The age of XR is emerging at an incredible rate. Increasingly, companies of all sizes are discovering the benefits of extended reality opportunities for virtual interactions, hybrid work, and improved creativity among teams.

In the construction industry, professionals can work together on digital twins of schematics, blueprints, and products in a shared VR world.

In the manufacturing space, mixed reality headsets and AR solutions can allow users to access the support of remote specialists wherever they are. What’s more, in endless enterprise environments, companies are using XR to improve company culture, facilitate meaningful discussions, and improve meetings.

The question is, which vendors are making the biggest impact on the XR collaboration space right now? Here are some of the top innovators worth watching.

Meta

Meta (Previously Facebook) is one of the top companies leading the way for the future of XR collaboration, and communication. Not only is Meta a leading pioneer in the creation of the “Metaverse” – the embodied internet environment where the future of work may take place, but they’re also the company responsible for tools like “Workplace” from Meta. Meta is also the company behind Oculus, one of the more accessible and affordable VR headsets on the market.

With investment in everything from the hardware side of the XR collaboration story, to the software side, with apps like VR Workplace, Meta is paving the way to host of opportunities for all companies to get involved in the next generation of work. The company could even be the organization behind the new era of “Metawork”.

Microsoft

Similar to Meta, Microsoft has made some significant investments into the XR landscape in the last couple of years.

Microsoft Mesh, an environment where teams can create mixed reality experiences, is providing a convenient way for companies of all sizes to unlock the value of MR. At the same time, the HoloLens headset technology from Microsoft is largely regarded to the industry leader for true mixed reality experiences.

While HoloLens and Mesh already offer a host of valuable tools for collaboration, including dedicated headsets for specific collaborative environments, Microsoft has also expanded further into the collaborative landscape with Teams. Microsoft Teams now has its own Mesh integration, so companies can pull one of the world’s favourite collaboration apps directly into the MR space.

Unity

Unity represents one of the most flexible environments in the XR landscape for companies looking to build their own collaborative experiences from scratch.

The Unity ecosystem is an open and broad landscape full of tools capable of empowering workforces through communication, shared projects, and access to unique capabilities.

Companies can use the Unity environment to bring common CAD and BIM tools into VR collaboration apps, or expand the functionality of AR and MR experiences. It’s likely that many of the immersive collaborative ecosystems we see coming into the marketplace in the years ahead will be built within the Unity community.

Varjo

One of the most transformational companies in the XR space today, Varjo has introduced a host of companies to the possibilities of XR collaboration and communication, through both VR and MR.

The Varjo companies offers a range of powerful headsets and endpoints to business leaders, but it’s also rapidly investing in new tools for the age of the Metaverse, and the future of teleportation.

Indeed, many people consider Varjo to be one of the pioneers of the XR teleportation environment today, thanks to the Varjo Reality Cloud.

This new landscape allows users to essentially “teleport” themselves into any environment for a collaborative and immersive experience with their co-workers. Users can stream virtual and mixed reality experiences from the cloud for the first time ever.

Magic Leap

Though the Magic Leap start-up might have struggled to find its footing when it first launched several years ago, the company has since repositioned itself as an Enterprise solution for XR, to great success.

The Magic Leap environment today is well-known for producing a host of mixed reality and augmented reality experiences for business environments. With Magic Leap headsets, users have access to a lightweight solution for accessing extra information on the job.

Not only do Magic Leap devices allow users to access more of the information they need in real-time, without having to turn to manuals or separate devices, but they also allow for connections between team members.

Today, Magic Leap supports a number of companies in empowering more immersive collaborative experiences in a variety of industry environments.

HTC Vive

For most people interested in the Extended Reality landscape, the name “HTC Vive” will be familiar. The company is well-known for producing some of the most immersive headsets in the landscape, as well as a variety of powerful apps and accompanying tools. In 2021, the Vive Sync application was launched to support enterprise users in collaborating more effectively during the age of remote work.

Through an HTC Vive headset, and the Sync application, users can access an immersive experience with custom avatars created just by taking a selfie.

The Sync experience includes eye and facial tracking features, as well as full-body avatars, for a more significant sense of presence. What’s more, Sync also integrates with a range of popular tools, from Unity to Adobe Acrobat, and countless others.

Google

Google is another major company pioneering in the world of XR collaboration today, thanks to their continued investment in smart AR headsets.

Although the first “Google Glass” experience didn’t provide the mind-blowing opportunities people first expected, the new version of the Google Glass technology could represent a powerful tool for future collaboration.

This hands-free solution for smarter and faster work provides direct access to contextual information for users on-the-job, while simultaneously allowing them to connect with their colleagues. With Google glass smart glasses, employees can see real-time annotations in front of their vision, and stream visual content directly back to the other people in their team.


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