The past year has revealed a yawning hole in business opportunities called virtual meetings. Some existing players like Zoom seized that opportunity, while others like Skype seemed stuck on the sidelines, and Google Meet just managed to catch up in time to prevent some of the shift in remote work.
But amid that shift is a question that has come up repeatedly: where are the augmented reality tools that promised to help us navigate this new remote frontier? While many newcomers and established players have gradually moved to meet our new needs, Magic Leap also appears to be working on its own solution to support the new robust virtual meeting market.
In an interview with IDA Ireland, the agency charged with encouraging foreign direct investment in Ireland, new Magic Leap CEO Peggy Johnson (a new member of the NR30) revealed the development of the new app while explaining the shift from company to business activities.
“We are currently working on an internal app we call C3, which stands for communication, collaboration and co-presence,” Johnson said during a video meeting from her den in her home in the US. “Those are the things that we have to improve a little bit if we want to keep working in this virtual way. We focus on bringing encounters to life. Think about this, what we’re doing now, as a 2D meeting, we want to develop 3D meetings, where people actually sit in the same room as you, but virtually. “
The revelation that Magic Leap is working to launch its own competitor in the virtual meeting room is especially exciting for many die-hard Magic Leap users committed to the platform, who may wonder why the company hasn’t used its technology more aggressively to take advantage of the new landscape of virtual meetings.
In the recent past, we’ve talked about Magic Leap’s forays into virtual meeting software, most notably the Avatar Chat application. Overall, the app has some promising features that allow users to interact with other people’s avatars in remote locations, all with spatial awareness in your own home. Despite this, we have not seen much evidence of widespread adoption of the application from the companies known to be developing for the Magic Leap platform. If Johnson’s anecdotal experiences with the new C3 app add up, that might change.
“I now hold my board meetings in the C3 application. It’s internal now. My board members are calling from all over the world and they really come to life here in my den behind me, it’s amazing,” said Johnson. “It has something about making them feel physically in front of you, making it feel like a meeting again. So as they walk behind me in the virtual space, I hear the spatial audio track the person.”
And while this may sound exciting to some of the Magic Leap One’s existing non-business users, let’s not forget that Johnson is now laser-focused on business, so there’s a chance this new app might never make it to regular users. of the device.
If that turns out to be the case, Spatial already has a solution in play that allows businesses and individuals to meet virtually using avatars (including your actual face) and video on AR’s media (including Magic Leap, HoloLens and iOS) , VR (including Oculus Quest) and desktop video. Still, C3 could prove to be something of a second act for Magic Leap as it reinvents itself while competing with the HoloLens 2 and a growing number of cheaper AR options for enterprise customers.
“We can set up an infinite number of screens and look at different parts of the business. We can go to each other and you can see expressions,” said Johnson, who went on to describe how the app works. “Some of the things that were missing from this 2D communication that we’re all in now. So I think AR can really help during the recovery period and beyond after the pandemic, because I think we can just make that experience more human. what we are all experiencing now. “