Extended Reality Products in Everyday Life
When we think of technology changing our future, it’s easy to slip into an overly dramatized vision of light-saturated high-rises. A joyless dystopia overtaken by electricity and automation. Complete with holograms chirping advertising at you. But we think that’s a misleading vision. Life-altering technology like Extended Reality Products are going to infiltrate our lives, but it’s not going to hit us like a freight train. We won’t really notice it happening, not on a dystopian scale. And that’s a really, really good thing.
Do you know how we know? Extended Reality Products are bubbling to the surface of tech news and trade shows that seem a little … mundane. A little … every-day-life. This is what change looks like. If you know where to look, the first few ripples in the pond can be the most exciting.
Breakthroughs in Extended Reality Products
The next generation in XR product development is going to do more than just tack on an AR or VR component to an existing product. We’re talking about breaking past the low-hanging-fruit of apps that were created simply as a value-added afterthought, something that doesn’t constitute a product in and of itself. (Think QR codes that launch AR content or 360-degree artwork. Or in a video game, a bonus level playable in full VR immersion.)
Don’t get us wrong, XR add-ons are great. We used the term “value-added” for a reason. But for XR technology to really evolve, it has to do just that. Extended Reality Products must earn their paycheques by solving problems in unique ways; by being hardware or software that can’t function without its XR component.
The coming decade is going to bring us a great many products, physical and digital, that are by their very nature, a uniquely XR item. These products are already shifting our thinking and updating our expectations, at work and at home. Since we may be using the same space for both, XR could be more integral than anyone realized when this train started rolling.
Practical XR Products
1. Normal-looking AR Glasses
Would you wear a pair of AR-enabled glasses if they actually looked normal? Dare we say, stylish? Sure, you would. And that’s why we see lots of development in this Extended Reality Product category. From products with prescription lenses to glasses with responsive tinting – all of which are designed for fashion and comfort – the market for AR glasses is huge.
AR glasses will be bringing us everything from weather and navigation info to workplace tasks and home entertainment. In a post-covid world, will you still want to know which walking trails in your neighbourhood have the least pedestrian volume in real-time? Of course. And when you pair AR glasses with the AR cloud, the dream comes true.
We still think smart glasses have the potential to replace smartphones, once the right product is on the market. And in the foreseeable future, a smart device you don’t have to touch much is something truly revolutionary.
2. Contactless Touch Screens
Speaking of touch screens, how comfortable have you been using automated kiosks and self-checkouts during this pandemic? If the answer is zero or close to it, you can see why we think contactless touch screens are going to boom over the next decade.
The proliferation of self-serve check-ins, payments, queries, and more will only continue. And why not? It saves the time and money of having staff members provide assistance. It’s a low-contact choice that allows customers to get what they need without being in close proximity to someone else. Removing that last point of physical contact just makes sense.
Look for these screens to appear in unexpected places, growing beyond the trendy urban cores we’re used to seeing tech sophistication begin and end. It will be the smallest touches, like removing metal bells that summon a staff person or picking up an item to read ingredients. If a contactless version is both more efficient and more hygienic, the only barriers to change are time and money.
3. Holographic Display Models
How likely are you to pick up and handle a floor model at a retail storefront going forward? Not at all? That’s what we thought. This is why we think the display models of the future will be as virtual as possible. Although we love the possibilities of AR, the combination of screen and app in the hands of the viewer is too much of a barrier for long-term success. And from a distance, something scannable is likely to be far less visually interesting.
Some products you’ll still want to touch, try on, test, or other more personal levels of interaction before you purchase. But we expect that the folks working on try-before-you-buy AR content for home-based consumers will also be exploring how to make holographic displays attractive in terms of both production value and cost-effectiveness.
4. XR Infrastructure & Digital Twins
Do you think the smart cities of the future are a pipe dream? (Pun intended, of course.) We know for a fact that smart cities powered by Extended Reality Products are more than just a dream, they’re an inevitability. We need the environmental and operational efficiency smart urban systems can offer via the magic of Digital Twin technology.
Once these solutions have been proven on an urban planning scale, look for them to migrate to personal dwellings as well. If you own a home, would you want the app that tells you what shape your roof is really in and whether or not black mold is growing under the wood paneling behind your hot water tank? The answer will never be no. And once the genie is out of the bottle on consumer-level digital twins, there will be no going back.
5. Robotic Workforce
Have you seen video footage of robots at work in Amazon warehouse facilities? It’s heartening to see that the days of individual humans running laps around Amazon warehouses is coming to an end. Not only is it better for Amazon’s workforce, it’s also more efficient and better for the bottom line as well.
The use of robots for labour, particularly if your definition of robot is quite broad, has endless potential for improving human life on many levels. As we work out the kinks regarding which robots actually achieve the goals we employed them for, we will also continue overcoming objections to robots taking jobs away and fears of that nature.
Extended Reality Trend Predictions
After what will likely be roughly two years of a life-altering global pandemic, it’s tempting to imagine that individuals will have fallen into the habit of isolating. Will isolation be normalized, facilitated by technology like VR, as people choose to stay home as much as possible? Because they’ve updated their behaviour and have their personal needs met in new ways?
On the contrary, Extended Reality Products that reconnect people in person, safely, with as little hardware as possible, will have a blank slate in terms of growth potential. What on earth do we mean by that? Imagine personal spatial computing that instantly and accurately checks the temperature of your dinner date or coffee companion. Remember that pedestrian volume check we mentioned above? That kind of thing.
We think there is a ceiling to the expansion of complete immersion VR headsets for personal use. So, if the market for the headsets of the future isn’t much larger than current headset users looking to upgrade, what will the next breakthrough product look like? We can’t wait to see it.
How Can YOU Use XR Products?
We know you want practical applications for Extended Reality Products. Ideas and plans that you can implement right now. While there is no quick answer, no silver bullet we can drop right here, we can tell you that you’ll be amazed at the level of customization XR can achieve.
Purpose-built XR apps and software can be bespoke to your needs, scalable, and adaptable. Whether you combine AR enterprise tools, VR training, AR advertising, or branded VR entertainment … all of it transcends eye candy and novelty, helping to transform how your business operates. That’s what we mean when we’re talking about everyday XR.
Our society had been transitioning to lifestyles that blurred lines between professional and personal long before the pandemic hit. And in the wake of that crisis, we expect technology to continue helping us navigate the ongoing evolution of the way we live and work.
Specialists in More than Extended Reality
Few technology partners can bring you equal parts expertise in engineering and art while covering everything from hardware installation to marketing campaigns. Stambol trailblazers can custom-build Extended Reality Products while concurrently helping you manage the transformation plan you need to maximize XR’s benefits.
Our portfolio includes AR, VR, 360 degrees, and 3D content – pretty much everything you think of when you use the term Extended Reality Products. But what you won’t see on the surface are the additional services we can offer a-la-carte, and as needed.
Ask our team how we can serve as both your on-call software engineers and your process redesign experts. We pride ourselves on being as flexible as we are knowledgeable in order to help our clients achieve the strong foundations needed for the road ahead.
Feature Image Credit: Monopoly919 / Adobe Stock