eXtended Reality or XR is an umbrella term for scenarios where AR, VR, and MR devices interact with peripheral devices such as ambient sensors, actuators, 3D printers and internet enabled smart-devices such as home appliances, industrial connected machines, connected vehicles and more. Find here more details
At Thoughtworks, we have been talking about Rise of XR for enterprises, and evolving human interactions thru our lens of looking glasses.
Evolving interactions - Consumers aren’t just demanding availability and accessibility — they expect interactions to be seamless, and richer. Enterprises can deliver this experience through evolving interfaces that blend speech, touch and visuals.
Recently our marketing specialist Shalini Jagadish interviewed me, and we had interesting conversation on how evolving human behaviour adopting XR for enterprises, and need of ethical XR. Key excerpt are here.
What exciting technological development are we seeing in the XR space? How is it going to change the world around us?
It is really exciting to talk about this technology, with advancements in hardware and internet speed, specially computer vision technologies, I feel digital transformation is getting to a new level completely.
“Smartphones are getting more smarter, glasses are getting smarter and empowered with computer vision tech that can sense the environment”
Things like, lidar sensors are coming to mobile devices, that can 3D scan the physical world and replicate in digital world in real time. These capable devices can now track your hand, face, lips movement, eyes and whole body, and all this brings new ways of interactions. For example, your hands might be busy working, and you do hands-free interactions with smart devices with head movement, gestures or just by talking to that device.
XR is bringing the tech right in the context where it is needed the most. if I need see a help manual while working in the field, it will just brings the digital manual in front of your eyes with almost no interruption to my work. If I need to take take help from an expert sitting remotely, I can just share what I see in the field to the expert live, and the expert can guide me right in the field by markers and annotations. We can record and repeat the situation of physical world with almost no time and cost, and troubleshoot them better.
We will soon start believing the digital virtual world as real physical world.
How are the enterprises adopting the XR technology?
I call the traditional digital business as unextended digital business, where they are loosing around 20–40% of productivity due to traditional old technologies. Enterprise are now focusing on building XR platform that can smoother the adaption of Enterprise XR (eg. ThinkReality platform). Enterprises are working on enabling their existing products and services with XR (eg. Flipkart brings Virtual Product Trial). The below article explains top five things to consider when business leaders embark on their Enterprise eXtended Reality journeys.
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XR has already a proven tech for entertainment segment, and now it is going beyond entertainment, and getting adopted faster. For example industrial, manufacturing and automation, it is being explored for use-cases like training, remote collaboration, task based workflows, compliance, service and maintenance.
Healthcare is also using it for training the staff and also experimenting as VR therapy where patient is introduced to a virtual environment that can cures the anxiety or psychological problems. Try before buying, fitments are popular use cases for XR in Retail and Real Estate domain. Indoor positioning is another big area where industry is exploring opportunity using XR tech. Online/Digital education segment is also growing big in this time, and bringing more realistic interactions with real looking 3D objects as compare to traditional paper pictures, it is helping the students to understand and memorize the concept faster.
Should businesses consider investing in this technology in the Post-Covid World where people are still sceptical to go out?
We are going in a new normal, where human behaviour toward many things will be changing. Read more here top 5 behaviour changes —
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We will start believing on digital world more than earlier, if technology can ease the life, we tend to accept it with its pros and cons. For example, today going with strangers on a carpool in private taxi Uber/OLA is quite common, it wasn’t the case earlier. Online schools are running for more than 1 year now, and we have accepted them as a normal thing. Working from home or work from anywhere is becoming a common thing in enterprises, and it wasn’t the case two year ago.
Today to buy a furniture for my home, I don’t feel to go to store, do measurement and check fitment, rather I would prefer to try the furniture directly at home with XR app, and believe it as like I am placing a real furniture, this is much safer option today. Same goes for repairing a home appliances, if I can fix it with help of a remote expert, I would probably go with that and pay the expert online. If I can teleport the person in 3D in front of me collaborate at my comfort, then I don’t really feel a need to travel. If I can work from home at my comfort then I don’t really feel a need of a permanent physical office. So things are changing, XR tech is also evolving at faster speed, enterprises need to stay relevant and it is even more important to include such tech in the our digital transformation journeys.
What is Thoughtworks doing in XR?
We understand that XR is moving from Nicety to Necessity, it is tech that is no more a hype, it has move away from Gartner’s hype cycle. We have observed serious use cases for our clients, where they are getting benefited with this tech.
We understand XR adoption as a journey than just a few projects, we are helping our clients to define a XR journey, identify the right use cases that make their products and services XR enabled, and integrate with their existing enterprise services, and we bring our clients on a roadmap for XR immersive ecosystem.
Looking at the data we unconsciously provide to these technologies, Should we be worried about Robot takeover or Mind-Control with XR?
Yes, I understand your concern. It is a very valid concern. XR tech become more powerful when it gets integrated with other tech such as IoT, AI, 3D printing, robotics, wearables solutions, 5G, Brain Computer Interfaces. Advancements in other technologies is making XR more advanced. Today’s smart glass will be tomorrow’s smart contact lens, and today’s smartphone will be tomorrow’s wearable compute unit charged with body energy. We will living the tech.
As discussed earlier, XR is all about changing the belief, XR solutions are designed in such a way that we believe virtual replica of physical world as a real object, and get immersed in that. Just like any other tech, this tech also comes with some side-effects. This tech can produce virtual fake environments and fake situations so easily, and it is a mind changing too. This can be easily misused to brainwash people, and let them follow some unwanted motives. As XR getting more powerful, we need technology to identify what is fake and what is real. In a way, industry need to invest in producing standards and practices that allow XR devices to allow on Ethical XR, and stop this technology to get misused.
It is originally published at XR Practices Medium Publication