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Q&A: When mixed reality and UC meet

November 22, 2021

Q&A: When mixed reality and UC meet
When it comes to hot trends in technology, few topics show as much potential to change our worlds as IoT and mixed reality via VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality). Put them together, add in some communications and collaboration, and you have the future of communication. To learn more about the potential and timelines for this exciting convergence, we spoke with Chad Simon, Ingram Micro’s UCC expert.

How is mixed reality and UC converging in the business world?

Simon: Despite being relatively new technologies in the UC space, there have already been some very effective applications that leverage mixed reality. Probably the most powerful and widespread today is the use of headsets by field technicians. Using a hands-free AR headset, field technicians can access online documentation, manuals and other aids to solve complex problems in the field. Additionally, an experienced engineer offsite from a situation can assist local field techs by seeing what they’re seeing and providing real-time instruction and feedback. Even more awe-inspiring is seeing how surgeons are using mixed reality to make complicated surgeries safer and more effective.

Which markets are ideal for IoT applications in UC?

Simon: The market for IoT applications in UC is wide open. As mentioned, there are already plenty of actual implementations today in the field service space. In addition, government/military uses abound, although that’s not necessarily a market most solution providers can access. More realistically, opportunities exist (or soon will) within education, healthcare and anywhere else communication is essential.

How will IoT solutions like AR and VR impact today’s meeting spaces?

Simon: Looking into my crystal ball, I foresee a day when mobile workers can collaborate in a virtual world/office setting, eliminating the final barrier of remote work. Offsite meeting attendees will have immersive experiences and be able to engage with other participants through VR/AR headsets more fully.

What is a realistic timeline for adoption?

Simon: While field service applications are the most common today, AR/VR use in UC is still relatively new and used on a limited basis. However, all signs point to widespread adoption of VR/AR within the next few years.

What advice do you have for solution providers interested in getting started?

Simon: Because this type of solution is still so new, there’s relatively little information available. Making this a part of your line card will require a considerable amount of free time to conduct thorough research. Of course, we recommend you lean on your vendor and distributor partners for help.

How can Ingram Micro help?

Simon: Ingram Micro offers a variety of VR/AR headsets, IoT sensors and UC solutions. Those interested in bringing together mixed reality and UC can contact me (chad.simon@ingrammicro.com) or Ingram Micro’s IoT division.