Microsoft Mesh Announced at Ignite 2021
Microsoft’s annual Ignite event staged the unveiling of Microsoft Mesh, its newest “mixed-reality” platform that is powered by Azure. Microsoft Mesh enables developers to create immersive, multiuser reality apps that allows users to connect in an interactive way as if they were in person, regardless of geographical distribution. People will initially be able to portray themselves as avatars in these shared virtual experiences and over time use holoportation to express themselves as their most lifelike selves.
The new platform is the result of years of Microsoft research and development in areas ranging from hand and eye tracking and HoloLens development to creating persistent holograms and artificial intelligence models that can create expressive avatars. Built on Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, Microsoft Mesh also benefits from Azure’s enterprise-grade security and privacy features, as well as its vast computational resources, data, AI and mixed reality services.
Despite more than 50% of Fortune 500 companies deploying HoloLens and other Mixed Reality Solutions, there are still some underlying issues that prevent developers from creating immersive apps, such as:
- Representing people in MR with appropriate realism requires a lot of time and resources.
- Keeping a hologram stable in a shared MR space across time and device types is a non-trivial problem.
- It is hard to bring high-fidelity 3D models into MR to support the file formats our customers have.
- Synchronizing actions and expressions of people in a geographically distributed MR session is complex.
Microsoft Mesh attempts to resolve these challenges through its enabled apps, developer platform and multi-device support.
Mesh- enabled Apps: HoloLens Mesh App, AltspaceVR, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Dynamics 365 and other Partner Apps.
Developer Platform:. The core of the developer platform is Azure. With identity services like Azure Active Directory and Microsoft Accounts, it brings duly authenticated and authorized users into a secure and trusted session. The Microsoft Graph continues to flow with the users to allow them to bring in their connections, content, and preferences, both from the commercial and consumer space.
Multi-device support: It supports a range of devices from the fully immersive head-mounted displays (HMDs) like Microsoft HoloLens, HP Reverb G2, or Oculus Quest 2 for 3-dimensional volumetric experience, to phones and tablets on iOS or Android for convenience, through to the fully tethered experience in PCs and Mac for 2-dimensional viewpoint, users can connect from anywhere.
Developers can use C++/C#, UWP, Unity, and Visual Studio to build Mesh apps. In the coming days, Mesh will support Unreal, Babylon, and React Native. Understanding and working experience with Azure is also required to build and deploy Mesh applications and integrate with Azure capabilities.
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