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The intersection of IoT and extended reality

February 22, 2022

The intersection of IoT and extended reality
 
powered by Sounder

To continue our series about the intersection of IoT and leading industries, we’re looking at extended reality (XR) and how it’s helping businesses improve their training programs.
 
Shelby Skrhak speaks with Thomas Pratt, president at Crane Morley, and Mrinalini Lakshminarayanan, global executive director for emerging technologies at Ingram Micro, about:
 
  • The differences between virtual, augmented and mixed reality
  • The factors behind the increased usage of XR
  • How XR is helping businesses
  • Small steps SMBs can take to adopt XR

Types of XR

Ingram Micro has combined virtual, augmented and mixed reality under the overarching umbrella of extended reality (XR).
 
  • Virtual reality (VR) immerses users in a completely virtual digital world that is generated by a computer.
  • Augmented reality (AR) overlays virtual objects in real-world environments.
  • Mixed reality (MR) not only overlays objects, but anchors them in the real world.
 “This is a very, very exciting space growing enormously day by day,” Mrinalini says.
 

Increased adoption

Market research projects the XR market will grow to $126.2 billion by 2026 at a rate of 30.6% CAGR globally. There are many factors driving this rapid growth:
 
  • The great resignation and the overall loss of skilled workers has had a tremendous financial impact on companies leading many to search for scalable ways to train employees en masse.
  • The reduced latency in network services ushered in by 5G has enabled XR applications to be deployed on mobile devices, broadening potential use cases.

Training

Training programs developed with XR technology have proven to be extremely valuable.
 
In riskier training scenarios, VR has proven extremely useful. Take flight training, for example. Early training of pilots using a VR application is much safer than conducting that training in an actual plane.
 
A limitation to virtual reality is the inability to work with your hands. That’s where mixed reality excels. Trainees can wear a Microsoft HoloLens and work on a digital twin with actual tools in their hands.
 
One major benefit is the time savings. With mixed reality, one instructor can train more people at a time.
 
“We found that a day of instructor-led training boils down to about 45 minutes,” Thomas says.
 

Other use cases

  • The Ingram Micro IoT team used XR to collaborate remotely to set up their center of excellence in record time
  • Healthcare companies can make waiting rooms more effective by providing more immersive ways for patients to learn about their health
  • Utility workers can remotely monitor gas lines installed in homes

SMBs

Some SMBs might think they simply don’t have the budget, nor expertise to implement XR in their organization. However, with Microsoft Guides, there’s no coding required to begin to build a mixed reality application for a small team, and it’s not expensive at all.
 
Plus, Ingram Micro offers a workshop that can help you build your own guide.
 
Email iot@ingrammicro.com for more information.
 
To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk
 
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