Microsoft announced the Azure Mixed Reality services alongside HoloLens 2 at the 2019 Mobile World Congress. The details for HoloLens 2 were impressive, to say the least. If you haven’t seen the announcement yet check out this video summary here:
The announcement of Azure Mixed Reality Services got lost in the excitement of HoloLens 2, but is just as exciting! The Spatial Anchor Service allows you to create a persistent mixed reality world that exists beyond your device. The Remote Rendering Service allows you to render models beyond the capabilities of your hardware device, leveling the playing field between devices. Developers can use these services to create your own metaverse that many devices can participate in regardless of platform and render the same holograms on each device. These services will create the next wave of adoption of Mixed reality, by enhancing their capabilities beyond the single device.
Azure Spatial Anchors
Azure spatial anchors allow you to create mixed reality apps that map, designate, and recall precise points of interest that are accessible across HoloLens, iOS, and Android devices. This video from Microsoft demonstrates how it works:
Spatial Anchors allow users to add context to the real world by placing and connecting digital content to physical points of interest. Microsoft designed Spatial Anchors to integrate with AI and IOT Services within Azure. This integration allows developers to infuse artificial intelligence and IoT devices to visualize data from sensors as holograms. Spatial Anchors share Holograms across devices in real time, allowing multiple platforms to view the context that you add to the real world. The Preview service supports HoloLens devices, ARKit-enabled iOS devices, and ARCore-enabled Android devices. Spatial Anchors is currently in public preview and available for development immediately. The ability to publish apps using this service is expected within a few weeks.
Azure Remote Rendering
Azure remote rendering allows you to render high quality, interactive 3D content, and stream it to your device in real time. The picture below shows much more detail than the HoloLens 2 is capable of rendering but using Remote Rendering all of this detail can be shown on that platform.
When details matter, Azure Remote Rendering provides the same holograms to all users regardless of the platform of their device. Remote Rendering allows you to render all of this detail on HoloLens 2, mobile phones, tablets, and other untethered devices. Plugins will deliver remote rendering functionality making it simple to incorporate into your apps. Additional details on this service will be available soon when the service goes into public preview.