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Navigating XR Landscape: Qualcomm Boosts Alaian’s Start-Up Initiative

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The telecom alliance Alaian has enlisted the services of chip maker Qualcomm to invigorate start-ups in the realm of extended reality (XR). Initially revealed to the world in April of the previous year, Alaian, a conglomerate of seven telcos – Bouygues, KPN, MTN, Nos, STC, Telefónica, WindTre – along with towerco Cellnex, offered their collective experience in new 5G and fibre uses and pledged to identify and assist budding enterprises.

In its quest for innovation, Alaian, in collaboration with Qualcomm, has issued an international invite to start-ups operating within varying verticals, including the metaverse, digital social experiences, virtual platforms, and other services or applications. Furthermore, enterprises working on connectivity tools and software that promote XR product deployment and service use, home XR entertainment, and XR tools for large corporations are of particular interest to the alliance.

Despite sounding eager to hear from almost anyone, the alliance appears to be struggling to maintain a prominent public profile. This could be attributed to the current dispassionate attitude towards the metaverse and the need to be more extensive in its search for eligible start-ups. Pair it with a global fascination with generative AI and lessened emphasis on mixed reality, the telecom industry might be grappling to manifest the capabilities of their 5G networks to their clientele.

In this context, Apple brought in a glimmer of hope with the introduction of its spatial computing headset, the Vision Pro, in June. While the concept stoked interest in XR, its $3,499 price and reported production scale-downs by FT (paywall) due to intricacy in manufacturing aren’t promising samples of revival. Furthermore, Apple’s ARM-based M2 chips, used in the Vision Pro, don’t favour Qualcomm.

Nevertheless, with Qualcomm’s expertise, Alaian might identify companies to deliver an appealing XR experience for the mass market. Start-ups handpicked by Alaian and Qualcomm will have access to the telecom group’s collective resources. These include their knowledge, network, and potential capital investment. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Spaces XR platform, and development kits will also be made available for creating new XR experiences.

Daniel Hernández, VP of devices and consumer IoT at Telefónica, lauded the joint call as “an exceptional opportunity for start-ups that want to accelerate their growth and benefit from backing major companies in the telecommunications sector.” Echoing his sentiments, Douglas Vaz Benitez, senior director of business development at Qualcomm Europe, expressed hopes for start-ups to succeed by developing applications faster and efficiently with Qualcomm’s XR solutions, particularly Snapdragon Spaces. The telecom association of Alaian still seems committed and optimistic about nurturing the next revolutionary advancements in the telecom industry.

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