Peggy Johnson interview: How Magic Leap is getting traction with its enterprise pivot

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Johnson is getting ready to launch the Magic Leap Two device later this year. She said it will be about half the size of Magic Leap One. It will be about 20 % lighter, and it will have about three- to four-times the processing power. The rendering and images are super high fidelity, she said.

VentureBeat – Magic Leap has gone through a whirlwind in the past year. Founded in 2010 by Rony Abovitz, the company set out to be a pioneer in augmented reality and mixed reality technologies. Abovitz raised $2.6 billion in multiple rounds and developed the Magic Leap One, a mixed reality headset that debuted in August 2018.

But sales were slow for the $2,295 device, as consumers didn’t dive into the expensive tech. Finally, in April 2020, Magic Leap decided to shut down its consumer division and laid off about 1,000 employees, or half its workforce. In May 2020, Abovitz announced he would replace himself as CEO (while staying on the board) just as the company got a major lifeline with a $350 million raise. In September 2020, the board appointed Peggy Johnson as CEO. She’s a a former Microsoft executive, and this was part of a plan to double down on the enterprise markets.

She spoke at the VivaTech event last week about how there are big opportunities for Magic Leap and mixed reality in health care, and she pointed to an operation at the University of California at Davis where surgeons used Magic Leap headsets to plan for the separation of two conjoined babies. The operation turned out to be a success, and it showed the value of visualization that mixed reality devices can deliver. Johnson also believes the company can prosper from 3D visualization in manufacturing and the public sector.

Here’s an edited transcript of our interview.