Who Benefits Most From XR Collaboration Tools?
There are particular groups of users who we’ve identified as having the most to benefit from using XR collaboration tools.
Even before the shift toward remote working that we have experienced due to the global Coronavirus pandemic, the ability to reduce work travel expenses and foster real-time knowledge and expertise-sharing offered tangible ROI to enterprise users. As the medium-to-long-term consequences of this crisis, and the likely-enduring need to enforce various levels of social distancing continue to make themselves felt in the coming weeks and months, XR tools will prove increasingly valuable for business users across all sectors of the economy.
Product design meetings, sales scrums, virtual trade shows, product demonstrations, 3D data visualization, facility tours, employee onboarding, training; the list of potential business use cases is endless, and many are described in detail below
The educational sector has also experienced a shift toward the more widespread use of immersive technology in the education sector, capitalizing on benefits such as greater engagement and higher knowledge retention rates, triggered by experiential learning. Yet, with millions of students – from primary to university-level – now finding themselves effectively unable to attend traditional lessons and benefit from face-to-face interaction with teachers and classmates, there is an urgent need for XR technologies to help fill the gap and enable educators to make meaningful connections with learners in ways that replicate those personal and persistent interactions.
Following the initial impact of these containment measures, we can already point to examples of individuals repurposing XR platforms such as games for this purpose. Yet in the longer term, educators should also be confident of having access to consistent spatial computing tools to enable the delivery of educational content. Grove Learning is an example of such a platform, which uses XR management software to allow classrooms to share the same experience on Oculus Quest and Go devices. These so-called "Arcade Management software" solutions are centralized experience distribution systems, and also include platforms such as SpringboardVR and Synthesis VR, which facilitate collaboration by enabling users to conduct classroom training and group experiences through sharing software, as well as providing license management functionality and metrics.
Great recent case study of running a large Education conference in VR: https://educatorsinvr.com/2020/03/08/behind-the-scenes-of-the-educators-in-vr-international-summit/
The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic was most immediately felt in the live events industry – perhaps most notably beginning with the cancellation of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. A rapid series of trade shows and conferences followed suit as it became clear that it would be dangerously irresponsible to proceed with any manner of large in-person gathering. There have been rapid efforts to transition to virtual conferences, yet industry experts such as Liv Erickson point out that there are still many significant technological and logistics challenges that need to be addressed before large scale XR conferences become viable. This complex and fast-evolving area will be further addressed in the next update to this publication.
The sense of presence afforded by XR also fosters social interactions outside of work and educational settings. However, the tipping point for social use of XR collaboration is further along than for enterprise and education, as consumers will only engage with it once a meaningful number of their social circle is likewise able to join them in these virtual environments. It is likely that this will only be pervasive once devices become significantly more affordable and user-friendly. This is another area which will be further addressed in updated versions of this resource.
XR collaboration can prove extremely useful in a military setting, both in training and in battlefield deployment where critical information can be accessed in real-time. In 2019, Microsoft announced a $480 million deal to supply thousands of HoloLens units to the U.S. army, and army chiefs testing the device have since praised the depth of perception in the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS), leading to a request for 40,000 XR headsets in the 2021 budget.
Medical Personnel and Patients
Virtual collaboration has been extensively used by physicians and nurses in training scenarios, and increasingly expanded to include real-time collaboration enabling clinicians to share valuable information remotely.