This Tuesday, Microsoft showcased its new mixed reality software platform at its Ignite digital conference, which took place as a digital event experience due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Called Microsoft Mesh, the new mixed reality platform enables mixed reality collaboration from anywhere and on any device. Ignite attendees had the opportunity to experience the conference as avatars watching events unfold in a shared holographic world from their living rooms and home offices.
“This has been the dream for mixed reality—the idea from the very beginning,” said Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman. “You can actually feel like you’re in the same place with someone sharing content, or you can teleport from different mixed reality devices and be present with people even when you’re not physically together.”
During his keynote, Kipman welcomed on stage several other speakers, including Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and director James Cameron. While Kipman himself donned Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed reality smart glasses, others tuned in via VR headsets, mobile phones, tablets, and PCs—all of which are natively supported by Microsoft Mesh.
Microsoft built its mixed reality software platform on Azure, a cloud computing service that makes it easily possible to develop, deploy, and manage applications through Microsoft-managed data centers. As such, Microsoft Mesh benefits from Azure’s enterprise-grade security and privacy features, as well as its immense computational power.
“More and more, we are building value in our intelligent cloud, which is Azure,” explained Kipman. “In these collaborative experiences, the content is not inside my device or inside my application. The holographic content is in the cloud, and I just need the special lenses that allow me to see it.”
Users can currently test Microsoft Mesh through two apps: a preview of the Microsoft Mesh app for HoloLens and a new version of Mesh-enabled AltspaceVR. The company expects third-party developers to create Mesh-enabled applications for virtual collaboration, location-independent training, and other use cases.