Extended reality (XR) has gained much traction in recent years. According to an industry insight report from VR Intelligence, XR development lacks the same momentum as VR development. However, it still raises interest in enterprise and consumer apps – 88.4% of the surveyed CEOs in this report confirmed that XR has somehow improved their businesses. And Visual Capitalist has shared an optimistic outlook on XR, which is expected to grow to a market size of more than $209 billion by 2023. Next year looks to be a promising period for even greater development of immersive user experiences in virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) applications.
VR, AR, and MR are all known under the common term extended reality. The keyword in these realities is immersive. Immersion lets users experience the physical and the digital world together in a new environment where objects of both worlds coexist in a transformed way. AR immersion consists of experiencing the projection of virtual layers onto real-world objects, while VR immersion is about the experience of digital environments in a more realistic, tangible way. The primary goal of extended reality is to enhance the bi-directional user experience in both worlds, helping them train, learn, shop, and entertain more palpably. And there are new AR apps and products that enable that level of human-computer interaction coming on the market in 2020.
AR app development is progressing along with technology development, which had to follow the natural laws of emerging tech, finding its way to affordability for the mass market. Gamers can finally get their hands on a piece of gear that is not hugely expensive and enjoy the immersion with Oculus Quest, a compact VR enabler with no wires or PC controls.
Although it is obvious to think about extended realities regarding entertainment, AR apps can also get serious. For example, there are VR apps that help people improve mental well-being, including anxiety, PTSD, and phobia treatments. These applications use a VRET (Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy), which is CBT translated into the virtual world.
VRET helps people gradually expose themselves to a traumatic experience to lower the tolerable threshold, thus replicating the same exposure in real life and improving the quality of life. One older example is Psious, a start-up that developed a VR app for working with exposure therapy. Psious includes a web platform and biofeedback sensor tool alongside VR goggles to treat phobias.
A downside of VRET is it’s pricey because of the needed equipment. However, it has proven its benefits in the CBT area, going forward with new advancements. Another more recent example of a tested VRET product is Mimerse, an innovative VR painkiller developed by a Swedish start-up, which helps people ease down various pains by tricking the mind. The Mimerse app comprises digital happy-to-go-places, which reduce pain sensations by immersing in beautiful natural landscapes or popular book imagery.
In healthcare, extended reality is increasingly used for medical imaging displays to improve the connection between the patient and the caregiver during surgical procedures. This delicate technology requires 5G connectivity and is heading for a brighter future with the 5G rollout next year.
In education, students can now learn through VR and AR apps. For example, the MIT Collaborative Learning Environments in Virtual Reality (CLEVR) project is helping high-school students learn about cellular biology through virtual reality.
We shouldn’t forget retail and e-commerce XR apps. Seek XR collaborates with popular e-commerce and m-commerce brands to enable consumers to bridge the gap between online and physical shopping. The AR app Seek View can be used regardless of the device, only by accessing one cloud link, which means you can try out new gear on your mobile.
In healthcare, for instance, certain AR apps are under the burden of ethical and long-term implications. However, the stakes are not as high in commerce. XR in commerce is one of its most promising applications due to the broad spectrum of meeting consumer needs, and we will, without a doubt, see more of it in 2020.
This is just one of the many software types out there. Check out our “How Many Types of Software Development are There?” article to learn about the others!