The Covid-19 pandemic has turned everything upside down in the past year. Everyday lives, businesses, and educational institutions halted their operations due to the pandemic restrictions. During the crisis, people were forced to stay indoors and do their office work from their own houses, which gave rise to the new era for immersive technologies. This uncertain time has taught us a new way to living with virtual operations, be it a gathering of friends or official meetings.
Amidst its challenges, the Covid-19 crisis has given us an excellent opportunity to restructure the ways of working. During the pandemic, the need for immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR) has surfaced. According to a report, 63% of surveyed companies used immersive technologies to navigate the pandemic’s challenges. The impact of AR and VR could be expansive, advancing safety and efficiency in workplaces worldwide.
Immersive Technology Trends in a Post-Covid-19 World
Due to the extensive need for social distancing and shift to remote work, businesses adopted immersive technology tools such as AR, real-time 3D, and VR to connect employees for remote collaboration, exhibitions, and events. Below are the immersive technology trends which are more likely to continue in the post-Corona world.
1) Increased Use of Mixed Reality to Enable more Human Connections
Mixed reality has traditionally been used to support task completion. The pandemic has raised the need for tools that mimic human interaction and proximity to establish more productive work environments and collaboration.
2) Enhanced Use of Mobile AR
With the risen popularity of Pokémon GO, Mobile AR apps have grown so much. Recently, Snapchat became most popular due to its mobile AR experiences that provide mobile users their popular augmented photo filters. Apart from mobile apps, many retail companies capitalize on mobile AR, such as IKEA, which uses AR to help customers visualize furniture before purchasing.
3) 5G will Expedite AR and VR Evolution
The widespread deployment of 5G networks has assured to speed up the adoption of virtual and augmented reality. Industry analysts believe that 5G could be a promising approach for the future and the area-wide VR and AR applications. With 5G technology integration, users can get better VR experiences with low end-to-end latency times of less than 20 milliseconds. 5G network delivers enhanced virtual experiences for users with faster data transfer to the cloud.
4) Virtual Sports Events
The next-generation AR and VR experiences are likely to change the way we perceive sports and create more immersive sports events. Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, which is continuing in the United States, many authorities have postponed their events. As the broadcasters, owners, teams, and sponsors are looking for new ways to reach fans and generate new revenue streams, immersive technologies enter the mainstream. According to a report, more than 60 percent of viewers watch sports content via an OTT or premium social media service. Simultaneously, the uptake of products such as the NBA League Pass and the NFL Game Pass has also proved the desire for direct-to-consumer subscription services.
5) AR Cloud
AR Cloud, a real-time 3D, or spatial, map of the world, is a machine-readable 1:1 scale model. It allows information and experiences to be augmented, shared, and tied to specific physical locations to occur and persist across apps and devices. The technology is traditionally being used in education, music streaming, training, travel, real estate, retail, healthcare, and social messaging.
Immersive Technology in a Post-Covid-19 World
The Covid-19 crisis has given enough impetus for the widespread adoption of AR, VR, and MR. Below are how immersive technologies integration is making a difference in everyday lives and businesses.
1. Immersive Training for Employees
Including AR, MR, and VR, immersive technologies are not limited to the remote working scenario. These immersive technologies can also be used for employees’ remote and virtual training, organizing conferences, and virtual product launches. Being immersed in an artificially created reality also allow employees to be trained as efficiently as in physical training. Remote training is a rapidly developing concept and has the potential to overcome the challenges of the pandemic.
2. Remote Working
As the world is moving towards the new normal of the Covid-19 era, many companies are adapting to remote working trends with AR, VR, and MR solutions to keep the workforces connected. Besides, immersive technologies also help businesses to boost organizational productivity and capability through remote collaborations for operations. These technologies have got our backs even in the post-pandemic.
3. Immersive Technology in Healthcare
Since the Covid-19 outbreak, researchers and health professionals are majorly dependent on AR, VR, and MR technologies to better diagnose deadly diseases and viruses including Covid-19. In the post-pandemic time, immersive medical solutions have rapidly gained popularity enabling the medical fraternity to gain insights on tackling the disease.
4. Immersive Learning and Education
Educational institutions are not an exception that suffered Covid-19 challenges. Due to social distancing, millions of students globally faced learning processes come to a standstill. Where immersive and engaging learning is the only solution. Consequently, classrooms became more interactive and enriching. In short, during the pandemic or post-pandemic, the Immersive technology boom in the education sector is here to stay and empower the education sector.
5. Virtual Events
A virtual event is a trend that struck extremely fast in the market. Marketers are also hosting events like product launches, activations, and awareness campaigns virtually, where viewers can engage and interact. Additionally, tradeshows and events are increasingly incorporating AR, VR, and MR in their interface.
The road ahead is not so smooth for businesses and individuals. Thus, embracing immersive technologies is the need of the hour. The post-Corona world will serve many more challenges, and businesses will develop new and innovative ways to engage with their customers. And for our advantage, immersive technology is already on our doorstep, which has a long way to go in the coming future.