The future of Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and IOT


Mirum | Hong Kong |   2019-12-06
Keywords: VR | IoT | Innovation | vr | iot
words | minutes read

Imagine training your staff for a black Friday sales day in the USA or empathy training for staff dealing with angry customers

This article is going to discuss Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things. Its going to look at how these topics have become relevant in the modern workplace and how the future of connected experiences will bring these all together to improve the way we work.

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality is nothing new, it has been around for a very long time, however its only in last few years that the quality has been improved and the right investments have been made, this has resulted in pushing the technology past the exponential tipping point and thankfully this time it looks like it’s here to stay. VR is a 3D environment that is viewed with a first-person perspective with the use of special hardware googles that enclose your vision to give the illusion that you are in another environment as a person standing and viewing the 3D objects.

The launch of the HTC Vive was the first real modern push into the mainstream, with Steam from Value as a platform provider, it was the first time there was an all-in-one device that could download VR games over the internet. This paved the way for others follow and at the time of writing this article the number of companies making; headsets, software and platform technology is in the 100’s. Notably however, in the first few months when HTC Vive launched on the steam store, it was not a traditional game that was number 1 in the downloads chart. It was a marketing campaign by IKEA, this VR experience allowed users to build their own IKEA home with furniture and fittings from the IKEA catalog, they even won a marketing award for the experience.

Since then many more companies have been looking at way to engage customers, train staff and provide new ways of working. One of the best use-cases to date is STRIVR’s VR training application with Walmart. Walmart is one of the world largest employers and has some of the best training staff globally, however despite being one the largest and the best, Walmart has a problem with ensuring that everyone receives the highest level of training throughout all departments and divisions. VR was their solution for remote training at scale, that provided quality and new training possibilities that were not available before. Imagine training your staff for a black Friday sales day in the USA or empathy training for staff dealing with angry customers, in complete safety with dynamically generated scenarios in hyper realistic environments.

These new experiences are taking training to the next level and provide a better platform for immersion and have now been proven to increase retention and engagement for learning activities. We believe that the future of VR will be hyper realistic training simulations that adapt and cater for peoples different learning behaviors in a variety of languages and mediums that have previously been unavailable. At Mirum we have begun this journey by creating several training applications for the industrial sector that allows users to train on heavy machinery in complete safety.

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality also is nothing new, but with the rise in VR, AR has matched. Augmented reality takes digital objects and overlays them on real world video such as through a mobile application or partially overlays your current view with the use of smart glasses.

Augmented reality on its own is limited to marketing and gaming applications as the interaction can be limited to button presses or the application can run through the content on application start.

To add value to Augmented reality we need to incorporate two modern technologies gesture sensors and image recognition software, both add great potential for AR solutions.

Gesture sensors like the leap motion allow for hand control through a series of pre-set gestures that can scale, move and interact with the augmented reality content that a user sees. This addition means that hands free control gives AR a real boost in its business value, by not requiring additional hardware to operate. One of the best use-cases Mirum has is a solution that allows wedding planers to design banquet rooms in real time with object layout that can be sized, moved and changed in an instant all using gesture control.

Image recognition fits like a glove with AR solutions, it allows the AR camera to detect what and where object is in the world. This allows for the application to apply specific content overlaid on objects it recognizes. For training and field service application this ability is a game changer that allows users to get real-time information about things they are training how to use or maintaining machinery.

We see the future of AR as having a profound impact on field service work, having real time overlays and connected support means engineers in the field will be able to get more support and help than ever before, when 5G is fully realized and rolled out then this industry will explode with requirements for AR developers to create rich experiences that help their employees streamline their work and businesses.

As an additional note, with the release of the Holo Lens 2, Microsoft’s flagship AR product, we see the future becoming a reality very soon.  The Holo Lens 2 combines the best of technology with; a motion leap sensor, wide field of view display, connected content for real time-conversations and cloud computing for rendering high resolution models that can be sent to the device. All of this makes it an industry leader in the market, we have our pre-orders in and can’t wait to develop the next generation of AR business solutions.

The Internet of Things

IoT or the Internet of Things, just like VR and AR is also not new. Individual monitors and devices that a connected to a network to provide data, functionality or both have long dominated in the commercial world. IOT and smart devices have however enjoyed a new lease of life with the increase in WIFI usage and internet coverage with the help of 3G, 4G and the soon to be 5G.

An IOT device has internet connection that allows interaction with another program to report on interaction such as temperature sensor or provide control functionality such as a smart room light that can be turned on through another IoT device.

The release of Google home and Amazon Alexa has helped IoT find its footing in the general consumer market. These devices are speakers with voice command interaction that allow users to interact with different system to perform tasks like ordering food, organizing your calendar, giving you the weather for today and even composing emails. These smart assistants can also connect to a home hub setup for smart IoT device control, you can control all the devices just by speaking voice commands.

We see the future of IoT only getting more interconnected with our daily lives and predict that in the next few years most of the things we do will have a voice enabled experience that help us perform tasks at work by just talking.

These technologies are all amazing in their own right, but we are very excited to be part of the development of these technologies together, building connected experiences that enhance business goals and solve long standing challenges, we are looking forward to what’s next.

Patrick Williams

About the author

Patrick Williams

I am a full stack web developer, with a strong passion for connected experiences. However in reality i spend most of my time doing DevSecOps and System Architecture. When i am not coding i will be out teaching scuba diving or snowboarding.

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