By Tom Ffiske // 23 December 2020
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Happy holidays! Whether you are with friends, family, or dialling in via Zoom, I hope you enjoy your calorie coma during this festive season 🎄
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The Main Story
Let's talk about this year, generally. As the last newsletter of 2020, I hope you can forgive a lighter touch for this issue. Well, lighter than usual anyway. 

Because 2020 has been a journey and a half for everyone. I don't just mean for business; we've seen some VR/AR companies thrive as countries locked down, or adapted their services to profit from the new barriers. That's standard for crises through history. 

I mean the human cost. Yes, people were let go or requested to not work for long and strenuous periods - a gnawing idleness that grates mental health down to dust. But for nearly all companies they experienced personnel who felt isolated and alone, feeling like they cannot connect with their colleagues properly. It's been a lonely year, and the toll on people is real. 

Even the holidays won't be enough for many people, far away from their families and friends. But my hope is that some people can take a step away from the computer, breathe deeply, and pat themselves on the back. Because you know what? You got through it, and that deserves raising a glass. 

Wherever you are in AR/VR, have an excellent holiday 🎁
If you want a good chuckle, check out Dark Stock Images. Photo credit: gettyimages. 
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Igloo Vision wishes all the readers of Immersive Wire all the very best for Christmas and the New Year!

(And, this being Igloo, we're also taking the opportunity to plug the seasonal applications of our technology - just check out this case study from Ferrero Rocher, or this one from Hammerson).
Analysis of the top stories
Got a news story? Let me know at tom (at) virtualperceptions (dot) com.

Ready for the world's first XR jazz show?
  • BBC Click and Shocap Entertainment's XR Jazz performance will be televised globally on 26 December. 
  • It'll be available via iPlayer on the day. I'll be sure to take a peek! 
Atmos VR secured £1m to open public VR venues through 2021. 
  • I know, location-based VR companies took a battering in 2020. The VOID said goodbye, as did a smattering of others. But who's to say it'll disappear when the pandemic moves on? 
  • The £1m bet is that LBVR will bounce back, and Atmos VR can capitalise on the surge of consumer spending as lockdown restrictions ease. A risk, yes, but arguably a safe one. 
It's not what you think; Google lets anyone contribute to Street View with AR.
  • I only mention this story because of the wild misunderstanding in my LinkedIn network. No, it does not mean anyone can contribute AR models to the service. What it means is that users can submit images of locations, and it uses Google's ARCore to ensure its compatibility. 
  • It's a great story of using AR in simple and effective ways. It's also a parable for people who only read headlines, a pet distaste of mine. 
Rec Room secured $20m in funding. 
  • The bet here is related to the metaverse; spear-headed by Fortnite and Roblox, Rec Room hopes to provide a platform for events and player creativity. 
  • Rec Room has tripled its audience since this time last year, and the most common entry point is from mobile. It's worth noting that they are sticking to their VR roots, but also expanding into other platforms. 
AiR lets people snap realistic holograms on iOS for free. 
  • I wanted to profile this story because it's a very early example of people commodifying easy-to-scan holograms, and the effects are pretty good! 
  • We'll see more examples like this through 2021, but AiR seems to have knocked it out of the park. Now we need an Android version... 
Finally, got any New Years plans?
  • Welcome To The Other Side is New Year's Eve virtual party organized by electronic music legend Jean-Michel Jarre together with VRrOOm, under the patronage of Unesco.
  • For many people who are alone this holiday, this may be a nice alternative. 
Other stories
Watch the first XR jazz show on 26 December. Photo credit: Shocap Entertainment. 
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That's all for this week! Want to have a chat, let me know about a news story, or talk business? Either reply to this email, or contact tom (at) virtualperceptions (dot) com. Have an excellent day! 

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