Microsoft has been working on augmented reality devices for a long time, but the biggest hurdle encountered is that they haven’t really found too many practical solutions for the technology. Microsoft’s new Mesh platform might be the start of something new for the company as not only does it explore exciting new technology but it also brings sci-fi ideas closer to reality.
Mesh is essentially a collaborative platform that allows anyone to have shared virtual experiences on a variety of devices. Think of all those cool holographic meetings you see in sci-fi movies where everyone appears in the same room together despite being in separate locations and you get the idea.
Mesh is yet another technology that comes from the mind of Microsoft’s Alex Kipman, the inventor of Kinect and HoloLens, who believes it will be the first big step up that will finally see augmented reality taken more seriously:
This has been the dream for mixed reality, the idea from the very beginning. You can actually feel like you’re in the same place with someone sharing content or you can teleport from different mixed reality devices and be present with people even when you’re not physically together.
You can completely imagine a Mesh-enabled Microsoft Teams, where the key thing there is, think about colleagues from across the globe collaborating as if you and I are in the same physical location. Mesh enables Teams to allow organizations to essentially do mixed reality gatherings with everyone in the same room and so you should think about that in a Mesh-enabled Teams-type of an environment.
Whether a person is there in a room with you or in the form of an avatar, they all get to experience the same space and interact with the same virtual objects. The idea behind Mesh could certainly revolutionise the way people communicate especially in the middle of a pandemic and big remote working drives, as it will allow people to still experience that same feeling of being in a room together, without needing to risk being there in person.
Mesh is more than just a HoloLens tool though and Microsoft is making it available through most virtual reality headsets, tablets, smartphone, and PCs so that everyone can get to participate and experience their new revolution, even if the experience might be a little limited when not wearing an AR or VR device.
A preview of the Microsoft Mesh app for HoloLens 2 has already been made available to users, alongside a preview version of AltspaceVR that will be Mesh enabled. Microsoft is planning to integrate Mesh into Teams and Dynamics 365 hopefully later this year if all testing works out.
It’s certainly an exciting development from Microsoft and one that excites me just because it, makes one of those cool things we see in sci-fi movies a reality. With remote working a continually important trend though, its certainly something I can see getting used widely as people look to keep working from the comfort and safety of their homes while still interacting with their colleagues. Let us hope it can achieve this.
Last Updated: March 4, 2021