apps to date, enabling lifelike 3D people to communicate within virtual workspaces, assuming you’re using one of nine supported devices to participate. Today, the company is announcing a partnership with AR headset maker Nreal and three cellular carriers to bring a collaborative AR solution to the mass market using 5G.
If you haven’t yet seen a demonstration of Spatial, it’s worth checking out, as the app creates a 3D avatar from a 2D photo in several seconds, then uses smart tricks to translate your limb movements and speech into realistic gesture and lip motions. Users can communicate with one another and display popular types of digital files and whiteboards inside the virtual space, as well as streaming group content to non-participants.
Each of the new partners is bringing a key component to the table. Spatial and Nreal have been working to optimize Spatial’s software for Nreal’s affordable Light AR glasses, which provide stereo displays and audio while using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855- or 865-based smartphone for computing power. The carriers — Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, Japan’s KDDI, and South Korea’s LG Uplus — provide the high-bandwidth, low-latency 5G network environment necessary to enable Spatial’s software to run smoothly, as well as stores to sell Nreal’s Light and the required Android smartphones.
“This combination of hardware, chipset, and carrier giants is a perfect storm for AR,” explained Spatial CEO Anand Agarawala, “just like what drove the mobile revolution in the early 2000s with smartphones, high speed mobile data, and app stores.” Nreal Light’s $500 price point and the support of 5G carriers, he said, are “throwing jet fuel into [the] fire” of existing interest from Fortune 1000 companies, including Mattel, Nestle Purina, and real estate group BNP Paribas.