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Marxent raises $15 million to expand an enterprise 3D home design platform

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The technology required to digitally recreate and furnish real rooms in 3D is considerably more complicated under the hood than it appears to end users, and it’s even trickier to import an enterprise’s real world objects — furniture, flooring, wallpaper, and the like —  so customers can preview and buy them. Having developed a robust commerce platform, 3D Cloud, that enables enterprises to digitize and sell everything from individual furnishings to fully designed rooms, Marxent announced that it will expand its service following an investment from Connectwise founder Arnie Bellini, who will also join the Florida-based company’s board.

“With the base business operating as a going concern, this $15 million series C puts us in a position to attack targeted growth initiatives,” Marxent CEO and cofounder Beck Besecker told VentureBeat today. “One of the most important in our minds is to connect the design, visualization, and purchase experience to the rest of the customer journey. For instance, Pinterest is now the place customers start a project by getting inspired. A great solution should allow shoppers to design with what inspired them. Our proprietary ‘design from photo’ [feature] makes that consumer journey possible.”

Marxent’s expansion is significant for technical decision makers because it demonstrates growing enterprise interest in turnkey solutions that can transform 2D photos and real world objects into commercially viable 3D content. Once digital twins of real objects and rooms have been created in 3D, they can be viewed on anything from a computer monitor or mobile device to mixed reality headsets — varied options embraced by retailers such as Macy’s, which originally adopted Marxent’s 3D Room Planner to sell furniture using in-store VR goggles. Display versatility is critical; over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased user interest for 3D furnishing and design solutions that can be used from home with whatever visualization hardware is readily available.

In this case, the data story is deliberately behind the scenes, quietly collating color and texture information to make a retailer’s vast catalog of offerings easier for users to navigate. For instance, a Bloomingdale’s demonstration of Marxent’s “design from photo” technology shows a 2D image serving as the basis for a “3D Shop the Look” feature, enabling a user to quickly import the colors, objects, and flooring from a photo to create the same or similar look in a home. Customers can preview the entire room in 3D, then purchase the furnishings directly from the retailer.

Currently, Marxent’s 3D Cloud can visualize full bedrooms, offices, kitchens, baths, and outdoor settings, and the platform is being used by major retailers including Lowe’s, La-Z-Boy, and Ashley HomeStore, as well as custom component vendors such as kitchen cabinet maker American Woodmark. Thanks to customers’ ability to fully preview new furnishings for their real world spaces in 3D, Marxent claims that enterprises using the platform are seeing a 50% increase in average transaction size, 80% reduction in returns, and 30% faster average sale cycle.

“3D-enabled selling was already an emerging growth category,” explained Arnie Bellini, whose firm Bellini Capital led the series C round. “COVID has further accelerated the demand for virtual selling of home goods, and Marxent is the recognized technology leader in the space enabling the experience.”

Marxent says it will use the Bellini investment to expand to adjacent home categories, add highly requested features from existing customers, and forge additional strategic partnerships beyond Pinterest to integrate with the sources of room design inspiration. Beyond its offices in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Dayton, Ohio, the company will also expand its London and Paris operations to support European clients, such as John Lewis and Kingfisher, with plans to grow further across Europe and other markets.

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Source: https://venturebeat.com/2021/01/22/marxent-raises-15-million-to-expand-an-enterprise-3d-home-design-platform/

AR/VR

The 20 Best Rated & Most Popular Quest Games & Apps – February 2021

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While Oculus doesn’t offer much publicly in the way of understanding how well individual apps are performing across its VR storefronts, it’s possible to glean some insight by looking at apps relative to each other. Here’s a snapshot of the top 20 Oculus Quest games and apps as of February 2021, now including the ‘most popular’ apps based on the number of reviews received in the last month.

ℹ️ Why We Publish This Data

While the SteamVR library already has a comprehensive tracking database thanks to SteamDB, Steam 250, and more, no similar database exists to track applications on Oculus storefronts. We publish this data to give users, developers, and analysts insight into the Oculus app landscape.

