The new type of coronavirus outbreak has completely changed the lives of everyone living on earth.
The extent of human losses and the trauma left by the epidemic of Covid-19 disease are undoubtedly incredible. In economic terms, this situation, which we have not yet started to see its effects in full and that no one can calculate financially, seems to result in the world economy entering a global recession at best. The world we know is largely a thing of the past. It seems, of course, that it will take some time before we can describe the “new normal” situation I am experiencing and the paradigm shift.
On the other hand, humanity once again demonstrates its ability to adapt itself to new conditions very quickly. The concept of ‘social isolation’, which has become essential for preventing the spread of the disease, has taught all companies the culture of remote work in a difficult way, and has led to changes in their way of doing business. Video conferencing applications such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams etc. or collaboration applications such as Slack have become one of the most important tools for individuals and companies to run business.
On the other hand, the ‘new normal’ situation we are experiencing also leads to more people being tried in new generation technologies, beyond video & teleconferencing applications. Of course, one of these technologies is Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, which are called XR (Extended Reality) technologies. Currently, many companies have started to use many different services, from VR meetings, conferences and training applications to displaying their products in the Augmented Reality (AR) mode at their location. Although AR and VR applications have started to be used from shopping to entertainment, education to industry in recent years, the transition is much faster than before, in terms of our current situation. Nowadays, where physical stores are closed and consumers do not go out, it is almost the only option to display products in Augmented Reality (AR) mode in their location or to present the trainings in VR simulations.
What are XR (Extended Reality) / Extended Reality technologies?
Extended Reality (XR), “Extended Reality” is a new term that we will hear more and more every day. A common concept that represents all of the immersive technologies such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR). We can think of the XR universe as a spectrum consisting of virtual and real world experiences. In this corner of the spectrum, there is Virtual Reality (VR) technology in the part that immerses the user in a completely virtual environment experience, while at the other end there is Augmented Reality (AR) technology that enables us to see computer-based virtual elements on the real world. Mixed Reality, created with the help of smart glasses & wearable computers such as Microsoft HoloLens, Magic Leap or NReal, is in the middle of both technology experiences. AR / VR technologies are expected to reach a market volume of more than $ 100 billion by 2023.
Virtual Reality (VR) meeting and conference systems
Virtual Reality (VR) based meeting and socialization applications have become one of the fastest accelerating areas with compulsory social isolation caused by coronavirus. Company employees can come together in virtual environments, without the need for physical spaces, via VR services such as MeetinVR, Glue, and can communicate in real-time in a 3D space of their choice. We started to move to Virtual Reality not only in company or individual meetings, but also in canceled events. As an example, the HTC Vive developer conference, planned to be held in early March 2020, was held entirely on virtual reality devices using the Engage platform. In our country, Teleporter, which combines VR experience with e-sports and brings game lovers together in virtual environment, can be given as an example of domestic initiatives in this field. Although brands like both Facebook and HTC continue to invest in accelerating VR adaptation, the prevalence and use of Virtual Reality (VR) glasses is still low in the world. In addition, disruptions in the supply chains make it difficult to deploy new generation VR devices such as Oculus Quest, which Facebook launched in 2019. On the other hand, even if the habits started to change, even though not all companies started to hold their meetings in a Virtual Reality environment, the transformation process gained a very fast momentum.
AR based remote support systems
Especially recently, remote support systems have come to the fore with technical restrictions on their travels. Vsight, a Turkish initiative for industry, can increase the competencies of employees with the help of smart glasses using AR technology. The user of the smart glasses can see the instructions of the person who is connected remotely before his eyes, thus completing the task he is carrying out more quickly.
Mixoper, which is also a Turkish initiative outside the industry, aims to reduce the burden on call centers by combining Augmented Reality (AR) technology and artificial intelligence. Customers will be able to see the instructions for use as an AR with the live support specialist who will be pre-registered or connected from the call center, using their own mobile devices completely without wearing smart glasses.
AR / VR training applications
School and company trainings are also transforming with AR / VR technologies. Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality will increasingly take place in many areas from in-house training to distance learning content in schools. VR simulations have been used for a long time in technical training. VR training is carried out in many different areas, from complex surgical scenarios for medical education to overground orbital space station repair. The biggest advantage of the Virtual Reality (VR) trainings is that the environment created virtually can give the participant the feeling that the scenario is experienced exactly. In other words, with the help of virtual reality glasses, you can find yourself sewing a patient in the middle of a brain operation or repairing a damaged solar panel outside the space station and in a gravity-free environment. You can also see the 3D version of the solar system in the middle of your room, using Augmented Reality (AR) technologies, or you can still see how to repair your car’s engine, directly above the real engine part.
Conclusion Generally, XR technologies, which are named as the whole of AR / VR technologies, have been used in all sectors in recent years, although the Coronavirus has accelerated this adaptation process. With the isolation of social isolation, we will start to use different examples from Augmented Reality (AR) based shopping applications, industry support systems, Virtual Reality (VR) meeting services to training simulations more frequently in our lives. Perhaps life after coronavirus may be the first step to a lifestyle that has been talked about for a long time and has been the subject of many films, and that people exist entirely in the virtual reality universe, who knows…