Magic Leap announced the launch of Magic Leap 1, a $2,995 mixed reality headset, and revealed a set of enterprise applications and partners aimed at getting “spatial computing” off the ground.
For the past 16 months, Magic Leap has been selling its $2,295 headset as a beta version, dubbed the Magic Leap One Creator Edition and targeted at developers of spatial computing and mixed reality apps — the company’s term for overlaying animations on the real world through special glasses.
Since the price is too high for consumers, Magic Leap has turned to enterprises to showcase a range of applications, such as learning and assistance, 3D visualization, communication, collaboration and “copresence,” and location-based services, said Omar Khan, chief product officer at Magic Leap, in an interview with VentureBeat.
Just as virtual reality vendors have learned, Magic Leap has found that new technologies can produce tremendous productivity gains for enterprise applications like employee training.
Asked if the company has pivoted from consumer to enterprise customers, Khan said, “This has been our strategy for quite a while. Over the past 16 months, we’ve been working on a hardware, software, and solutions platform necessary to serve the enterprise and business customers in a scalable fashion. And that’s what we’re announcing.”
He added, “The attention from the media ends up going toward the public examples. We tend to be classified as a consumer device because a lot of our enterprise work was behind the scenes and behind the doors of our enterprise customers. It’s not like you can go into the McLaren factory and see our device in use. And so our consumer-facing applications and content were more visible and got more coverage. The enterprise has absolutely been in our strategy from the beginning.”
A recent story in The Information said that the Magic Leap One Creator Edition sold a mere 6,000 units, compared to the company’s goal of moving 100,000 units. Magic Leap said that report was “littered with inaccuracies and misleading statements and erroneously portrays Magic Leap’s operations, internal plans, and overall strategy.” But the company has not disclosed its sales numbers.
The Information also reported that the result of the poor sales has been layoffs, cost-cutting, and other measures — such as freezing work travel. A number of people have left, including chief financial officer Scott Henry and special effects wizard John Gaeta, and Magic Leap reportedly signed over its patents to JPMorgan Chase.
In that context, the launch of the Magic Leap 1 and the new focus on the enterprise could be seen as a “hail Mary” play by CEO Rony Abovitz to get Magic Leap on the scoreboard. Magic Leap has raised an estimated $2.6 billion since 2010 at a valuation in the billions of dollars, but it hasn’t shown much yet that justifies that value, the critics say. Now it’s Magic Leap’s moment to prove those critics wrong.
The Magic Leap Enterprise Suite
Available today on Magicleap.com, the Magic Leap Enterprise Suite includes everything a business needs to efficiently roll out spatial computing to employees and enable them to log into their device using their enterprise credentials, manage the device and data, and deploy enterprise or custom-built applications.
“We’re launching an enterprise suite that will enable enterprise customers,” Khan said. “Enterprise customers need tools and platforms to deploy devices and platforms like ours in a scalable fashion. They need to deploy those devices, manage those devices, upgrade those devices, update those devices, remotely wipe those devices, and provision those devices. And so part of the announcement next week is our enterprise platform necessary to serve those requirements of deploying Magic devices.”
For $2,995, customers can get:
- Magic Leap 1, an updated version of Magic Leap One Creator Edition.
- Two-year access to dedicated omnichannel support.
- Two-year access to Device Manager with enterprise-level support from Magic Leap. Device Manager lets authorized administrators control important aspects of working with Magic Leap 1, enabling them to configure and set up devices, view usage metrics, remotely distribute apps and updates, and remotely lock or wipe devices if needed.
- Two-year access to a RapidReplace program so you can get a new device quickly if you need one.
- A two-year extended warranty to guarantee Magic Leap 1 always works as it should..
Partners include Across Realities, Arvizio, Eon Reality, Immersion Analytics, Immersiv, Minsar, Nomtek, Obsess, PTC, RoOomy, Spatial, Taqtile, Verses, and VIM. Many of their applications are available in Magic Leap World today, with more rolling out over the next several months.
Alongside its enterprise focus, Magic Leap teamed up with partners from the health care and medical community in September.
“We’re announcing both internal and external solutions, as well as external partners that are working with us to enable these use cases,” Khan said. “And so we’ll be talking about our solutions. What’s exciting in this announcement is it’s not just about announcing a bunch of things that we’re developing. It’s about these solutions that are being developed based on feedback and engagement from actual customers and actual solution providers who are experts in these spaces.”
Communication, collaboration, and copresence
The modern workplace is changing — organizations are becoming flatter and workforces more disparate, but our need for collaborative work and creative group ideation continues to grow. Until now, there hasn’t been an adequate replacement for face-to-face interactions, the company said.
In the coming months, Magic Leap will begin rolling out a beta test for Jump by Magic Leap, a platform for communication, collaboration, and copresence that will allow people who are either physically present or digitally copresent to collaborate. With Jump by Magic Leap, companies can merge their digital content and experiences with multi-person, multi-site, volumetric copresence in the physical world, enabling new forms of collaboration.
Global French banking group BNP Paribas is already implementing Magic Leap technologies across its real estate business in Europe and will expand into its Asia and Middle East locations in 2020. Using a communication and collaboration platform from Magic Leap partner Spatial on Magic Leap 1, BNP has enabled employees from across its global network to be physically and digitally copresent in the same space, allowing them to interact as if they were all in the same room, despite being thousands of miles apart.
They can walk through a 3D model of a building or neighborhood map and then take part in a brainstorming session around its future development.
