Extended reality, or XR, is one of the most exciting technologies on the landscape today.
A crucial part of the age of digital transformation, extended reality services allow companies to bridge the gap between the real and virtual world.
The most common components of extended reality, VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) originally caught the attention of the entertainment industry. Today, we’re discovering that extended realities could be a valuable tool in the enterprise environment too.
Here’s your introduction to XR and its impact on business collaboration.
XR and the Office of the Future
For years, experts have discussed the idea that the office of the future may not be a physical location. Remote and flexible work strategies have been growing more popular by the year.
In 2020, when the global pandemic hit, companies were under more pressure than ever before to enable a future where work was no longer “a place,” but something we can do wherever we are.
Videoconferencing and cloud-based software that users can access anywhere started the transition to this new way of work.
However, most companies agree that there’s still work to do. A video conference doesn’t have quite the same presence and intimacy as an in-person conversation.
Extended reality could be the solution that companies are seeking:
- Virtual reality could create an environment where employees can work together safely from different points in the world.
- Augmented reality could bring avatars of an employee into an office space so people can interact with virtual versions of colleagues.
Companies like Microsoft are even experimenting with mixed reality. MR solutions like the HoloLens could potentially project holographic images into physical environments to allow employees to essentially teleport from one part of the world to another.
In simple terms, extended reality could make distance meaningless.
The Potential of XR for Tomorrow’s Teams
The concept of virtual and augmented offices might seem like something from sci-fi, but it’s not far off. Many companies are already experimenting with augmented reality as a way for specialists and engineers to collaborate on issues from a distance.
Augmented reality could also be a solution to help business innovators create prototypes of products without wasting essential resources.
Virtual reality is also gaining a lot of attention in the corporate world. As VR headsets become more affordable, businesses everywhere can craft collaborative environments where teams can come together.
As tools like Microsoft Teams together mode shows, people crave more realistic connections with their remote colleagues.
A study by Accenture notes that around 80% of executives today believe it’s important to use XR solutions to eliminate the gap of physical distance. These experts believe that XR is vital not just to communication between customers and brands, but between colleagues too.
Will Extended Reality Transform Teamwork?
XR technology innovations are making teamwork more immersive on a different level. You don’t need to be in the same room as someone to work effectively with them in this new world.
Now that teams are stationed all around the globe, meetings are already becoming more virtual. With the arrival of more XR technology, we could find that the workplace of the future is a lot more innovative than we originally imagined.
Ultimately, true collaboration comes from an ability to effectively communicate ideas. XR tools will support more versatile collaborative processes where people need to work effectively together.
- A production team could use VR to work on the design of a new prototype without wasting materials.
- An engineering team could then build that solution using AR technology as a guide.
- When the new product is ready to explore, solutions like mixed reality could project a holographic version of the item into an environment, so stakeholders can test it for themselves.
- All the while, real-time collaborative tools will keep a consistent rapport going between people working together.
Enhancing Human Connections
Extended reality in collaboration isn’t about diminishing the importance of human connection but enhancing it.
People commonly worry about new technology removing the human element from interactions. However, compared to emails, phone calls, and even video conferencing, this could provide a far more human experience.
There’s no doubt that there will still be moments in the future where face-to-face conversations may be necessary. However, as the technology in the XR landscape continues to develop, formalities may well make way for better practicalities.
The future of workplace collaboration is reaching a new reality.