Campfire, a recently unveiled startup, secured $8 million in venture funding per its April 27th announcement. The company plans to offer an integrated hardware and software solution for remote collaboration in industries such as engineering and architecture. Clients in these fields are ideal since visually-oriented design workflows such as CAD are commonplace.
Building on the design of the defunct Meta 2 AR HMD, Campfire’s system includes a wide-FOV headset with an optional shroud for VR. Also included specialized hardware that will allow multiple users to accurately track and interact with a shared design. In addition, users can manipulate said design with an additional smartphone-based peripheral. The company also promises compatibility with “40 leading CAD and 3D file formats,” but has remained silent on pricing.
Campfire’s announcement follows a recent trend of venture capital funding awarded to startups (including Friday and Firstbase) focused on improving remote work and collaboration processes. In the wake of transformational global shifts towards hybrid and fully remote work processes, these companies reflect perceived opportunity for major disruption throughout the enterprise technology industry. Greenlight Insights’ research has continually highlighted remote collaboration and visualization as a key application of XR technology overall, and such applications continue to attract attention.
Indeed, demand for collaboration solutions in the enterprise space has only grown as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Campfire’s solution introduces significant friction compared to other comparable pieces of AR hardware. The need to tether the headset to a high-spec host computer was a commonly highlighted drawback of the original Meta 2 device. While it offered high-fidelity visuals, it ultimately failed to find a market in the enterprise technology space). Furthermore, additional required peripherals present obvious trade-offs against fully self-contained and wireless devices such as Microsoft’s Hololens 2. This greater portability and flexibility for end-users made Microsoft’s device ideal for clients such as the US military. Campfire, meanwhile, expects differentiators such as a greater field-of-view, turnkey ease of use, and native cross-platform functionality with desktop and tablet interfaces to present greater overall out-of-the-box value to design customers.