The enterprise market is waiting for immersive technology solutions that meet their increasingly realistic expectations. Based on their presentations at the VR/AR Global Summit today, the offerings of these providers are broadening and hardening to serve them right now
➨ Marc Metis, vice president of enterprise software at HTC Vive and global head of its investment arm, Vive X, spoke about Vive Focus 3 and Pro 2
➨ Mattney Beck of Lenovo previewed ThinkReality A3
➨ Will Winston, Western sales and partnerships director at Pico Interactive, revealed more about Neo 3 Pro and Pro Eye
HTC Vive, Lenovo and Pico Interactive took to the virtual stage at the VR/AR Global Summit today to articulate their enterprise offerings and, in doing so, revealed that “spatial computing”, “business metaverse”, and “total solution” are concepts that are close to this market’s heart right now.
Spatial computing and business metaverse
Marc Metis, vice president of enterprise software at HTC Vive and global head of its investment arm, Vive X, made the case for the enterprise market to embrace “spatial computing”, defined here as immersive technologies—specifically, virtual and augmented reality—enabling businesses and professionals to work in 3D.
That is not to say that 2D is dead, however. Spatial computing must complement ‘traditional’ ways of working, slotting into workflows, redefining proven practices rather than upending them, and ultimately suiting particular but common needs.
This is possibly an early indication of a theme that will run through the course of the VR/AR Association’s successful global summit, an event that attracted more than 10,000 attendees last year: realistic realities.
Realistic in terms of expectations and delivery, where virtual reality enterprise offerings, to return to HTC Vive’s, come ready to deploy and are built to serve business and professional needs, rather than repackaged consumer products.
This is how HTC Vive is selling its new headsets. Vive Focus 3 and Pro 2 are ready now and built to serve training and collaboration and highly technical use cases, respectively. They were designed based on a range of commonalities across many different industries and sectors, so that there is something for everyone.
Total enterprise solution
Lenovo’s enterprise offering is similarly tailored. ThinkReality is a “total enterprise solution” of software, the company’s own headsets and smart glasses, plus some third-party devices such as Varjo’s high-spec range, and services.
This solution is scalable, capable of facilitating the use of a dozen devices or a thousand, according to Mattney Beck, the senior product marketing manager at Lenovo who oversees the company’s global commercial augmented and virtual reality solutions programme.
Its own hardware, including the new ThinkReality A3 augmented reality smart glasses (read all about them here), is where Lenovo is hitting that realistic realities theme.
Expected in the next few months, ThinkReality A3 is “versatile enough to reach several use cases”, and ready and able to serve two particular ones now.
ThinkReality A3 PC Edition is aimed at business users in financial services, architecture and engineering, or any sector or industry whose remote and mobile workers face space and privacy limitations.
This edition tethers to a laptop or mobile workstation, ideally Lenovo’s ThinkPad laptops and mobile workstations powered by Intel and AMD Ryzen processors, to enable users to position multiple, large virtual monitors in their field of view and use Windows software tools and apps.
ThinkReality A3 Industrial Edition, meanwhile, tethers to Motorola smartphones (the launch device will be the Motorola Moto G100 Android smartphone) using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 series processor or better, and DisplayPort capability. This provides for hands-free, augmented reality-supported tasks in complex work environments.
Beck showed demos of both editions in action. The PC version is capable of displaying up to five virtual monitors simultaneously without any degradation thanks to the tethered smart glasses leaning on the underlying PC.
The industrial edition enables users to use 2D native apps in augmented reality via the tethered connection to the smartphone, making it a simple case of using a companion app to access Zoom and initiate a video call.
Both editions have stereoscopic 1080p displays. No field of view (FOV) has been confirmed, and it was too difficult to judge the quality of the visuals from the demos, for either the virtual monitors provided by the PC edition or the Zoom video call.
They are, however, clear indications of Lenovo targeting its hardware at very real needs: for privacy among professional users working on their travels, and remote assistance and guided workflows on-location, wherever that may be.
Lots of optionality and power
For Pico Interactive, an enterprise offering is more focused, on all-in-one or wireless virtual reality.
This is Oculus Quest 2 and Vive Focus 3 territory, but a segment of the enterprise market where Pico is doing very well in establishing itself as an alternative provider.
The company’s new Neo 3 Pro and Neo 3 Pro Eye headsets boast “lots of optionality and power”, according to Will Winston, Western sales and partnerships director at Pico, packed into a very small device that is built for enterprise needs (read about them here).
The Neo 3 Pro range includes four cameras for head tracking now and hand tracking in the future, plus they can deliver tethered streaming for PC virtual reality-lite experiences.
Neo 3 Pro Eye also features best-in-class Tobii eye tracking for enhanced training and marketing experiences.
Pico is able to deliver on the software and services fronts too, with an in-depth ecosystem of partners and technology providers on hand to enable its hardware to scale and be customised.
The enterprise market is waiting for immersive technology solutions that meet their increasingly realistic expectations. Based on their presentations at the VR/AR Global Summit today, the offerings of these providers are broadening and hardening to serve them right now.
Get ready for more “spatial computing”, “business metaverse” and variations of “total solution”. The enterprise market speaks a certain language—and immersive technology is becoming well-versed.
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Images: HTC Vive, Lenovo, Pico Interactive