Monday, March 19, 2018

XR: How the New Tech Is Helping Industries Across the Board

Ever since developer Steve Mann promoted his then-novel “wearable technology” idea in 1980, we’ve seen the emergence of augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), and virtual reality (VR). Each of these segments have taken on a different aspect of the layering of technology on top of everyday tasks and activities. Now, there’s a blanket term for the way that these three key components merge into a seamless and connected use of technology…it’s called extended reality (XR). The umbrella term combines all of the aspects of a world generated and assisted by a computer. How can you prepare yourself for the eventual integration of XR into everyday life? We’ve got three use cases for three different industries:

CPG and Merchandising
The CPG marketspace is home to the widest range of use cases for XR tech. Typical in-store paper signage and planogram modeling is costly and slow to develop. Using VR and AR, CPG marketers can design the shelving space in a grocery store through headset tech, quickly allowing the user to see what products work where and receive consumer feedback. While XR tech is revolutionizing how stores and companies can plan and manage their in-store displays and layouts, it’s also revolutionizing how they can draw shoppers to their products. Many brands are using the new ARKit technology to design AR “scavenger hunt” experiences that draw shoppers to their displays and boost overall sales. My favorite example of this? Star Wars!

Healthcare
Healthcare continues to be a leader in the XR world. The use cases for hospitals and primary care facilities are endless–from allowing doctors and staff to pull up patient charts on digital screens, to letting students practice surgery skills on a holographic body. One frontrunner in the healthcare space is AR-smart glasses manufacturer NuEyes. They made pair of smart glasses that help a legally blind 9-year-old be able to see color, faces, and far-away text so that he can keep up with his classmates. The glasses’ specs are incredible–with a wireless controller allowing the user to focus, pull back or magnify, control settings via voice command, and change regular text into high-contrast black-on-white text for easier viewing. Not only that, but the glasses can sync with your smartphone to provide additional information to the user. This XR integration is truly revolutionary in creating better patient experiences and reaching past the typical technology for this field.

Home Decor and Furniture
One major player in the furniture industry, IKEA, has taken a technical approach to shopping online. The IKEA Place app allows you to view your space through your mobile camera and virtually select and place different pieces of furniture. You can even measure to see if a cabinet will fit in a tight space. This way, customers can see how the colors, textures, and sizes fit into certain rooms. I tried it myself in our Lumavate HQ office and the results were good–I could see blue couches and sleek desk chairs fitting right in!

We’re moving toward XR. There’s no doubt about it. As more and more people use smartphones to integrate into everyday life, the layering of extended reality can create jobs, provide new services, and better serve customers across all industries. Companies taking on this new venture in the virtual space are just getting started in catering to their customers globally through VR, AR, and MR.