XR technologies are driving a transformative impact within many of the world’s largest enterprises. It can be a misconception in the industry XR has had the most impact is in gaming and in consumer technology.
According to a Gartner survey, out of the organisations that are currently using or piloting AR, 40% found the technology to exceed their expectations. A further report from IDC forecasts IT spending on AR and VR to reach $28.8 billion by 2024.
Which industries are really taking advantage of XR applications? More than you might have thought. As the only company in Australia to be certified by Microsoft to run Cross Reality work programs, Telstra Purple have partnered with a range of organisations across a variety of sectors to tailor XR solutions to their specific needs.
Let’s take a look at some of the industries where XR technologies are driving real value.
XR technologies are supporting incredibly interesting and innovative learning experiences, from immersive teaching programs to virtual exploratory expeditions or excursions.
The University of Queensland is a great example of an institution that has used XR to deliver some positive outcomes for students. UQ partnered with Telstra Purple to develop an application where students learned about treating wastewater to remove effluent and produce clean water.
To execute this, they built a fish farm simulation where students used the Microsoft HoloLens platform to view a 3D representation of the data in a mixed reality environment, including a visualisation of chemicals students can’t usually see. This was highly successful in increasing student engagement.
Another organisation providing an important XR-fuelled educational experience is Indigital, who have developed an augmented reality platform with the goal of preserving the culture and language of indigenous Australians. Telstra worked and Microsoft and teamed up with Indigital to provide XR experiences designed to teach K – 12 students about indigenous culture, helping teachers build culturally-led digital skills amongst indigenous people.
Healthcare and Medicine
The healthcare industry is adopting innovative digital services at a rapid rate and this is also reflected in its adoption of XR technology. According to a Perkins Coie study on XR adoption across industries, industry leaders cite healthcare and medical devices as the sector that would experience the most XR-related disruption going forward (outside of entertainment).
XR use in healthcare is no longer limited to just a few niche use-cases. It’s now being used for a number of ground-breaking applications to improve patient care and augment the skills of practitioners. There are a range of international examples that demonstrate XR’s value within health, from an AR being used to successfully aid in spinal surgery, to a VR experience that raises awareness about Alzheimer’s disease by placing users in their shoes.
Researchers and technologists have only just scratched the surface of how XR can be used in a healthcare setting and – as one of the fasted growing use cases for the technology – it will be exciting to see how it develops over time.
Marketing and Public Relations
As XR experiences become more widely accessible, it’s increasingly being adopted as part of marketing and public relations campaign strategies. XR can drive a whole new degree of brand engagement and the range of experiences that are possible with the technology are immense.
As an example, through a partnership with the AFL, Telstra developed an AR platform designed to stimulate fan engagement and bring them closer to the game, at a time when COVID-19 was keeping people out of stadiums. Built into Telstra’s AFL Live application, the feature allowed fans to visualise team line-ups in an interactive AR environment, with users able to break down player stats, positions, in-and-outs and more.
These are far from the only areas where XR technology can drive real value in an industrial setting. There are thousands of possible use cases for XR, with many more that are yet to be explored. It’s time we stopped thinking about the platform as ‘just a gaming thing’ and started tapping into its enormous potential.