The Microsoft Ignite Day 1 keynote presentations were heavy with talk about Microsoft Mesh, a new Microsoft Azure-based platform for building "cross-platform mixed reality apps" for multiple participants, according to a Tuesday announcement.

"Microsoft Mesh connects the physical and the digital worlds, allowing us to transcend the traditional boundaries of space and time," said Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman during the keynote address, which featured an underwater background equipped with circulating fish, plus Cirque du Soleil stage-design concepts.

Availability of the Mesh Platform wasn't precisely described. Some of its capabilities, which feature artificial intelligence (AI) enhanced aspects, are still months away, according to

"The Microsoft Mesh platform will in coming months offer developers a full suite of AI-powered tools for avatars, session management, spatial rendering, synchronization across multiple users and holoportation to build collaborative solutions in mixed reality," the announcement stated.

"Holoportation" refers to scanning objects in three dimensions, such as persons, and importing them into a shared virtual space.

Some of the technical challenges for developers will be aided in Microsoft Mesh by its AI capabilities. Microsoft listed those capabilities as "immersive presence, spatial maps, holographic rendering and multiuser sync."

Avatars in distinct forms and holoporations are used to address immersive presence issues across devices with Microsoft Mesh. Spatial maps are used to anchor objects in an environment, and Microsoft claims its approach is "orders of magnitude more accurate than GPS." Holographic rendering is designed to be either local or cloud-connected to achieve the best image fidelity. Lastly, Microsoft deals with latency issues in collaborative sessions with its multiuser sync solutions.

Redmond Magazine