Through television shows currently labeled as sci-fiction and dystopia such as that of the black mirror (a short story shown based on a technologically advanced world), screenwriters/ authors have already picturized the role that sense enhancing and transforming technologies can play in our life.
These sense enhancing technologies are formally known as AR, VR, MR, and XR. Surprisingly the AR and VR technology was invented back in 1968 and from there took a road to advancement.
AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) have successfully started showing primary results in practical use by audiences. MR technology comes at the 2nd in practical use and XR is the processing phase as of now.
So, what’s the difference between the four sense enhancing technologies and what future do they hold in our practical lives?
Augmented reality refers to the addition of digital elements to a live view by using a camera on any gadget but most commonly available via the smartphone camera. Technology in a way shows partially virtual objects connecting them with real-life scenarios.
The AR feature was introduced to the audience widely through the famous Pokémon Go game where the players would catch the Pokémon live at different places; the game lacked its effortlessness due to the inaccessibility of 5G in most areas. The most practical example of an AR feature you can find is the several Snapchat filters.
Another example of AR is Ikea’s exclusive application that allows users to point the camera at different spaces and receive recommendations of belonging products. A practical method to see what will fit and look good in your house.
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Virtual reality on the other hand is a complete emission of other dimension experiences that shutouts your existing surrounding and creates a whole new virtual surrounding.
The VR technology is so far only introduced through the wearable headsets. The technology uses HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Google cardboard to transfer the individual in question to a number of imagined and real environments.
VR made waves in the gaming industry by generating revenues of $4.5 billion in 2018 according to the SuperData research and is expecting revenue of $19 billion as of 2020. If anything, the gaming industry is expecting to expand its market revenue by over 20% in 2027 with high hopes.
Although regardless, if the AR and VR technology is available through wearable, headsets, or shopping experience the trick all several tech giants have to master is to provide a unique touch of gravity, natural language processing.
The technology of mixed reality (also known as hybrid reality) is a combination of AR’s digital object interactions and VR’s real-world experience. MR technology is meant to give individuals the ability to explore virtual environments and the real world simultaneously.
For example, MR technology uses space and coordinates to enable users to manipulate virtual objects and receive different angles and perspectives. These virtual objects can be moved around and change size from small to large according to the individual’s distance from it.
Unlike VR and AR that has been fairly accessible to the general audience. The MR technology can be so far experienced with Microsoft’s HoloLens as one of the notable primitive experiences of MR.
Extended reality is an umbrella term that covers several technologies used to enhance our senses or in other words extended reality is a developing technology as a combination of AR, VR, and MR. The XR market is expected to reach $209 billion by 2022. The XR in the next five years is expected to be applied in training, retail, remote work, and marketing.
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In 2019 many giant tech companies such as Facebook, Snapchat, Google, Apple, and Huawei made announcements for the upcoming AR and VR projects. Through the 2020 pandemic, it became necessary to advance the process to save the economy and humankind through minimal interaction. In the upcoming years, we will witness the AR and VR technology even more at public use.
The advancement of the network into 5G technology has been making its rounds in the social media a while now and certain giant tech has invested in the 5G for better work productivity.
It is predicted that 5G technologies will also bring new opportunities for growth in the AR, VR, MR, and XR technology sectors.
Through 5G it is expected that the audience can experience more permanent, virtual objects along with multi-user edge computing. it will help the tech giants to incorporate more sensor data received from the consumer wearable into the AR and VR experience while allowing the consumers to experience as well as control it with data on their smartphones.
So far we have seen the practical use of sum up of XR technologies in the entertainment and gaming industry only. However, in the coming five years these realities will be recognized in the social, medical, and retail sectors as well as in addition to our technology use in practical life. Few of these projects include:
VR and AR experience in the retail sector is not hot news. American Apparel, Uniqlo, and Lacoste have deployed no contact showrooms and virtual fitting rooms which allows you to virtually try on a dress without actually changing into it.
However, the advancement of software and hardware has helped the AR companies to mature the technology and provide a robust experience. In 2020 alone, an estimate of 100 million users is expected to experience the AR technology for shopping, with just 15% of retailers incorporating it with their stores.
In the near future, 48% of the retailers (especially high-end brands) are predicted to opt for the AR featured shopping in the next three years. In the next few years, Smart mirror technologies that scan RFID tags and provide recommendations will become more common.
After the popularity of activ8’s Al and Brud’s Lil Miquela, the stores are also expected to introduce avatars as a business representative and virtual influencer who will also perform inside/outside physical store navigation.
The features of AR have been fairly limited to mobile devices so far. However, the WebAR technology will facilitate users to experience the AR within the web spaces such as Google Chrome, Mozilla, and Firefox among other browsers. Currently limited due to the device capability, and network but WebAR is an idea developed to help you access applications directly without downloading it on your phone.
The AR technology is also predicted to help web designers upload 360-degree videos on the website inducing a more practical and vibrant experience of products similar to the primitive example of Lenskart.
The uncertainty of 2020 pandemic waves forced the educational institutions to opt for virtual classes through apps such as zoom and Google duo. These technologies once celebrated were not fruitful this time around decreasing the overall productivity.
Hence, in the next five years, educational institutions are expected to introduce AR and VR technology for remote and in-class teaching. The technology is expected to introduce a more collaborative and attention-grabbing environment.
AR and VR are predicted to be most beneficial for technical fields’ practical learning of robotics, civil engineering, engineering, and medical.
AR and VR technologies are expected to help technicians visually judge the site situations of the real environment/ time via handy gadgets. Through technology, you can send instructions to the remote location and create notes and comments on the virtual objects as well.
The remote assistance is also expected to be used by the medical experts and firefighters to save lives in time.
By 2050 the remote assistance is expected to be under XR for better productivity and no limitations.
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MR based training enterprise is expected to be an industry of $6 billion by the end of 2020. The MR based training with more practical implication will help trainers provide a more realistic scenario where trainee’s problem-solving skills can be tested without any harm to humans, also preventing self-injury and material loss.
Companies such as Walmart and Tyson are piloting programs to transform the traditional training. According to them, MR based training would be a more effective method to identify problems, learn about compliance and safety issues in an engaging and semi-real environment. ‘
MR based training is predicted to bring growth in the medical sector, especially in the areas of surgery and unusual cases.
The 3D modeling of houses is one of the most lasting trends in the market. In the coming 3 years, VR technology is expected to bring growth to the market. The VR design will facilitate the audience to tour several houses within a day.
VR technology will also give renovators and investors a better look at the commercial and residential buildings paired up with AR.
In conclusion, in the next, five to ten years the AR and VR technologies are predicted to heavily influence each sector including marketing, retail, housing, medicine, engineering, tourism, and navigation, etc. in the next twenty to thirty years or less it is expected that MR technology will take over and by 2050 XR will enter the market.
Apart from comfort and easy access to multiple things, these technologies are also extremely environmentally friendly. The predicted projects of AR and R in sectors such as tourism, education, retail, marketing, and housing will help reduce the carbon footprint and waste by a great margin.
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