Some quick qualifications before we get to the data:

  • Paid and free apps are separated
  • Only apps with more than 100 reviews are represented
  • Rounded ratings may appear to show ‘ties’ in ratings for some applications, but the ranked order remains correct

Best Rated Paid Oculus Quest Apps

The rating of each application is an aggregate of user reviews and a useful way to understand the general reception of each title by customers.

Rank Name Rating (# of ratings) Rank Change Price
#1 The Room VR: A Dark Matter 4.89 (5,102) ↑ 1 $30
#2 ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos 4.89 (653) ↓ 1 $40
#3 Cubism 4.86 (262) $10
#4 Yupitergrad 4.83 (144) New $15
#5 Moss 4.83 (4,052) ↓ 1 $30
#6 The Thrill of the Fight 4.82 (4,327) ↑ 1 $10
#7 GORN 4.81 (1,899) New $20
#8 Walkabout Mini Golf 4.81 (1,490) ↓ 2 $15
#9 Wolves in the Walls 4.8 (133) ↓ 4 $9
#10 I Expect You To Die 4.8 (2,837) ↓ 2 $25
#11 Blaston 4.78 (934) ↓ 2 $10
#12 Five Nights at Freddy’s: Help Wanted 4.77 (4,813) ↓ 2 $30
#13 Pistol Whip 4.77 (5,831) ↓ 2 $25
#14 In Death: Unchained 4.76 (1,970) ↓ 2 $30
#15 SUPERHOT VR 4.75 (10,419) ↓ 2 $25
#16 Trover Saves the Universe 4.74 (1,117) ↓ 2 $30
#17 Racket: Nx 4.73 (1,281) ↓ 2 $20
#18 Job Simulator 4.72 (6,067) ↓ 1 $20
#19 Vacation Simulator 4.72 (1,764) ↑ 1 $30
#20 Down the Rabbit Hole 4.71 (813) ↓ 2 $20

Rank Change & Stats Compared to January 2021

Dropouts
Until You Fall, Shooty Skies Overdrive

  • Among the 20 best rated Quest apps
    • Average rating (mean): 4.8 out of 5 (±0)
    • Average price (mean): $22 (±0)
    • Most common price (mode): $30 (±$0)
  • Among all paid Quest apps
    • Average rating (mean): 4.3 out of 5 (±0)
    • Average price (mean): $19 (±0)
    • Most common price (mode): $20 (±$0)

Continue on Page 2: Most Popular Paid Oculus Quest Apps »

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/best-oculus-quest-games-app-rated-february-2021/

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AR/VR

This ‘Tilt Brush’ Port Brings Google’s VR Creation App to WebXR

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Google stopped active development on Tilt Brush late last month, but also made the VR creation suite open source so anyone could get under the hood. We’ve seen a number of clones already, but this is the first port we’ve seen that lets you access directly from a WebXR browser.

Dubbed Silk Brush by developer Daniel Adams of msub2, the app is a near 1:1 port of the original, replete with all default brushes, the ability to save and load sketches, take snapshots, and even export to .glb.

To poke around in Silk Brush, simply open this page on a WebXR-compatible browser and hit the ‘VR’ button. If you’re on Oculus Quest, simply use the default Oculus Browser in-headset. If you’re on a Windows PC, you can fire up the included Chromium-based Edge browser which natively supports WebXR.

One neat feature is the ability to download your sketches, models, and snapshots in your local storage. You can do this by heading to this page and choosing which item to directly download.

Granted, performance, even on the beefier Quest 2 is still a bit shaky, although it’s completely playable. As predicted, it’s much more stable on a VR-ready PC, either played through a dedicated PC VR headset or Oculus Link.


Looking for more Tilt Brush clones? Check out our recent piece on the first wave of ports to come out following the app’s open-sourcing.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/tilt-brush-webxr-google/

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AR/VR

‘Adam Savage’s Tested VR’ Season 2 Now Live, Taking You to Weta Workshop, Animax Designs & More

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Adam Savage’s Tested VR (2019) takes you to the heart of the maker scene, giving you a behind-the-scenes look at the workshops of industry pros. Now the app’s second season is live, which brings eight new episodes to the table where you’ll get to explore workshops from studios such as Animax Designs and Weta Workshop.

