Calendar year 2022 will be significant for Microsoft in India as it charts the initial progress of its metaverse plans and new product launches. The company told BusinessLine that its Mesh for Teams metaverse offering will go live in the country in the first half of the year.

Its metaverse building block Microsoft Mesh complements its mixed reality hardware HoloLens 2.0. The company has also announced a public preview of two solutions in India — the Microsoft Mesh app, where you can view in 3D; and the Altspace VR, which will be used to hold meetings, townhalls in virtual reality and 2D mode on PCs.

Microsoft India, interestingly, is also getting vocal about creating an open ecosystem for its next phase of metaverse-backed growth. An open ecosystem might become a pre-requisite for building cross-platform experiences once metaverse becomes a mainstream reality.

Rajiv Sodhi, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft India, told BusinessLine, “As we develop for a metaverse-powered future, we have a foundational belief in open ecosystems, where identities and content easily flow between experiences, regardless of platform, and should not be controlled by a platform broker. We believe this is necessary to fully unlock the promise of the metaverse. What we have announced so far is our metaverse platform called Microsoft Mesh, which will enable developers in the ecosystem to start building solutions for the metaverse-shared digital workspaces.”

Metaverse wave

Metaverse features are being integrated differently into the various verticals of Microsoft’s business, says Praveen Mellacheruvu, Country Head-Business Applications, Microsoft India.

“If I look at metaverse, it is manifesting itself in different ways in different parts of the Microsoft Cloud stack. On the Azure side, there’s Mesh. On Teams and productivity, there’s metaverse use cases,” he told BusinessLine.

“And Dynamic suite is still a bit old school till now and primarily focussed on solving some critical problems around businesses over remote access. For instance, help someone repair a complex set of machinery sitting 10,000 km away. This is where it uses HoloLens to spot where the machine is. That’s where Dynamic is adding value through technology for use cases like maintenance, services, training and audit, to name a few, and how to do this remotely. This is gaining traction during the pandemic,” Mellacheruvu added.

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According to Sodhi, Microsoft Cloud provides comprehensive set of capabilities to power metaverses that blend the physical and digital worlds by connecting and creating digital twins of places, people and things, and enabling collaboration in mixed reality.

“Our IoT capabilities enable customers to connect to physical assets and create their digital twins in the cloud. Our AI capabilities help reason on this data and enable natural interactions using powerful speech and vision machine-learning models. Microsoft Mesh transforms collaboration and connection by creating a shared sense of presence from anywhere, on any device,” he said.

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