What Is XR And How Can It Play A Role In The Future Of Your Business?


As technology evolves ever more rapidly, more opportunities arise for businesses to incorporate affordable tech solutions into their day-to-day processes. Taking the time to research the latest tech on the market and implementing it into your company structure can yield invaluable results. In the field of communication alone, we’ve come a long way from fax machines and emails; now with Extended Reality (XR) it’s possible to broadcast live avatars of ourselves to other users across the globe. What is XR and how can it play a role in the future of your business?

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What is XR?

Extended Reality (XR) is the umbrella term for Augmented Reality (AR) and the massively popular Virtual Reality (VR). The two are slightly different. Augmented Reality adds a malleable digital layer on top of a real-world scenario.

For example, two users can see and interact with a virtual resource overlaid on a real city street. Virtual Reality, on the other hand, submerges you into an entirely new, digitally rendered environment, where you can interact with digital avatars and objects in the same environment.

XR’s popularity among consumers has increased exponentially in recent years to become a recognised household item. However, while pop-culture focuses on the entertainment industry’s use of XR, the technology is also proving essential for business innovation. Since 2016, XR goggle rental has increased by 158%.

There is a clear appetite for the technology, for example, 9 out of 10 UK teachers believe VR would improve classroom teaching. Knowing this, it’s perhaps unsurprising that 45.73% of industry XR use is in education with 63% of industry stakeholders, across all sectors, using (or planning to use) its application for training and simulation.

Recommended reading: How to Use VR for Your Business

Realistic Training in a Virtual Environment

All manner of training techniques are changing as a result of XR technology. In terms of HR, once the virtual training space is up and running, staff can simply wear a headset and familiarize themselves with work environments wherever they are in the world.

This not only saves time and money on transport but also on resources required to create and perform in real-world training scenarios. Emergency services find this technology particularly useful with a safe, virtual environment created to train for dangerous situations.

Similarly, rehearsing surgery in VR can speed up the actual operation by as much as 10%.

Working Together When Your Staff Can't Be Together

Extended Reality is also a game-changer for businesses with multiples offices in different locations. It's recognised that face to face interaction is conducive to good business practice, people understand each other and therefore work better when they can see their colleague’s face and hands. A great deal of money and resources can be saved by meeting colleagues and clients in a VR scenario.

This opens up a great opportunity for collaborative working with staff from different offices able to meet, speak and work together in the same virtual environment. Important tasks can now be completed more efficiently, in a shorter time frame, with less back and forth via email and phone. The environmental benefits also make this an attractive option for businesses with a focus on corporate responsibility.

Recommended reading: 5 Essential Tools for Successfully Managing a Remote Team

Bring Your Work to Virtual Life

The retail, automotive and engineering sectors are also beginning to implement this expansive technology. Apart from training and education purposes, their data analysis is getting an overhaul along with their design process. The days of cheap word art bouncing around stale PowerPoint presentations are thankfully over.

With real-time 3D images that you and your clients can interact with, XR can bring statistics to life and allow their true meaning to be recognised intuitively. Similarly, designers from around the world can change the shape of car design and test its performance without having to build a tangible prototype.

So, why not beam into your co-worker’s headset on the other side of the world and start editing that 3D architectural blueprint together now? The truth is that science-fiction has become non-fiction, and for those prepared to take the leap, the rewards could be out of this world.

Over to you now. Have you become aware of VR and AR and XR? Have you ideas on how you could use this new technology for your business? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below. 

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Monday, 16 December 2019
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