Enterprise stands ready to make the next leap in immersive technology, according to JC Kuang of Greenlight Insights
➨ Many of the most compelling deployments of immersive tech are occurring in enterprise
➨ The Experiential Enterprise Summit at the Greenlight Insights-produced xRS Week pinpoints where immersive tech fits into the existing technology stack of businesses
➨ Certain barriers remain, however, which must be overcome before immersive tech can really take off in enterprise
➨ Events such as xRS Week go a long way to filling the knowledge gap and demonstrating the immediate applications of VR and AR
From its humble beginnings as the Sword of Damocles, to David Em becoming the first artist to produce navigable virtual worlds at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the late 1970s and early 1980s, to today’s virtual, augmented and mixed realities (VR/AR/MR), immersive technology is on the cusp of becoming a new medium in which to push the boundaries of ever-expanding computing power.
And enterprise stands ready to make the next leap in immersive tech, according to JC Kuang, an analyst at Greenlight Insights.
“Today, many of the most compelling deployments of immersive tech are occurring in enterprise,” he explains. “Aside from the obvious advantage of serving a market which deals in greater volume purchases and has more tolerance for high initial price points, hardware and software providers also benefit from stronger IT resource integration.”
“This trend adequately illustrates the future trajectory of AR and VR in enterprise,” Kuang continues. “The winners of the current arms race for immersive tech deployments will be those who can effectively pinpoint where it best fits into their existing technology stack, and what specific problems or business goals are being tackled.”
Kuang says: “Industry stakeholders and executives will gather at xRS Week from 16 to 18 October in San Francisco to exchange insights on successful enterprise AR customer journeys, as well as conduct deep dives on some of the industries most ripe for xR adoption, such as healthcare, industrial manufacturing and retail.”
Standing ready to revolutionise
Immersive tech is far from emerging, and already huge contracts are being signed for implementations across defence and aerospace. Microsoft’s $480 million order from the US Army for a version of HoloLens, not to mention the same company’s partnership with Airbus for the HoloLens 2, show that there is huge potential for VR, AR and MR in enterprise contexts.
Certain barriers remain, however, which must be overcome before immersive tech can really take off in enterprise.
Kuang says that immersive tech developers have encountered and solved massive design and engineering problems through “the judicious application of computer vision algorithms, high quality yet affordable display components, and deep cooperation at the ecosystem level to ensure that both consumers and businesses are able to deploy AR and VR in as many environments as possible with minimal friction”.
But barriers outside of their control do hold these technologies back, he explains. “There are lots of hidden bottlenecks and technology challenges that immersive tech developers have no control over because these challenges are squarely within the infrastructure of the internet.”
He continues: “5G and the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards, for example, are important, because ultimately those are the things that are going to enable the ubiquitous computing utopia. But even if a technology company were to come out tomorrow and unveil new revolutionary immersive tech hardware, it would still need to be supported by new content pipelines and a means to integrate this new computing platform into an underlying supportive infrastructure like the AR cloud. One technology company cannot control the pace and direction in which others move.”
On the other side, businesses lack the requisite knowledge to fully understand and embrace immersive tech, according to Kuang.
He explains: “The greatest obstacle impeding the progress of immersive tech as a whole is a massive and persistent knowledge gap, which exists among both regular consumers and business decision-makers.”
“Specifically, AR and VR are poorly understood outside of enthusiast circles in terms of their capabilities, as well as the availability of the technology as a whole. Despite continued major investment from major platform providers such as Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook, immersive tech has a long lineage of cultural representations which paint it as a niche tool for gaming or a purely conceptual thing with few real-world applications.”
“These perceptions are not easily dispelled, and the situation is further exacerbated by cultural anxieties about the learning curve intrinsic to these technologies, as well as other social and ethical worries.”
Events such as xRS Week, where more than 500 executives from businesses around the world will attend in October, go a long way to filling this knowledge gap and demonstrating the immediate applications of VR and AR.
Kuang says: “At Greenlight Insights, our explicit goal is to provide education and actionable insight to B2B and B2B2C clients as to the real usability and benefits (as well as barriers) to AR and VR adoption in all its forms.”
“During xRS Week, we strive to provide dedicated content which focuses in on specific topics relevant to media and entertainment, healthcare, and other verticals, in order to separate the noise surrounding immersive technology and make it easier than ever for decision makers to create long-term strategies for the next wave of computing.”