Zoom gets mixed-reality makeover for Apple’s Vision Pro

Zoom has made its first foray into mixed reality with a meeting app for Apple’s Vision Pro that promises new ways to collaborate in three dimensions.

With Apple’s high-tech headset due to launch Friday, Zoom has created a visionOS app that will make use of the “spatial computing” capabilities of the device. This includes 3D representations of meeting participants, with the ability to see facial and hand movements and the ability to scale the app to desired size. The features will be available beginning Feb. 2.

“The evolution of both new and existing Zoom technologies within emerging media is expected,” said Wayne Kurtzman, IDC research vice president of social, communities and collaboration. “The enterprise should take note that these markets will evolve quickly in the years ahead — and collaboration will become more visual and engaging.”

Later this year — during the spring, Zoom said in a blog post Monday — more features will roll out, including 3D object sharing. This will allow meeting participants to share and view 3D files with remote colleagues, such as animators working on character models, for instance. It will also be possible to “pin” up to five meeting participants to the mixed reality space, removing their video background for a greater sense of realism and presence.

Zoom also plans to make its Team Chat text collaboration tool available from within the visionOS app.

Workplace collaboration isn’t expected to be a key driver of AR/VR adoption among businesses, according to Raúl Castañón, senior research analyst at 451 Research, a part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. Instead, the focus is likely to be on vertical or industry-specific uses.

Manufacturing firms have the largest project budgets for “metaverse” related technologies this year, according to S&P Global’s 2023 Worldwide Metaverse Enterprise Survey, with engineering and simulation technologies such as digital twins targets for investment. “However, collaboration providers like Zoom cannot afford to sit this one out,” said Castañón.

“While not the main driver for adoption, tools such as Zoom’s Vision Pro app will make Apple’s new headset more compelling, allowing users to engage with the horizontal productivity and collaboration applications they use on a daily basis, without having to switch devices,” he said.

“Furthermore, continually expanding the surface for their collaboration software should help Zoom further cement its position in the market,” Castañón said.

Copyright © 2024 IDG Communications, Inc.


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