AR/VR and their related technologies have quite the long history behind them, with some sources citing Morton Heilig's Sensorama (released in 1962) being the first iteration of a successful VR system. Today it might be considered closer to an early 4D theater than a VR system, the Sensorama still showed the potential of a multimodal system; especially as it can engage more than one of the users' senses. The development then opened up new possibilities for other applications in different settings; especially for the newer iterations of AR/VR/XR technologies. While the earlier applications focused on entertainment; either through movies or games, the technologies in question might offer more possibilities that are often overlooked.
The opportunities might be explored due to the pandemic, but there is quite the high chance that they will remain even after the world returns to normalcy. In this edition of the InnoVEX Editorial, we explore 3 established application trends of AR/VR/XR and the startup teams who are actively engaged in their developments.
1. Education and Training
After lockdowns and quarantine measures were put in place, many in-person activities had to be replaced with a remote format to avoid complete cancellation. While remote classes held through online meeting platforms are usable for the lecture style of classes, it would be nearly impossible for practical classes that require either interpersonal interaction or specific tools and resources.
Surreal of Taiwan’s approach is to create a VR learning platform called Surrealm that can give a classroom feeling to help students learn better. For language learning, they also created a learning game for students to better engage their senses and help them memorize new vocabulary.
VEYOND Reality's focus is in natural science that provide 2 main benefits of convenience and safety. By creating a virtual learning environment where virtual science experiments can be done with realistic results, students can actively engage in the class and not worry about potential injuries or the resulting mess.
The training is not limited to young students only as AR/VR/XR can also be used for professional training as shown by Supportsquare of Belgium. Their platform offers training for technicians with VR simulations as well as AR powered visual assistance that connects experts with users.
2. Tour and Travel
The pandemic has severely reduced the market value of the global tourism industry with WTTC reporting that the entire industry suffered an unprecedented 49.1% loss in 2020. While the industry is recovering, it is still relatively slow and some industry players have started to pivot away from conventional tourism to a more innovative platform that integrates technology in a diversely meaningful way.
The approach that Toii of Taiwan took was to integrate AR and geolocation-based games into traveling. Their portfolio of games will encourage players to learn about local cultures, history, and even urban legends for a uniquely personal experience for travelers. At the same time, it is also a way for locals to preserve their stories and history in a more modern way - through technology as well as experience.
MyProGuide offers a different method for users to experience travel and tourism with their remote live guided tours. Their platform matches users with travel guides to see local destinations from the screen which will allow users to experience more places and remote locations from their homes. The main appeal is that users will not have to worry about quarantine time or possible infections in their journey all at an affordable price.
3. Marketing & Communication
AR/VR/XR can enhance communication more effectively as it allows users to try and experience rather than simply look and listen. While an online catalog or video review can provide a clear idea for potential buyers, some lingering doubts will remain that might reduce conversion or willingness to purchase. With AR/VR/XR, users might be able to receive specialized information they need to make their purchasing decision.
Vizz of Luxembourg offers all of this by providing businesses with tailor-made and turnkey VR experience. Their solutions will be able to showcase their users’ portfolio in an interactive format with added customization options to help potential customers understand the products & solutions. In addition, they also provide a training platform to help businesses train their employees; especially for risky or dangerous vital tasks. They also provide AR solutions for informational & guiding purposes to help businesses inform their customers better.
While AR/VR/XR have existed for quite some time, the general ideas about these technologies seem to give them a rather limited use case and are often overlooked for more traditional methods. However, they can provide various benefits for users who need to provide or share information or experience. AR/VR/XR applications excel in providing information as they immerse users in controlled environments, giving the triple benefit of safety, convenience, and affordability. In training and education, AR/VR/XR will allow users to try multiple times with less fear of failing, incurring real damage, or injuring themselves. For travel and tourism, they provide users an opportunity to try new things, visit new places, and learn new information. When used in marketing and communication, users can try and experiment on the platform to get more specialized information. AR/VR/XR are currently limited on the hardware side, but these established applications should be able to provide a better understanding of their real business applications as well as the benefits for users.
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