”Extended Reality is the next evolution of how we’ll communicate”
On why 2022 will be the year when XR takes off
January 28, 2022
SynergyXR is one of the world’s leading XR software developers. For nearly 15 years, the Aarhus-based venture has been developing award-winning XR solutions for some of the world’s biggest brands, including P&G, VW, Maersk, and Grundfos. Co-founder and CEO Mads Troelsgaard has a background as an innovation consultant, sound engineer, and entrepreneur. In 2018, he tells, the company saw a market opportunity and created the SynergyXR platform.
— It’s powerful and cloud-based and lets companies train employees, deliver maintenance, and offer remote support across all XR devices without having to write a single line of code.
How’d you describe the XR technology? And how is your industry doing in 2022?
— I’m gonna go bold here and say that Extended Reality (XR) is the next evolution of how we’ll communicate. What XR gives us is this magical marriage between the physical and digital worlds that lets us share, connect, and learn in powerfully new ways. Now that we’re finally able to harness the power of 3D, we’re able to immerse ourselves into virtual worlds and even layer digital information onto our physical worlds to enhance our understanding of our surroundings. We’re also able to connect with others through telepresence that gives us the same feeling as being next to each other in real life. That’s a profound way to use tech to drive human connection, he tells, continuing,
— The industry is booming and is expected to add $1.5 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Also, the number of devices being sold to both consumers and businesses is accelerating, so we expect a significant increase in adoption over the next few years. Another key growth driver is the number of software and hardware investments coming from big technology companies like Microsoft, Google, Meta, and Apple. They’re tossing billions of dollars into XR and given their reach and user base, they’ll help fuel the mass adoption we expect to happen sooner than later.
Why is 2022 the year when companies and organizations should implement XR in their daily operations? And what are the best ways to use it?
— There are 3 overarching reasons why I believe 2022 will be the year when XR takes off:
1. Companies have finally realized that remote working is here to stay. Even when we finally do get past all the Covid restrictions, we’ll still have some form of hybrid work model where employees will work more away from than in the office. That means companies now need to find new, faster, and better ways to keep their employees connected. XR is the perfect solution to this problem. There’s a growing body of evidence that suggests employees are growing tired of online meetings, so companies are beginning to explore alternatives to platforms like Zoom and Teams.
2. Companies are also experiencing an increased pressure to produce more, deliver faster, maintain quality, and stay competitive — so we’ll see more and more start experimenting with XR so they can harvest learnings and set their organizations up for long-term success with these technologies. Let’s face it, most organizations are slow to change — especially when it comes to adopting emerging technologies, so those that start now will definitely be in a stronger position to reap the rewards further down the road.
3. Last, but not least, companies have an environmental responsibility to reduce their CO2 emissions, and the clock is ticking. Fortunately, XR technologies like virtual reality reduce the need to travel for work. Another upside is that companies also save a lot on travel-related costs and employee downtime.
And how can XR drive value across organizations?
— We see companies using XR in several ways to drive organizational value. From marketing and branding to designing and optimizing internal collaboration, organizations are starting to embrace XR to reshape the way they deliver employee and customers experiences. One key area that we’re focused on is how they use XR to onboard, train, and educate remote employees at scale, says Troelsgaard. He continues:
— XR empowers companies to tell stories using visual, 3D communication which is especially helpful when you have a complex and sophisticated product or service offering. Let’s say you’re Grundfos and work in the industrial pump business and want to educate employees on how these pumps help get groundwater into people’s homes. Traditional methods like classroom instruction or e-learning get you pretty far, but they’re costly, inefficient, and mostly ineffective. But when you bring employees into a virtual reality training session, they’re able to get close to the products, understand faster how they work, and see the big picture of how the products work in the real world. Even better, they’re able to interact with other employees to create a shared learning experience — all without having to travel. And in addition to the costs saved on travel, seeing that most companies today are trying to reduce their carbon footprint, going the XR route is a no-brainer. In fact, studies have shown that VR training is not only 4x faster than traditional learning, but employees are also 4x more engaged. A VR training project we developed for Grundfos reduced training times from 6 weeks to 4 days. That’s an ROI I think most companies can get excited about.
You’ve also mentioned the expression ”The Corporate Metaverse”. Can you explain what it means?
— The Corporate Metaverse is a term we use to talk about the radical transformation in the way companies will expand, communicate, interact, collaborate, and learn. When it comes to the term ”Metaverse”, it’s not new. In fact, it was coined back in 1992 by sci-fi writer Neal Stephenson in his book Snow Crash where he used it to describe a 3D virtual world. But since Facebook rebranded itself as Meta there’s been a renewed interest and opinions — as well as a lot of hype and speculation — around what the metaverse is, and isn’t. This is when we decided to insert ourselves into the conversation and describe what we see as the ”Corporate Metaverse”, Troelsgaard describes. He continues:
— Companies, by their very nature, are inherently different and thus play by a very different set of rules. That’s why we feel the need to establish some guardrails — if you will — for a better understanding of how companies should think about the Corporate Metaverse. As mentioned, we’ve worked with XR technologies and companies for over a decade. And what we’ve learned is that companies want to be in full control of their content, data, brand, and experience. This goes for both internal activities like internal communications, R&D, knowledge sharing as well as external activities like marketing, sales, and branding. Companies won’t implement a fully open metaverse of their organizations just like physical company headquarters don’t have an open-door policy to the general public. They’ll need their own part of the metaverse where they’re in full control. This is what we call the Corporate Metaverse and the reason we developed the SynergyXR platform so that companies have an easier way to build their own secure part of the metaverse for internal and external use.
And how can the metaverse be used for companies in the best and most efficient and innovative way to increase sales, brand knowledge, and so forth?
— That’s a big question that probably can’t be answered succinctly, so let’s just say that what companies should think about is that this is a new touchpoint with not only customers but basically all stakeholders. Given the internet stems from the ’90s, it took us a while to grow accustomed to having a company intranet, website, and online store, but today, all of these are the norm.
— The metaverse is simply the next evolution of these touchpoints. However, they are — and will continue to be — radically different because we will no longer be tethered to a desktop or mobile/tablet as we know today. Instead, information will be all around us and displayed on top of the real world using wearable technology that’s already here and is only getting faster and better. A good example of how companies are using AR to increase sales is how Kompan is giving customers and their sales team the ability to imagine what their products look like in real life. Using nothing more than an iPhone or iPad, users can use AR to design playgrounds and outdoor fitness areas exactly where they want to build them. This not only gives the customer a whole new way to envision and test the product on their own, but it also gives Kompan’s sales teams a better and faster way to showcase their products without having to carry around a heavy product catalogue.
And for you and Synergy XR, what’s next?
— We’re excited about several projects this year, chief among them is a new VR demo experience that we believe will be a game-changer when it comes to helping people understand the power of XR and visual storytelling. We’re also expanding our iOS suite which will bring the experience to even more users and use cases. Lastly, we’re accelerating our growth plans and look forward to launching in a number of new markets, Troelsgaard concludes.
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