Video: Sumerian: Amazon bets enterprise use of AR and VR will be browser-based

Amazon Web Services Sumerian service is a big bet that the future of virtual and augmented reality applications will run through a Web browser and upcoming standard called WebXR.

The virtual reality platforms from HTC Vive and Facebook's Oculus require expertise that enterprises don't have at the ready. In addition, tools like Unity are great for 3D rendering and games, but enterprises will have a hard time finding enough use cases to warrant investment.

AWS' bet is that Sumerian and an interface that simplifies steps will garner enterprise usage. Sumerian, outlined at re:Invent last year[1], integrates with AWS' Polly voice platform as well as Lex, the engine behind Alexa.

Here's a look at the Sumerian interface and hosts.


At AWS' Loft in New York City, a few enterprises, which were using Sumerian in beta, outlined use cases. The common refrain is that Sumerian brought costs down on development time and made it easier to experiment with VR and AR because the app building process wasn't as intensive as other tools they've used.

Kyle Roche, general manager of AWS AR/VR, said the use cases emerging for Sumerian include digital signage and "hosts" that can provide contextual experiences via text to speech, computer vision and other services. Think of a cruise line using a host to interact with customers. Or training applications. Or education.

"With AR we are looking to consolidate editing and drive scenes from a URL," said Roche. "Once AR and VR are in a browser there will be more enterprise use cases."

Sumerian will compete with ARKit from Apple as well as AR Core in Android. Those efforts are

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