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Publication Name: The Hindu
Date: February 17, 2022

Pandemic accelerated adoption of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality in India

Pandemic accelerated adoption of Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality in India

‘AR/VR deployments have picked up momentum with diverse industries started adopting immersive technologies’

Bengaluru: India has been witnessing large scale deployments of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) across business verticals in the recent past and especially after the pandemic, according to Tata Elxsi, a Tata Group design and technology services firm that focuses on automotive, media, communications, healthcare, and transportation domains.

Aditya S. Chikodi, GM and Head Design and Innovation Group at Tata Elxsi, said: “We are now seeing increased deployments of this technology by EdTech, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Retail, Media & Entertainment sectors and other verticals. Pandemic has only accelerated its adoption. E-learning, Travel and Hospitality will be joining the AR & VR bandwagon soon.”

According to Mr. Chikodi, in the manufacturing sector, more greenfield plants are being set up, which requires a large workforce to operate connected and advanced machinery. AR/VR based training and simulation solutions are thus being explored to bridge the skill gap of the available semi-skilled workforce. In addition to training, these technologies are also being deployed for maintenance, repair and operations, worker safety and training, engineering & design modelling.

Also, immersive technologies (technologies that extend reality or create new realities by leveraging the 360 space) were helping the EdTech sector improve learning outcomes, increase overall engagement and interactivity, he said.

“It provides personalised learning experiences for new-age learners by making learning both fun as well as inclusive. These technologies improve knowledge retention through experimentation and learning,” he pointed out.

With help of AR/VR deployment, the Media & Entertainment sector was able to provide real-time information from sporting arenas to Interactive Ads to Immersive music shows, thereby immensely enhancing the viewing experience in the country, he added.

“Eventually, the AR & VR outcomes are about remote collaborations, to improve productivity, enhance customer experiences and get products faster to the market,’‘ he explained.

Tata Elxsi has deployed AR/VR technologies across industries including manufacturing, automotive, healthcare and EdTech to support their product development lifecycle, training activities or marketing functions.

For instance, in healthcare, the firm had recently applied VR technology in the field of cognitive behaviour therapy to overcome the fear of heights. It had also deployed large scale innovation for medical device development in the field of neo-natal care and renal care.

In the field of transportation, Tata Elxsi applied these technologies in designing efficient operability of the cabins using human factors engineering. It also defined the colour, material and finish in the early stages of design that would otherwise require a full-scale 1:1 mock-up to be developed, thereby saving time and cost substantially, the company said.

Similarly, for a textile company, Tata Elxsi developed the world’s first interactive augmented reality-based smart textile solution to engage kids in immersive storytelling using AR. By scanning specified markers on the rug or duvet using a tablet/smartphone, children can view characters coming to life in AR, Mr. Chikodi said.

Interestingly, AR & VR as basic technology, has been in existence since the early 1990s, but their application was limited to the Defence and heavy spending sectors due to the high cost of software and hardware tools associated with it. Then, the gaming sector started using some bit of AR & VR in the last over a decade.

The global Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality market is expected to reach $571.42 billion by 2025 from $11.35 billion in 2017. The sector has been growing at a CAGR of 63.3% from 2018 to 2025. India is expected to play a very significant role in immersive technologies including metaverse, according to an industry report.