VR, AR, XR – What does it all mean? These abbreviations can be confusing and often lead to misunderstandings as to which technology is being referred to. So we'll start with a quick explanation of the different terms:
We talk of Extended Reality if all of the above criteria are covered.
Imagine a space where the left side is reality without any additions. The further right you go, the more virtual the area becomes. So as you move from left to right, the space will feature more and more extensions to the real world. First individual elements, then digital objects that you can interact with, and on the right the entire room is virtual with absolutely no real elements. If physical reality and digital reality differ, then you are dealing with virtual reality.
There are many benefits but what concrete reasons are there for companies to get to grips with virtual reality? The Deutsche Markenreport (German brand report) from 2017 outlines the benefits of VR and AR for companies:
Industries that use VR and AR often include automotive, healthcare, production and logistics, fairs and events, and tourism and real-estate industries.
Modern work technologies with comprehensive data or complex ascertainment are no longer secrets. But extended reality doesn’t just reduce workload enormously but also leads to huge cost savings and regular “aha” moments. Here are some application areas and use cases:
Collaborative engineering & virtual collaboration.
Meetings via Microsoft Teams or Cisco WebEx are by now a collaboration tool that we are all familiar with. But what would be even better than holding a simple meeting via Teams? A virtual meeting room that you can move around in just as in a physical space! Sound crazy? It probably is—but it’s not impossible. With the aid of VR, prototypes in machine building from vehicles to buildings, and also logistics can be quickly and easily loaded in virtual rooms where managers and teams can collaborate to view, make real time changes, and alter drafts according to their specifications—wherever the individuals are. They are shown as avatars and can move around freely. This method saves time and costs of creating new prototypes or designs and work processes can be quickly and effectively improved. Of course, this can also be used in simple meetings where speakers could share content with attendees as if you were talking to them in person.
In contrast to VR, AR is not completely virtual, but rather encompasses the real environment, making it especially suited for remote support. A good example is where an employee needs help with operation, repairs, or maintenance of a system or machine. Usually, a service technician will need to come out to help the employee, taking precious time, eating into the travel budget, and often leading to high waiting times. But there is also a solution for that: AR glasses enable technicians to see the situation in real time remotely. Employees can highlight individual components, move freely, and communicate with experts. The experts provide the right instructions and take customers through maintenance step by step. It’s a win-win situation—saving both time and money!
Training and seminars.
Working from home making you miss training? Not anymore! Online training doesn’t only have to be held via Teams now, both VR and AR let you do this easily, risk-free, and brings low costs. Not only can operation of individual machines be practiced, but safety instructions and simulation of vehicles in driving schools can be carried out. Critical situations such as call-outs for the fire service or complicated medical operations can now be trained for completely free of risk. And it’s not even necessary to completely dive into the virtual world—augmented reality is often sufficient. Skills and expertise can be tested and applied in the situations where they’re needed. Learning achievements can be demonstrably enhanced. learning time shortened, and mental strain reduced. Information that’s often abstract becomes a personal experience for those learning.
As you see—virtual reality can be applied to many areas of daily life. As when introducing any new technology into a company, there are certain aspects to consider. Find out what they are in our webinar “Virtual and Augmented-Reality in Daily Business” on 25 and 30 June 2020!
You can also visit our Digital Workplace at Bechtle Karlsruhe and experience the technology for yourself—or visit virtually!
"Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I will remember. Involve me and I will understand." – Confucius.