Mixed reality: it’s not virtual reality, it’s actual reality
- Posted on May 26, 2017
Whilst Facebook’s announcement to shutter its mixed reality content studio has many thinking it’s maybe too early for the technology, the reality is quite different within the enterprise and commercial space where it is gaining momentum and traction. Here in Australia, businesses are moving beyond Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality animated overlays, (typical in many consumer campaigns and propositions like Pokemon Go), to much richer experiences using Mixed Reality technology, where they are able to combine data visualisation, artificial intelligence, cognitive learning and the Internet of Things to drive business value through efficiency, productivity, safety and training.
For example, where field technicians, engineers and medical specialists can quickly visualise issues with patients, a network asset, or an aircraft engine, and dynamically access performance data and the right animated training and procedural information to resolve the issue quickly. With potential savings and productivity improvements of 20 to 30%, businesses are increasing their willingness to experiment and test the technology within a commercial context.
With a rapidly evolving technology landscape, we are seeing many diverse technology use cases being created. These include;
- Combining drones and augmented reality to broadcast immersive sporting content
- Creating virtual pop up shops allowing consumers to be immersed in the product content of eCommerce sites
- Creating ecosystems for product customisation and 3D printing within retail
- Creating environments for virtual assistants using immersive information
The numerous use cases, the device proliferation like Oculus Rift, Vive, Hololens, ODG and Vusix and the inevitable increased appetite for more immersive experiences from consumers demonstrates how important it is for digital and technology leaders to remain ahead of the curve and shape the right framework in place before jumping into an X Reality solution (the combined suite of AR, VR and MR capabilities).
As such, it will be important to start by understanding and identifying the underlying business issues, challenges and use cases to then determine the right technology application:
- Virtual Reality for rich animated content
- Augmented Reality for combining animated information with real world context
- Mixed Reality for intelligent, contextual and fully immersive experiences, where a network asset visually identifies itself and its problems and recommends the corrective procedure through graphical training overlays
The biggest challenge, however, which is differentiating the leaders from the rest of the pack, is the ability for businesses to understand how the nascent technology can deliver tangible benefits. It’s challenging to gain internal alignment and to prioritise the most compelling and achievable use cases.
At Avanade, we have created a rapid ideation to prototype framework, specifically for X Reality, which we are applying across client projects. It helps businesses understand the potential applications of the technology, identify the most impactful use cases to drive change, develop a roadmap and, more importantly, build internal alignment and a scalable model. What’s amazing is that once the ideation process begins, there is no shortage of business ideas and applications and a roadmap can be quickly constructed. The critical thing is identifying a handful of real use cases that will be deliver returns and get the business excited - but is equally achievable to build within a pragmatic timeframe.