The American internet conglomerate, Meta, is set to inaugurate a branch at the "Campus der Ideen" in Munich this coming October. Meta is renowned for its social networking platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Threads, as well as the messaging service WhatsApp. The company also owns Quest, a Virtual Reality (VR) headset manufacturer formerly known as Oculus. Having already established offices in Berlin and Hamburg, Meta's Munich team will primarily focus on artificial intelligence and immersive technologies. Immersion involves the deep engagement within an alternate reality, often facilitated by VR devices, utilized in contexts such as video gaming and educational applications.
According to a company spokesperson, Meta's decision to invest in Munich is driven by Bavaria's cutting-edge research, the availability of skilled professionals, and proximity to pertinent enterprises within the region. The economic ecosystem around the state capital has evolved into a significant technology hub due to its two universities, technical institutions, numerous DAX corporations, and a thriving start-up landscape. Notably, Google and Apple have channeled hundreds of millions into Munich for the exploration of artificial intelligence and state-of-the-art chips.
Munich is also a magnet for developers and businesses worldwide in the immersive technology sector. Meta has a history of investments in Germany and Munich, having supported the "Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence" at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). Additionally, a partnership exists with the start-up Straightlabs, offering VR-based training solutions for the automotive industry. The Meta spokesperson emphasized their close collaboration with BMW, delving into how virtual reality can enhance automobile design and customer interaction. A joint research initiative with the automaker is investigating the integration of virtual reality into smart vehicles to elevate passenger entertainment, streamline navigation, and enhance safety.
Around a year ago, Meta acquired the start-up Presize, a spin-off from TUM. Presize aids online shoppers in determining the correct size for garments such as sweaters and trousers. The newly allocated office space for the Facebook consortium in Balanstraße spans two floors and accommodates approximately 100 employees. This location, once Siemens' hub for designing electronic components and semiconductors, will now serve as a center for advancing immersive technologies and artificial intelligence. Moreover, it will facilitate the expansion of partnerships with businesses and academic institutions across Bavaria. Meta's Munich base will oversee sales and distribution activities for the southern German region.