Roughly six months after emerging from stealth, AR cloud company 6D.ai is now ready for public consumption, and it has a big name partner to help it kick off its platform.
On Tuesday, the startup gave iOS developers the green light to begin publishing their 6D.ai-assisted apps to the App Store for wide use.
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In addition, the company announced that its AR cloud platform would supply spatial mapping to head-mounted devices running on the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 chipset as well as tethered AR viewers and smartphones running on Qualcomm Snapdragon. The first Snapdragon device to take advantage of the partnership will be the Nreal Light. The integration with the Snapdragon platform means that 6D.ai now supports Android, which 6D.ai will rollout in a closed beta.
"The 3D model of the world is the next platform all apps will run on," said Matt Miesnieks, CEO and co-founder, 6D.ai, in a statement. "We are seeing this happen today with businesses of all sizes across a variety of industries looking to build spatially-aware applications that go beyond AR to scanning, location-based services and in the future, drones and robotics. Today's rollout of our business model and our cooperation with Qualcomm Technologies are the first of many steps we are taking toward building this 3D map of the world."
The company claims that thousands of developers have tested the platform during the closed beta. Companies including Autodesk, Nexus Studios, and Accenture among the Fortune 500 companies building solutions via the platform, according to 6D.ai, although the brands still aren't ready to launch their apps.
Along with this milestone, 6D.ai unveiled the pricing structure for its SDK. For now, the company is kicking things off with a bargain, as any developer launching an app by the end of 2019 will get three years of free SDK usage.
But starting in 2020, 6D.ai will meter usage based on map downloads, with developers getting real-time mapping and unlimited meshing and occlusion for up to 5,000 map downloads per month per app. Pricing kicks in at $20 per month for up to 20,000 map downloads per month per app and $50 per month for up to 50,000 map downloads. The company will customize unlimited usage plans and provide dedicated support for larger-scale deployments.
Last year, the AR cloud captured the attention of the augmented reality community, with Niantic, Ubiquity6, and others introducing their platforms and showing off demos of the next-level AR experiences, including multiplayer experiences, persistent content, and real-world occlusion, that their spatial mapping technologies could facilitate.
Up until now, though, none of the AR cloud providers had launched their platforms in earnest. Sure, Niantic updated Ingress Prime and launched Harry Potter Wizards Unite with their Real World Platform, but neither app uses the higher functions as of yet.
"6D was founded to deliver the next platform of computing — the 3D maps of the world, usable by machines and people…. the mirror-world. This 3D model of the world is what all apps will run on, being readable via APIs for developers to help solve key UX problems for their next-gen apps," wrote Miesnieks in a blog post released in conjunction with the company's update.
"We are seeing this happen today with businesses of all sizes across a variety of industries looking to build spatially aware applications that go beyond AR to scanning, location-based services and in the future, drones and robotics."
So, it looks like we can give the first lap in the race to claim the AR cloud to 6D.ai, but there's some critical mass to achieve before anyone can really claim a victory here. And, ultimately, once the promise of the AR cloud is realized, we all win.