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Extended Reality in the Enterprise: Is Now the Time?

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10 July 2020

After a long period of apparent lethargy, some years ago we experienced what seemed to be the big moment for Extended Reality. The emergence of devices that seemed to come straight out of the future, like Google Glass and Microsoft Hololens, forced us to sit up and recognize that something big was happening. These two tech giants flexed their muscle and revealed the stunning result of several years of investment and constant innovation in the field.

In parallel, a number of intrepid entrepreneurs began their own adventure through startups, some financed through the then-novel system of crowdfunding. Such was the case of Oculus VR, which, after being founded in 2012, launched a Kickstarter campaign to develop its first product, the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality device designed for videogames that would allow for immersive experiences. A couple of years later, another tech giant, Facebook, would acquire Oculus VR for the princely sum of 2.3 billion dollars.

And so myriad companies (Sony, Samsung, ASUS, HTC, Lenovo, Magic Leap) dived head-first into this market which seemed to be on the verge of exploding.

Many sectors began to look with interest at this technology, which until then had been relegated exclusively to the world of videogames. Tourism, marketing, retail, education, health, services and financials and many more sectors began to experiment. The possibilities seemed infinite.

It was a golden age for proofs of concept: to a greater or lesser extent, everyone got involved in testing the technology. Spectacular demos flooded tech events and astonished even the most skeptical onlookers. The potential of immersive technologies pushed everyone to experiment, looking for what might be the next big wave of disruption.

However, after this frenetic period of proofs of concept, serious questions began to arise:

Where does XR fit into the value chain?

What use cases to implement?

What is the return on investment?

Is XR scalable?

Ultimately, what does XR contribute to my business?

In how it responds to these questions, the future of XR is at stake.

Where are we going?

The XR sector has been attentive and has evolved greatly to achieve its position. The large manufacturers continue to invest millions in the development of new device and every year a growing number of these come on the market. They are increasingly powerful, light and more affordable. They have also created programs geared towards companies: distribution, administration and support for devices on a large scale. The ecosystem of services companies around XR continues to grow. And the cherry on top: 5G is just around the corner. With this technology we will have a bandwidth 10 to 20 times greater than what today’s connections can offer, which will facilitate the transmission of much richer and heavier content and will reduce the specifications required of devices, transferring the burden of rendering to the cloud. The article "Will XR be the new killer service to monetize 5G investments, triggered by COVID-19...?" even asks if the XR will be one of the big drivers of 5G monetization.

The persistence of many companies in seeking use cases in which to take advantage of this technology has given fruit in ever-greater abundance. Numerous studies carried out in these companies reveal an infinite number of use cases at all levels of the value chain: Training, showrooms, remote support, meetings, product design, on-boarding and more.

The black swan: Covid-19

There is no doubt that the crisis unleashed by Covid-19 has seen a real upheaval that has revealed the degree of digital maturity of practically all companies and sectors. Social distancing, remote working, distance learning, the need to continue producing, etc.: this situation has exacerbated  the need for tools and platforms that allow us to connect and collaborate remotely and, consequently, the market’s interest in, and appetite for, XR has also multiplied.

At everis we haven’t been oblivious to these changes. We have experienced them first-hand with our clients. From the hype of the early PoCs, the uncertainty of seeking the best use cases, the frustration of obstacles that have arisen, the satisfaction with good results and, above all, the learnings we have accumulated along the way.

This has allowed us to create a differential value proposition around XR in which we design, implement and optimize extraordinary immersive experiences.

This knowledge and experience has allowed us to see not only what's there but also what’s missing.

An XR business platform

When we think about an XR business solution there are a number of absolutely essential: qualities:

Scalable: it must be possible to add as many users as necessary, increase the load and evolve to incorporate new requirements and foreseeable and controllable costs/times.

Versatile: it must be adaptable to the dynamic circumstances of the business, cover various use cases, integrate itself with other systems and be extendable, accessible through API, etc.

Usable: the design must be consistent and easy to use, intuitive and adaptable to the standards of the organization, offer personalized experiences in multiple languages.

Safe: it must offer granular role-based security, two-factor authentication, adaptability to legislative and regulatory requirements and resilience from security vulnerabilities.

Support and updates: business level support is required (bug fixing, security patches, new functionalities, expert support, SLAs, etc.)

Everis NAKA: Immersive Experiences at scale

With all this in mind, we have created everis NAKA: our business platform to help high level organizations provide immersive experiences to their clients, employees and partners. A pay-per-use multitenant SAAS platform.

Through our framework based on Scenes, Gadgets and Contents it is possible to implement an infinite number of use cases. Experiences can be personalized and adapted to the style guides of the organization and different levels of permissions are offered through user and group roles.

What's more, clients can autonomously combine their assets ad infinitum (Scenes, Gadgets and Contents) to create as many experiences as necessary.

Through the platform’s API, connectors can be developed to access business systems and offer business level support.

It is also a ready to run solution as it offers a series of predefined Scenes, Gadgets and Contents. All you need to do is install the app on a device, log in and it’s ready to use.

Everis NAKA is a product developed and financed by everis and NTT Data and NTTD R&D HQ, demonstrating both companies’ commitment to the future of XR.

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