The hype around augmented reality has risen to a fever pitch over the past two years, and if this week's selection of business news stories are any indication, the din is about to get down right deafening.
That's because the Microsoft's follow-up to the original HoloLens is almost certainly right around the corner. And Apple's marketing machine just made a big move that potentially sets the stage for a big AR product reveal in the near future.
In terms of current technology, Nike continues to drive to the basket with AR marketing via Snapchat. And one medical software company just persuaded investors to back its AR platform for surgeons via the current-generation HoloLens.
If there was a version of the Doomsday Clock for counting down the release of Microsoft's HoloLens 2, then the caretakers of that imaginary clock would move the minute hand to "one minute to midnight."
On Monday, Alex Kipman, Microsoft's technical fellow in charge of the HoloLens (and NR30 member), published a teaser video for the company's media event at Mobile World Congress Barcelona on Feb. 24.
Continue reading to find out why the video, and Kipman's mere presence at the event, raises the certainty that the new version of HoloLens will be unveiled later this month...
REALITY BITES: Facebook appears to be scaling up its workforce for augmented reality and virtual reality development. Jon Lax, director of product design for AR/VR at Facebook, advertised his openings for design leaders and designers at Menlo Park, Seattle, and Los Angeles via Twitter. His DMs are open, so you can slide right in with a resume. But if Mark Zuckerberg had his way, he would just buy another company to establish an AR/VR development ecosystem. According to a leaked memo, in previous years, the Facebook founder had his eye on acquiring Unity to help establish a full stack of AR/VR software and hardware. But, if Zuckerberg still wants to buy Unity, he may have a diminished war chest to pull off the acquisition if a multi-billion-dollar fine from Federal Trade Commission gets handed down.
While Apple augmented reality smartglasses are not yet official, the tech giant is ramping up its resources by appointing company veteran Frank Casanova to promote its augmented reality offerings.
Casanova has worked at Apple for about 30 years, most recently as the leader for marketing iPhones with wireless carriers. He was notably as part of the team that launched the original iPhone, and contributed to marketing Apple's audio and video products, such as Quicktime.
Read further to learn what Casanova's appointment over AR products means for Apple's strategy for pushing the technology to consumers...
REALITY BITES: AR Cloud startup Ubiquity6 pulled off a big hiring coup by poaching a Magic Leap employee. The company welcomed Ann-Marie Harbour as its head of studio. She spent five years at Magic Leap, most recently serving as its leader of strategic content partnerships (which happens to be a key cog of the AR headset maker's current business strategy).
Nike and Snapchat, having already reigned triumphant with its viral augmented reality ad featuring Lebron James, are teaming up with another basketball legend at NBA All-Star Weekend.
This year's site for the league's annual star-studded event, which takes place on Saturday and Sunday, is Charlotte, North Carolina, the current home of Charlotte Hornets owner and perhaps the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan.
Learn more about the All-Star Weekend promotion and what it says about Snap's Lens Studio platform...
REALITY BITES: Another AR Cloud startup, 6D.ai, shared an amazing demo of its platform performing real-time photogrammetry on an iPhone X. In the video, the camera quickly and competently scans the physical environment and creates a 3D digital copy of the room.
The HoloLens has made enough of an impact on the healthcare industry for Microsoft technology partner Medivis to convince investors to pledge $2.3 million in funding for its surgical platform.
On Tuesday, along with closing its seed funding round, the company unveiled its SurgicalAR software for HoloLens at the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) conference in Orlando, Florida. The platform will be on display at the Microsoft booth until the conference's conclusion on Friday.
Keep reading to find out more about Medivis' platform and what it and other HoloLens healthcare apps mean for Microsoft's AR future in the industry and in other verticals...
REALITY BITES: While Microsoft and Verizon have aligned with Medivis, Magic Leap and AT&T are in the corner of Vitas Healthcare. The trio gave attendees at HIMMS 2019 their own preview of the future of healthcare technology, and the reviews from observers are glowing. Meanwhile, Magic Leap was also in attendance at DICE 2019, where Tonandi won an award for Most Immersive Experience.
Every Friday, Next Reality reviews the latest headlines from the financial side of augmented and mixed reality. This weekly Market Reality column covers funding announcements, mergers and acquisitions, market analysis, and the like. Check out previous editions of Market Reality for more news you may have missed.