Immersive Experience: The Definition, The Technology And The Future

Immersive Experience: The Definition, The Technology And The Future

Alex Duba is the CEO and founder of Lucid Reality Labs , a world-leading developer of XR simulations and training for healthcare, medical technology and pharmaceuticals .

While the interesting technology is still a major technological development, industries such as healthcare, medical technology, defense, aerospace and manufacturing are already making strides in its application, especially in the adoption of augmented reality (XR). ).

XR, an umbrella term for the other three realities: augmented, virtual, and mixed, now enables organizations in these areas to expand learning and education, visualization and modeling, planning and manufacturing, security, and awareness, among others. . .

Although estimates of the size of the XR market vary, the most optimistic predict that the global XR market will accelerate to $1.1 trillion by 2030 as technology advances and consumer adoption increases. . With about three-quarters of the decade still to go, in this article I'd like to explore the near future of XR, starting with current use cases and benefits, and looking at the next steps, potential, challenges, and limitations for mass adoption.

The benefits of an immersive experience

Immersive experiences can offer many different benefits to different organizations, depending on the purpose and industry. For example, one study found that using immersive technology for training reduced employee errors by nearly 40%. Walmart found that immersive experiences helped employees score higher on tests 70% of the time. Other studies found a 29 percent improvement in task performance for fast responders after completing VR training.

Immersive experiences in educational environments can help improve students' attention, understanding, and retention. It can also help reduce the time it takes to learn something. Wiley's study showed a significant reduction in needle insertion accuracy failure rate for AR projection liver biopsy from 50% to 30%. Another study found a 30% improvement in student test scores with virtual reality-based learning. The National Learning Lab found that students using VR retained 75%, compared to only 10% for reading and 5% for lessons.

Similarly, immersive experiences for consumers can be used as highly engaging storytelling tools. They can also strengthen brand and product perception, remove the barrier of physical presence, and facilitate decision making. For example, Snap Inc., Alter Agents and Publicis have increased consumer confidence in decision-making by 80% thanks to immersive technology. Deloitte also found that physical customer traffic increased by 30% when native AR enhancements were used.

Difficulty accepting immersive experiences

However, before adoption becomes widespread, one major challenge will be pushing the boundaries of realism. Although some immersive headsets already allow for the separation of the human eye, the technology still needs to be developed to make the experience fully photorealistic. XR may already be big for users, but it has yet to bridge the gap where users can distinguish between what's real and what's not.

Likewise, users may not yet be ready to embrace immersive experiences. While the number of immersive experiences and XR devices continues to grow worldwide, with an estimated 50 million AR and VR headsets shipping to the consumer and commercial markets by 2026, global adaptation is still far from over. .

As XR technology advances, the headset form factor is expected to become progressively lighter and more efficient, allowing XR devices to expand into everyday activities including work, education, collaboration, entertainment and more. That, and increased competition to capture the mainstream market, will drive down headphone prices and help the market overcome another challenge: affordability.

If the next generation of immersive devices will ideally combine autofocus with replicating the focus of our eyes in real life, the hardware and software components must also make a significant leap forward. Adding a bright dynamic range will add more depth and realism to the XR experience based on light contrast.

We have already seen all these possible features at the Meta Prototype Show 2022. The main question remains: how quickly can all these functions be integrated into one helmet? At the same time, software is also expected to make a significant leap given the advancements in hardware capabilities. The software outcome of the experience (visual fidelity, level of realism, user interface (UI) and user experience (UX)) will be critical to meeting expectations, along with form factor and hardware capabilities.

The future of exciting experiences

Although today we already have immersive experiences with exceptional visual fidelity, we have not yet reached the point where the level of realism is close to real life. We can now create digital doubles of almost anything, fully immersive spatial sounds, and hyper-realistic avatars that can capture and convey emotions and facial expressions in real time.

The next big step is likely to come with the development of haptic technology that can revive the sense of touch for users, not just sight and hearing.

By 2030, the haptic technology market is expected to reach at least $23.8 billion. If this can be achieved, the next generation of immersive experiences will be truly visually and sensorially beautiful. Touch technology will represent a significant shift in what we consider immersive today, the immersive effect will resonate with all the senses and push the boundaries of what we currently consider real.

The result

Today, we can still define what the immersion effect is, and it is relatively easy to distinguish whether an immersion experience is genuine or not. In the coming years, the quality of the immersive experience should go beyond what we have experienced so far and become more sensitive, hyper-realistic and almost indistinguishable from real interaction.

This will certainly come with its challenges, but it should certainly bring significant benefits for industry, businesses and individual consumers.


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