Featured image above: The New Campsite Experience | Campfire
Campfire is an XR company I initially met with while it was still in stealth mode during CES 2020, right before the pandemic became real for most of the world. I met with the CEO, Jay Wright, who already had over a decade of experience running XR startups. Wright is easily one of the most experienced leaders in the space, having helped start Vuforia inside Qualcomm and continuing to run it once it was spun off into PTC. A lot has changed across the board in the XR market since then, and with Campfire since I first saw its early prototypes in 2020.
Campfire started as a PC-based solution for high-definition enterprise holographic collaboration with a wide field of view. The setup used a headset paired with a pack controller that turns your phone into a controller and console for tracking. It was a table-mounted solution back then and wasn’t quite production-ready. By the time Campfire came out of stealth, the system shipped with two apps, Campfire Scenes for PC and Campfire Viewer for 2-D PC and iPad users; the company also launched an early access program. A year later, Campfire introduced the Studio Console, which enabled room-scale XR experiences as well as accessible multi-user experiences in the same room. At the same time, Campfire expanded its early access program to more customers.
This week Campfire is announcing not only the commercial availability of its platform, but also its go-to-market strategy, including a “Campsite Starter Kit” that incorporates a Studio Console, two headsets, two consoles, two pack controllers and up to five user licenses. The Campsite Starter Kit will be the only way to purchase Campfire’s headset and take advantage of the platform’s full potential, including all the apps and licenses necessary to seamlessly implement holographic collaboration into a company’s workflow.
The Campfire App is now the same across multiple devices and platforms, meaning that the experience is consistent regardless of the type of device a person uses. The Campfire App is available for PCs running Windows 10 or newer, Macs and iPads. The App itself will be using a freemium model, which I like because it lets people try the app for free without any commitments, and if a company or person wants to use the full app, they can pay the $1,500 annual price. I also like this model because if a company buys the Campsite Pack or has a headset, it doesn’t lose all functionality if the company decides it doesn’t want or need the app’s full functionality.
This model is also great because having a single app across all devices will make it easier for users to appreciate and understand the upgrade path from a PC or tablet experience to a headset. One of my favorite experiences in this app is the “follow” function. It allows any user to follow another user and view the app from the second user’s vantage point, which helps people better understand others’ perspectives—in both the literal and figurative senses.
Campsite Starter Kit
As mentioned, the new Campsite Starter Kit comes with five enterprise app user licenses, two headsets paired with packs and consoles and one studio console. This is a complete solution for any small team looking to quickly get into holographic collaboration without much friction. This solution uses the Pioneer Edition of Campfire’s headset, which still has the same wide field of view and is now pre-certified to work in Dell Precision workstations with Thunderbolt 3.
Initially, the Campsite Starter Kit will be available only in the U.S., the U.K. and the EU directly through the Campfire3D.com website. It will cost $15,000 for the first year and then $1,500 per seat per year after that. This means that Campfire gets a healthy annual recurring revenue, and users will continue to gain access to new features as Campfire’s capabilities grow. This includes support for XR headsets other than the Campfire Pioneer Edition headset.
Campfire with other headsets
Campfire recently showed me a demonstration of the Meta Quest Pro VR headset running the Campfire app. Not only was it running, but it was running in mixed reality, making it one of the earliest mixed-reality enterprise apps for the Quest Pro. The experience was quite impressive, and I can’t wait to see it in person at AWE, where the company will demonstrate this capability alongside the complete Campsite Starter Kit.
I also think that Campfire is one of the best-positioned enterprise apps out there today to take advantage of Apple’s upcoming XR headset, especially when you consider that the company is already shipping an ARKit version of its app for the iPad and already has mixed reality working on the Quest Pro.
Campfire has come a long way since its early days of reviving the old Meta IP (not the Meta that we all formerly knew as Facebook) and bringing it under experienced management. It has taken a software-driven, device-agnostic approach that realizes the vision that CEO Jay Wright explained when I first met with him back in 2020. Nobody could’ve foreseen a pandemic before the company launched, but I think the pandemic has actually helped some enterprises realize the benefits of holographic collaboration.
Based on the developments of the last few years, and with companies beginning to realize the benefits of reducing the cost of travel and waste on shipping prototypes worldwide, Campfire is uniquely positioned to help enterprises take advantage of holographic collaboration. I am impressed with the polished nature of the Campfire app itself, how clean and simple the design has become and how the platform is truly device agnostic. I fully believe that we will see the company expand further into supporting more headsets, including Meta’s Quest Pro and others down the road, and I’ll be interested to see what other innovations Wright and his team bring to market in the coming years.