Cross-platform virtual collaboration platform Spatial today announced the beta launch of its new Webgl feature, which means no more apps to download, and one-click invitations, just like Zoom. “Webgl is deeper programming language than WebVR, which sort of sits on top of it,” explained co-founder and CPO Jinha Le. “This enabling you to build 3D experiences in the browser.”
Spatial, which was launched on stage by Alex Kipman with the HoloLens 2 at Mobile World Congress in 2019, has spent the past eighteen months adding more ways to collaborate across devices. The company just added Steam PC VR users to its platform. Today, users on HoloLens, Magic Leap, Quest 2, PC VR, desktop, and mobile can share the same real-time simulation. In addition to Webgl, Spatial is also adding a real-time translation feature (for pro users), and more file formats for uploading 3D and other files.
The company thought remote work would be its most compelling use case and that does comprise a majority of Spatial’s users. But there is something else going on: social and leisure, world-building, and art. People like hanging out there. OpenSea, a marketplace for art NFTs, opened a gallery in Spatial. “When we first saw what was going on,” said Jacob Lowenstein, head of business for Spatial, “we were both surprised and excited to find people making a home for themselves and their community on Spatial. Our private, persistent and free rooms make our platform very hospitable to these users.”
“The new Spatial updates are pretty fantastic. They are pushing ahead pretty far. And giving users and creators what we really need,” said Michael Potts, founder and CEO of Dallas-based M2 Studios, which builds custom environments in Spatial, The Wild, Arthur, Mozilla Hubs, Altspace, and other platforms. “What they have done will enhance their solution even more. These new features help keep them pretty far ahead of the curve.”
Spatial’s system uses a proprietary AI algorithm to automatically create fully dimensional, recognizable avatars for each participant from a simple 2D photo. Users can share web pages, media content, 3D objects, and create sticky notes as if they were all present in the same room. Spatial allows users to upload totally customized environments to use as your meeting room. The company also announced support for .obj, tiff, and dae files. Finally, there’s Live Translation in over thirty languages for the pro subscription.
Spatial also allows users to share media, so a family throughout the world, on different devices could play a game, or watch a big one. Or simply play with their grandchildren in unexpected new ways. Think of it as Facetime in 3D with a much, much better form factor, and cross-platform. Anand Agarawala, CEO and Co-founder of Spatial. says that “We are moving from the era of personal computing to collective computing where people can share their space and ideas from anywhere, on any device.”
Spatial is now the only cross-platform webgl 3D collaboration solution on the market, recently adding PCVR support for access through Steam on HTC Vive, Valve Index, Windows Mixed Reality headsets, Varjo and Oculus Rift/Rift S. Spatial also has integrations with existing work tools including Slack, Google Drive, Figma and Microsoft Office 365. Users can manipulate 3D objects, customize any environment through LiDAR scanning, and use instant translation features for global teams.
Customers have logged over nine million minutes in Spatial to date, with companies such as Larvol, pledging to become fully VR-first within the coming year. As a remote-first company since 2004, they found the office space they never thought they needed in VR in Spatial.
Spatial has raised $22 M to date in several rounds, the last one led by White Star Capital, iNovia and Kakao Ventures with continued participation from Silicon Valley notables including Instagram Co-founder Mike Krieger, and Zynga founder Mark Pincus. Other Spatial investors include iNovia Capital, Expa (founded by Garrett Camp), Lerer Hippeau, Leaders Fund, Samsung NEXT, as well as angels; Mark Pincus, and Andy Hertzfeld (Co-Inventor of the Macintosh) are joined by new investors White Star Capital, Kakao Ventures, Baidu Ventures, and Mike Krieger.