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2020 has quickly become the largest work from home experiment in history. And with more people at home, creative solutions that help people stay connected are even more imperative.
Sixty-two percent of employed Americans say they have worked from home during the crisis, and over half say they prefer to continue working remotely as much as possible, once public health restrictions are lifted. With this information top of mind, key players in the augmented and virtual reality space are working to reimagine virtual worlds into virtual office spaces.
Technology roadmaps can be unpredictable for augmented and virtual reality applications, and building virtual experiences for remote workers and shoppers come with its share of challenges.
For example, startups like Spatial are building AR/VR platforms for office collaboration. Its platform allows avatars to join meetings and manipulate digital objects in real time within a virtual world. Big tech companies are also reportedly building headsets in anticipation of the shift to virtual offices, however, communication and collaboration can be strained in a virtual office due to the lack of physical cues from body language and facial expressions.
Another thing to consider is that perceived risk associated with making a purchase sight unseen increases. Retailers like Nike already use AR to bridge the gap between in-person and online shopping experiences, but the opportunity for impulse buys or split-second moments of inspiration may be greatly reduced without the sensory experience of a physical store. Still, AR and VR technology present a promising opportunity for humans and machines to work together to reimagine the world around us.
Here are some common challenges faced with AR and VR application development:
When it comes to overcoming AR and VR challenges, quality AI training data matters. 98 percent accuracy with semantic segmentation is needed to even remove the background for an AR application. And, without a precise understanding of motion or accurate perception of the environment, the realism of AR and VR applications is lost, and the user’s experience is greatly impaired. For example, before you can eliminate hand controllers, you need to first understand what your hands and fingers are trying to do i.e. point at something, grab something, wave at someone, etc., and collect data relevant to that use case.
Everything from localization and mapping, the way computers visualize the world, and semantics such as how computers understand the world as we do are all concerns that must be addressed for production level AR and VR. This is where the quality of your training data makes a difference.
Access our checklist on how to ensure quality training data for ML models.
The oasis, the metaverse, the mirror world, the AR cloud—whichever name you choose to call the virtual and augmented realities we’ve come to know—has a bright future ahead.
“The AR Cloud is going to become the single most important software infrastructure in the history of computing, far bigger than Facebook’s Social Graph or Google’s Search Index.”
- Ori Inbar, Super Ventures
Beyond games and entertainment, VR is being used for remote work, sports training, education, etc. VR simulations have even proven helpful in the fight against the novel coronavirus, and 30 percent of consumers surveyed would never go to a retail store again if AR allowed them to buy the right size clothing with confidence.
It’s clear that the multi-billion dollar virtual goods industry has great potential, but it will need to overcome challenges like insufficient internet bandwidth and high-costs for hardware, as well as garner greater public interest before the tech can be fully realized.
The promise of 5G means faster network speeds, more reliable connections and greater wireless connectivity to power the future of augmented and virtual reality. With its emergence, we can expect cloud computing so seamless that AR and VR experiences begin to blur the lines between real-life and the digital world. However, the disconnect between platforms and users in terms of how complex these virtual experiences can and should be may be a challenge that even 5G cannot solve.
Key players like Sony, Oculus, Google and Microsoft have the advantage of experience, end-to-end infrastructure and market share to support AR and VR application development, while emerging and established startups search for creative solutions to back-end problems such as localization and mapping, as well as user adoption. Augmented and virtual reality applications that solve a critical use case, leverage strategic partnerships and show inarguable potential for profit and growth have the strongest chance to thrive in the AR / VR market.
Learn how Walmart Labs works with our team to make sure its machine learning model is set up for success.
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