If you’re not familiar with the term extended reality (XR), we expect you will have heard of its constituent parts. Extended reality is the collective term for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), two immersive technologies that have moved beyond the realm of science fiction and are now having an impact on businesses today.
Extended reality can now bring real benefits to Manchester businesses across a diverse range of sectors. Across their London and Manchester offices, technology rental service Hire Intelligence have already seen a 158% increase in XR goggle rental since 2015, and this is expected to keep rising even further.
So, how could extended reality truly enhance your business…
- Connect with customers
Extended reality allows businesses to deliver a range of immersive experiences to market their products and services like never before. Rather than having to visit your premises to get hands-on with your products, customers can try before they buy in the comfort of their own homes.
For instance, in the world of car sales, manufacturers have created augmented reality solutions that allow prospective customers to place a vehicle on their driveway, look inside it and walk around it just as they would if they were in the showroom.
Similarly, some clothing retailers have created virtual stores that allow customers to browse and even try on different garments without having to venture into a physical store. The result is an enriched buying experience that allows customers to research and make buying decisions at their convenience.
- Safer training experiences
Some of the leading applications of extended reality to date have been in the training and education sector. Extended reality is unrivalled in its ability to accurately recreate potentially dangerous training scenarios in the virtual world. For example, in industries such as emergency services and defence, extended reality can be used to place trainees in demanding situations without putting them or members of the public at risk. Virtual reality simulators have been used to train pilots for decades, but as the accessibility of this technology increases, it is now becoming more and more widespread.
Another benefit of extended reality for training and education applications is in the creation of learning experiences that can be delivered directly to trainees at home via their computers and smartphones. That allows trainees to spend time practising and getting up to speed away from the workplace.
- Quick, cost-effective designing and modelling
The creation of new products has typically been a protracted and drawn out process with multiple mock-ups required before a final prototype can be produced. Augmented reality can provide an end-to-end product development solution for businesses in a range of industries. Designers and Architects can visualise mock-ups at scale using tablets or headsets and deliver AR experiences that can compare new and old products. Augmented reality can also be used at the early stages of product development to give a more precise view of product form and functionality.
With consumer spending on AR and VR technology increasing year-on-year, extended reality is here to stay. The question then is not why should you use XR in your business, but how XR can be used to help you gain the competitive edge. Businesses in Manchester wishing to experiment with extended reality have the option to rent the latest VR and AR technology, which could be a cost-effective way to enhance your presence at trade shows, exhibitions and events.