It’s not just tech, it’s how you use it


Spatial Computing and AI will affect all areas of life, including entertainment, enterprise, and defence. There is a cultural driver to how this occurs – a virtuous cycle of applying existing tech to solving new problems across industries. This is a cycle that maintains our social and economic freedoms intact, as well as propelling the creative opportunities stemming from technology to new heights.

8 min read

Spatial computing and AI are technologies that enhance digital experiences by aligning them more closely to how we interact with the world. They do this by turning them into 3D experiences that offer unique functionalities and perspectives while responding to natural language and inputs. This naturally makes them applicable to a huge range of activities, with the potential to transform how we work, learn, socialise, and play. 

It’s no accident that a lot of the spatial computing and AI tech we see coming into maturity today has evolved out of the gaming industry. Video games play directly into primary human drives for interactivity, creative goal achievement, and narrative play – and their success as business ventures is also very much propelled by technology that enables this in innovative and captivating ways. However, their success does not remain in the area of gaming alone; by proving their ability to satisfy these drives, technologies that gain their early maturity in gaming often prove versatile enough to be applied across various fields. 

Our tech is a living testament to this. From early test cases for our spatial computing tech in gaming, we are now serving customers across entertainment, defence, and enterprise, all of whom have found creative ways to apply it to their own unique problem and opportunity areas. 

The application of gaming technology to broad areas of life is something we’ve seen flourish beyond our own work, and we believe that there’s a significant cultural element to this. We live in a culture that encourages creative applications of existing tech to solve new problems, where every user and business is given the opportunity to experiment and think outside of the box. Many of the world’s most expansive and lucrative technologies have come out of this – for example, see how YouTube started as an unsuccessful dating app, becoming a global staple by opening itself up to user-driven creativity. We’ve seen first-hand how the creative application of tech across multiple industries not only sparks innovation in the industries but also improvements to the tech itself. 

From gaming to expansive social experiences in entertainment, sports, and retail

Let’s use the gaming industry as an example. 

Gaming has become a ubiquitous pastime, growing consistently in engagement from the 1980s to the present. The amount of investment that this has attracted makes it a perfect test bed for technologies concerned with 3D visualisation and interactive digital experiences. 

As game engines and surrounding technologies have become more and more sophisticated, it has become progressively easier to build highly immersive and interactive virtual worlds that can attract large audiences – including ones that transcend into the physical world through AR and spatial computing. 

The distribution platforms that have developed around this, including app stores, make it easy to onboard and retain users, enabling persistent accounts, friend networks, and social feeds to remain around different apps, games, and virtual experiences. 

With the technology and business models coming into maturity, we are seeing input from brands from a variety of industries keen to get in front of the large audiences that gaming platforms attract. These brands come with a diverse range of use cases that they are interested in implementing into the gaming infrastructure – from retail to live events and broadcasting. This is prompting game engines to develop new functionality that stretches beyond the bounds of just gaming. 

One of the areas we’ve seen flourish is sports, where immersive community experiences can be combined with volumetric sports broadcasting, e-commerce, and other functions to create new ways for fans to engage with their favourite sports. With strong technical and cultural interchange between sports-themed video games, the use of virtual platforms for social reasons, and sports events in real life, we expect the sports sector to be a quick early adopter of spatial computing and AI as enablers of fan engagement in the digital-native era. 

Beyond sports, there has also been significant interest from the retail and entertainment industries on how these technologies can enhance customer experiences and connect communities both online and in the real world. This is about integrating new forms of data into virtual experiences that accord and synergise with activities in real life – bridging the virtual and physical worlds for the ultimate benefit of users. 

The intersection of commercial and defence tech

This is a spirit that has also caught on in the defence industry. Cross-pollination of technologies is fostering resilience and adaptability in both defence and commercial sectors. Solutions developed for defence purposes often undergo rigorous testing and refinement, making them robust and reliable for commercial applications – let’s not forget that the World Wide Web was initially developed as a military tool and has gone on to become a foundational part of our everyday lives. Conversely, commercial technologies, with their agility and focus on user experience, bring fresh perspectives and efficiency gains to defence systems and processes.

From artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to cybersecurity solutions and advanced materials, the commercial sector is a hotbed of innovation that defence industries are tapping into to bolster their capabilities. For instance, the same AI algorithms powering virtual assistants and recommendation engines are now being utilised to enhance predictive analytics and decision-making processes on the battlefield. Similarly, spatial computing capabilities are able to power both Massive Multiplayer Online games as well as large-scale virtual military training environments

This cross-pollination goes both ways – advancements in drone technology originally pioneered for military reconnaissance and surveillance are today the same drones that are revolutionising industries like agriculture, construction, and filmmaking, offering unprecedented levels of efficiency, safety, and data collection.

The importance of the cultural approach to tech 

All of the innovations that we have mentioned so far happen thanks to a cultural approach to tech that encourages expansive thinking and experimentation, with a direct view to solving problems and satisfying user needs. 

We exist in a culture that allows people to pick up existing tech and use it to solve problems wherever they are passionate. This fuels the evolution of tech, in a virtuous cycle of innovation and creativity that influences all areas of life, including those industries which are given the responsibility of protecting that way of life in the first place. 

Maintaining our social and economic stability is paramount here. This is the prerequisite for technology companies, their stakeholders, and their users to be able to exercise their creative freedoms, leading to new categories of technology being developed or taken up in new and interesting contexts. The defence industry has a strong interest in both safeguarding these freedoms and harnessing them to improve their own capabilities. 

Gaming tech is a prime example of this. Having been developed for entertainment and commercial use, it is now helping the defence industry to solve some of its deepest problems around immersive training, situational awareness, and decision support. The solutions developed there will not only help improve our national security, but also expand the capabilities of the tech in turn, feeding back into the virtuous cycle of innovation. At Hadean, for example, innovations fueled by the requirements of our defence customers directly influence the new paradigms of social and enterprise experiences that we can offer in the commercial sector. 

The future: tech like AI will allow more people to join the cycle 

With this virtuous cycle in full flow, we see spatial computing and AI taking their root at the heart of it. The timely coincidence of products such as the Apple Vision Pro, Meta Quest 3, and the plethora of AI tools exploding onto the market around the turn of 2024 are a sign of the innovations to come. Spatial computing blends digital applications with everyday situations, providing more intuitive, interactive, and useful 3D interfaces for engaging with tasks and opportunities. AI, meanwhile, offers unprecedented leaps in interfacing and digital content generation – making apps easier to use, making machines understand what you want, and enabling non-specialists to contribute.

Hadean has always driven towards a future in which we believe the internet will be 3D, spatial, and immersive. Our work in both the defence and commercial sectors has shown us how critical technologies that can cater to different areas of life will be in this future. By working with customers to flex how our AI-powered spatial computing technology can be used to solve their unique needs, we’ve seen the virtuous cycle of innovation through cross-pollination first-hand. This has helped breed versatility, resilience, and user-centric optimisations in our technology, and will continue to do so as our customer base expands.   

We’ll be at SXSW this weekend to showcase how AI-powered spatial computing is influencing all areas of life, from gaming and entertainment to defence and enterprise. 

If you’re planning to be there and would like a one-to-one demo of our tech, click here.