Immersive technologies can enhance experiences
One of the keys to providing a high-quality virtual learning experience – whether it’s a class, a presentation, or a conference – is replicating face-to-face conversation and presentation as much as possible. What are some of the elements missing in a standard video interaction? Namely the proximity of being in the same room, and the ability to watch and interpret facial expressions, make eye contact and read body language.
But organizations can use solutions and technology to elevate video conferencing and better duplicate face-to-face communication. A number of advanced digital workplace solutions encompass a combination of tools to create successful experiences and more authentic communication. Some of the trending advanced tools include immersive video and media technology such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality that can enhance remote learning and elevate communication and collaboration in the workplace.
Trends in Immersive video and media solutions
Technology that can improve interaction and collaboration will continue to gain popularity, especially as more individuals continue to work from home on at least a part-time basis. Because the hybrid workplace is now a permanent option for many firms and organizations, there will be an ongoing need to constantly improve communications and collaboration in the hybrid workplace.
In a recent interview, Lumicademy Principal Allen Drennan observed that video conferencing is expected to shift to “immersive visual communications.” As he explained, “Most communication products currently are just simple video and audio conferencing but the future will include immersive video communications that allow remote teams to behave more closely like the experience of in-person teams and interact in similar ways as they would in-person.”
Meanwhile, other immersive technologies have applications for both business and education, including technologies that fall under the umbrella term of Extended Reality (ER), including Virtual Reality (VR), and Augmented Reality (AR). Popularized in the gaming community, Virtual Reality has been around in some form for several decades. VR is linked to a simulated environment, while AR is more connected to the real world.
Gartner defines Augmented Reality as “the real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects. It is this “real world” element that differentiates AR from virtual reality. AR integrates and adds value to the user’s interaction with the real world, versus a simulation.
Augmented Reality technologies, including mobile AR and AR headsets, are expected to gain steadily globally, according to a recent report from Statista. In their report, “Augmented Reality – Statistics and Facts,” they state, “In 2021, the number of mobile AR users is expected to reach over 800 million and is forecast to grow to 1.73 billion by 2024. Growth is expected in both the enterprise and consumer segments, including digital AR experiences.”
Immersive Technology for business and education
Organizations are devising innovative ways to use immersive technology to create new experiences in everything from sales meetings to school field trips.
What are some common applications for immersive technologies?
One popular immersive technology that’s already familiar is 360 video. The real estate industry has been using 360-degree video to conduct virtual tours of homes and properties. Some consumer products have also adopted the use of 360-degree video to connect to consumers. Immersive video conferencing that uses larger screens and other advanced technology such as high-quality audio and video can also help create a better experience.
Schools and educators are exploring new ways to use Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in the classroom. According to a report from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation on Immersive Learning, AR and VR offer a lot of potential for Edtech innovation. “These technologies expand the possibilities of learning environments from K-12 classrooms to medical schools by reducing barriers from physical space, enhancing collaboration and hands-on learning, and providing individualized learning approaches that can help students at all levels thrive,” the report concluded.
For STEM education, there are ways to bring in AR and ER to science classes, for field trips, lab work or experiments. A recent article in Forbes described one science and meteorology experiment using AR: “We can now use augmented reality to create a tornado, then bring the funnel right into the classroom so students can experience these destructive storms close up. Or students can take an AR tour of a beehive to see its inner workings and explore how the bees work together to support the community.”
ER technology and AR make it possible for students to visit museums and historic sites worldwide without leaving the classroom. With mobile devices, students don’t even need to be in the classroom for an AR learning experience.
Immersive technology such as AR and 3D tools are also enhancing collaboration tools to provide a more immersive experience for remote teams. Immersive technologies used to create engaging experiences for customers can also be adapted for team engagement. With an inventive approach, organizations can bring immersive experiences for training, networking, or skills development to their teams. More tech-driven engagement can also be a plus for organizations trying to attract Gen Z talent.