Extended Reality is the new revolution from delusion to reality

By: Mannu Mathew | Sub Editor | ELE Times

Extended Reality, being blanket term encompasses all virtual and real environments generated by computer technology. These include peripherals such as Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality. Extended Reality is poised to completely revamp the way businesses interact with the media and has the potential to allow seamless interaction between the real and virtual worlds allowing its users to have a completely immersive experience.

The present generation of XR devices requires either a smartphone or a powerful PC to deliver some level of immersive experiences. This experience sometimes is limited as the smartphone alone is not powerful enough to deliver a truly immersive experience and connecting with a PC requires it to be tethered with a wire, sometimes creating a barrier for the immersive experience. The standalone “Mobile XR” has tremendous potential not only to interact or consumer immersive content but also to create. However, there needs to be some technical breakthroughs which can drive sleek, ultra-lightweight XR devices form-factor which can offer powerful XR experiences more efficiently.

This creates an opportunity for new players to enter the XR ecosystem, especially the network operators that missed out on the cable TV revolution. In addition, network operators can monetize their investment in 5G by providing the edge cloud infrastructure that will host content. It will also allow the device to have better rendering by splitting complex computation between the servers and the XR device itself. Faster and robust connectivity will further content providers like NextVR delivering live entertainment and online gaming companies to engage the user with-in the ecosystem.

The development and use of extended reality encompasses technologies that blur the line between the real world and simulated worlds. While extended reality also aims at creating the best in class experience and human to machine interaction. The fundamental pieces of best in class XR experiences include the following attributes.

  • Visuals– XR requires accurate, real-time visuals that overlay reality. The overlay aspect shifts as pendulum between complete real and complete virtual, but the visuals are the first thing users notice and are hugely important.
  • Audio– Immersive experiences aren’t just about what we see, but also what we hear. It’s like watching a movie with subtitles versus Dolby; the difference is exponential.
  • Interactions– How we interact with XR will be critical for adoption. The goal is extremely natural interaction to pinch, move and engage with content. The sense that we are truly manipulating the content is what makes the experience truly immersive.
  • AI– Intelligent AI to help inform the content in front of your eyes in almost real- time.
  • Connectivity– While untethered will be the desire of most users, the ability to connect to the fastest up and downlink for content access, consumption and manipulation is critical.

Extended Reality is phenomenally reconstructing human interaction

It enables human beings to feel and interact with a radically different world without leaving their place. It saves time, money and resources at the same time and also helps in reducing human impact on the environment by an elimination of transportation. XR helps to have real-time information and a realistic view of the situation. Visualization improves the learning experience, which will help in generation skilled human capital. Let us have a look at some of the human interface applications and the need in day to day life:

Entertainment 

Video games are the main consumer of extended reality technology as their share accounts for 34%. It is no wonder, as the business success of the companies of the kind relies heavily on the ability to provide a full-fledged immersive experience. However, it is not only video games that derive benefits from XR capability to create the comprehensive participation effect and allow users to dive into another reality. Entertainment events, such as concerts, exhibitions and sports events, can also thrive on AR, VR and MR.

Real Estate

Extended reality solutions can be of great help for real estate agencies. They allow potential customers and tenants to view properties without having to physically be there. It saves time for all of the parties involved and makes the process of choosing less tiring.

Another example of XR application in real estate is architecture and interior design. The technology will provide specialists and their customers with a comprehensive view of the project, which helps avoid mistakes and unexpected surprises. Houzz, a design company, relies on augmented reality to help their customers imagine their future furnishings. They have created an online app that allows users to get ideas for home improvement. By the way, the agency claims that this app increases purchase probability elevenfold.

Healthcare 

Medical imaging is another area that benefits from extended reality, and modern MRIs and CT scan make extensive use of this technology. It enables the 3D representation of human bodies instead of the traditional 2D imaging, which improves the efficiency of diagnosing.

Also, this technology considerably expands the opportunities for surgical training, as students can practice on virtual patients.

Marketing

Extended Reality enables marketers to give their consumers a ‘try before you buy’ experience. It allows consumers to be transported to a place, immerses them in that world and motivates them to explore it. As an example, Cathay Pacific used a 360◦ video with hotspots to help potential customers experience the brand firsthand. That increased customer awareness by 29% and brand favorability by 25%.

Employees and Consumers

  • Training: Extended Reality allows employees to be trained and educated in low-risk, virtual environments. Medical students, surgeons, firefighters, pilots, and chemists can closely simulate risky scenarios with minimal risk and less expense. The experience they gain will prove invaluable when they handle real-life situations.
  • Information: Replacing physical manuals, Extended Reality can enable technicians to focus on the task without having to flip the pages of a manual. It can even connect an expert remotely to the real-time issue for his expert advice. This would save organizations a whole lot of money, and more importantly save them valuable downtime as they wouldn’t need to wait for experts.
  • Improve customer perspective: Simulating virtual experience brought on by specific diseases and impairments can help doctors and caregivers receive empathy training.

Manufacturing

Large manufacturer of construction, mining and utility equipment, has also adopted XR for the training of equipment operators. To avoid multi-million losses caused by improper use of costly machines, they provide training for operators distributed across the globe.

General Electric has improved the efficiency of their workers that wire wind turbines by 34%, as the company provides AR-based assembly information.

Future is exceptionally getting more efficient with extended reality technology

XR technologies have improved with sophisticated tech, high-quality imaging and the perception for depth and spatial surroundings. XR software utilizes improved programming, such as hand tracking and live movements, so that the environment that XR creates is very similar to the physical environment.

In terms of industry use, almost 50% of XR is currently used in education. The interactive technology Google Expeditions allow pupils to sit in their classroom and experience virtual worlds. These mobile applications totally immerse students in the sights and sounds of a foreign culture and language, which is proven to aid learning and development.

In healthcare, there are many application areas of virtual reality, such as being used to train surgeons and doctors. Medical professors at Stanford University have stated their intention to educate their students on anatomy using VR technology, and a research team at Cambridge University is seeking to construct 3D models of tumors that can be explored in incredible detail.

Aside from educational applications, XR technology is also being used in design, architecture and engineering. Due to the possible application areas of virtual reality, architects can create 1:1 scale models of their projects, which they can then explore, manipulate and test before commencing the build. Similarly, automotive engineers sculpt new cars and engines in Virtual Reality suites, which brings down the cost of building numerous real-world prototypes.

XR technology are also helping fashion retailers to customize their own garments, as well as building virtual shops so customers can browse their goods from the comfort of their own home. Global furniture makers are using AR technology to allow customers to try out new furniture in their own homes before completing their purchase.

It is clear that XR provides users with a creative way to engage in a variety of new environments through simulation technology. With this, XR also offers logical solutions to modern challenges.

Recent research has revealed that more than a whopping 60 percent of the respondents believe that Extended Reality will become mainstream in the just the next five years. This shows just how rapidly this technology is being developed, and how willingly the public is ready to adopt it once it is ready and available in the market. Indeed, Extended Reality has plenty of uses and could be employed in all kinds of fields such as retail, real estate, marketing, training, entertainment, and more. It can also be used by the best UI UX design services. The technology has the potential to completely change the way we live our everyday lives, as it will alter our very perception of reality.

By: Mannu Mathew | Sub Editor | ELE Times

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