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Extended Reality (XR) refers to both Augmented (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). Augmented Reality projects images onto the world around the user while Virtual Reality requires a headset which fully immerses the user into a virtual world.
Initial XR applications have been primarily focused on gaming and entertainment, but that’s expected to change as the technology matures.
Extended Reality has the potential to be used to boost productivity and safety, enabling people to control devices remotely or to work in simulated environments. AR can enhances the world around us by bringing into view information that would normally have been found in reference materials.
Kenneth Research estimates that augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies in North America will have a market value of $258.6 billion during 2019-2026.
Part of the reason for the expected growth in the technology is that XR headsets are getting smaller, more powerful and untethered from other computers. They’re easier to use, more portable, and provide more realism.
Potential use cases for XR include:
- Healthcare – remote medicine and surgery, use of equipment like defibrillators, and as therapy for dealing with stressful situations
- Education – Schools and on-the-job training will use XR to be able to better experience and understand concepts.
In January, Mark Zuckerberg predicted that “the technology platform of the 2010s was the mobile phone. While I expect phones to still be out primary devices through most of this decade, at some point in the 2020s, we will get breakthrough augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology.”