New Microsoft Mesh App Blends MR, AR, & VR

A dramatic step forward for mixed reality comms

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Published: March 3, 2021

John Woods XR Today

John Woods

Microsoft shocked the XR world at Ignite this week by unveiling a new product that cross-pollinates MR, AR, and VR experiences within a single collaboration platform.

The aptly named Microsoft Mesh app is a first-of-its-kind solution that allows users to meet up and communicate with colleagues and peers while fully immersed in extended reality environments from multiple entry points.

To demonstrate exactly what Mesh is capable of, Microsoft launched the product within its VR Altspace collaboration platform, showcasing how users can connect via any medium of their choosing.

According to Microsoft, Mesh powers collaborative experiences with a feeling of presence– meaning users feel like they are physically present with one another even when they are not.

What’s more interesting about this development is that once users have downloaded the tool, they’ll be able to interact with 3D content or engage with one another through Mesh-enabled apps across any platform or device – including Microsoft HoloLens, virtual reality (VR) headsets, smartphones, tablets or PCs.

“This has been the dream for mixed reality, the idea from the very beginning,” said Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman. “You can actually feel like you’re in the same place with someone sharing content or you can teleport from different mixed reality devices and be present with people even when you’re not physically together,” he added.


Ultimately, the new Microsoft Mesh platform’s overall goal is to help users collaborate, create, and communicate with greater effectiveness than ever before. The app will also help teams solve problems more efficiently, improve their operational performance, and enhance training quality.

As demonstrated during the Ignite presentation, Mesh users will be able to connect as avatars or as holographic versions of themselves, build a common understanding with shared 3D content, and leverage a common identity across platforms, all powered by the enterprise-grade security of the Azure cloud. ​

Users can now download the Microsoft Mesh app for HoloLens 2 in preview mode and request access to the AltspaceVR app with new work capabilities.

Microsoft Mesh also offers a significant advantage for developers by simplifying and speeding up app development with easy-to-integrate modules to enable presence and collaboration in their mixed-reality applications.

Developers can join the Mixed Reality Developer Program now to get updates.

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