Extended Reality or XR is the term that refers to both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technologies. Extended Reality is not something completely new. However, you’ll be surprised to know for how long it has existed. The first Extended Reality or XR device was a head-mounted display created as early as 1960 for training simulators in the military.
More recently, we have seen the rise of affordable and readily available XR devices used in the gaming and entertainment industries. Interestingly, consumers are spending more than twice in 2018 than what they gave in 2017. Extended Reality, which virtually takes you places, is certainly a significant market player, is now a valuable training and education tool. Various industries are now seeing its actual value and potential.
For what can Extended Reality be used?
Now that is an exciting question. Over the years, XR technology has improved a lot, thanks to sophisticated technology, premium-grade imaging modules, and its inherent perception of spatial movements and hand tracking. This makes XR environments very similar to the actual physical environment. So the current time is fascinating as far as these developments go.
VR in education
Students are using Oculus Rift at schools to glimpse the future and see other new technologies. VR headsets are readily available at a heap price. In the education industry, it utilises 50% of Extended Reality’s use. Unique interactive experiences like Google Expeditions allow students to see virtual words while still at their seats. Other apps like Unimersiv enable students to experience the sights and sounds of a foreign culture. Technologies like these certainly aid a lot in boosting learning and development. For one, almost all teachers in the UK believe that their schools should use XR to teach children.
VR in healthcare
In healthcare, VR is used in various applications and specialisations, from doctors to surgeons. For example, the demand for VR in healthcare is that medical professors from Stanford University have said they wish to teach VR students. Similarly, one of Cambridge University’s research teams wishes to create 3D models of tumours to study and explore in far greater detail.
Research in Virtual Reality has found that it allows healthcare specialists to change instantly as the situation demands. Thus, they can decide on the spot. For instance, such research has showcased that practising and rehearsing surgery in Virtual Reality aids in speeding up surgery and other operations. It also shows that VR aids emergency responders and health and safety trainees respond to emergencies faster and safely.
Use of XR Technology in other industries
Besides education and healthcare, XR technology is used in other fields like architecture, design, and engineering. For example, with the benefits of VR, architects can make scale models of their projects. These they explore, test and manipulate before creating a building in the real world. In automobile engineering, engineers are not creating new vehicles and engines in the virtual world first—this aids in bringing down costs by a considerable margin.
Virtual Reality helps fashion retailers to enable customers to customise the costumes they like. It also helps retailers in creating virtual shops where people can browse goods online. Furniture and eyewear retailers are using it in this way, as we can now see widely.
As we can see, Extended Reality is here to stay. It helps people to learn, experience and improve the real world around them safely. Moreover, it aids in finding logical solutions to new challenges.
How has the pandemic increased interest in XR?
Since the pandemic, hybrid experiences which blend digital elements with interpersonal communication have seen a considerable increase. According to research, the AR market will grow from $15.3 billion in 2020 to more than $77 billion in 2025 alone. And this will continue to grow. In its own right, the VR market will grow from $ 6.1 billion in 2020 to more than $20.9 billion in 2025.
This growth is here because industries like education, healthcare, retail, eCommerce, video game, and entertainment invest in XR to reach more customers during the pandemic. This has led XR to come into the mainstream, which aids companies in finding out new customers and creating more demand for their offerings. Their products are made interactive, immersive, high quality and innovative.
Future in XR productions for advertising
XR technologies will play a big part in the future of marketing, advertising and storytelling. Technology continues to become cheaper and advanced. XR now helps directors and creatives to embrace the new technology with ease while getting customers curious and excited about it at the same time.
The pandemic is far from being over. But brands are not letting that stop them. Instead, they are using the challenges and opportunities to change how they use new technologies entirely. Consumers now want to experience services and products from the safety of their homes due to the pandemic. Due to this new demand, companies using XR had more success than companies that did not use it.
For instance, take the eCommerce and retail industries. With AR, Virtual Reality and 3D technologies, they allow customers to experience their products. See Lenskart’s website, for instance. After picking a product you like, you can upload a picture of your face. The website then creates a digital 3D model of your head. You then try out all products and check if they fit on you.
The Future Of XR In A Post-Pandemic World
XR is set to grow in the future as new products and services rise. It will also increase as more and more companies start XR technologies to gain more customers and sales. The pandemic is considerably responsible for showing people how entertaining XR experiences can be.
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