Rethinking Diversity is Key

Make Customer Dreams Come True – Literally
PETER NOSSIER // 3D Artist at ILI.DIGITAL

Then and now old books from the beginning of the 20th century fall into our hands. While reading, we get to know the authors‘ visions of their future, which is our here and now. Some of these visions appear completely absurd to us, but some authors describe frighteningly precise developments and phenomena that exist just the same today. An example is the book „Pygmalion’s Spectacles“ by Stanley G. Weinbaum. He already presented a detailed concept of virtual reality glasses in 1930. From there to the first patent for a polarization filter in 1933, the first appearance of the term Virtual Reality in the Oxford English Dictionary in 1987 to the AI-based Ray Tracing technology of the graphics company NVIDIA some weeks ago, much has happened. But why is digital reality a topic of highest relevance for companies right now?

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DIGITAL REALITY 101

Digital reality is a collective term for the technologies virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR) and augmented reality (AR). 

Virtual Reality (VR) – put on a headset that places you in a virtual world and interact with everything you see!

Augmented Reality (AR), overlays the physical environment with digital imagery that is usually generated by a mobile device or a Headset. Think of Pokemon Go or the IKEA App, that lets you see the furniture in your home environment.

Mixed reality (MR) is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations, where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.

In addition, a three-dimensional data structure of a real object, such as a configuration of a car, can be assigned to the concept of digital reality, since it is required to display the digital model.

By means of a so-called engine, this data structure is converted into a three-dimensional model, which is not only visualized but also given physical properties by the engine. Leading providers like Unity or Unreal come from the gaming industry and offer optically very realistic models. But also engines from the engineering sector are on the advance, as they enable real-time interaction with the data and high-precision real-time simulations. The number of engines is as high as the possible applications. 

By using a device, these models that are generated by the engine can be displayed and modified, if applicable. Here, too, the solutions differ depending on the intended use. In addition to smartphones and computers, there are caves, in which an immersive image around the user is displayed using projectors. As a mobile solution there are Head Mounted Devices (HMD) such as the HTC VIVE, Facebook’s Oculus, Valve , Microsoft HoloLens etc. The players in that field are increasing day by day with more developing and enhancement.

WHY NOW?

Recently, the evolution of these technologies accelerated and digital reality is taking hold in a serious way not just for entertainment, but as a serious tool for digital transformation that opens new opportunities for industries. The world is moving towards 3D immersive content. VR/AR/MR will become the mainstream soon. 

For example, NVIDIA announced their AI Raytracing technology, which is the biggest leap in computer graphics today. It adds realistic lighting, shadows, and effects to the scene in real time and so enhances image quality and immersion similar to real life without delay. In the past, we needed an extremely powerful computer for this and it took hours to see the final outcome. This technology opens up new possibilities in how computer graphics are created. We seek reality and that is what this technology promises. We live in a time at which we hardly are able to tell the difference between the physical world and the virtual one, as the line becomes blurry.

Additionally we now have HMDs with eye tracking technology that enables the device to measure gaze position and movement. Therefore, they can determine the level of presence and analyze the attention of a customer. A huge step for customer analytic methods where the focus of attention plays a very important role. A good example for that is the cooperation between BMW and VIVE, as virtual experience is changing the way people buy cars. It allows customers to configure, explore and simulate the car in an immersive way, which leads to better business intelligence results. Hence, they gain valuable insights into how customers interact with their products.

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WHAT’S THE USE? 

Digital reality and Real-time technology now are touching industries across the world with amazing applications and solutions. It emerges in areas like automotive & transportation, architecture, education, product design, broadcast & events, games, manufacturing, retailing, exploration, healthcare, military, the possibilities are endless. As the digital reality market is developing and growing rapidly, especially in industrial and training fields, the companies started to leverage this key feature and take a step further to enhance their products and services. By implementing this technology, they benefits heavily. The company itself generates digital knowledge about the customer and his preferences. This knowledge can be used to smooth out fluctuations in demand caused by changing customer preferences across all areas. For example, a 3D configurator for cars can be used to determine in a structured way which equipment features have been selected and how often. This knowledge can then be applied from product development to procurement, production and sales to optimize internal processes. Externally, a digital reality touchpoint for the customer offers a completely new way to experience a product. For example, the more realistic the configuration of a car, the more a customer can express oneself in the composition of the vehicle. Therefore, the customer gets the feeling of ownership far before the actual purchase takes place. Furthermore, the digitally created image of a product can be used to provide the customer with new services, experiences and after-sales support within the whole life-cycle of the product. 

Consequently, to achieve wider problem solving capacity, thinking patterns and ideas, professionals with different educational backgrounds are a key component.

HOW TO GET IT STARTED?

In order to use this great technology for your business now, you have to determine in a first step which application offers the greatest added value and which business area is suitable for the realization. In doing so, you should not only pay attention to which area can be driven forward by digital reality in the short term, but also what Use Case can support other areas or can be developed with the technology.  As with any digitization initiative, the approach should be agile. With a defined range of functions you can reduce complexity for the initial implementation and react flexibly to customer feedback. To start the implementation of digital reality it is essential to get ready in the following three points:

Infrastructure

It is essential to clean up data structures and prepare it for future use. In addition to uniform standards, it is important to pay attention to how the data is translated into digital reality and how it is changed there. Capacities regarding IT infrastructure and know-how may have to be established. 

Processes 

Along with the infrastructure, the processes must be adapted for digital reality. In addition to the targeted integration of digital knowledge into value creation, the responsibilities for the operation of digital reality must be clarified.

Interfaces

As external players participate, interfaces are required. For example, it must be defined how data from third parties can be integrated into the digital reality of your company. It must be defined how your customers are allowed to move around in the digital reality and where personal contact is best placed.  

Business outlook 

Virual Realities are the the future. From VR to AR to MR, these technologies are already taking us into completely new worlds today. They open up new ways to reach our customers. They help to create a whole new way of interaction and enrich the customer experience. XR provides totally new business models and therefore new customer groups can be addressed. The result is that new revenue streams will be conquered.

Reality technologies enable companies to make internal and external improvements. Immediate feedback can be obtained, decision-making processes can be made faster, manufacturing problems can be reduced and costs can be saved enormously.

Ultimately, all industries will be able to profit from this technological development, as not only processes and procedures will be made more efficient, but also the way people work, communicate and act with each other. XR delivers an entirely new experience and expands our possibilities for Human2Human interaction. Because even, or especially, in the age of digitalization, the human being remains at the center of attention. Accordingly, it is important for the success of the technology that new business models and applications focus on usability, usefulness, fun and productivity.

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Digital

Reality

Imagine a world which is 

build pixel by pixel

Digital

Reality

Imagine a world which is 

build pixel by pixel