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Problem solving with Extended Reality (XR)

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Extended reality (XR) technology is helping Company-X clients increase efficiency.

XR technology blends the real world with the digital worlds creating both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) solutions to overcome complex business problems.

Businesses are looking for ways to increase productivity, profitability and efficiency and seek to know the technology options that will enable that. They hear buzzwords and acronyms like AI (Artificial Intelligence), AR, VR, XR and ML (Machine Learning) and want to know if these technologies can help solve their problems.

AR is still an emerging technology, nevertheless it is one form of technology that Company-X has used to solve problems for clients.

A leading manufacturer of whiteware appliances askedhow Company-X could project information onto an appliance in the real world, to help explain its features.

Company-X built a smartphone app that overlaid interactive Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) augmented with interactive text over the whiteware appliance.

The app could be used by a sales assistant to demonstrate product features to potential buyers on the showroom floor.

The sales assistant could launch the app on their phone or tablet, point the camera at the appliance and see information about all its controls.

Each dial and switch is contextualised with text explaining its function, with the functionality simulated when it is selected in the app.

The app could also be used as an interactive AR user manual once the buyer had the appliance at home, negating the need for a bulky printed manual or PDF file.

The manufacturer could use the app to track the most asked questions about its products and use that data to inform enhancements and improvements.

With this technology you could see augmented reality simulations of any manner of appliances working: an oven cooking, a dishwasher washing, a microwave working, all through 3D animations.

You could even look inside at the workings of the appliance with augmented reality cutaways.

Despite projects like this, where it is the perfect solution in a very controlled environment, AR is still very much an emerging and unrefined technology for less controlled scenarios.

Clients ask whether they can use a phone or wear an AR headset or glasses to project information into an area to assist in the repair of a piece of machinery. We can do that, but there are always questions about the practicalities.

There are health and safety considerations. For example, is the user able to hold an AR device in their hand and look at small screen safely while carrying out their activity, or would an AR headset be safer? Or would an AR headset obscure the user’s vision and put them at risk from other workplace dangers?

Could the AR headset withstand the working environment? Is it dusty or wet? What lighting conditions do you need for the technology to work properly? Is Wi-Fi available?

There are multiple AR solutions available, and our job is to make sure you have got the right one for the problem we are trying to solve.

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About Author

Lance Bauerfeind

A senior consultant at Waikato software specialist Company-X and product owner of Voxcoda, a flexible, easy-to-use text-to-speech technology platform that anyone can use

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