XR to unlock the human work experience, says a futurist

The global technology industry is facing a significant transformation due to the rise of extended reality (XR) technologies, many of which are intrinsically linked to the development of new human-computer interfaces, to global events such as the COVID pandemic -19 and the progress of immersion. content.

Events such as the Integrated Systems Europe (ISE) 2022, which took place from May 10 to 13 at the Fira de Barcelona Gran Via in Spain, aimed to showcase these technological advances.

The global sector may see overlaps in the audio-visual, immersive and unified communications (UC) industries as new solutions address skills enhancement challenges and extend communications accessibility to all.

XR Today spoke to Amelia Kallman, Futurist, XR Star Podcast Host, Author and ISE Smart Workplace Summit Host in an exclusive podcast about the event and developments in virtual, augmented, mixed and extended reality (VR/AR/MR/XR).

Key takeaways from ISE 2022

Asked about her best takeaways from ISE 2022, Kallman shared how she organized the Smart Workplace Summit with representatives from companies such as Google, Microsoft, Zoom, Pexip, Crestron, Logitech and many more, which have had a strong focus on hybrid working and collaboration.

Companies have started integrating artificial intelligence (AI) and XR technologies into their systems, and the audiovisual community has been called upon to bring companies back to the office, she explained.

Kallman said the world was “in new territory” of hybrid work, where some preferred to work from home and others in the office, adding that the workforce was “all in the same storm”, citing a previous conversation with professionals Of the industry.

Businesses would need space, inclusiveness and other flexibility to accommodate both groups, with some demographics hoping to return to the office due to unaccommodating home environments.

Kallman explained that companies seeking to meet their talent retention, sustainability and mental health goals would still have to deal with the fallout from national lockdowns triggered by the pandemic, resulting in collective trauma experienced by Gen Z workers. .

Gen Z employees can potentially “be more comfortable interacting in an XR Metaverse environment than in a real-world environment,” she said, adding that companies have been forced to integrate legacy systems with new ones, especially due to the continued global shortage of semiconductors and the supply chain. .

The pandemic challenged the status quo in the workplace, where companies were faced with new technologies and questioning employee structures, the need for offices and other concerns such as the great resignation, where the workforce quit their jobs in record numbers due to an individual job overhaul. life balance.

She further explained, stating,

“The other thing is people don’t mess with their time anymore. Nobody wants to be in a room or a building they don’t like with people. They don’t like spending time they could [spend at home] at home with their children, walking their dog or [going] in the wild, so I think that’s also behind the Great Resignation that we see. American employees are realizing that they have more power, that life is short, and that we must prioritize our mental and physical health to deliver our best to the people who pay us money.

Humanity in the digital age with XR

Asked by XR Today how XR technologies could help users connect to humanistic concepts using immersive experiences, Kallman said people have “the opportunity to tap into the dormant parts of our brain and unleash new pathways to creativity”.

She cited her theory that people usually have synesthesia in childhood but eventually grow out of it as they get older. Synesthesia is the binding of multiple senses in interaction with external stimuli, which has historically been linked to the creative genius of many artists and thinkers.

She said XR could potentially unlock such abilities among users due to the rise of Metaverse and 3D world-building technologies, where people had developed immersive music, platforms, environments and experiences, which “were just emerging for the moment”.

Speaking at the Metaverse concerts, the XR Star host said she attended Travis Scott and Ariana Grande’s online events. The podcaster had interviewed Ristband executives to discuss their Metaverse music solutions for bands.

Kalman said,

“[They] use helmets to take [attendees] there to watch the band with augmented and mixed reality overlaid on top of the experience, and at times put you completely in virtual reality. You can VJ, or video DJ, experience all that live with this [with] XR Technologies and Extended Reality Overlay »

When asked if people would massively adopt the metaverse, similar to smartphones and laptops, or become cautious of space-based computing technologies, she said the metaverse would “come on its own” and that the public would embrace the platform “without even acknowledging that we are adopting it.”

She explained how the Metaverse would involve a digital overlay across the globe, which could allow smart glasses wearers to see an art exhibit, concert, or other fully interactive immersive content, inside and out. exterior of buildings, in physical environments.

She added,

“It’s going to create an entirely new industry, because not only are we going to need people to design and create these spaces, but also rent, buy, control and regulate these spaces. […] I think there’s going to be a whole new industry coming up around that.”

Speaking on her thoughts on ISE 2022, which she hosted last year in London, she explained that she first attended the exhibition in 2017 and later hosted the XR Summit for a few years.

In conclusion, she hoped the event would continue after Barcelona’s resounding success, as it was “in everyone’s conversation” and hosted “a great mix of technology and the opportunity to build partnerships”. She also noted that the audiovisual industry is “waking up to the idea” that XR technologies will become an important part of its future.

Maria D. Ervin