January was another tough month for extended reality (XR) vendors and solution providers. While events such as CES 2023 highlighted some of the best immersive innovations, caution loomed across the industry following the hard holiday period of 2022.
Although, despite a challenging period, the industry may face an upturn following the recent general success of the industry’s most influential players.
Significant firms are successfully standing back up. For example, Snap is seeing an upturn in success following immersive hardware blunders, and Google is going on strong despite significant layoffs.
Moreover, audience interest from enterprise end-users and consumers is strong, with rumours of new devices from Microsoft, Apple, and Meta all prevailing.
In the meantime, XR hardware vendors like HTC VIVE, XYZ Reality, VITURE, and AjnaLens are working hard to debut new hardware solutions for 2023.
As February enters its first weekend, the week past reflects on both the industry’s recent hurdles and the answers to these challenges.
Meta Release Q4 Earnings Report, Good for Bussiness, Bad for XR
This Tuesday, Meta Platforms released its Q4 earnings report, which showed an optimistic outlook following various controversies for the Facebook parent firm and its famed leader Mark Zuckerberg CEO, Founder.
Meta’s report showcased how the firm is experiencing 2.96 monthly active users, a 23 percent increase in ad impressions, and $32.17 billion in revenue. Moreover, the report highlighted Meta’s $116.61 billion overall 2022 earnings.
On the XR side, Meta’s Reality Labs division lost an additional $4.28 billion in the fourth quarter, bringing its overall losses to $13.72 billion.
The blow marks another poor financial statement for Meta’s immersive technology research and development (R&D) arm. Last year, Reality Labs underwent significant restructuring following a poor financial report.
After a 26 percent/$10 billion profit loss via its XR R&D branch, Meta cut XR workers by roughly 30 percent. Moreover, the Menlo Park-based firm also cancelled various immersive hardware projects such as Project Nazare, Orion smartglasses, and an XR smartwatch.
Although, with a generally successful Q4 report, Meta may be able to support its struggling XR division.
Meta Faces FTC Injunction
This Tuesday, Meta once again took headlines. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed an injunction against Meta following its ongoing purchase of the immersive fitness application Within.
According to the injunction, FTC prohibits Meta from purchasing Within Unlimited until 23:59 Pacific Time on the first business day following the ruling.
It also adds that judges may extend restraining orders that expire on Tuesday at 23:59 Pacific Time for up to seven days.
Meta first attempted to purchase Within back in 2021 for $440 million.
The FTC argued in the US District Court for the Northern District of California that Meta’s acquisition of Within violated anticompetitive conduct.
Microsoft Continue Hololens 2, MRTK, Industrial Metaverse Investment
This Thursday, Robin Seiler, Corporate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Windows + Devices Organization, dispelled rumours that Microsoft is dropping support for its Hololens and MRTK.
Seiler clarified that Microsoft would continue to support Hololens 2 users. Microsoft will continue to offer updates for the Hololens 2 device to help business customers in sectors like field service, factory operations, and healthcare leverage XR.
In addition, the company is increasing support for its open-source, cross-platform immersive content development service, MRTK.
Microsoft will continue to support the distribution of open-source MRTK-based Hololens solutions. The ongoing support allows MRTK developers to build efficiently, thanks to constant device updates.
Microsoft can also help developers distribute interoperable industrial Metaverse solutions on the Hololens with its ongoing MRTK support.
Caregility Debtus XR Solution at Arab Health Conference 2023 in Dubai
Finally, at the 2023 Arab Health Conference, immersive healthcare solutions provider Caregility debuted its virtual care solutions that boost patient turnaround times and outcomes.
Caregility owns an XR telehealth intensive care unit that provides patient support via immersive remote sessions.
The XR healthcare firm has already successfully deployed its service with roughly 5,000 remote sessions at 17 hospitals in the Kingdom.
By partnering with regional healthcare firms, Caregility is now distributing its immersive cloud-based solution at Seha Virtual Hospitals, covering 30 clinical services across 130 hospitals nationwide.