Extended reality (XR) is a fairly recent addition to the tech dictionary and the world of AR, VR and mixed reality (MR). It refers to all real and virtual combined environments and human-machine interactions generated by computer technology and wearables. As such, ‘XR’ is an umbrella term that includes and unites AR, VR and MR.

There are many practical applications of Extended reality, which can be broadly classified into the following industries:

  • Retail – XR enables customers to try a product before they buy it. Rolex, one of the world’s most coveted watchmakers, has an AR app that allows users to try on virtual watches on their real-life wrist, while Swedish furniture company IKEA enables customers to place furniture items into their home via their smartphone.
  • Training – especially in circumstances involving extreme danger, extended reality can provide training tools that are hyper-realistic and can help soldiers, healthcare professionals, pilots, astronauts and chemists figure out solutions to problems or learn how to respond to dangerous situations without putting their lives or anyone else’s at risk.
  • Remote work – workers can connect to their office or with professionals located anywhere in the world in a way that makes both sides feel like they are in the same room. With online meeting tools set to greatly affect the future of work, as demonstrated during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, XR will play a critical role in guiding the direction of innovative products that seek to make remote meetings more realistic. Video conferencing using XR is examined in more detail below.
  • Marketing – XR creates a host of new possibilities to engage with prospective customers and consumers.
  • Real estate – finding buyers or tenants might be easier if individuals can walk through available spaces while they are in another location.
  • Entertainment – as an early adopter, the entertainment industry will continue to find new ways of utilising immersive technologies in cinema, gaming and other offerings.

The mass adoption of extended reality applications across many industries is explained not only by their ability to ensure higher quality services, but also because AR and VR devices are becoming less expensive and more accessible. But with such incredible possibilities, it is not surprising that there is a high degree of sensitivity surrounding the topic. There is a growing need to transform XR from a concept into a technology that can be quickly applied in our daily lives. This article examines the IP landscape of XR technology.

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