Ready or not, the XR world (aka the metaverse) is coming. But there’s no need to panic. We’re going to give you a no-nonsense guide to get you ready to enter the metaverse and make sure you don’t get left behind. There's plenty to unpack, so let's jump right in.
XR is short for extended reality. It’s an umbrella term that encapsulates the spectrum of virtual reality (VR) to augmented reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) and can be implemented across all aspects of your business. By utilizing XR now, businesses can position themselves to be leaders in this rapidly evolving landscape. From commerce to entertainment, gaming, social interactions, education and research, XR technology is presenting exciting ways to engage with customers and end-users.
Although all three technologies are known to enrich your experience, all three accomplish very different things in very different ways. Let’s break down their significant differences and how you can use them to enhance your business operations, shall we?
Augmented Reality (AR)
Do you remember the Pokémon GO craze of 2016? On their screens, players of the viral mobile game “Pokémon Go” would see creatures pop into existence alongside real-world physical objects.
That’s Augmented Reality.
In other words, AR adds to reality, projecting information on top of what you're already seeing. Although it may seem just for fun, augmented reality is useful for more than just games and entertainment. Retailer IKEA created an AR app that helps shoppers visualize what certain products will look like in their home before they purchase them. The app overlays virtual versions of the products onto the real-live image of customers’ living spaces. While eyewear retailer Warby Parker can help you instantly try on any style of eyewear through their app and even recommend styles of frames that would look best on you.
In addition to retailers, other industries such as aviation, automotive, healthcare, travel and tourism are all taking advantage of augmented reality technology. For example, imagine being on a self-guided walking tour and wanting to know details about the architecture of a building you discover. With an AR app, you could just point your phone at the building, and all the details would be projected in your line of sight. The possibilities are endless!
Virtual Reality (VR)
In the simplest terms, VR replaces reality, taking you visually somewhere else. Virtual reality technology uses special equipment such as headsets, computers, sensors, and gloves to completely take over your vision to give you the impression that you're somewhere else.
While the world of gaming and entertainment were early adopters of virtual reality, VR technology is now used in many organizations and industries including the military, engineering and construction, healthcare, education, business and more.
One of the obvious applications of VR in military training is to simulate dangerous scenarios or events that would be difficult to simulate in real life. Law Enforcement also uses VR to train police officers in hundreds of simulated scenarios. While virtual reality tools also help surgeons plan for surgery ahead of time.
But virtual reality technology doesn’t have to be all serious business. One fun example comes from a water slide park in Germany that has a VR slide that transports riders to different virtual environments as they glide down and around the chute. It’s genius, really. This VR ride gives the park a new way to attract visitors without the huge cost associated with installing a new ride.
Mixed Reality (MR)
Finally, we have mixed reality which is a blend of augmented and virtual reality. In mixed reality, you interact with and manipulate both physical and virtual items and environments, using next-generation sensing and imaging technologies. MR provides the ability to have one foot (or hand) in the real world, and the other in an imaginary place, breaking down basic concepts between real and imaginary, offering an experience that can change the way you game and work today.
From concerts that have your favorite musicians interacting with holograms or football games that appear to go down right in your living room, mixed reality is set to become a game-changer in many areas of our lives.
As momentum continues to build for augmented, virtual and mixed reality, it’s clear that we’re on the cusp of enhanced technology going fully mainstream, as we blur the boundaries between the digital world and the real one. Are you ready to join the Metaverse and adopt XR technology into your business goals? Now is the time to get started. Contact us today!