Trends in Collaborative XR Experiences
As XR technology has continued to grow more accessible in the business landscape, companies of all sizes have begun to discover its benefits for boosting collaboration. Modern XR tools can bring teams together in a host of different environments, inspiring creativity and unlocking new opportunities.
Whether it’s allowing a specialist to provide on-the-job assistance to field workers through Augmented Reality, or building digital prototypes of new products in virtual reality, XR is bringing a new dimension to teamwork.
Today, we’re going to be looking at just some of the trends driving the continued adoption of and investment in XR collaboration for 2022.
While teleportation in the XR landscape might not be quite the same as the sci-fi concept we’re accustomed to from shows like Star Trek, it does represent a phenomenal opportunity for collaboration.
With Mixed Reality and Augmented Reality, it’s possible for companies to make users feel like they’re in different space, or “transport” assets into different environments.
Tools like the Varjo Reality Cloud platform, for instance, allow companies to scan a 3D place into the cloud, so another person can walk around that environment and experience it almost in real-time.
In the future, teleportation in XR collaboration could completely eliminate the need for team members from across the world to travel to different environments to inspect and work on projects.
Teleportation strategies combined with IoT, and sensors may even allow members of staff to work on certain machines at the same time as their in-person colleagues.
2. Photorealistic Avatars
Photorealistic avatars are an important trend in the VR landscape, and something that’s likely to make a significant difference to the way we collaborate in future years.
While today’s video collaboration platforms do provide an environment for face-to-face connectivity between distributed members of staff, they don’t allow for the same experience of “presence” we get when working in-person with other members of a team.
Photorealistic avatars will allow users to create more human and authentic versions of themselves to embed into a virtual reality space. This will make it easier to feel as though we’re genuinely collaborating with other team members in a shared space. Some companies are even exploring things like facial tracking technology, so our avatars can share the same expressions and gestures as us.
3. Enhanced XR Hardware
To collaborate effectively in an XR environment, the team members of today and tomorrow will need access to the most convenient, comfortable, and effective hardware possible.
Innovative new headsets and tools are being designed all the time to make the collaborative experience feel even more immersive. For instance, lightweight smart glasses allow users to access the benefits of AR collaboration without the discomfort of a clunky headset.
Comfortable VR headsets with high-quality displays allow us to step into virtual environments for longer, without feeling nauseous or overwhelmed due to issues associated with visual lag.
At the same time, tools like spatial sound are emerging to give us a more comprehensive 360-degree experience of the virtual environments we encounter.
The collaborative XR experiences of the future will be reliant on hardware that’s as comfortable as it is immersive. The right blend of audio and visual quality, and long-term wearability will be essential.
4. Eye and Hand Tracking
Aside from making experiences feel more immersive with high-quality visuals, audio, and more comfortable hardware, companies will also need to invest in better tracking and sensor technology to ensure users can interact with the content available in a collaborative XR environment.
Intelligent hand-tracking technology, for instance, will allow users in a VR space to pick up a document, change the size of a model, or interact with various pieces of equipment, like a whiteboard.
Alternatively, eye tracking solutions will make it easier to position information, annotations, and visual content in the best possible space for quick consumption in an XR environment.
Intelligent eye tracking can even help to reduce the amount of bandwidth used in providing access to an immersive experience, by ensuring the highest-quality visuals are positioned exactly where the user is directing their gaze.
5. Haptic Feedback
Haptic feedback is an exciting concept in the XR space today. As an accessory for various VR and MR experiences, haptic solutions can allow users to touch and interact with virtual objects as though they’re actually there, in person. Haptic feedback brings touch into the immersive environment through the use of various forms of distributed pressure.
Used correctly, haptic feedback can be an excellent way to make people collaborating in a shared space to feel like they’re actually there, in the environment.
It can also be a fantastic way for people to work together on shared projects, because it allows for extra context into the situation at hand. For instance, a surgeon remotely assisting another surgeon can feel the structure of a bone or muscle.
While not every XR collaborative experience will necessarily demand the addition of haptic feedback, there are countless environments where this technology could be beneficial.
6. The Metaverse
Finally, perhaps one of the most exciting trends pushing the adoption of XR collaboration technology today, is the rise of a future “embodied internet” experience, known as the Metaverse.
The Metaverse promises users an environment where the physical and digital worlds are more closely aligned than ever before. In this space, new concepts like “Metawork” are helping people to imagine a new kind of workspace, located in a digital environment.
XR solutions for collaboration will allow team members to immerse themselves within team experiences within the metaverse, whether they’re attending a group meeting in a shared virtual space, or representing themselves in a project through an avatar.
When the metaverse becomes more commonplace in the workplace of tomorrow, XR collaboration solutions are likely to be an important component of how team members interact.