One of the things people realized during this pandemic is that they could manage almost all aspects of their life and lifestyle from the comfort of their home. Doorstep-delivery, remote working and video calls made it possible for people to stay indoors in the time of Covid-19. These advanced digital technologies made it possible for people to cope with the lack of contact and travel for work or pleasure. According to a recent enterprise survey by S&P Global Market Intelligence, 80% companies have expanded universal work-from-home policies and 67% intend to keep remote work policies in place long term or permanently.
As the world wakes up to the realities of a post-pandemic era, companies are feeling the pressure to deliver a great remote experience to their customers. They are relying on new-age technologies like augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), artificial intelligence and robotics process automation (RPA) to deliver on this front.

Let start by taking a glance at what these immersive technologies can do.

Augmented reality blends the physical realm and digital realm to create an immersive experience. We have massive amounts of digital data available to us, however its application in real life is less. AR is the technology which bridges that gap. It places digital components atop physical components and creates a mirage effect. In simple terms, you all remember the Pokemon GO craze, right? That’s AR. In a more detailed sense, suppose you are visiting the Statue of Liberty, point your smartphone at the attraction and the AR app will let you enjoy both the digital as well as the physical experience. It can provide you with digital snippets, show the inside of Statue of Liberty, how it looks during night or day; thus, creating a unique experience. From scannable product labels, interactive Ads and catalogs, AR is now being used in countless ways in everyday life. The stats prove it too! In 2020, 83.1 million consumers in the US were estimated to have used AR on a monthly basis.

Virtual reality is another immersive technology that allows a user to shut off from our physical surroundings and completely experience a computer-generated environment using sensory equipment like headsets and gloves. The possibilities are really endless from, experiencing how it will be like if you are walking on Mars or singing onstage with your favorite band and all this without even leaving your home! Nearly 78% of Americans say that they are familiar with VR technology. Other than entertainment, it can be used for practical purposes like training pilots and surgeons or even help scientists solve complex problems like structure of protein molecules.

Immersive technology in business applications:

AR and VR have swiftly moved away from their labels of being gaming technology for entertainment industry and are now widely used by businesses to improve user experience and enhance collaborations. The global AR & VR market is predicted to grow to $209.2 billion by 2022. It is used in retail, engineering & manufacturing, construction, architecture, marketing & advertising, healthcare, tourism and education. Over 5.5 million units of AR & VR headsets were shipped in 2020. The value these immersive technologies bring to your business is only limited to your imagination.
Imagine shopping for a shoe by trying out different styles and making a purchase, but all without leaving the chair at your home. Do you wish to carry out simple maintenance job of household items or troubleshoot car problems without paying a visit to the technician? How about collaborating with your colleagues efficiently in a virtual environment while everybody is working remote from different locations? All these are possible today with AR & VR tech.
They are also transforming training programs. Medical staff and military personnel can be trained and equipped to handle life-threatening situations using immersive simulations. When physical lectures are cancelled, these technologies can be game-changing to minimize educational disruption. We all know how much students, especially the young ones, suffered for more than a year with remote classes. Immersive technology is the answer to improved remote learning.
Smart factories are utilizing AR to connect employees, upgrade production & engineering to improve business outcomes and boost revenue. Workers can measure changes, visualize finished product or structure in a risk-free environment. These immersive technologies use a highly visual and interactive method to overlay digital content over real-world environments and help employees with the relevant information to build or fix issues.

How does RPA fit into the picture of immersive tech?

RPA plays an important role in delivering immersive technologies to customers in a seamless manner. However good your AR & VR simulations are, if they do not have the necessary support from backend, they are bound to fail. RPA and AI together create software robots, which can help you automate your immersive tech processes end-to-end for a truly digital experience. RPA can perform a wide range of defined actions, streamline workflows and automate repetitive & high-volume tasks. Advanced robots can perform cognitive process like understanding text, engaging in conversations, making sense of unstructured data and apply machine learning to make complex decisions. RPA can be trained to automate the entire back-end process of AR & VR applications, simplifying the job and enhancing the experience.
With customer experience being the new battleground for establishments, immersive technology gives enterprises the competitive advantage. With Facebook already introducing Metaverse, consumers will soon expect such experience from all the brands they come across. Investing in the right and best tools like RPA and AI will help companies stay ahead of the curve and outpace competitors by building high-quality applications.

Subashini Suresh