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The Future of Immersive Virtual Experiences

4 min read Ryan Jespersen on Jan 20, 2023
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Dolby.io has formed an alliance with PubNub that enables even greater real-time social engagement capabilities.

It’s no secret that COVID changed the world. It also accelerated the trend that was already in process: a rapid shift from in-person to virtual. The impact was felt across every industry, from media and entertainment to healthcare and education. In all cases, companies accelerated the use of technology to allow users (including large global audiences) to virtually experience what would otherwise be in-person.

Since its founding, Dolby has been on a mission to empower creativity and self-expression, which is driven by a belief that people are moved and compelled by immersive experiences. The vision of Dolby.io is to extend that mission by powering the next generation of live online experiences that rival real-world experiences in immersion, interactivity, and social engagement.

Dolby.io gives developers and creators access to services and APIs designed to improve the quality of the media, communications and streaming within their products. Immersion through Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos live music and spatial audio. Interactivity through real-time streaming APIs for massive global audiences. Social engagement with audio and video chat APIs.

Dolby.io has formed an alliance with PubNub that enables even greater real-time social engagement capabilities.

Widely recognized by the developer community and used by over 2,000 customers worldwide, the PubNub Virtual Spaces Platform is an end-to-end platform for delivering real-time capabilities in apps that are lightning fast, reliable, and scalable. In context to how you might use PubNub with Dolby.io, relevant features span on/offline detection to full-featured chat, audience reactions, live polls and leaderboards, in-app alerts and mobile push notifications, and data broadcast/event streaming (e.g., stats, scores, playlists, bids, etc.).

PubNub defines a “Virtual Space” as a digital environment where people and devices seamlessly collaborate, interact, and exchange information in real time.

As demand for virtual spaces skyrockets, creators are facing immense challenges, from lack of specialized developers to high costs of implementations and creative obstacles for bringing imagination to life. Together, PubNub and Dolby are looking to solve these problems and deliver the tools, frameworks, and pricing that makes it easy to build highly innovative and immersive experiences for any industry.

“As more humans enter the Metaverse, the lines between physical and virtual have become increasingly blurred. It is indeed a brave new world, and our human experience is being rapidly transformed with the virtual experience now needing to be as engaging as in-person.”

- Todd Greene, CEO, PubNub

At the recent Web Summit in Lisbon, Marie Huwe (SVP of Dolby.io) and Todd Greene (CEO of PubNub) discussed this exact topic of how technology is rapidly blurring the lines between physical and virtual, from massively detailed 3D worlds to high-fidelity 3D sound and life-like digital interactions.

Sometimes virtual experiences can be better than real life. Think of a bad seat in a concert. Or a nosebleed seat in a stadium where you need binoculars to see the artist or live sports game.

Last summer, Tomorrowland was able to live stream using Dolby Atmos immersive audio for the first time to over 6 million fans around the world. 

Other examples that stand out include Odyssey, who use Dolby.io to enable spatial audio communication and 3D streaming in their metaverse with no code, no downloads, directly in the web browser. Another example is the music metaverse platform RedPillVR that recently hosted Paul Oakenfold, UK’s #1 DJ, for a virtual residency. Mytaverse, an events platform, worked with Falcon Aircraft for a business aviation trade show in Orlando so virtual attendees could demo the new Falcon aircraft in the metaverse.

Specifically, this partnership will make a range of technology advances more accessible to creators through technology integrations, sample apps and solution guides that address the synergistic use of:

  • Dolby.io Streaming and Communication(s) APIs

    • Spatial Audio for highest-fidelity 3D sound in virtual experience

    • Replicates audio conditions similar to real world

    • Participants hear audio rendered at given locations in 3D space

    • Spatial mixing in the cloud

    • Real-Time Streaming globally at scale in under 500ms

  • PubNub Real-Time Interaction APIs, for real-time social engagement at any scale

    • Presence Occupancy & Access Control

    • Live Reactions (like counts, emojis, etc.)

    • Audience Engagement & Gamification (chat, live polls, pick-ems, leaderboards)

    • 1:n Alerts & Push Notifications

    • Data Broadcast/Event Streaming (stats, scores, playlists, bids)

    • Computing “On the Fly” (moderation, language translation, business logic)

    • Latency Sync & Replay

My colleague Braden Riggs posted a blog post showing how you can add PubNub in-app chat to a Dolby.io real-time stream with just a few lines of JavaScript.

This is where Dolby.io real-time streaming offers a natural synergy with the real-time technology PubNub offers, allowing app builders to quickly build and deploy interactive audience engagement features (e.g. on/offline detection, live lobby counts, audience reactions, full-featured chat, CTA overlays, live polls, etc.) that improve engagement, drive a sense of community, increase time spent in-app, and even provide incremental inventory for monetization.

Another great example is Telemedicine, and specifically using the combination of Dolby.io for real-time communications (e.g., voice and video) with PubNub for secure and compliant real-time interactions (e.g., on/offline and geo-detection, HIPAA-compliant chat, time-sensitive alerts/notifications, streaming of sensor data, IoT device control). Together and specifically related to Telemedicine, this allows developers to quickly build and deploy robust virtual patient experiences that further impact continuity of care. But the combined promise easily extends into other industries, including:

Using Dolby.io Communication(s) API (for video and audio) with PubNub for virtual waiting rooms (on/offline detection) as an example, the combination is equally important in other types of immersive virtual experiences, from multiplayer games to business collaboration and trade shows. 

Real world human interaction is hard to replace. Creating immersive, interactive and social virtual experiences is key to making it possible for those that don’t have the means or the opportunity to visit Tomorrowland or watch the World Cup Final to experience it as close to real life as possible. 

The alliance between PubNub and Dolby.io makes it easier than ever for content creators and innovators to make this a reality.

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