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InfoQ Homepage News Microsoft Announces Two New Azure Cloud Services Allowing Developers to Build Cross-Platform AR Apps

Microsoft Announces Two New Azure Cloud Services Allowing Developers to Build Cross-Platform AR Apps

At the recent Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, Microsoft announced two new services: Azure Spatial Anchors and Azure Remote Rendering. Both services will allow developers to build cross-platform and contextual mixed reality applications.

During the conference in Barcelona, Microsoft unveiled the new HoloLens 2, and several new initiatives designed to support its development, including Spatial Anchors, and Remote Rendering. With Spatial Anchors, developers can create mixed reality experiences using objects that persist their location across devices over time. Furthermore, this service allows developers to build apps that map, designate and recall precise points of interest that are accessible across HoloLens, iOS and Android devices - it will enable people in the same place to participate in multi-user mixed reality applications.


Some use cases for Spatial Anchors include:

In a blog post by Neena Kamath, principal PM manager, Azure Mixed Reality wrote that customers could benefit from the Spatial Anchor service, in for example IoT:

With Azure Spatial Anchors and Azure Digital Twins, customers gain new spatial intelligence capabilities and new insights into how spaces and infrastructure are really used. By visualizing IoT data on-site and in-context on HoloLens or mobile devices, people can uncover and respond to operational issues before they impact workstreams.

Microsoft’s other service is Azure Remote Rendering, allowing developers to render complex 3D models from the cloud and stream it to mobile devices and mixed reality headsets. With Azure Remote Rendering customers can interact with your architectural, engineering, and design models in mixed reality without any decimation or sacrifice on visual quality. According to a post by Pradeep Viswav, technical lead at HCL Technologies on mspoweruser:

Due to hardware limits, you can’t render a high-quality 3D model on a mobile device or an AR headset, so you can use this service to render high-quality 3D content in the cloud and stream it to edge devices, all in real time, with every detail intact.


Azure Remote Rendering is in private preview, while Azure Spatial Anchors are in public preview and available in the East US 2 region only – the service is free during the preview period. Microsoft have made several details and best practices for implementing spatial anchors in its Mixed Reality available on their website.

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