One call to change my life, and another to redefine Spatial Computing

Irena Cronin called me last year.

That call lead to the development of a new Spatial Computing Agency, Infinite Retina, which opens its doors today. Thought I’d give you a little detail behind what brought 20 people together, and offer the community to come together to define, for Wikipedia, what Spatial Computing is (Magic Leap has been popularizing the term, but we think it is bigger than just their form of augmented reality glasses).

Back to the call and what has happened since.

We had stayed in touch because we both are passionate about the same things: helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses and seeing Spatial Computing make life better for all of us. Spatial Computing is computing we, or machines, move around in. More on the definition in a bit.

See, eight years ago Peter Meier, then CTO of Metaio, promised me monsters on the sides of buildings in the video I embedded here. He, today, is working inside Apple on the augmented reality team.

For me, it is personal. My son, Milan, is autistic, and has trouble communicating, reading social cues that I take for granted, and doing other tasks.

I see how a pair of Spatial Computing glasses will give him, and really all of us, super powers.

It wasn’t the first time I had seen these technologies demonstrated.

Yelp, back in 2009, added a feature because I heard that it was working on such. They claim they weren’t, but an intern there added the feature after I came up with it. Before that I’ve seen various augmented reality or virtual reality projects come to life, both in military, and in R&D labs.

Anyway, back to Irena’s call. She floated the idea of me working on a book with her, aimed at helping businesses. I answered, “I think there’s a lot more than a book here, want to build a business together?” I had spent the past year doing homework on the Spatial Computing industry, visiting tons of companies, and building new databases on social media and elsewhere of the industry and I saw a major new need coming that would need more than a book, it would need a team of people helping companies figure out their journeys as they build new technologies for products we haven’t yet seen yet (last week Microsoft launched a new Hololens, which shows that development is active and interest is going up).

After that call, the idea for a company quickly grew. Which leads us to:

  • Our team, seven other people who inspire me every day. On our podcasts, newsletters, or videos, you’ll eventually meet them, and see why I am humbled to work beside them.
  • Our advisors. 14 people who each bring something to the table, from being one of Steve Jobs’ key people who brought us the iPhone, to innovators in optics and sensors, to AR Cloud pioneers, to business experts.

Here’s the core team at our first meeting, which we did in Apple’s Palo Alto store. An aside, our name, “Infinite Retina” comes, in part, from Apple’s name for high resolution screens, “Retina screens.” Since Spatial Computing gives you all the virtualized high resolution monitors you want, we thought of a world of “Infinite Retina.”

Today, we turned on the InfiniteRetina.com website, shipped a new newsletter, more on that in a second, came up with a menu of services, recorded a podcast, and revealed two video interviews that we did, including with the head of Augmented Reality research at Niantic, the folks under Pokemon-Go. They represent our new research where where we dig into the business side of Spatial Computing and the companies building products and services using Spatial Computing technologies.

You’ve never seen me really dig into the business life of companies before, but we see the press that’s covering Spatial Computing isn’t really focusing on that much yet, and since our thesis is that many new companies will come over the next five years, that they will need help in seven areas (internally we call them “the Seven Voxels” but you can think of them as business imperatives). Things like getting funding, gaining attention, finding customers, winning talent, choosing and/or building infrastructure, guiding culture, and handling legal.

Which gets me to a question we have for the community.

One of the things that our team talks a lot about is how do we define Spatial Computing? While this term is not a new one, it’s not one that has been frequently used so far. There isn’t even a Wikipedia page for it yet.

In our first newsletter, we lay out our definition of Spatial Computing. We think it’s broader than just augmented reality or mixed reality or virtual reality, or even, all three put together. Spatial Computing technologies are being used in ovens, in cars, in drones, on factory lines, and lots of other places, which we’ve been tracking on our Twitter feed as we retweet the most interesting tweets from people and companies in this space.

We want to know what you think about our definition? How would you improve it, change it, etc? Feel free to tweet about it, or send us a note on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages, and we’ll aggregate and publish the best feedback. My friend Reuben Steiger did most of the homework for us, in his Ultimate Guide for XR evangelists.

To wrap it up, so excited that one phone call turned into so much already, with much more on the way. Our dreams of a new, more personal computing system that we can use all day instead of phones, laptops, TVs, etc, are still probably many years away, but we can see about $50 billion in investments already from companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, Magic Leap, Huawei, and many others, and when this wave comes in we predict it’ll create many new billion-dollar companies and we’re here to help.

We are working on a set of corporate values, and chief amongst them is that a rising tide lifts all boats, and we’re just offering to be helpful: to everyone who cares about Spatial Computing and all the magic that it can bring.

I’m honored to be Chief Strategy Officer at this new company and I’m here to answer your calls: robert@infiniteretina.com or +1-425-205-1921.




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