Virtual, Augmented, & mixed realities: How XR will shape how you work

We’ve all seen examples of virtual or augmented reality, or at least can conjure these images: a person wearing a virtual reality headset grabbing at air to fight what we can only imagine are flesh-eating zombies or craning their neck at the ceiling to get a full view of the Milky Way; using a Snapchat lens to transform into a panting dog, a form of augmented reality.

When I call to mind these images, I can’t help but consider the potential workplace applications for the tech driving these experiences.

What is XR?
These examples all fit into the bucket of tech collectively known as extended reality (XR), an umbrella term used to describe virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR). VR is an entirely immersive experience that removes the physical world from view; AR is a technology where virtual images are overlaid onto our physical world; MR is a newer form of tech where an altered reality allows users to interact with virtual objects in a real-world environment.

XR @ Work

Changing How We Train
Research shows people remember information better if it’s presented to them in a virtual environment. When this information is considered through the lens of effective employee education, integrating XR into training programs seems to make sense. And, it’s not just happening, it’s proving to be effective in industry, showing increases in retention rates of employees and workplace productivity. Agencies within the U.S. government have also jumped on board to use XR and use cases are expected to grow in 2021.

As examples, NASA has a virtual reality lab to support astronaut training and the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service uses XR for recruitment. GSA, via Digital.gov, launched the Virtual and Augmented Reality Community, a collaborative hub for the research and refinement of VR and AR business cases and pilot programs across government.

 

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