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Extended Reality: Introduction, its Different Applications & Future Scope
Published Date: 17 Feb 2022

Being curious, humans always wonder about the future. The driving force that shapes almost every future aspect of our civilization is technology. The culture and lifestyles of people have shifted to the next gear once the Industrial Revolution kicked in, after which technology has incredibly transformed people’s lives more than ever before in history. One such technology, Extended Reality (ER), is helping people feel what living in the future can be like. Moreover, a recent research report has cited a whopping 55% CAGR for the Extended Reality Market during 2021-26, given the surging establishment of smart factories worldwide.

What is Extended Reality?

Extended Reality encompasses a conglomeration of Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), & Mixed Reality. Let's know each one of them.

  • Virtual Reality (VR): Virtual Reality is using computer technology to create a simulated experience that can be similar to or completely different from the real world. Standard VR systems use either VR headsets or multi-projected environments to generate realistic visuals & sounds. Gaming is a prominent industry propelling VR forward. However, education, medical training, military, etc., are other fields beginning to incorporate VR solutions.
  • Augmented Reality (AR): It is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where objects of the real world are enhanced by computer-generated perceptual information. AR can be defined simply as a system that fulfills three features: a combination of the real & virtual worlds, real-time interactions, & accurate 3D registration of real objects. AR alters the perception of the real world, whereas VR completely replaces the user’s real-world environment with a simulated one.
  • Mixed Reality: Mixed Reality is merging real & virtual worlds to produce new environments & visualizations where physical and digital objects coexist and interact in real-time. Mixed Reality does not exclusively occur in either the physical or virtual worlds but is a hybrid of the two. 

Various Applications of Extended Reality

ER is gaining popularity among a wide range of applications. Following are the few industries adopting ER solutions to improve their offerings:

  • Retail

Few premium retail brands have started using ER to deliver rich in-store & online experiences to their customers. ER in the retail sector can also be beneficial in visualizing pieces of furniture & other objects for homes or office spaces.

  • Tourism

With the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 leading to total or partial lockdowns, the travel and tourism industry was adversely affected. However, the adoption of ER solutions across various tourism sites like museums has made it possible to explore the world without stepping out of the house. Moreover, the addition of virtual experience in the service portfolio of travel & tourism operators helps them attract more customers.

  • Healthcare

The ER is used extensively in the healthcare sector. It is beneficial in virtual consultation, risk-free training of surgeons & the medical staff, & safe equipment testing. ER devices help doctors understand specific diseases to provide better treatment & medication.

Besides these, the scope of extended reality includes training for emergency services personnel, workers engaged in hazardous roles, defense & aerospace industries, etc. Similarly, it can be used extensively for simulating product design across industries to shorten the delivery cycle & improve product quality. Hence, the Extended Reality Market holds significant growth opportunities for the leading industry players in the coming years.

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