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Op-Ed

Magic Leap 2019 – The Year In Review

| Rony Abovitz

On August 8th, 2018, we launched our very first product platform, Magic Leap One Creator Edition. As a company in the world with its first product, we are just a bit over a year old. We share in common with one-year-olds an extreme curiosity for the world and a desire to explore, learn, and play. Like Ford (automobiles) in 1904 or Disney (animated films) in the 1920s – everything about our field is at the very beginning. There is a long, and possibly endless journey ahead as spatial computing becomes an integral part of our everyday lives.

Our mission at Magic Leap is to amplify human ability by bringing spatial computing to everyone, all day, every day. This means that we believe in spatial computing for the home, for work, for healthcare, for entertainment, for games, and just about everything in between. The spatial computing journey will be one of many decades of creativity, imagination, and innovation. There will be amazing and joyful steps each year. We are on a road that does not end, but being on the road, and contributing in a meaningful way to human capability and joy, is what matters to us.

2019 was a year of wide creative collaboration, a year in which Magic Leap’s spatial computing technology, products, and experiences began to reach around the world. 2019 was an important year for all of us at Magic Leap to listen and learn from our developers, creators, business partners, and early consumers. We registered and took feedback from tens of thousands of developers. We held workshops and began to teach the basics of spatial computing across the US and now in Japan. We ended 2019 with over 100 new applications/experiences released, with several hundred new applications in the pipeline, and with over 100,000 registered developers and more than 1700 registered publishers in our Magic Leap World ecosystem. We brainstormed with the world’s leading developers at UNITE in Copenhagen, and we were inspired by the brightest minds in spatial computing at the AT&T Business Hackathon in Plano, TX.

Hundreds of high schools and colleges and universities in the US became Magic Leap customers, and we announced our first Magicverse University partnership with the University of Miami, a decade long, total campus program. Classes in spatial computing (coding, math, physics, science, history) were developed – and even taught for the first time in 2019.

We announced our partnership with NTT DoCoMo to bring Magic Leap to Japan, with a warm and amazing welcome (incredible things will come from that relationship in the coming years). AT&T/HBO and Magic Leap brought the Game of Thrones universe into our world in Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco, enabling many thousands of fans to battle terrifying White Walkers, showcasing the first glimpse of location based experiences powered by spatial computing. At San Diego Comic-Con our friends at Weta Workshop made sci-fi fantasy real with an amazing Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders experience, with full in-world production design, bringing what we call Cinematic Reality™ to life.

The Magic Leap Studios team and its partners were thankful and humbled by the recognition they received in 2019: Create (AWE 2019, Best Game/Toy), Tónandi w/ Sigur Rós (DICE Award for Immersive Technology Achievement, Best of at the Venice Film Festival), Undersea (Siggraph, Hollywood Music Awards, Best Original Score Nominee), and Weta Workshop’s Dr. Grordbort’s Invaders (D.I.C.E & Visual Effects Society Nominee).

The world met MICA, our Human-Centered AI concept platform, at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as a number of events throughout the year. I was grateful that we had the privilege of participating at the Social Good Summit presented by the United Nations this year, and thankful for the Magic Leap team who put heart and soul into making that happen.

We ended the year in the same spirit we began, on a high note. We forged relationships with old and new friends, including McLaren, Deloitte, Hyperloop, JetBlue, BNP Paribas, and Spatial, and were very excited when they announced business applications that can transform their respective industries. Together with partners in all industries, we launched the Magic Leap 1 Enterprise Suite, the result of listening to thousands of business customers, who through their initial pilot and proof-of-concept work, gave us important feedback as to what they want and need from spatial computing. At the same time we also announced that we will launch Magic Leap 2 in 2021, a platform built for scale and wide use.

Our software team delivered six significant OTA (Over The Air) updates to our LuminOS, the first operating system purpose built for spatial computing. With the Magic Leap 1 Enterprise Suite, this embodies over 700 new features requested by our customers, including meeting international regulatory requirements in many key countries (more coming in 2020). We shipped Magicscript to enable millions of open source developers to engage with spatial computing, we improved upon our web capabilities with WebXR, Web Apps, and Prismatic 2.0. We also expanded our amazing Helio web engine with modular web pages, page orientation, and support for the Alexa Top 100 (if you have not worked with Helio yet, it is one of the gems of the Magic Leap technology portfolio – please let us know what you want from it next). We enabled our first support of Magicverse XR – our tools to build and develop persistent experiences in the world, viewable through Magic Leap and a host of other devices. The Magicverse SDK is coming in 2020, and we look forward to empowering cross platform, multi-user experiences in an entirely new way.

In 2019, Magic Leap embraced the world and our broad horizons were made even broader by our partners and creators. We focused much of our development effort around responding to customer and developer feedback, making our operating system more dynamic and user friendly, and introducing new developer tools like The Lab that simplify workflows to create Magic Leap experiences and applications. All of your feedback is appreciated – we are listening, absorbing, and learning from you every day.

There was a time in human history that our ancestors believed that the world was flat – because the flat earth was all that they could see. Scientists with imagination and courage disputed this – and proposed that our earth was curved, we orbited the sun, and that the Universe was much larger, and much more amazing, than could be conceived by those with narrow minds. Today we are in the flat era of computing. The largest companies in the world earn hundreds of billions of dollars driving your attention to tiny flat screens – and they need to protect a massive economic engine that has much at stake if a disruptive change comes.

At Magic Leap we firmly believe that spatial computing is the natural state for how people will use computing in the next decades, perhaps even in the next hundreds of years. The flat era of computing will be a historical blip, and future generations will wonder how and why it took us so long to build what in many aspects is obvious and clear. Our world is spatial. We move through the world, and sense it, with a sensory system that evolved to be within a spatial universe. Our brains (human and animal) are biologic spatial computing systems, with structures and systems that are finely tuned to experience a spatial world. We hope that you join us, and others in our field, to bring about the spatial era of computing – and let us do this in a way that improves the human condition, brings joy and capability, and amplifies people rather than replacing them with machines.

It has been a remarkable decade of change, turbulence, promise, and challenges. As we close out the 2010s, we live in an era of AI, electric vehicles, autonomous machines, and even flying cars. It is exciting to see the innovations that have changed every aspect of our lives - at home, at work, and everywhere in between. We are realizing the digital transformation in all aspects of our lives, and the speed by which it emerges. In the 2020s we will see a greater blend of our physical and digital lives, hopefully in a way that places our humanity and needs as people at the center. We have an opportunity to leverage technology to serve and benefit people, and we should all learn from the 2010s and apply those lessons going forward. Technology in service of humanity can hopefully become a theme for our coming decade.

I need to deeply thank the Magic Leap team. It is an act of courage and spirit to choose to build a new medium, a new computing platform, and a new company – all at the same time. We aim to disrupt the largest companies and industry sectors in the world, and facing off with giants is not a task for the faint of heart. I also want to thank those fans, developers, and partners who support us, believe in our mission, and invest time and resources in our team and platforms. I also thank our critics – you push me, and our team, to achieve more, to introspect, to invent, and to forever chase a level of perfection, goodness, and innovation that drives us forward.

Magic Leap builds tools and technology. Changing the world comes from the spirit and humanity of people. A single act of kindness, a good word, an act of compassion, can do more than all of the tech companies combined. Let’s move forward in 2020 with a deeper respect for each other, let’s put people first, and do something good for someone else – that changes the world.

Rony Abovitz President & CEO Magic Leap, Inc.

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