The news is ramping up! This week, the immersive space felt an injection of innovation, with various leading firms hinting at the big news and committing to more prominent partnerships.
Amidst rumours of Apple’s new headset, many firms are ramping up efforts, perhaps partly due to a looming sense of competition. However, an increased marketplace awareness leads to some great partnerships that solidify a handful of immersive firms in their enterprise presence.
Meanwhile, XR brands worldwide are striving to establish themselves as leads in entertainment, collaboration, and wearables via events, product launches, and rebranding.
BMW Group Taps Meta for XR Car Gaming System
BMW Group USA and Meta Platform’s Reality Labs division have announced a partnership to develop an automotive VR/MR solution. The new system will combine BMW’s sensor data with Meta’s tracking systems and technologies to create a “car-locked” immersive entertainment console. Passengers can use the system to watch films, play video games, meditate, and send messages on social media.
The partnership is part of BMW’s ongoing efforts to explore new ways to use immersive vehicle technologies. In November 2022, the automaker partnered with Varjo Technologies to develop an MR platform that allows drivers to race physical vehicles while collecting digital coins in a virtual circuit.
It is still too early to say when or how the new BMW-Meta VR/MR solution will be available to consumers. However, the partnership is a significant step forward for both companies and could pave the way for new and innovative ways to use VR/MR in vehicles.
In addition to entertainment, Claus Dorrer, Head of BMW Group Technology Office USA in Mountain View, said the company envisions several potential use cases for vehicle XR devices. These include driver assistance techniques like locating vehicles in car parks, alerting drivers to hazards, and displaying critical vehicle data.
Apple Trademarks XR Operating System
Apple has filed a trademark for “xrOS” with the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office, further teasing its upcoming MR headset. The trademark filing relates to the font used in the forthcoming xrOS branding, which Apple is trademarking under its own San Francisco typeface.
Apple initially filed the base xrOS trademark with the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office earlier this year. The firm filed its trademark under a shell company, a common practice for companies that want to keep their plans under wraps.
Apple also filed a separate trademark for the new xrOS operating system late last year. Apple requested the trademark filing under the name Deep Dive LLC, which is also a suspected shell company.
Analysts believe that xrOS will be the operating system for Apple’s upcoming MR headset. Apple is still developing the immersive OS for an upcoming headset with a rumoured release date of 2023.
xrOS will likely be a custom-built operating system explicitly designed to optimize immersive passthrough experiences’ performance. Passthrough is a feature that allows users to see the real world through their headsets while using it. This is important for tasks such as navigation and interacting with physical/virtual objects.
Apple’s upcoming MR headset is expected to be a high-end device that will compete with headsets from Meta and Microsoft.
The launch of Apple’s MR headset is a significant development for the mixed reality industry. Apple is one of the most influential companies in the world, and its entry into the market is likely to accelerate the adoption of MR technology.
Campfire Debut Cross-Platform Holographic Collaboration Tools
Campfire, a provider of immersive collaboration technology, has announced a new application that allows users to collaborate in 3D on PC, Mac, and iPad devices. The application also supports Campfire’s custom XR headset for PCs.
The new application combines Campfire’s previously available applications to create a unified platform for immersive collaboration. This makes it easier for users to collaborate on projects, share ideas, and communicate with each other.
Jay Wright, the CEO and Co-Founder of Campfire added:
Enterprise XR has been a fragmented mess of point solutions that fail to scale for lack of usability and utility. We designed Campfire to solve a basic human challenge that XR technology uniquely solves – the difficulty of communicating 3D information. We’ve made it easier than ever, and are proud to bring it to market.
The Campfire Starter Kit allows enterprise users to quickly set up a holographic collaboration session in less than an hour. The kit is designed to be easy to use and manage and provides a high-quality immersive experience.
The Campfire Starter Kit is available now for $15,000 per year. Enterprise US, UK, and EU customers can purchase the kit directly from Campfire’s website.
Nreal to Rebrand as Xreal
Chinese smart glasses firm Nreal is rumoured to be rebranding to Xreal. The move would follow a long-standing legal dispute with Epic Games, who took Nreal to court over the use of similarly titled services.
At the time of its initial accusation, the argument that “Nreal” and “Unreal” are similar enough to create confusion among customers may have appeared as a stretch due to the firm’s differing technology markets and clients – with Nreal focusing on immersive solutions and Unreal developing gaming services at the time. However, in recent years, Epic Games has dramatically pushed the Unreal Engine as a tool for immersive content creation and distribution, giving the shared parties’ argument far more credence.
Nreal has not yet made an official statement regarding a potential rebranding, but several clues suggest a name change is coming. For example, in April, Nreal filed a patent for an “Xreal Beam” device. The potential product uses the same font and house style as seen on Nreal branded hardware.
In addition, Amazon Germany listings display an “Xreal Air Adapter,” which could be a successor to Nreal’s Apple Adapter—the Apple Adapter sold out in 24 hours when it was released last year.
If Nreal does rebrand, it would be a significant development for the company. The new name could help Nreal to distance itself from the legal dispute with Epic Games and to position itself as a leader in the emerging immersive market.
The Cannes Film Festival (Festival de Cannes and Marché du Film) has launched its XR showcase for top immersive art and experiences across the sector.
The XR division will start with Cannes Next, a series of events and activities focused on immersive technologies and artificial intelligence. The events will include a global premiere of world-renowned street artist Banksy’s VR experience, a VFC’s filmmaking project screening that combines traditional techniques and biofeedback audio, and a conference on immersive experiences.
The XR division will also showcase live events with Film Soho’s International Village, where attendees can visit a virtual production studio and view demos of the latest immersive technologies. In addition, there will be panel talks, discussions, and conferences on emerging technologies such as Web3, the Metaverse, and generative AI.
The launch of the XR division is a significant development for the Cannes Film Festival, as it shows the festival’s commitment to embracing new technologies and exploring new ways to tell stories. The XR division is also a significant opportunity for the immersive community, providing a platform to showcase their work to a global audience.