Microsoft gets Mesh-y with the future of mixed reality


March 4, 2021

Microsoft this week released a new mixed reality platform called Mesh, rolling the product out at its Ignite 2021 virtual conference.

The conference was itself a demonstration of the technology, with Cirque du Soleil co-founder Guy Laliberté appearing alongside Microsoft’s Alex Kipman, the brains behind Mesh, as 3D holograms on a virtual stage.

Mesh is basically a suite of development tools that will allow developers to build collaborative VR and AR — or mixed-reality (MR) — experiences that work across devices, not just Microsoft’s HoloLens. If the concept video tells us anything, strap in, this could be big.

Mesh isn’t just some Zune or Windows Phone gamble… 

… it’s a bet on the future of computing. According to Microsoft’s technical explanation, MR is a “4th wave in computing” following innovations in mainframes, PCs, and smartphones.

Microsoft sees Mesh as the toolkit to make MR a consumer reality. Think Zoom meetings where hologrammed co-workers just “holoport” to your home office. Bold… and unsettling.

Creating hologrammed co-workers is really effing hard

So Microsoft is leaning on its cloud computing platform Azure to help pull it off.

Recently, Azure has been a bright spot for the ol’ ’Soft. Over the past 10 quarters, revenue has climbed by 50%+, and Azure sits squarely in the No. 2 spot for cloud infrastructure providers.

Think of Mesh as another holographic feather in Microsoft’s Azure cap. They’re in the business of setting up the pipes for a MR future. Sure, it’s a big, fluffy vision that we may or may not want — but has that ever stopped Microsoft?

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