Since implementing these solutions in early 2019, BNP Paribas Real Estate has been able to lessen costly employee travel, reduce its carbon footprint, and change the way its employees — and in the near future, its customers — interact and collaborate with each other.
“We need to be communicating and collaborating closely with our clients abroad, and yet saving our customers valuable time versus long business trips is crucial,” said Kevin Cardona, head of innovation at BNP Paribas Real Estate, in a statement. “Given our strong presence across Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, this new challenge is at the heart of everything we do at BNP Paribas Real Estate. This is where our collaboration with Magic Leap comes in. Their innovative, immersive technology has become essential in our modern world. It brings the human dimension back into the workplace while at the same time providing key tools for collaboration. This is why we are so actively engaged in developing new tools to enhance the new ways of working that we see in our customers across the world.”
3D Visualization enables quick iteration and spatial insight-driven decision-making. It can create visual models of anything from a jet engine to complex data sets that are today confined to spreadsheets, servers, and screens and lets teams visualize them in the physical environment at scale. Whether it’s a spreadsheet or a medical MRI, the ability to visualize information as 3D content within your physical space opens up brand new opportunities to glean insights from data and create actionable plans.
“We are painfully aware data and models in 3D today are confined very much to 2D screens, whether they be PCs, tablets, TVs, [or] mobile phones, and they deserve to be unlocked from those constraints,” Khan said. “And so we’re announcing a solution focused on 3D visualization to visualize anything from data sets that can be visualized.” These include things like a factory, store, turbine engine, or car under design.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is using Magic Leap 1 to visualize its technology and passenger systems, allowing users to explore HyperloopTT’s first full-scale system located in Toulouse, France from anywhere in the world.
“HyperloopTT and Magic Leap are on the cutting edge of technology in our respective fields, making this a particularly exciting collaboration for us. Magic Leap provides the ability to bring Hyperloop with us wherever we go,” said Rob Miller, chief marketing officer at Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, in a statement. “Thanks to our collaboration, those who join us in boardrooms, events, and meetings around the world will be able to see the full HyperloopTT system, our full-scale passenger system in Toulouse, and our commercial project in the UAE using the Magic Leap headset.”
Chicago-based Skender plans to design, manufacture, and build modular multi-family, hospitality and health care buildings. Using Magic Leap 1 and BIM solution from Magic Leap Independent Creator Program grant recipient VIM, Skender was able to augment the physical space to help people experience what the finished product will be.
Earlier this year, Dow Jones Innovation Lab launched an application to visualize and animate live Wall Street Journal market data for every U.S. stock above a $1 billion market capitalization on a radial scatter plot.
Learn and assist
Diez said the company has gotten the most traction in training.
“Spatial computing can deliver the ability to learn and train in the environment immediately where you have to perform tasks, and you can become immediately productive — or productive much quicker — because you’re basically learning on the job and eliminating classroom time or your VR-based training and replacing it with training [in the real world].”
The “learn and assist” use case makes it easier to transform an aging workforce into remote experts who can train the next generation of workers. Training within a spatial computing environment yields numerous benefits, including increased safety and the opportunity to upskill employees simply and cost-effectively. This area has been one of the first to blossom because of the clear ROI with first-generation technology. With Magic Leap 1, upskilling a global team is more interactive, effective, and affordable.
Jabil, a leading manufacturing solutions provider, leverages Magic Leap technology to train production-line operators and simplify complex assembly operations. With digital instructions integrated into their physical environment, operators can better understand their roles and complete their work with greater speed and accuracy.
“Providing digital representation of detailed instructions simplifies complex training for assembly operations, enabling workers to learn manufacturing steps for more fun, efficient, and faster training,” said Kenny Wilson, executive vice president of Jabil Green Point, in a statement. “Accelerating skill development and conducting faster training on a variety of tasks across the shop floor and even across partners and remote sites drives significant value in settings that require precision, quality, and speed.”
Location-based experiences bring the digital world into live events and physical spaces. Magic Leap’s platform enables content and IP owners to bring digital entertainment to life in curated physical spaces. Examples include pop-up experiences or permanent installations at sports venues, museums, trade shows, and college campuses. Spatial computing can deliver unique entertainment experiences, digital product sampling, and product purchases with a limitless catalog of inventory.
In 2020, JetBlue Vacations will pilot an immersive experience for customers to visit and explore one of their premier international hotel destinations using Magic Leap 1.
“We believe spatial computing has limitless potential to positively impact our lives. We are at the beginning of that journey, as we start to change the way we work and begin to think beyond the screens that have limited our creativity and productivity and our ability to reach our fullest potential,” said Abovitz, in a statement. “The amazing companies who have started on this journey with us, all leaders in their industries, inspire and drive us to continue to lead the innovation of the next era of computing — the spatial transformation.”
These can be things like visualizations in places such as theme parks, museums, stadiums, stores, and other environments where mixed reality can bring experiences to life, Diez said.
As Magic Leap expands its solutions into the enterprise, it is also expanding its global footprint. Magic Leap partner NTT Docomo, the Japanese telecommunications firm, will begin exclusively offering Magic Leap 1 in Japan starting in the spring of 2020.
Magic Leap is also working with organizations such as Deloitte and the Boston Consulting Group to help their enterprise clients design and implement Magic Leap’s spatial computing platform in their organizations.
“At Deloitte Digital, we are always looking for new ways to embrace and support the human experience rather than distract from it,” said Allan Cook, managing director of digital reality at Deloitte, in a statement. “Magic Leap’s innovative spatial computing technology layers digital reality into the physical world, allowing the companies and brands we work with to visualize, inform, connect, and engage with employees, partners, and customers.”