The app, which presents video captured in 5K VR180, is available for free through its dedicated app on Quest and Go, and through Oculus TV. Episodes tend to run around 20 – 30 minutes, and cover a wide set of topics such as movie props, robots, and everything else you’d expect to possibly see in the ‘One-day Builds’ from Adam Savage.

Savage says in an Oculus blogpost that the most challenging episode was ‘In Fantasy Miniatures’, which shrinks viewers down to the size of miniature figurines.

“This is one of the trickiest things we did this entire season,” Savage says. “It’s easy to understand that our 3D camera is actually two cameras that are spaced to mimic the space between human eyes, creating a proper stereo image. What’s harder to understand is exactly how to modify those parameters when you want to change the scale of the 3D in relation to the observer. For the miniature sets we had to adjust our camera as if it were a tiny human being. This meant that we had to push the camera lenses incredibly close together in order to achieve a parallax that made the scale work. But it did. And it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever witnessed: a miniature set that feels like I’m in it.”

There seems to be an awesome range of content this season too, including everything from forging a Viking axe to Adam Savage himself trouncing around in a velociraptor suit.

Check out the full list of episodes below:

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/adam-savages-tested-vr-season-2-weta-workshop/

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AR/VR

Snap Q4 Earnings, the AR Angle

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AR Insider

Snapchat continues to solidify its leading position in consumer mobile AR. After announcing several milestones at its December developer event and Q3 earnings, its Q4 earnings last week signaled continued momentum. In fact, AR was a bright spot in an otherwise mixed Q4.

Among other lens-based updates, more than 200 million Snapchat users engaged with AR daily in Q4. As we examined last week, it has the highest percentage of its overall user base that’s engaged with AR. Its “cartoon” lens alone achieved 1-billion impressions in its first three days.

Panning back to overall results, Snap brought in $911.3 million in Q4 revenue, up 62 percent year-over-year. It added 8 million daily users which brings it to 265 million, up 22 percent year over year. Net income loss was $113 million, and adjusted EBITDA was $166 million.

Back to AR milestones, there were several tidbits peppered throughout Snap’s earnings announcement and analyst call. To synthesize this for AR Insider readers, we’ve parsed and pulled all the AR-related data and comments for this week’s Data Dive. See the breakdown below.

1. Ways to Get Your Business into VR

2. How Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) can transform Education

3. 2021 — the year of AR glasses?

4. How Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are Revolutionizing Healthcare

Diving in, here’s the quick-hit list of AR-nuggets we pried out of SNAP’s Q4 earnings.

Figures

– More than 200 million daily active users engage with AR every day on average.
— Snapchat’s AI-powered ‘Cartoon’ Lens generated 1-billion impressions in its first three days.
— OnePlus created Lenses for Diwali, which achieved 80 million+ impressions and more than 14 million users in India.
— Activision’s Call of Duty: Black Ops lens campaign achieved an 11-point lift in brand favorability and a 5-point lift in purchase intent.
— Snapchatters exposed to multiple ad products saw an average 17-point lift in intent.
5,000 lens developers and enthusiasts attended the December Lens Fest.

Features

– Snapchat added food and wine labels to its Scan visual-search feature, including the ability to reveal nutrient information.
— Lens Studio added new tools and workflows for creation management, and capabilities for LiDAR-powered lenses.
— Snapchat launched its first 5G-enabled Landmarker Lens in partnership with Verizon featuring the band Black Pumas, geo-anchored at the New York Public Library.
— Snapchat launched a partnership with Perfect Corp to enable more than 200 beauty brands to upload their catalogs to the Snap Camera for augmented reality try-on.
— Other brands that launched lens campaigns in Q4 include NYX Professional Makeup, Ralph Lauren, Sweat, and The New York Times.
— Snapchat added app-installs as a goal-based bidding objective for sponsored AR Lenses.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel

“We are inspired every day by the creativity of our Creator community who have made over 1.5 million Lenses using Lens Studio across a growing variety of use cases.”

