On November 14th, 2022
The innovative XR trends to explore this year
Extended Reality is one of the most exciting areas in technology today. Covering all forms of immersive tech, from virtual to augmented, and mixed reality, XR is a key component in how the relationship between humans and computers is evolving.
Currently, the XR market is expected to accelerate towards a value of around $300 billion by 2024 alone, and it isn’t just consumers and gamers who are set to benefit. Increasingly, business leaders from across virtually every industry are discovering the value of XR for training, collaboration, ideation, and development.
Throughout this year, the XR landscape has undergone some phenomenal changes, likely to influence the way companies and developers leverage the ecosystem going forward. Here are just some of the major XR innovations worth exploring right now.
1. Edge and Cloud Computing
Creating a phenomenal XR experience requires the careful alignment of software and hardware solutions. Increasingly, the headsets used to navigate the digital space are evolving, becoming more lightweight, efficient, and feature-rich. We’re progressing towards a world where true-to-life holographic images in AR and MR are no longer a science-fiction concept. Plus, the VR realities we can explore in the expanding “Metaverse” are becoming increasingly realistic.
However, to reproduce immersive images and experience in these headsets and devices, XR solutions also need to be able to rapidly access and process huge amounts of data. As a result, cloud innovations, Edge computing, and 5G mobile networks are becoming increasingly crucial to the landscape. An “Edge” cloud infrastructure allows businesses to place XR assets within their operator networks, promoting a low-latency and highly scalable on-site experience.
Cloud and edge computing makes it easier to transmit large packets of data to XR devices in a short space of time. Plus, it means groups of people can share the same aligned XR interaction. Already, market leaders like Varjo are introducing their own cloud platforms to shift the rendering requirements of XR experiences out of the business, and into the cloud.
2. RT3D Engines
XR solutions also require the use of high-quality 3D imagery and content. However, in the past, creating and using 3D content has been far from an efficient process. RT3D, or “Real-Time 3D” is a computer graphics concepts designed to generate interactive content faster than humans can perceive. This allows for the development of a highly immersive and interactive experience.
With RT3D developers can immerse their users within a digital reality which feels like real life. Companies can use engines from companies like Unity to recreate digital “twins” of products, buildings, and other items, combined with information from various data sources. For instance, the BMW group used RT3D solutions create a combination of AR and VR applications designed to train frontline workers, manage the assembly line and improve quality control.
RT3D engines don’t just allow for more immersive visual experiences, they also make XR environments more interactive. Digital representations created by these engines can look and behave just like the physical product, making them ideal for engineers, manufacturing companies, and training scenarios based on real-world environments.
3. Hand-Eye Tracking
Using a combination of sensors and receivers, eye and hand tracking solutions allow for the creation of a powerful human-personal computer interface for XR. Rather than having to click a button to select an item in a VR space, a user with access to hand-tracking technology can simply move their fingers to the object they want to interact with.
Eye and hand tracking solutions also allow for better computing power distribution within XR environments. An eye-tracking tool can detect the position of a person’s eye to determine which graphics need to be rendered more completely in a VR environment, minimising bandwidth use. The same tools make moving around and interacting with experiences in any XR world feel more streamlined and organic.
Often combined with RT3D engines, photogrammetry is a technology designed to help content creators and innovators construct digital twins for the virtual environment. Developers can use photogrammetry assets to import realistic versions of products, people, and objects into an RT3D engine, where it can be used for virtual reality, AR, and even move sequences.
In the Photogrammetry space, NeRF-empowered solutions permit developers to make granular edits to imported assets, by adjusting lighting, and textures on 3D models. Some RT3D engines can then enhance these components with AI algorithms, to make the experience feel as realistic as possible.
Photogrammetry also makes it easier to bring the detail of real-life content into a virtual space. For instance, Unreal Engine’s software allows users to use their phone cameras and an application to scan products or objects and upload them into a digital space. As companies continue to create more workplaces and event experiences within XR, Photogrammetry is likely to play an important part in how Metaverse and digital spaces are built.
5. XR Training and Upskilling
Finally, one of the most powerful areas any XR innovator should be considering right now, falls into the realm of training and up-skilling in XR. The world as we know it is changing at an unpredictable pace, with skills gaps widening across virtually industry.According to WEF, by the end of this year, 35% of the top skills prioritised by business leaders will have already changed.
As companies continue to embrace concepts like the Metaverse and XR for collaboration, production, and ideation, old-fashioned training strategies are no longer suitable. Business leaders need to embed XR solutions into their training strategies, to prepare users to thrive in a more digitally-enhanced world. Switching to XR for training and up-skilling allows companies to prepare their team members for the rise of new technology, while enhancing educational outcomes.
According to studies, VR and XR learning are already proving to be more efficient than traditional education strategies. In fact, VR-trained employees can complete their lessons up to 4 times faster than classroom learners. Plus, these students are up to 275% more confident when acting on what they learned during XR lessons.