XR Technology in Business: The Future is Here
Last Updated: October 28 2019
Not too long ago, the concept of extended reality in business was little more than a gimmick. The idea seemed better suited to a sci-fi movie than a corporate setting, and so, it’s little surprise that it was slow to gain traction.
But that’s changing. Fast.
In September 2019, TechCrunch reported that Verizon Media purchased the technology assets of virtual reality startup Jaunt -- a company that raised $100M. This acquisition is by no means an outlier, as studies show 1 in 5 companies are already experimenting with an extended reality initiative.
What once looked like a pipe dream is now a reality, as many businesses are waking up to the opportunities that extended reality (XR) technology presents.
Here’s the truth:
XR technology is no fad -- it's here for the long haul.
It's time to discover more about the future of XR technology in business and to see how it can benefit your company.
What is XR Technology?
Extended Reality, or XR, is the umbrella term for all immersive technologies, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). While they have their distinct differences, all XR technologies blend the real world with a virtual world to create an immersive experience for the user.
Research by Visual Capitalist projects that the XR market will be worth $209 billion by 2022, marking an eight-fold increase from 2018. Furthermore, 63% of shareholders in XR technology companies believe the technology will be mainstream by 2024.
Source: Visual Capitalist
Use Cases of XR Technology in Business
So, that’s the future.
But what about today?
Let’s take a look at how the world is using XR technology in business right now.
XR is big news in healthcare, as it’s expected to drive $5B in revenue by 2025. One such example is Accuvein, an innovative vein visualization tool that creates a real-time visual map of the patient’s veins on their skin. This makes it safer for patients and easier for medical professionals to locate veins for blood draws or IV procedures.
Boeing uses the augmented reality eyewear, Google Glass, as part of the aircraft design process. Planes have a complex wiring system that can take hours to build manually. With Google Glass, Boeing slashed production time for aircraft wire harnesses by 25%, with a 50% reduction in error rates.
Facebook recently launched three new interactive ad formats, following hot on the heels of Swirl from Google Ads. With the rise of video marketing and visual content, these interactive ads are sure to become commonplace as XR technology advances.
Market leader Zillow is just one of many companies that now offer an extended reality experience, allowing people in the market for a new home to tour properties by wearing a VR headset. Similarly, augmented reality enables property builders to show prospective buyers how the finished property will look before construction even begins.
Just when the world though the Yellow Ghost was about to be killed off by Instagram Stories, Snapchat partnered with Amazon. The augmented reality app allows users to take photos of objects or barcodes, then buy them on Amazon, welcoming a new era of social commerce.
5 Benefits of XR Technology in Business
As you can see, there has been a significant surge of XR technology in business in recent years, with the innovation sprawling across several major industries.
And here’s the thing:
It’s not going to stop.
Here are several benefits of extended reality in business that show why it’s here to stay.
1. It Enhances the Customer Experience
With extended reality, people can visualize products and interact with them to get a feel for what it would be like to own them. It could be a new eyeliner, a sofa, or a car.
L’Oréal tripled its conversion rates with its AR technology that allows customers to 'try' skincare products before buying.
Immersive technology engages people much more than a text post or still image, allowing brands to connect with consumers to establish trust, which increases the chance of a sale.
2. It Improves Internal Communications and Collaboration
Development teams can use XR technology to collaborate on projects, even when they aren’t in the same city, let alone the same room.
Virtual design tools that operate in real-time allow teams to work together on complex visual data sets, whereas before the teamwork element of such tasks was more disconnected.
This interconnectivity streamlines communications between remote teams and improves efficiency and quality control as the job progresses.
3. It Drives Productivity
As XR technology in business paves the way for greater efficiency, companies will invariably become more productive.
A report from the Capgemini Research Institute found that 82% of companies using XR claim the benefits either meet or exceed their original expectations.
As extended reality is so visual, it makes information easier for us to absorb. Rather than learning from a small mobile screen, XR tools offer immersive, 3D experiences that facilitate on-the-spot solutions and continuous, dynamic learning at work.
4. Ease of Training
Speaking of learning, one of the best use cases of XR technology in business is as a training tool. This is especially true when it comes to people who work in potentially hazardous environments, such as those in the military or oil & gas workers.
With immersive XR experiences, people can train in dangerous scenarios without the risk. For instance, the U.S. Navy and Air Force use XR technology to train fighter pilots.
These technologies speed up the onboarding process for new employees, and recruits can avail of learning experiences from a range of compatible devices.
5. Better Insights through Data Visualization
In a data-driven age, the businesses that embrace data are the enterprises that will thrive. Data goes hand-in-hand with XR technology, bringing visual context to hard figures.
Let's say you manage a nuclear plant. You trawl through spreadsheets and dashboard metrics for hours every week. Now, imagine you could gauge the true impact of that data with a visual walkthrough of the plant simply by wearing some augmented reality glasses. Where you once saw a high figure in your spreadsheet -- which could easily be missed -- you now see an inescapable flashing red beacon in your XR tour of the building.
Together, these interactive visuals and data insights offer managers everything they need to make smarter, more informed decisions.
When you embrace XR technology in business, your company will be able to offer an unrivaled experience that people won’t forget. You can create purpose-driven experiences that educate customers, employees, and investors alike.
With extended reality at the heart of your business, you can nurture a culture of digital transformation from the inside, using immersive technologies as part of your training, design, and marketing processes.
As this internal culture flourishes, your business will have the foundation to connect with customers in the same way.
After all, we live in a customer-centric age where people don’t just buy products -- they buy experiences. Getting on board with XR technology today can give your company the edge tomorrow.
Want to learn more about XR technology and how it can help your business? Sign up for a private demo.