Mixed Reality and the future of enterprises
With technology changing the way businesses are run, it’s crucial to learn how to adapt. If you’re looking to master new and upcoming technologies to be indisputable assets for a variety of businesses, this article is for you. Read on to discover how mixed reality is changing the business and technological landscape and where to begin your journey to take advantage of this new future.
Were you one of those people deeply invested in catching a rare pokemon that showed up at your park one fine day or found yourself trying out all the crazy Snapchat filters and sharing it with your pals?
Then, not only are you a 90s kid, but you are most certainly an unintentional subscriber to the crazy technological progress.
With applications like PokemonGO, Snapchat, Google Earth or games like Beat Saber, and Arizona Sunshine, you are already exposed to the worlds of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR).
There is, however, a new member in town.
Mixed Reality (MR)!
What is Mixed Reality?
And why are we talking about it now?
Because Mixed Reality is THE future of humankind.
Mixed Reality is regarded as an expansion to the well-known augmented reality technology. MR deals with establishing a successful platform that enables an interactive virtual environment to effortlessly blend with the real world environments to a large degree.
This new technology is finding great use in gaming applications and that’s not all. Many business enterprises are jumping on this advancement and experimenting in their own ways to make the best use of the newest member of the ‘Reality’ crew for communications and problem-solving.
With the world moving at such a fast pace, technology is also rolling with the punches and with new technology comes new businesses and new businesses want to experiment with new technology. A vicious cycle, if you will. With all this, we may just be heading towards an MR revolution in the near future.
The onset of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning has opened up so many career paths for students pursuing or looking to pursue their education in the field of technology. If you are someone who is easily excited about the ever-evolving intelligent systems, then this article will reassure your passion for this field.
But, before we understand what mixed reality actually entails, let’s ease those creased foreheads and understand the differences between AR, VR and MR.
The Reality Trio – VR vs. AR vs. MR
Virtual Reality (VR) is the technology that simulates a three-dimensional environment or an image and provides a seemingly real interaction through customized electronic devices like eye gear or headgear or sensor-based gloves.
These specialized sensors and related software are programmed in such a way that you get an experience that feels like reality. This is achieved through the use of surround sound audio features and controllers that let you interact with the virtually real environment.
Augmented Reality (AR) is similar to VR but has a higher scope for applications in several industries. It uses your perspective of the real world and seamlessly adds digital data onto it with the help of information acquired through one or sometimes multiple sensory modalities.
So, then what is Mixed Reality?
Mixed Reality (MR) is an advanced version of AR and VR that couples both the digital and real worlds by creating new environments where both the real and virtual objects can co-exist. Even though the idea of AR and MR may appear similar, the underlying technology is what sets them apart.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the underlying differences amongst the three branches, let’s dive deeper into MR and what it means to enterprises of this era.
Mixed reality in businesses
As we got introduced to smartphones, we saw the world revolutionize the use of the internet from just our palms. Similarly, mixed reality is here, not to compress existing technology into our hands, but to allow us to interact with the real and digital world with a totally new perspective.
But, how useful is a mixed reality in business really?
Here are a few examples of how MR is positively impacting enterprises in various sectors.
With the help of mixed reality technology, businesses are now able to simulate real-world scenarios and give the employees a pseudo firsthand experience of likely situations that can occur in a corporate setting.
This way, instead of going through tons of manuals and training videos aimlessly, employees can now get a simulated training session to help them understand the situation in a more realistic way.
WakingApp (now acquired by Scope AR) made employee training content using mixed reality technology which was then used widely by several manufacturing industries.
As much as whiteboards and software tools help in visualizing product designs and product goals, there’s nothing like seeing a three-dimensional version of it much before completion. This way you can do away with any possible flaws or maybe implement a change in design at a safer production stage.
With mixed reality at your disposal, the possibility of a three-dimensional projection is possible and this has helped many domains including healthcare, architecture and manufacturing.
Real-time expert support
With advancements in technology, expert assistance seems to be getting democratized. You could be in one part of the world, seeking assistance from a peer in your company who is living elsewhere. The possibility of him or her being physically present in the blink of an eye is next to impossible (for now, at least), but MR is paving ways for alternate possibilities.
You can use application-specific devices that allow for on-the-scene expert support by connecting you to your peers in real-time.
More relatably, with the ongoing pandemic, mixed reality is starting to shine as a hopeful start. Scope AR is using remote-assistance and step-by-step work instructions to a worker on-site who needs assistance from an expert who is unable to physically be there.
This is saving millions of dollars for companies who are avoiding any downtimes that could occur as a result of COVID-19.
ThirdEye, a New Jersey-based company, is using its smart glasses to help healthcare professionals during this time.
The MR technology brings up a patient’s medical history just through facial recognition technology. A pilot product well on its way to manage the spread of a virus.
Also, they believe that their device will provide access to critical data to the front-line medical professionals and help with communication to medics in emergency rooms, without any delay.
A medical professional located several miles away can gain access to a patient through this device and treat them or guide the medics on call, live from their homes.
A real-time streaming application to a remote expert that can possibly save hundreds of lives.
Popular Mixed Reality Devices
A couple of industries have already tried their hand at mixed reality technology, thus giving rise to some pretty cool devices and applications. Here are a few well-known ones that you may have come across too:
This device builds on the existing Microsoft HoloLens that provides an immersive experience, delivering efficient use in minutes.
With hologram functionalities that allow touching, grasping, pinching and pulling objects in a way that seems natural, Microsoft HoloLens seems like a surreal device in the present day.
The leading supplier of augmented reality products and smart glasses, Vuzix released its M400 early last year. This next-generation smart glass uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 platform for high-speed processing and in-built machine learning algorithms in the device.
Just like other smart glass technologies, Vuzix’s M400 series is aimed at improving enterprise workflows and assisting with different aspects of the businesses including remote help desk, retail, supply chain and many more.
Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2
Google Glass is a lightweight wearable device that enables businesses to focus on the quality of their output by helping employees work faster, safer and smarter. It is a hands-free device that is voice-activated and glanceable with its see-through glasses.
It provides end-to-end business solutions for different sectors like agriculture, healthcare, postal services and manufacturing.
Many use cases of Mixed Reality are still in the testing phase but the current applications that it has delivered so far strengthen the possibilities for enterprises in the future. As technology and industries evolve, there is a higher scope for mixed reality to shake hands with other forms of technology like artificial intelligence, internet of things and deep learning to form a high-speed, high-intelligence environment that can provide life-changing or lifestyle changing products.
If technology is your hobby horse and you jump at the chance to get hold of a new device upon release, then this is THE field you should be aiming for.
Advancements in technology throw open several job opportunities and companies are on the lookout for highly skilled people to take up such crucial roles. And according to Glassdoor, an augmented reality software developer makes an average of USD $77,000.
Admittedly, a combination of unique skill sets and great job opportunities seem like a lucrative package indeed!
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