Vision Pro production panic, Celebs back AR firm Medivis for $20 million, and Puma plant second shoe in Metaverse.
Also this week...the biggest updates from London Tech Week 2023, Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey fears a Wall-E style dystopia, and Meta add public text-based chat to Horizon Worlds.
Good morning Metaverse Business Brief readers. Let’s jump into the most relevant news from the immersive world in our weekly roundup.
Supply constraints could limit Vision Pro manufacturing. Information from a South Korean tech news outlet cited by UploadVR claims that Sony, the supplier of the OLED microdisplays for the new Apple display, can’t manufacture more than 900,000 displays per year. This would prove to be a significant drawback, with the Vision Pro requiring two of these displays per headset. This ultimately would limit Apple, who had a request for production expansion rejected, to the creation of half a million devices per year.
London Tech Week 2023 - the top takeaways. London, currently experiencing a significant push as a UK innovation growth hub, played host to a global investor led conference which featured some notable showcases of XR tech. Amongst the biggest draws, Freeaim Technologies proved to be a hit with novel shoe based VR hardware that simulates walking while stationary. A Ukrainian startup ‘Musemio’ also showcased the ability to utilise the metaverse to build a personalised museum targeted at youngers using a mobile app.
Jack Dorsey predicts doomed ‘Wall-E’ VR future. In an interview shared on YouTube, the former Twitter CEO cast a highly dystopian vision of our potential future in a world of immersive tech. Dorsey expressed worry that the future will contain a landscape akin to that of the Disney movie Wall-E, in which citizens exist on hovering reclining chairs and consume masses of content. Concerns over increasing social distancing encouraged Dorsey to claim that we need “an honest conversation about some of the harms” associated with increasingly virtual lives.
Meta add public text-based chat to Horizon Worlds. The new feature, which is being dubbed “world chat”, will resemble similar mechanics in games like World of Warcraft, with users having the ability to message other players within the same world session. It is rumoured that this update will likely be part of the plans to prepare Horizon Worlds for a web and mobile rollout, which has been in development since April 2022. In order to protect younger users, Meta have confirmed that messages will be automatically set to blur for those who fall in the newly introduced 13-17 age range.
Medivis take $20 million. In a star studded series A funding round, the US based medical tech company saw backing from Disney CEO Bob Iger and NBA star Kevin Durant amongst others. Medivis use AR and AI tech to improve surgical care via their SurgicalAR imaging platform, which has FDA approval.
Mistral AI raise record breaking $105 million. The four week old AI startup took the funding, which is officially Europe’s largest-ever seed round, as they look to fund the creation of an EU alternative to industry giants like OpenAI and DeepMind. Mistral AI is led by a trio of AI researchers, formerly of Meta and Google.
Accenture back Praxis Labs. The figures behind the latest investment in the consultancies Project Spotlight initiative were undisclosed, with Praxis Labs being founded in 2019 with the goal of improving workplace and societal equity via an end-to-end immersive learning platform that is delivered using VR.
Keep an eye on
Puma launch Black Station 2 experience. The German sportswear company have launched a sequel to their initial step into the Metaverse, which is landing in September 2022 for New York Fashion Week. Black Station 2 adds two digital worlds, inspired by Shibuya and the Berlin techno scene, to an existing infrastructure that allows users to trade limited edition digital and physical shoes alongside NFTs via the Ethereum blockchain.
Meta hit with virtual desktop controversy. In an email to Quest users, Meta shared the monthly user numbers - 178,603 - for the popular VR app Virtual Desktop (amongst other VR apps). This news surprised the developer of the app, Guy Godin, who despite not confirming or denying the figure, tweeted his confusion as Meta had sought approval to share the data. Guy did however confirm that only 2% of Quest 2 app version users access Virtual Desktop using a Quest Pro.
Digitalbits ‘disgraced’ amidst negative coverage. The crypto firm have been under serious scrutiny in recent weeks, with the most recent being an assumed silent distancing of major ambassador David Beckham from the brand. A source close to Beckham, who was said to be earning £5 million a year to promote the firm, claimed they no longer had a relationship. The news follows a lawsuit against DigitalBits, with accusations made that bosses used investment funds to pay for luxury holidays and properties.
Mercedes-Benz turn to ChatGPT. The car manufacturer have shared news that they will begin beta-testing ChatGPT as a voice assistant in their vehicles. The beta program will be available in over 900,000 vehicles in the US. Mercedes owners with an ‘MBUX infotainment’ system can activate the experience with a simple voice command, with the firm promising that ChatGPT will allow drivers to be able to interact with their voice assistant using a “more natural dialogue format”.
Events to be at
June 28 Tokyo | XR Fair Tokyo Summer
August 08 Online | Insights Live: How the Metaverse would Transform Education
September 23 Online | Insights Live: How can CEOs stop feeling alone?
October 24-26 Houston | The 10th Augmented Enterprise Summit
November 30 Rotterdam | The 7th International VR Awards
Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news and comments to email@example.com.
June 19 2023 Edition - Issue 24
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