Among a crowded field of AR cloud companies aiming to power the future of augmented reality by creating a world of persistent holographic content that lives in a cloud, accessible across devices and accounts, Ubiquity6 is hoping it has found a way to differentiate its platform.
On Wednesday, the Google-backed startup announced its acquisition of Wavy, an AR content creation company that specializes in music and art, for an undisclosed amount.
Ubiquity6 emerged as a major player in the AR cloud field with a combined $37.5 million in funding, with Google's venture arm among its investors. In addition to multiplayer experiences, persistent content, and real-world occlusion, Ubiquity6's platform acts as a "spatial browser" for end users to discover and launch AR experiences and share them with others.
By adding Wavy's three-person development team and its technology, which includes content creation and publishing tools, Ubquity6 has made it loud and clear that the company is placing a priority on "audio-based AR" as part of its platform.
"When I first met the Wavy team, it became clear they'd uncovered the same secret as us — that audio can be as immersive as visual AR," said Anjney Midha, co-founder and CEO of Ubquity6, in a statement. "Our goal at Ubiquity6 has always been to bring people together in real-world spaces, starting with massively shared augmented reality. Their focus on allowing musicians to easily create engaging musical AR experiences for thousands of users is a natural fit with our goal."
The Wavy team will continue to build on its core technology at Ubiquity6, but it will cease work on the Wavy Music app. According to a Ubiquity6 spokesperson, the company will continue to support the app and its community of users, but the app will not gain new enhancements or expansions.
"From the day we began Wavy we wanted to empower creators to express themselves in the emerging medium of Augmented Reality. We had an absolute blast seeing the creativity of our users and were blown away every single day by your ingenuity and enthusiasm. When we met the team at Ubiquity6, it became apparent that joining the team there would be a leap forward towards our shared mission of enabling creators to edit reality," wrote the Wavy team.
The acquisition comes on the same day that another Google-funded AR company, Niantic, closed a $245 million Series C funding round that will enable it to scale up staff for development of its AR cloud platform, Niantic Real World Platform, along with its mobile game portfolio.
In 2018, Next Reality named the AR cloud as one of the top innovations of the augmented reality industry. In addition to the platforms from Ubiquity6 and Niantic, companies — including 6D.ai, Google-backed (and now Lyft-owned) Blue Vision, and Samsung's Project Whare, as well as shared AR features introduced in Google's ARCore and Apple's ARKit — debuted as closed betas last year. Those platforms are now in a race to public release in 2019.
Augmented reality has proven to be a popular technology among music artists, with apps from Sigur Ros (on Magic Leap) and the estate of David Bowie and AR experiences on Snapchat from artists like Drake and Ariana Grande among the notable examples.
With its emphasis focus on audio-based AR, Ubiquity6 is tuning up to offer experiences that cater to an industry where there is already demand for services.