After having a quiet first half of 2023 in terms of XR, Microsoft is starting to grow its emerging immersive technology promise by combining its upcoming MR services alongside the firm’s genAI investments to innovate workplace communications.

Microsoft is working on several MR projects to accelerate the firm’s innovations in immersive technology and distribute its solutions to workforces. This week, news is emerging from the company as it leads up to its 2024 industrial Metaverse roadmap.

Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Toolkit 3 to Debut in September

This week, Microsoft partnered with Magic Leap and Qualcomm, which sees the firms take equal stakes in scaling Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Toolkit 3 (MRTK3) for developers and enterprise partners.

The partnership also sees the MRTK3 framework transition to its own independent organization within the Microsoft-owned firm GitHub. It opens MRTK3 to further investment by a broader range of users and hardware developers.

Additionally, Microsoft announced that it expects to debut the general availability of MRTK3, ready for developers, in the second week of September 2023, Q3.

Magic Leap also noted how the MRTK3 partnership enables the firms to deliver an open ecosystem that scales developer opportunities. The firm explained that the move helps enterprise end-users gain “complete control” of their workplace AR solutions, with the firm also adding that “walled gardens” hold back the potential of XR.

Magic Leap hopes to drive the scalability and flexibility of MRTK3. Moreover, the move helps Magic Leap support porting MRTK3 from other OpenXR devices to its brand of AR hardware.

Robin Seiler, the Corporate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Windows + Devices organization, Microsoft, added:

Given their expertise and contributions, we are grateful to solidify their support and investments in the MRTK3 program and look forward to continued collaboration.

Mixed Reality is the “Eyes and Ears of AI,” Says Microsoft

Moreover, this week, Lili Cheng, Corporate Vice President of Business Applications and Platforms at Microsoft, wrote on the keys to MR success for frontline workers.

Microsoft explains how its investments in the emerging generative AI-powered service CoPilot will also improve MR dynamics guide service for XR headsets – lending a hand in optimizing frontline operations.

Dynamics 365 Guides provides a spatial environment that allows frontline workers to access Microsoft brand collaboration tools, such as Teams. Allowing frontline workers to complete repair procedures – which can become a significant blocker – with increased efficiency, connecting workers “beyond their physical limits,” remarked Cheng.

The Microsoft exec mentioned the importance and roles of integrated technologies such as digital twins, explaining that RT3D visualization and data allow frontline workers to “receive a better understanding of the machines and processes at hand.”

Cheng also added that access to related materials, such as digital twins, can be “further enhanced by AI,” saying:

Mixed reality is the eyes and ears of AI. Delving into operation nuances for personalized, in-depth learning becomes easier. When integrated, mixed reality and AI accelerate worker training, shortening steps and supplying users with the working knowledge they need for the task at hand.

At its Inspire 2023 showcase event covering its latest innovations, Microsoft quietly teased information regarding an industrial metaverse initiative – set to kick off in 2024.

The firm launched the start of its industrial metaverse roadmap as part of its AI Cloud Partner Program, which brings significant partners together to fuel growth and innovation towards enterprise-grade AI – with this plan also supporting efforts to grow industrial metaverse solutions and related technologies.

The program looks to boost enterprise use cases of AI, Cloud, and Metaverse solutions to improve productivity, resiliency, and sustainability outcomes.

Microsoft’s industrial Metaverse roadmap will also offer a “curated learning path” to provide end-users with resources to introduce workplace XR technology, with considerations for integrated first-party technologies, such as Microsoft Co-Pilot, Azure OpenAI, AI, ML, Azure Databricks, Synapse Analytics (2024), Microsoft Fabric (2024), Microsoft Purview, Power Platform, D365 Field Service, D365 Guides, D365 Remote Assist, HoloLens 2, Azure Maps, Azure HPC product, and Azure Digital Twins.

Further News from AnjaLens and NVIDIA

In other news, AjnaLens debuted AjnaXR Pro and AjnaXR SE devices, a pair of new MR headsets for enterprise and commercial use cases. AjnaXR Pro will cost Rs 1,15,499, and the AjnaXR SE will also cost Rs 84,999.

Abhijit Patil, Co-Founder and COO of AjnaLens, said:

Our AjnaXR SE and AjnaXR PRO devices are a step towards that future. They show our commitment to pushing boundaries in training, learning and human development and demonstrating India’s innovation on a global stage.

The firm also introduced AjnaVidya earlier this year, an accompanying platform to promote immersive learning and communication opportunities.

Additionally, NVIDIA introduced OpenUSD, an interoperable graphics framework, to Omniverse this week. The move allows NVIDIA to add genAI services, including Cesium, Convai, Move AI, SideFX Houdini and Wonder Dynamics, to assist with industrial digitization operations.

According to Rev Lebaredian, vice president of Omniverse and simulation technology at NVIDIA, the OpenUSD, GenAI-ready workflows enhance Omniverse developer tools, allowing enterprises to “build larger, more complex world-scale simulations as digital testing grounds for their industrial applications.”