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Whilst just a few years ago Virtual Reality (VR) was still merely a nice add-on for marketing purposes or an absolute expert tool for developers, the technology is now making its way into our everyday lives. In a survey carried out by industry association Bitkom in 2018, eight percent of the 1,007 participants said they already owned their own VR goggles.
According to Gartner, the other immersive technologies of Augmented Reality (AR) and Mixed Reality (MR) should reach the “plateau of productivity” of the hype cycle within five to ten years, meaning they will then be established in the everyday and business worlds. Also by then, at the latest, they will have caught up with VR in terms of significance: It is expected that by 2022 AR technology will have overtaken VR as the main driver and will account for a 55-percent share in the market of head-mounted displays (HMDs) – an enormous increase considering its share was just five percent in 2017. According to estimates by Gartner, however, it is mixed reality that will triumph as the ultimate key technology for virtually supported user experiences: As early as 2021, a quarter of large companies will have pilot projects and usage scenarios that involve MR – currently only the case for one percent.
Examples of use cases in the areas of automotive, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, construction, health and digital workplace are manifold. The starting point for entry into immersive technology, however, should always be finding a specific case of application. There is no one-size-fits-all solution in XR. After all, the specific usage scenario will determine which tools, methodologies and resources are required for implementation.
Alongside the not yet precisely defined use case, there is often also uncertainty regarding which areas need to be worked on for XR to be applied appropriately. Hence, many applications that have already been implemented today are frequently merely a preliminary step for future XR scenarios, so current VR solutions are often installed and operated as standalone solutions. The future potential of virtual reality lies in the complete integration of these solutions into the IT infrastructure or system landscape of a process.
Furthermore, you need a high degree of automation with regard to the currentness of content. What this means specifically is the linking of VR configuration solutions with all other subsystems, such as online configurators/shops, DMS, CRM and analytics systems. A next logical step for increasing the potential of XR applications is ultimately to enable the end users themselves to produce corresponding content or to keep existing content continually up-to-date.
A crucial role will also be played by the incorporation of artificial intelligence in VR, AR and MR. This will help to facilitate the personalisation of experiences in the virtual world, make avatars appear more credible, and make it possible to predict the actions of the user. Thus, it will be easier to fill in missing graphics with the allocation of 3D objects or scenes, and the virtual experience will maintain the required continuity.