XR Collaboration Use Cases
There are specific types of collaboration use cases which are best suited to XR environments. Here is a summary of the most important ones:
3D Model Collaboration
The ability to visualize and collectively alter prototypes before they are executed is a key advantage of using XR for collaboration. Many of the XR Collaboration tools are focused on taking highly complex 3D models and enabling detailed rendering and interaction. Some of the tools enable viewing and interacting with very, very complex models (>50 million polygons) through network based rendering techniques.
Design reviews now frequently take place in XR, with the lead designer in the XR headset and the rest of the team watching what they are viewing using 2D displays or spectator mode.
A number of the XR Collaboration products offer various project management, sharing and presentation tools which make it very powerful for holding business meetings. Not having to pack everything into a single slide and allowing participants to have persistent content displayed during a lengthy meeting is very powerful! Some tools offer room and content persistence so you can come back to a meeting after taking a meal break and everything is right as you left it.
Sometimes when you are participating in a large XR conference event, participants will want to have the ability to quickly self organize into a smaller group by entering a “breakout room.” Look for this feature in the tools you select if you are planning to run large scale events. Some tools even have the ability to do this by defining a circle on the ground and only enabling audio conversations between users whose avatars are inside the circle. This eliminates the need to move to a separate room and allows rapid ad hoc movement between discussion groups.
Maintaining work relationships and social interaction in the age of social distancing. Will likely be an enduring challenge for most societies around the world in the coming months. In this context, XR is likely to become an increasingly useful tool in the arsenal of employees and contractors alike. It's important to note that one of the most popular historical use cases for VR is social chat/interaction and that such features tend to be fairly advanced.
One of the most important reasons we created this publication was to address the global move to online learning. Many of the tools which are useful for running Business Reviews or large group lectures and lessons provide the features needed for learning from home. Many tools focus on providing teachers with the administrative, content management and scheduling features that will be needed to comprehensively offer an educational experience for their students. Integrated support for recognized Learning Management Systems (LMS) and broad platform support (2D desktop and lower cost XR HMDs) is very important.
A large number of VR Collaboration platforms have been successful mainly through user demand to have a place to engage with others in a social or casual gaming context. There is a growing demand for connecting field personnel with experts and stakeholders in other geographic locations, whether a corporate office in the same city or located on the other side of the world. In today's limited travel environment the demand for these solutions has increased.
Industrial - Field Support and Security
We are leveraging the combination of industrial-grade wearable XR devices, software platforms, and integration with enterprise solutions to enable a new class of collaboration in industrial enterprises. This type of collaboration extends the reach of experts, inspectors, and customers out to the field where the worker is and the work is being done.
Scenarios where this type of collaboration has been leveraged include physical and cybersecurity inspections and assessments, equipment maintenance and repair operations, construction inspection, and asset management. Organizations using these capabilities have already started to make a positive impact on turn-around times for doing repairs and maintenance, as well as reduced expenses and time associated with sending experts and inspectors out to the field.
In the world of selling consumer goods, merchandising is the key. Many hours are spent by merchandising experts perfecting product displays, layouts and testing them with consumers. VR is used to let customers evaluate product placement and store layout, resulting in better displays, better product positioning, generating higher sales. However, shoppers in a one-user system are unable to experience the displays with others in real-time or to interact with an audience. Creating multi-user VR merchandising systems allows multiple consumers to interact with the same scene and products in real-time and allows an audience to observe, engage, and participate in the process. Simulating shopping in groups results in data and insights more aligned to the real-life consumer experience.
Getting socially connected with others is important - especially in XR! As a result, some tools offer special features designed to enable people to connect socially. Sometimes this is realized by connecting users using third party platform APIs such as LinkedIn or Twitter. Some XR Collaboration tools are starting to lean in on social media platform integration and provide a significantly integrated user experience.
XR is a powerful tool in democratizing access to education, enabling students to access content and interact with teachers in ways that would often be limited by geography, finances, or venue capacity in the real world. While many teachers have jumped into use video conferencing tools as a "stop gap" approach to addressed the need to support learning from home, students will require more advanced functionality for the next school year and collaborative learning will become an important use case for XR Collaboration tools. Integration to Learning Management System (LMS) platforms will also be desirable here.
Tools which allow people to collaborate both simultaneously (by meeting at the same time in a shared XR environment) and at different times (by offering a persistent environment which “remembers” individual contributions and serves as a core hub of activity) enable a very broad range of potential use cases where individuals from different teams and countries can converge around a project. It is importance with this use case to have the ability to record the collaboration session and make it persistent that can be reloaded and reviewed again later.
If you are trying to monetize content, you might want to hold a “pay per view” type event. Look for tools that have integrated ticketing features, connections to monetization and payment systems and event management tools such as email and calendar integration. This will be especially useful for learning and seminars where the content is highly valuable to the audience.
XR is redefining the concept of showrooms and product demonstrations and transforming the customer experience. Customers can see virtually how products will look or function in a real setting before buying them, have more-accurate expectations, more confidence about their purchase decisions, and greater product satisfaction. In some cases, simulated interactions can be supported so users can do more than simply look at the 3D models of products but actually operate them.
XR offers clear advantages when selling the advantages of products and services to prospective customers. These include not only the ability to present information in much more dynamic and interesting ways, but also to help potential customers visualize and even manipulate prototypes and have real input in the design process at an early stage.
Remote agile teams doing daily scrums utilize visualization tools to present their progress on project assignments. It is often difficult to convey abstract concepts in a stand-up presentation, but XR offers interactive tools which combine the presence of physically sharing an environment with the ability to leverage visual assets to illustrate concepts more effectively.
XR can enable high levels of interaction between participants (who can convene virtually from wherever they are in the world), lending itself quite well to workshops, which can be further enhanced with 3D assets. Multi-screen presentation can enable easier learning flow along with access to supplementary support content such as videos, images, and 3D objects.