Amazon moves into VR with Sumerian
The VR market just got a lot more crowded with the entry of one of the largest companies in the world.
Amazon Web Services (AWS), the cloud platform of the ubiquitous ecommerce giant, has launched a new service called Sumerian. The new service aims to provide a platform that makes the process of developing VR, AR and 3D applications easier.
Sumerian gives developers an editor that they can use to build virtual environments and populate them with 3D objects and characters. Developers can also script how these various elements interact with each other and users.
VR/AR apps created using Sumerian will compatible with any browser that supports WebGL or WebVR graphics. This means Daydream, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and iOS mobile devices. There is no software installation or upfront costs, with customers being charged for the storage used to store the 3D assets and the traffic volume generated to access the application.
“Customers across industries see the potential of VR and AR technologies for a wide range of uses—from educating and training employees to creating new customer experiences. But, customers are daunted and overwhelmed by the up-front investment in specialized skills and tools required to even get started building a VR or AR application,” said Marco Argenti, Vice President, Technology, AWS.
“With Amazon Sumerian, it is now possible for any developer to create a realistic, interactive VR or AR application in a few hours.”
Drag and drop
Amazon has been making a lot of noises that display an interest in VR and AR technology, especially in its potential applications in the worlds of retail and ecommerce. In a press release announcing the launch of Sumerian, the company specifically lists training simulations, virtual concierge services and enhanced shopping experiences as potential applications of the technology.
Using the Sumerian editor, developers will be able to drag and drop 3D objects into scenes that they have created. There is a library of pre-built objects, as well as download and import objects from third-party assets repositories Sketchfab and Turbosquid, that can be used alongside originally created objects.
Developers can also create 3D animated characters that can act through a script and answer user questions. Speech recognition, natural language understanding and text-to-speech capabilities are provided through integration with Amazon Lex and Amazon Polly. This should allow created characters can understand and partake in lifelike conversations.
An integration with location platform Mapbox will also allow developers to use 3D maps and surfaces into their applications and utilise other location-based features.