Back at Microsoft’s annual SharePoint Virtual Summit in May 2018, the company announced it was getting ready to ship a new VR maker tool set called Spaces for SharePoint, the web-based collaborative platform for enterprise customers. Now, Microsoft says Spaces is nearly ready for a general release to all SharePoint users, which is slated to happen at some point in the first half of 2020.
With Spaces, Microsoft is aiming to provide point-and-click simplicity by letting users create immersive environments on the fly by using media such as 3D assets, 360 photos, and 360 video—all of which is stored in SharePoint folders. Critically, users don’t need coding skills, or experience with game engines such as Unity of Unreal to make a simple VR environment.
The web-based immersive platform is currently in private preview, however Amy Scarfone, the Principal Design Manager at Microsoft Mixed Reality, announced in a recent VR/AR Association podcast that a public preview will be available for standard SharePoint users “ideally in Q1, but certainly in the first half of 2020.” The news was first reported by German VR publication MIXED.
Microsoft says the file exchange and digital collaboration software is currently in use by 400,000 customer organizations worldwide, so flipping the switch to allow those users to start creating environments for immersive headsets is poised to be one of the bigger VR software rollouts to come to the enterprise sector.
Scarfone says they’ve been working to support every tethered PC VR headset; she also notes the Mixed Reality team is currently optimizing for Oculus Quest as well, Facebook’s $400 standalone VR headset.