How can COVID-19 fuel growth in XR technology?

Extended Reality

The COVID-19 has had such a scary impact on the world, which is no different than living a nightmare. People locked inside their houses, forced to go into self-isolation for quarantine, shutdowns making it hard for industries and enterprises to be productive was a new normal we witnessed. While modern technologies and scientists are looking to a cure, and the government trying to contain the spread of the virus, citizens are trying to get acquainted with these changes. And some of these changes are streamlined towards enabling people to work remotely across the globe. XR technology is one such driver.

The pandemic of COVID-19 stripped us from any kind of public gathering that resulted in the cancellation of live shows, concerts, conferences, and events. So, since following the social distancing mandates was crucial, businesses were left with negligible options to collect the terrible financial losses. From the Olympics to Wimbledon, to Taylor Swift’s World Tour Concerts, every event had to be postponed for a certain time. Therefore, the main questions were how to fulfill the demands of already bored, disheartened fans, and generate revenue at the same time? How shall the future of conferences and board meetings adapt to continue functioning?

The answer was to devise a platform that allowed masses to visualize things virtually. And XR technology provided the perfect solution to this. XR or extended reality which includes augmented and virtual reality helped in giving an immersive experience to people in the comfort of their space.

BBC has already tested the Trial form of VR to provide 360 degrees view of FIFA 2018. Korean Boy Band BTS has already experimented with AR during their live stadium shows to amplify fan engagement.

Even the advent of XR technology transformed the showroom experience with virtual showrooming. Swedish multinational IKEA has created a VR application that features a kitchen. One can view and explore this virtual kitchen by wearing a VR headset and using a controller. IKEA also allows its consumers to virtually visualize how a specific piece of furniture will fit and look in their home space.

So, without a doubt, brands shall be investing and adopting more in the XR technology to provide sources of entertainment beyond the previous realms of gaming. As a result, who knows we can be watching live streams of La Liga or NBA or dancing at a Maroon 5 concert where ever we are in the world. Media houses will shift their focus on engaging fans with better immersive experiences. The retail sector will also follow the same pursuit in the coming years. Using the 3D rendering feature, XR technology can provide virtual trial rooms for enthusiastic shoppers (e.g. ASOS). TryNDBuy, a virtual trial room solutions provider based in Bangalore, India, uses VR to provide an internationally patented protected software that can be easily uploaded on the online retailers’ app, thus helping the customers quickly try the outfit to check for the size and look of the garment. It considers more than 400,000 types of body shapes, sizes, skin tones, and other features. Glassify is a Virtual Try-On Eyewear & Sunglasses app that allows users to try hundreds of its frame styles under different categories, in real-time, to see which frame looks great on them.

The scope of XR is limitless. While it does provide an immersive, seamless interaction based on real-life elements, much needs to be done, designed, and developed for further success of this technology. Hence, it a good sign that enterprises and brands are now looking to venture into this during the COVID-19 crisis. Although economic recovery from this pandemic is not easy yet, XR does provide companies ample opportunities, from advertising to entertainment to retail. As developers are pulling sleepless nights to get the technologies to the levels that brands need them by rapidly advancing them well past where it was before the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, we may be able to see major growths in performance and innovations in this sector soon.