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Immersive technologies like AR/VR are revolutionizing the digitalization of smart appliances
CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Mr. Aditya Chikodi – GM & Head, Innovation Design & Visualization practice at Tata Elxsi
- How have AR/VR technologies seen a significant rise in the last two years?
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) are poised to revolutionize the way consumers interact with the world around them. These two technologies will redefine the future of consumer experiences and interactions, transforming the way we learn, work, and play.
VR is a technology that allows us to immerse ourselves in a virtual environment, while AR adds a layer of information over the physical environment, enhancing our perception of reality. These technologies are not new, but they have recently experienced a surge in popularity. AR, on the other hand, has gained market share over the last five years and is quickly catching up to VR. AR technology is becoming accessible on devices that we use on a daily basis, such as mobile phones, tablets, and AR headsets like HoloLens and Google Glass. This accessibility has opened up new possibilities for AR applications, making it a powerful tool for businesses in industries such as retail, manufacturing, and logistics.
As VR and AR continue to evolve, they will change the way we live our lives, unlocking new levels of creativity, innovation, and efficiency. By embracing these technologies, businesses and consumers alike can stay ahead of the curve and take advantage of the many benefits they offer.
Extended Reality (XR) technologies, including Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and Mixed Reality (MR), have gained significant momentum in recent years. There are three key drivers fueling this trend, and they are set to shape the future of these technologies in meaningful ways.
- First, affordable hardware has emerged as a major catalyst for XR adoption. With the cost of XR hardware decreasing, we are seeing a surge of interest from both users and researchers, who recognize that this technology has the potential to transform user experience and interactions. For example, VR headsets such as Oculus Quest and HTC Vive Cosmos have become more affordable, making them more accessible to consumers and businesses alike.
- Large tech companies are investing heavily in exploring Metaverse applications, which has had a direct impact on the adoption of VR and AR headsets. Facebook’s Metaverse project, for instance, has sparked significant interest in VR, with the company predicting that it will become the next computing platform. Similarly, Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore have paved the way for the development of AR applications across a range of industries.
- The advent of 5G is ushering in a new era of applications for XR technologies. The high-speed, low-latency capabilities of 5G networks are enabling applications like remote maintenance and troubleshooting, and remote training. For instance, companies are using AR to remotely guide technicians through complex maintenance procedures or to provide remote training to employees in far-flung locations.
- What is the forecasted demand of these technologies in the next five years?
Over the next five years, the demand for AR/VR technologies is set to skyrocket. According to a report by Markets and Markets, the global AR and VR market is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 46.6%, from $6.1 billion in 2020 to $40.4 billion by 2025. This surge in demand is mainly due to advancements in technology, increasing awareness among consumers, and the growing adoption of AR and VR in industries such as automotive, media, healthcare, gaming, education, and retail.
The demand for AR/VR technologies is also being driven by several factors in industries such as automotive, media, healthcare, gaming, education, and retail. For instance, the automotive industry is using VR simulations to design and test new vehicles, while healthcare providers are leveraging AR to improve surgical outcomes and enhance patient care. In the gaming industry, VR is transforming the gaming experience by creating immersive worlds that blur the line between reality and fiction.
Another key trend driving the adoption of AR and VR technologies is the concept of Metaverse. Metaverse refers to a virtual universe that encompasses multiple virtual worlds, where users can interact with each other and with digital objects in a seamless, immersive experience. Metaverse is transforming experiences across industries, from healthcare to education to entertainment.
AR has a larger market potential than VR and has been expanding at a faster pace in recent years. This growth can be attributed to the increasing number of prominent businesses that are incorporating AR into their operations across multiple industries like automotive, retail, Edtech, entertainment, etc.
In the field of education, teachers can create virtual classrooms where students can interact with digital objects and learn by exploring 3D environments. In the industrial sector, workers can undergo safety training using virtual simulations, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. Additionally, remote equipment training for workers is becoming more accessible, eliminating the need for travel and reducing costs.
- How have these technologies enabled complete home automation? What is the scope for smart appliances in everyday scenarios?
At Tata Elxsi, we believe that the implementation of smart appliances will have a significant impact on sustainability, circularity, and accessibility. We have partnered with multiple customers to create smart and sustainable appliances for the future.
For example, we have collaborated with appliances OEM to downsize the size of robotic cleaners by 22% without compromising on performance. Similarly, we are working with a leading professional appliances company to integrate advanced sensors that increase the lifespan of their products. We are also supporting a leading HVAC manufacturer with IoT and AI integration for remote monitoring and diagnostics of HVAC systems.
Extended reality technology has enormous potential in the smart appliances and home automation industry. It provides immersive and interactive experiences that improve usability, maintenance, and energy efficiency. We foresee several applications of AR/VR in home automation, including:
Product Visualization: Creating virtual product demonstrations of smart appliances to help customers understand the features and benefits of different products, thereby increasing utility.
Maintenance and Repair: Providing step-by-step guidance for the maintenance and repair of smart appliances using AR/VR technology. This reduces the need for costly repairs and increases the lifespan of appliances.
- What opportunity does digitization present to OEMs in providing immersive and interactive solutions and services to tech-savvy connected consumers?
The digitization of products and services presents several opportunities for OEMs to provide immersive and interactive solutions and services to tech-savvy connected consumers by improving experiences across the value chain (From product design to prototyping to manufacturing, retail, and delivery).
OEMs can increase customer engagement and brand recall by creating experiences that enhance customer delight. They can offer self-care solutions, including troubleshooting applications, user guides, and online support. The launch of generative conversational engines is further extending the use cases of AR and VR technologies. For instance, an AR-based chatbot can guide users on self-troubleshooting any issues with their devices. With the advent of 5G, we can expect an accelerated adoption of new-age technologies. However, as the ways of adoption increase, solution providers will need to look into various aspects such as privacy management, cybersecurity, and safety hazards to ensure that these technologies are used effectively and safely.
In healthcare, AR/VR technologies are transforming the industry by enabling telehealth services, robotic & remote operations, and providing a training and learning platform for medical professionals. Additionally, these technologies are assisting visually impaired individuals with daily tasks such as reading and signing documents, enhancing their senses, and improving the cognition of their surroundings.
In the retail industry, AR is being used to enhance the shopping experience by allowing customers to virtually try on clothes and visualize products in their homes before making a purchase.
- How is AR/VR enabling smart appliances being to be designed to suit the needs of the ever-evolving customer?
The world is currently witnessing a paradigm shift towards sustainability, and the design of smart appliances has an important role to play in this. This requires a rethinking of the entire product design process, from concept to development, to ensure that sustainable practices are adopted at every step.
AR/VR technology is one of the key enablers of Circular Product Design, as it facilitates digital twinning, which is the creation of a digital replica of a physical object. This technology allows designers to create virtual models of their products, which can be used to test and optimize various features before they are physically built. By minimizing material waste during testing and prototyping, AR/VR technology helps to reduce the environmental impact of product design. With the help of AR/VR, designers can create immersive and interactive experiences that improve usability, maintenance, and energy efficiency. For example, AR can be used to provide step-by-step guidance for the maintenance and repairs of smart appliances, reducing the need for costly repairs and increasing the lifespan of appliances.
Overall, AR/VR technology is a game-changer in the design of smart appliances, enabling designers to create products that are not only innovative and customer-centric but also sustainable and environmentally friendly. By adopting Circular Product Design and leveraging the power of AR/VR technology, we can create a better future for ourselves and the planet.