When first introduced, eXtended reality (XR) appeared like a futuristic concept. But after years of research and development, the technology is now accessible to consumers and enterprises. Yet, XR is having a hard time transitioning from a fantasy concept to something that is more practical and generates revenue. But the recent launch of the Oculus Quest 2 does make us feel a little optimistic about the technology. It is built on Qualcomm’s XR2 platform, which offers new levels of power to the standalone virtual reality (VR) headset.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world around us. People are working from home, and students learning from home. With more time being spent at home, activities like gaming are becoming popular. While standalone gaming can be one of the key drivers for the XR platform, XR being all about offering users with an immersive experience, learning too can be fun with it. Virtual and augmented reality (AR) can help explain scientific topics like the universe in an exciting way. Further, it can even benefit the manufacturing and healthcare sectors among many other possibilities.
In the latest episode of ‘The Counterpoint Podcast’, host Peter Richardson is joined by Research Analysts Karn Chauhan and Harmeet Singhwalia to share their perspectives on eXtended reality. They discuss the current developments in the XR industry, limitations and future expectations, besides going into questions like how will XR benefit from 5G, and will the rumored Apple glasses be the inflection point that the XR industry needs for mass adoption. All this and more in the podcast below.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality or amalgamation of the two also known as Mixed Reality (MR) or Xtended Reality (XR) is the way we are going to communicate, collaborate, consume content and also, in many scenarios, create content. With every cellular generation, “G”, we have seen the change in how we interact/communicate with each other or create/consume content. From T9 keypads in 2G to QWERTY and resistive touch in 3G to the touchscreen in 4G and now to XR gestures and voice with the onset of 5G.
In the consumer world, XR is already gaining popularity as one of the top initial 5G era use-cases from consuming 4K, 360 deg, multi-view live streaming VR/AR content to the real-time multiplayer cloud and spatial gaming. However, the opportunity for XR is bigger and broader in enterprises. We have seen a lot of tethered AR/VR implementations in this decade. However, with the advent of technologies such as 5G, Wi-Fi 6 we are entering a new era of untethered XR experiences making it more useful beyond the four walls.
To drive untethered XR in enterprises, Qualcomm has launched its latest Qualcomm XR Enterprise Program, to bring together different XR solution providers like XR device manufacturers, XR software platform players, XR apps, content and services providers, and system integrators to help accelerate the XR adoption in enterprises. We have already seen in some verticals, such as Industrial, Retail, and others, that XR adoption is reaching a tipping point.
Qualcomm has roped in variety of XR companies specializing in multiple verticals and use-cases to collaborate and build solutions to avail multiple benefits which include:
Our research shows in enterprise space, the top use-cases for which enterprise XR adoption is rising is as follows:
Digital Twins: Overlaying the real-time telemetry data for machines, equipment, facilities, etc. on the physical world helps better decision making
Documentation: This is also one of the top use-cases, where the entire process is documented (e.g., manuals, workflows, etc.) visually which is great for training new employees realizing in hundreds of hours, thousands of dollars in savings for the organization
Upskilling & Training: This is the fastest-growing use-case in terms of XR adoption to remotely or in-person train, upskill employees effectively again immediate ROI for enterprises. Education vertical is another big opportunity for remotely train and upskill students quickly and efficiently.
Remote Assistance: This particular is among the main XR use-cases across enterprises for remotely assisting field workforce or first-line workers saving millions of dollars in lost time, travel, and other constraints. e.g., Xerox is seeing 76% technical problems resolved without any on-site help in Field Services Remote Assistance using AR Glasses
Business Development & Marketing: Companies such as Zerolight in collaboration with Pico are helping automotive OEMs for real-time visualizations to assist dealerships with sales and marketing through the entire buyer journey from engagement to selection to configuration to payment.
Healthcare: We are seeing XR is being used in the healthcare context from therapeutic use-cases to visual analytics of the patient’s health data to hands-free surgeries.
The lower latency, higher bandwidth promise of the 5G era alongside significant developments in Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) and technologies such as Boundless XR will further drive adoption from form-factor, user experience, and battery-life perspective to have more meaningful, useful and untethered XR experiences in enterprises. Initiatives such as Qualcomm XR Enterprise program will further catalyze this adoption in the 5G era.
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