Dipesh Trikam

Sep 1, 2021

5 min read

XR Journey Stack 🕶

Immersive technologies - that is AR/VR are past the hype stage now, they are productively being used in many industries outside of just gaming and entertainment, many people in companies see these benefits already and in a few years from now we will have to completely reset our mind on how we interact with digital information.

Let’s start with virtual reality - have you ever wondered what it feels like to be in space, or a time or place you’ve never been before, you could be on Mars you could be in the past, hanging out with Einstein or you could be in an alternative universe where cats rule the world? with VR virtually anything is possible can replace your existing world with digital content.

Imagine being the size of a tiny human cell inside of the body to study it in comparison to reading about it in a book or watching a video on the Internet. Imagine you don’t have to travel 17 hours on a plane just to meet with someone who probably has a sweaty handshake and then on the next day fly all the way back feeling jet lagged and exhausted; instead you can just meet virtually from the comfort of your home. It will feel quite similar and also it is a lot less expensive, saves money it’s the environment and it’s really important today that it’s pandemic proof which enables a whole universe of possibilities.

In a world where Zoom and Teams calls in its current state is starting to feel like the norm, do we really envisage sitting in front of a computer as our main form of communication with people when we aren’t with them in person?

Now think instead about how to enhance our existing world with digital content this is called augmented reality with AR we start to use our environment as a window to our digital world. With AR now imagine we can use our existing world to interact naturally with virtual content and all of this is just much faster than typing it in to a screen because we can just speak to it or use gestures, these forms of communication and interaction come to us naturally because we as humans have evolved this way.

Think of buying furniture - for now this can be quite stressful, before you even buy it you have to do a ton of research, then you have to buy it, then you have to wait a couple of weeks, then it comes in your home, you have to build it up, just to see that you maybe don’t even like the end result or even worse it doesn’t quite fit your apartment with technology like the HoloLens for example you can pre-visualise anything before you buy and it really feels like it’s actually in your room with these 3D holograms and the coolest thing if you don’t like anything you can switch it in a second and then just try out new things.

This also will save a lot of time money stress and probably many relationships.

Now we talked about AR and VR but what is going on with XR and immersive technologies well XR stands for extended realities and covers all these realities AR VR and also MR which stands for mixed reality but for now we can just use it as a subset of AR we don’t need to get too technical here. So it’s an umbrella term covering all of these technologies same with immersive technologies it’s an all encompassing word for all of these.

At some point in the future AR and VR technology will merge together

If you put AR head sets on full brightness it kind of feels like VR already and with VR headsets where you can enable the cameras to see the outside world, which makes it feel more like AR. So here we see these two at some point will merge together which is why immersive technologies will be more prevalent. Now you may think well this all sounds cool and great but I’m not a surgeon I’m also not Iron Man so why does any of this apply to me and isn’t it too far into the future anyways. But everyone learns and interacts with people especially being in a pandemic, so why not make the experience more human?

I’ve found that these technologies in the health industry make a huge difference because it enables us to get the patient really focused on the task. The patient is not being distracted by anything that is going on in the real world, one of the beauties with VR is that we can perfectly create the environment the patient is seeing and this is why this technology is being used so heavily for medical training and exposure therapy. Many companies use VR for immersive training and education.

We have created the XR Journey stack with the Datacom Foundry Team. It shows three key sections which give a holistic overview of the customer experience (CX), features and technology that we use to bring our XR projects to life. In the Foundry, the CX research is at the forefront of what we deliver. These insights allows us to flesh out the features ensuring we are delivering to the heart of what people want. Many times we through our Value Hacking process we have also seen new opportunities highlighted that clients haven’t even thought about. Finally the technology stack is what enables us to create these glorious virtual experiences.

So let me ask you a question how do you learn most efficiently? well there’s no one size fits all answer to this but here we see the learning pyramid of Edgar Dale and generally remember 20% of what we read and hear, 40% of what we see and discuss and about 70% of what we practically do and teach. So unsurprisingly we learn best when we actively try to do things, unfortunately most of the learning today is still very passive so many learning institutes are jumping on immersive technologies to help their students absorb information better.

So what about the future well we now have enough computing power to create immersive worlds. I believe our physical world is merging together with our digital world. So what does it mean if more and more people start wearing these XR glasses on a regular basis? think about what artists can do? think about what educators could? think about what you could do?

I believe that immersive technologies will shape our lives just as much as the internet smartphones and social media. XR technologies allows us to live in a new dimension.