AR: Augmented Reality

An interactive experience of real-world environment “augmented” with computer generated information including visual (2D/3D), audio & video content, typically delivered using Smartphones and Tablets.

VR: Virtual Reality

Immersive virtual environment-based experiences delivered through head mounted displays and motion sensing controllers. The user is "transported" into the virtual world and is fully immersed in the experience, with the real world completely cut off from view.

As an option, VR content can also be created for desktop computer displays, though in a less immersive way but without requiring a head mounted display or motion controllers.

MR: Mixed Reality

Augmented Reality but delivered through a head mounted device thereby freeing the user’s hands. This term was coined by Microsoft and is generally associated with the Hololens device.

XR: eXtended Reality

The generic catch-all term that covers all of the above and others. 'Extended' serves to describe the experience appropriately and the 'X' also signifies 'all/any' kind of 'Reality'. This is the commonly accepted term for all types of Immersive Technologies, a super-set if you will, for all types of 'Realities'.

XR can be thought of as a completely new computing paradigm that is going to change the way we interact with and consume Data & Content. It has the potential to create new markets and disrupt existing ones in ways that will profoundly enrich our computing experiences.

Virtual Reality (VR) Game: Beat Saber - courtesy LIV

Augmented Reality (AR) Experiments - courtesy Google

Mixed Reality (MR) Applications - courtesy Microsoft

Virtual Reality (VR) Experiences - courtesy Valve

Video Games & XR

XR technologies originate from Video Game Development technologies where 3D content and virtual environments are developed to provide an immersive experience to the player. Games are the primary market for VR headsets currently, leading to more device adoption amongst consumers. Games like Pokemon Go have also been responsible for popularising AR in the mass market.

Games are developed using Game Engines like Unity & Unreal Engine - Unity was used to develop Temple Run, Angry Birds 2 and Pokemon Go while Unreal Engine was used to develop Fortnite & PUBG.

Game Engines are also used to develop XR Applications. These applications contain a combination of 3D content (the objects and environments you see in Video Games) and the programming needed to interact with and manipulate this 3D content. This process forms the basis of creating XR experiences.

XR Applications for Businesses & Enterprise

XR finds applications in a multitude of industries and business processes. Some examples include:

1. Product Catalogues

2. Data Visualisation

3. Virtual Meeting Rooms

4. Hiring & Onboarding

5. Field Service Solutions

6. Standard Operating Procedures

7. Learning & Training Solutions

8. Real Estate Visualisation

9. Heritage Sites Visualisatiom

10. Sales Pitches

11. Product Design

12. Wargaming & Military Simulations

Microsoft Hololens 2 (Mixed Reality) - Benefits to businesses

Oculus Quest (Virtual Reality) - Applications in business environments