Market Reality: Apple & Samsung Partner with Snap, HoloLens 2 at the Museum, & Inside the Varjo Reality Cloud

While Snap may eventually compete with Apple and Samsung in selling smartglasses to consumers, today it is helping them achieve their business objectives via augmented reality.

That’s not all that’s new with Snap. the company has also brokered a major content deal with Universal Music Group and showed off a new AR app for its next-generation Spectacles.

On the AR headset front, Microsoft HoloLens 2 is helping one museum wow its visitors, while the Varjo XR-3 is fueling a breakthrough in remote virtual collaboration.

Apple Promotes Apple Pay via AR & Snapchat Lens

Now that vaccinations have helped New York open back up in the face of the pandemic, the city is looking to promote subway ridership, which plummeted in 2020.

To help in this effort, now that the Apple Pay option is available in all 472 subway stations around the city, Apple is working to show riders exactly how to use Apple Pay on the subway through a unique AR experience.

Keep reading to see how Apple, with an assist from Snapchat, is using augmented reality to boost Apple Pay usage on New York subways

Images by Adario Strange/Next Reality

REALITY BITES: A survey by 3D and AR technology provider Vertebrae revealed that 69% of respondents who interacted with a virtual try-on experience went on to purchase the real item. Approximately 44% of respondents have activated a virtual try-on experience on a retail website, with 75% doing so for the first time last year.

Magic Leap CEO Teases Remote AR Meetings Before ML2 Launch

The Paris-based technology conference Viva Technology, which hosted the likes of Apple’s Tim Cook and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, is now over.

But there are still a few more treats to discover from the annual gathering. Namely, from new Magic Leap CEO Peggy Johnson.

Read on to learn what Johnson has to say about how remote augmented reality meetings could change everything

Image via Magic Leap

REALITY BITES: Having already sold 40 million frames since 2003, online optical retailer Zenni sold a whopping seven million frames in 2020 alone. The company attributes its recent success in part to the virtual try-on Lenses through Snapchat; a Valentine’s Day Snapchat Lens netted 1.5 million interactions. The company plans to run another campaign with Snapchat this summer.

Snapchat Strikes Deal with Universal Music Group

In a new deal announced on Thursday, Snap has revealed that it has signed an agreement to become the software driving Universal Music Group’s (UMG) mobile AR music offerings.

As the home to major artists like Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Kanye West, the Jonas Brothers, Rihanna, Adele, Justin Bieber, and many others, the deal effectively gives Snap an exclusive pipeline into some of the most popular entertainment content on the planet.

Read further to learn how Snapchat and its creator community will be able to leverage UMG’s catalog in AR experiences, and keep reading to experience Snapchat’s Samsung smart watch collaboration

Images via Snap

REALITY BITES: At the Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) this week, Niantic presented its research for its new ManyDepth 3D mapping technology, which “dramatically improves” smartphone depth mapping via a standard RGB camera. According to a Niantic spokesperson, the ManyDepth technology is several generations beyond the Reality Blending feature found in Pokémon GO, and the game, along with other apps built on the Lightship developer kit, will eventually support it.

Paris Museum Deploys HoloLens 2 for Interactive Exhibit

Despite Microsoft’s mostly business-focused push for the advanced AR device, there are still creative studios using it to expand the boundaries of entertainment. One of the latest is bringing us an immersive trip through time.

This month, the National Museum of Natural History (Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle) in Paris launched a new immersive exhibit called Relive Extinct Animals In Augmented Reality (Revivre, Les Animaux Disparus En Réalité Augmentée).

Read on for more details on how the museum is using the HoloLens 2 to bring extinct animals back to life (virtually)

Image via French National Museum of Natural History

REALITY BITES: Google had a sizable presence at CVPR, with more than 70 research publications accepted. One publication of particular interest is about NeuralHumanFVV, a system that uses neural networks to improve the quality of volumetric capture for VR/AR content.

Varjo Can Stream Volumetric Video in Real-Time via XR-3 Headset

While Apple was one of the first to integrate LiDAR into mobile devices for depth sensing, headset maker Varjo has developed a truly remarkable feat with its implementation of the sensor.

On Thursday, Varjo introduced Varjo Reality Cloud, a system that uses the LiDAR sensors embedded in its XR-3 device to scan an environment and stream volumetric video of it in real-time, essentially simulating the teleportation of people and spaces.

Continue reading to see what the Varjo Reality Cloud can do and how it represents a leap forward in remote virtual collaboration

Image by Varjo/Vimeo

REALITY BITES: In addition to the aforementioned Google, at CVPR Apple also presented its machine learning method for rendering high-definition AR content within a narrow field of view and a low-definition camera. The EnvMapNet neural network is capable of rendering high-quality 3D objects in under 9 ms running on an iPhone XS.

Snap Adds AR Drawing App to Its Growing Portfolio of Spectacles Experiences

If you thought Snap’s Spectacles were limited to a couple of demos, you haven’t been paying attention.

During the initial launch of the augmented reality wearable, the social media giant said that it had seeded Spectacles with a wide range of developers, and now we’re getting the chance to see what another one has done with the AR smartglasses.

Keep reading to see how one AR/VR developer used Snap Spectacles to build a hands-free AR drawing app

Image by Snap/YouTube

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.

Cover image via Snap/YouTube