Mixed Reality (MR) represents a new level of virtual platform where an individual can experience the virtualworld or artificial visualization environment through the interaction of real or physical world we live in. It is like someone sits in a room and gets experience of virtual world by immerging himself or herself in the virtual environment. The guy still can see physical objects such as chairs, tables, and other furniture lying around in the room and can interact with the digital environment that seen in visual platform at the same time. That is the fun of MR that offers a visual setting, which can blur the line of what is real and what is not.

Over the last decade, the evolution of MR in the business industry offers quite interesting insights as the technology is increasingly overshadowing other existing solutions for various business operations. One key reason for the expansion of MR is the increasing participation of giant IT players and their rapid development of innovative devices that help in deeper exploration of virtual world. For instance, the introduction of Microsoft’s MR headset, HoloLens, which runs under the Windows 10 computer operating system has pioneered the MR platform wherein the users can get the experience of holographic representations of people and interaction of high holographic 3D models in the real world. To mention a few names, HoloLens 2 and the Magic Leap headset are other key tools for MR experience. Several other players have begun the race by introducing their innovative products to shape the future of the technology for business operations.

Understanding Mixed Reality

Mixed Reality or Hybrid Reality blends the real and virtual worlds by offering a new environment that creates a co-existence between physical and digital objects in a real time. MR is the combination of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) wherein the digital objects a user sees or experiences have similar features and behaviors like a real physical item in a 3-dimensional (3D) form. In short, it combines physical nature and artificial surrounding that offers the complete interaction of 3D human and computer. Using some gadgets such as a headset, helmet, and smart glasses, which are primarily equipped with computer-programing system, are required for a user to experience MR and one key aspect is that the user can also manipulate the digital objects. These devices have advanced sensor systems that can guide a user to easily interact with the objects of virtual environment to make the user feel he/she actually control these real-looked items.

From online exploration to platforms of social media, users can easily get experience of MR through the help of their own personal devices. For instance, the use of AR filters on Instagram presents an aspect of how MR solution is used on social media platform. MR has revolutionized the virtual world and has transcended the conception of display experience. The key components or aspects of MR technology include the followings:

  • Easy environmental representation such as spatial mapping

  • Sensors and cameras to understand human gesture includingmovement of hand, eye, and speech input.

  • 360-degree audio experience to immerse in digital world

  • Positioning and locations of users in both physical and virtual environment

  • Hologram representation of assets and objects in spaces

MR Applications in the Business Industry

Considering the present scenario, the rate of MR evolution in the business industry is at a slightly slower as compared to AR and VR. Yet, the market opportunities of MR are gradually expanding owing to increasing awareness the benefits of the technology for various applications across industries. MR is widely used in various applications across industries ranging from architecture to manufacturing and healthcare to gaming owing to its several advantages that the technology is offering to these industrial sectors.

One key aspect for rising mixed reality market applications in business setup is that the technology helps to visualize the arrangement of complex objects using video presentation. A user can walk around and easily interact with digital objects that are physically present real-life 3D characteristics to make into a targeted shape or structure of a particular site. For instance, using the technology, an architect can prepare a development plan or structure of a building in its original form and clients can easily see the complete structure of the site by roaming around each corner of the building. The client can inspect every detail of the structure and interact with the digital objects lying around in the room of the building using the virtual platform.

MR technology is increasingly used in simulation-based learning activities and experimental learning, which are key domains for educational and professional training purposes. Using the technology, students can get access to the real experience of effective learning system, which is best suitable for medical education as the disciplines of anatomy and physiology require 3D simulation models. Moreover, simulation model is highly popular in the aviation sector as these technologies are required during the training programs of commercial pilots. Several MR technologies are widely adopted by defense and military units across countries in application of controlling robots in real-world environments and military personnel towards manipulating tasks to strengthen their performance in combat or war. As per several industrial reports, the MR market would be worth USD nearly 6.9 billion by 2024, expanding at a CAGR of 42.5% and the gaming industry is likely to generate a major revenue in the coming years. 

MR Opportunities in the Future

The technology is much more than what we generally get AR experience, which strongly depended on smartphones and their cameras since MR has expanded the spectrum of connection between human and machine. Using MR devices, a user now can experience the continuum interaction with digital objects and can access instinctual control of such objects in his/her fingertips, which present a totally different dimension of the virtual world. In the near future, we may witness the development of new tools thatfacilitate better experience of immersive reality by using innovative holographic devices. 

Observing the current development, holographic projections and interactive virtual displays offer lucrative opportunities for expansion of MR market even though headsets remain a key component of the future technology. Emerging efforts from key players in developing of cost-effective MR devices can be a big leap for the market expansion, which can be possible using advanced technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), cloud computing, and big data. In this manner, the interaction between machines and human can be further evolved in organic nature and our dream for creating a stable artificial environment for better virtual experience in real world could be a more realistic approach.