“Too Faced Cosmetics launched an eye makeup tutorial Lens through Lens Studio. The Lens overlays each step of makeup application in augmented reality and can be activated anytime by scanning the product’s packaging. The brand’s Lens organically grew to become one of our top-performing Lenses with millions of people using it to learn about the product.”

“Other examples include NYX Professional Makeup’s Virtual Store they created in Lens Studio where people can walk around and explore their products in AR. In addition to promoting this experience on their Snapchat brand profile, they’re also leveraging Camera Kit to distribute our Lens to partners like Triller.”

“We are doubling down on our solutions for beauty with our partnership with Perfect Corp, which will enable hundreds of makeup brands to seamlessly create high-quality makeup AR experiences. Beauty is just one of the many areas where we see opportunities to provide valuable utility through augmented reality.”

“We are now powering AR experiences on other apps through Camera Kit, further expanding the opportunity of Lens Studio. In just the past two years since our first partner summit, we have launched several new capabilities and thousands of successful partner integrations, and we look forward to continuing this momentum as we expand our platform.”

“We successfully made that transition with Stories which we monetize with full-screen vertical video ads and with our Camera, where businesses can pay to promote their Lenses. All of our platforms share the same powerful monetization infrastructure, which drives strong ROI for our advertising partners.”

Snap Chief Business Officer Jeremi Gorman

“Adoption of our AR Lenses have benefited from virtual try-on’s. Consumers are in need of new ways to experience products and brands need to reach consumers where they are; at home. With both consumers and brands open to these new experiences, our platform is perfect for this moment. For example, Dior recently launched an AR trial Lens featuring six different products from their new B27 sneaker launch.”

“We’ve also been investing in optimization algorithms that dynamically serve AR experiences to Snapchatters who’re most likely to meet a brand’s goal. We’ve seen Shoppable Lens campaigns drive a 2.4 times higher intent than the average across all Snapchat campaigns measured in Q3.”

“The acceleration of growth in Rest of World reflects the benefit of improved application performance in local markets, the popularity of augmented reality Lenses created by our community, and investments to better serve our community, including local content, local marketing partnerships, and broader language support.”

“We’ve been really focused on demonstrating the ROI of investing in Lenses and I think that’s really important. What used to be this kind of takeover products for these big branding moments has now turned into a highly performing ad format where you can buy directly from the Lenses themselves, where you can do goal-based bidding down funnel activities on Lenses.”

“It does take a little bit of time to build, but we’re also heavily investing and improving tooling for Lenses and making them easier to build in Lens Studio, including creating Lens Web Builder, to make it easy for anyone to build their own AR experience online.”

Some of the emphasis above is on Snap’s developer community, which continues to be its lens growth engine. Making Lens Studio more attractive for creators at all skill ranges is correspondingly a guiding principle for Snapchat, seen most recently at its December Lens Fest.

Panning back, this is all key to Snap’s AR flywheel effect. Robust lens libraries attract users and boost engagement. A growing audience then attracts lens developers which further expand the library and, in turn, more users. And all of the above attracts the real endgame: advertisers.

Snap knows this virtuous cycle kicks off with developers, hence its ongoing support and community building. It’s come a long way from initially keeping AR lens design in-house (where TikTok’s AR efforts are today). Lens Studio has been its way to scale up volume and creativity.

Throughout that process, Lens Studio tools and workflows have gradually evolved, up to and including version 3.3. Standouts and milestones over the past two years include creator profiles; hand & body templates; Scan; Landmarkers; Local Lenses and Snap ML. Next up… LiDAR.

If that momentum is any indication, we’ll continue to see Lens Studio evolve rapidly. Snap is driven to propel AR as an increasingly-influential component of its revenue model. It’s internalized the feedback loop of AR-driven financial success and is living up to its “camera-company” title.

Source: https://arvrjourney.com/snap-q4-earnings-the-ar-angle-9e1183c7ee84?source=rss—-d01820283d6d—4

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