Market Reality: ‘WandaVision’ in AR, Cleanbox CEO Fights Pandemic for AR/VR, & Behind Seek’s AR Patent Power Move

The year is still off to a roaring start, with augmented reality at the center of nearly everything, from enterprise solutions, to entertainment, to safety.

In the realm of streaming, the Marvel universe got another dose of augmented reality marketing help thanks to Disney Plus.

On the startup founder front, one CEO is battling Covid-19 by helping to make sure AR headsets are virus-free, while another startup founder just secured a new patent that could prove contentious in coming years.

Finally, Microsoft took the wraps off the next phase of its AR and VR strategy, which is still primarily focused on enterprise customers.

How Cleanbox’s CEO Is Waging War Against the Pandemic and Helping the AR Space

The process of trying out new augmented reality and virtual reality hardware is as personal as it gets. Bottom line, if you can’t directly try these immersive devices on, it’s difficult to really understand the benefits they can bring to your life and work.

That’s why the Covid-19 pandemic has presented a particularly tricky challenge to the many AR/VR hardware makers around the world looking to mainstream their products.

Read on to learn about how Amy Hedrick is leading Cleanbox to provide a solution for the AR and VR industry…

REALITY BITES: This week, Teamviewer acquired enterprise AR startup Upskill for an undisclosed sum. Having previously acquired Ubimax, Teamviewer has now absorbed two of its bigger competitors in the enterprise AR software space. Between the two deals, Teamviewer has also acquired such high-profile customer accounts as Boeing Company, Merck KGaA, American Bureau of Shipping, DHL, and Siemens.

Startup Seek Granted AR Patent That Could Have Broad Legal Implications

As the foundations of this new augmented reality era are being laid, some are rushing to secure their space via technological and legal means. The latest is Seek, a Utah-based company that recently secured an AR patent that could fundamentally impact hundreds of companies in the years to come.

Is this a full-on assault on the AR space via legal weapon, or something a little more nuanced? Seek’s CEO sat down with Next Reality and explained exactly what they’re up to…

REALITY BITES: Pokemon GO remains one of the top-grossing games in the US for iOS and Android, according to App Annie, but the Kanto Tour virtual event on Feb. 20-21 boosted its worldwide numbers in downloads and spending. In a statement to Next Reality, App Annie saw average daily downloads increase by 45% in the week prior to the event, while daily consumer spending rose 95% over the same period.

Image via Microsoft

Microsoft’s New Mesh Platform Offers New Tool for Virtual Collaboration

During the keynote for Microsoft’s virtual Ignite event on Tuesday, the company’s CEO Satya Nadella and technical fellow Alex Kipman unveiled Microsoft Mesh, a mixed reality platform that leverages the Azure cloud platform to facilitate shared collaborative experiences between remote participants via HoloLens 2 and other devices.

Keep reading to find out what the company’s new tool means for the augmented reality enterprise space and HoloLens 2 users…

REALITY BITES: Is Microsoft’s promotional video for Mesh misleading? After trying out the Mesh app, popular AR/VR creator Lucas Rizzotto said via Twitter that the experience was more on par with the experiences available on Facebook Spaces & Magic Leap Avatar Chat than the futuristic depictions shared by Microsoft.

Disney Plus Offers Fans an AR Path to Hit Streaming Series ‘Wandavision’

The new WandaVision series is perhaps the hottest TV show on the Disney Plus streaming service since…well, its own The Mandalorian wrapped up its second season late last year.

Now, after publishing AR experiences in partnership with Google to promote the latter, Disney has tapped the AR camera effects of Facebook Messenger to hype up the former as the season (and, perhaps, series) finale is set to drop on Friday.

Continue reading to see how you can transport yourself to this AR version of the Marvel universe…

REALITY BITES: Following the reveal of the Snapdragon XR1 Smart Viewer Reference Design, this week Qualcomm announced Snapdragon Sound, a software stack intended to improve audio streaming performance for music, video, and games across smartphones, desktops, and peripherals, including eventual AR smartglasses. The company reports Bluetooth latency as low as 89 milliseconds.

Google Launches an Alternative to Apple’s LiDAR-Powered iPhone

In response to Apple’s implementation of LiDAR sensors in iPad Pro and iPhone 12 Pro models, Google is looking to leverage the dual-camera setups in recent flagship devices as depth-sensing components.

In recent updates to Google’s ARCore, as well as the app that installs the AR toolkit on compatible Android devices, the company quietly added mentions of support for “dual camera stereo depth.”

Read on to find out more about how Google is hoping to offer an alternative to the powers of the iPhone 12…

REALITY BITES: At Super Bowl LV, Verizon showed what its 5G network can enable for the limited audience in attendance. The NFL Ultra Toss app challenged the smaller-than-usual live audience to toss virtual footballs into a virtual pickup truck anchored into the middle of the field, with all of the tossed footballs from other competitors viewable in real-time. This week, Verizon gave some technical insight into the experience, which combined Verizon’s 5G network with mobile edge computing via the Wavelength platform from Amazon Web Services to achieve the low latency necessary for the real-time AR 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.

Additional reporting by Tommy Palladino

Cover image via Disney Plus