Immersive technology is emerging as an important tool to improve employee productivity, training, and customer service, according to new research.
A study by Microsoft in partnership with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services found that 87% of the business executives surveyed are currently exploring, piloting or deploying mixed reality in their organisations.
‘Mixed reality’ is an umbrella term for technology that blends the physical and digital worlds, ranging from augmented reality to virtual reality.
More than two-thirds (68%) of respondents believe mixed reality is important to achieving their companies’ strategic goals in the next 18 months.
And firms are rapidly adopting mixed reality: 49% of those interviewed reported that their companies are piloting or implementing the technology right now.
The findings suggest that mixed reality is poised to reshape employees’ working lives, enabling them to work across physical and digital boundaries and to interact with digital content in new ways.
One of the key opportunities is with frontline employees, such as those working behind the counter, in the clinic, travelling between customers for field service, or on the factory floor, explained Lorraine Bardeen, Microsoft’s general manager for Mixed Reality Workplace.
Several firms are already giving their frontline workers mixed-reality solutions that enable remote assistance, spatial planning, and environmentally contextual data, for example — allowing them to conduct their usual, day-to-day activities with the added benefit of heads-up, hands-free access to valuable, contextual information.
“Every 10 or 15 years, there’s an impactful shift in the way people use and interact with technology and data,” commented Allan Cook, managing director for Deloitte Consulting. After the PC, the internet, and the mobile revolution, “mixed reality is going to be the fourth shift, and it will be as big as each one of those earlier shifts.”