Inga Petryaevskaya, CEO and Founder of VR collaboration platform ShapesXR, discusses how businesses can take advantage of the recently announced Meta Quest 3 and other XR (eXtended Reality) technologies
Meta’s Quest 3 headset, launched last month, is a game-changer for the industry. It offers significant technological advances, an affordable price point, and mixed reality capabilities that make it a compelling option for both consumers and businesses.
Meta Quest 3, however, is just one piece of the puzzle. The XR industry has been held back by a lack of applications and content. One reason for this was the lack of design and development tools that would allow us to build quickly and efficiently for wearable devices. This is changing, though, thanks in part to Meta’s investment in XR and the influx of funding and interest from other companies, such as Apple with its Vision Pro.
A vibrant ecosystem of startups and established companies is now building the infrastructure and solutions that will make XR mainstream. This ecosystem is already having a major impact on the industry. For example, Unity and Unreal Engine, two leading game engines, have both made significant investments in VR/AR/MR development. This has made it easier and more affordable for developers to create high-quality XR experiences.
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In addition to development tools, there is also a growing number of platforms and services that make it easier to distribute and monetise XR content. For example, App Lab is a platform from Meta that allows developers to publish their XR apps without going through the official Quest Store review process. This makes it easier for developers to get their apps in front of users and start generating revenue.
The combination of affordable and advanced devices, accessible development tools, and user-friendly platforms is creating a perfect storm for the XR industry. With so many factors now in place, it is only a matter of time before XR becomes mainstream technology.
If the Meta Quest 3 and XR (eXtended Reality) go mainstream, what would it mean for business?
In a competitive and challenging economic environment, industries are crying out for innovation to help re-engage customers.
For years, retailers in particular have experimented with both AR and VR to create new customer interactions. Their success has been limited because they lack the platforms and tools to do this in a cost and time-efficient manner and, without mainstream device adoption, their creations are largely confined to the in-store experience.
With that hurdle likely to be removed, we’re going to see an explosion in experimentation. To make this happen, brands, and the agencies that support them, will need to become skilled at becoming visual storytellers. Creating customer engagement in 3D is very different from a flat screen. It opens the door to a lot more possibilities, but to realise them businesses will need to hire or upskill their teams to be able to use design platforms effectively and also construct engaging narratives.
XR experiences will also need to be incorporated into other marketing channels to create the seamless, personalised communications people now expect. This will require, in the long term, a reorganisation of marketing departments and the adoption of new tech to make it happen. Thankfully, hand in hand with the growth of spatial computing and VR/MR headsets in particular has been the advent of composable architecture, which makes adapting your tech stack much much easier.
The same will be true for gaming development and the entertainment industry. We’ve already seen concerts with holographic performers so it’s very easy to imagine all the possibilities of producing plays, music festivals, TV shows and movies on XR.
Greater and more efficient collaboration and upskilling with XR
Consumer-facing applications of XR are just the tip of the iceberg; we are actually likely to see the most compelling use cases first appear within B2B. For example, with workforces increasingly dispersed and hybrid working remaining popular, XR offers an exceptional way to bring teams together for project collaboration — everything from designing new products to developing event spaces. Indeed, for B2B businesses, XR’s greatest promise is in making collaboration and upskilling more efficient and effective.
We haven’t even touched upon the Metaverse, or metaverse-style connected worlds, that could transform how we perceive and use the internet. Everything from social media to buying products and managing our finances could get the XR treatment.
For a lot of businesses, getting to grips with the opportunities afforded by XR will start with education. The use cases that will have the most impact on your business are likely to be underreported, given so much media attention is drawn to visually appealing applications like new games. Reading up on the different platforms and services that are available will give you a great understanding of what could make a difference for your company. As I’ve mentioned, developing VR services and experiences has become a lot easier, so there’s nothing to say you cannot create or adapt a solution to meet your needs.
The final part is the willingness to experiment. Creation on the ‘spatial’ internet looks and feels a lot different from creation in 2D. Having platforms that enable new 3D experiences to be created in 3D changes the game because it allows us to see what these experiences will actually look like and that allows your imagination to run wild. The act of designing, for example, 3D extensions to physical or web-based products will catalyse more innovation. We genuinely don’t know what the ‘killer use case’ for XR will eventually be — the business that discovers it will reap extraordinary benefits.
What about generative AI?
Generative AI is still in its early stages of development, but it has the potential to revolutionise the way we create XR experiences. By automating many of the tasks involved in XR development, generative AI can help to reduce costs and make XR more accessible to a wider range of people.
To sum up, as the XR industry develops and becomes more accessible, we’ll be seeing more and more businesses using this new technology to improve their day-to-day operations. It also goes without saying that businesses that are early adopters are well-positioned to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
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