FIRA Barcelona, Gran Vía
1-4 February 2022

RISE Spotlight: XR in Today's RealityVirtual Meets

Attendees discuss what excites them about XR

XR in Today’s Reality culminated in a trio of Virtual Meets with panel members and attendees sharing their thoughts on the role of XR now and in the future.

XR and the Future of Events, featuring futurist Amelia Kallman and AVIXA’s Sean Wargo (pictured here with Integrated Systems Events Managing Director Mike Blackman), considered how the technology can create differentiation, enhance experiences and drive revenue-generating opportunities in markets from education and training to retail and live events.

Examples cited included integrating AR and VR into events such as trade shows, conferences and concerts to both reach a wider potential audience and attract a more varied speaker pool. The opportunity to add holograms to a speaker programme or stage concerts using artist holograms proved particularly popular with the audience.

Elsewhere, creating a digital retail space using XR that more closely replicates an in-store experience, rather than a simple virtual tour, was cited as a way to encourage spend during difficult times; while XR could be invaluable in training, especially in sectors such as construction where the danger element could be eliminated.

For integrators, there are a number of opportunities and the message was not to be afraid to experiment. The corporate sector in particular was cited as an area of interest, with more and more companies building production facilities to invest in content capture and distribution to keep audiences engaged. XR could be a key part of these spaces so by adding to their capabilities, integrators will be at the forefront of this growing industry.

At the same time Alexandra Hussenot, CEO of Immersionn, led a session on 5G and its potential impact on XR experiences. As she highlighted, Covid and 5G are creating a desire for XR experiences, but many – such as the recent Fortnite concert series – require a games console to take part. In the future the hope is that these events will become more accessible as the potential for content to be created and received will be greatly enhanced thanks to 5G. The opportunities in terms of low-latency, real-time live events is also an area to watch.

Elsewhere, the visitor attractions sector looks set to benefit from the combination of 5G and XR. For example, museums and galleries will be able to create new viewing experiences and make their content available to more people; there are even examples of artists basing entire exhibitions on 5G.

The third session, led by CEDIA content director Ed Wenck and Tony Edwards, managing director of Jooced Custom Sound and Vision, looked at how XR is being applied to the real world.

Edwards explained how he is already using the Oculus Go headset to present a virtual showroom and to enable clients to have their cinema room designed and developed in VR.

This ability to immerse the client in the environment has already had a positive impact on sales and with the speed of production increasing both for full mock ups and design alterations, the future looks bright.

Speaking of the future, and the hope is the addition of spatial audio and haptics will add to the immersive experience, with the 360-view complemented by the ability to hear and touch what’s going on in a space. Another game changer would be if clients could change their environment in real time in order to refine designs.

VR also has the potential to create additional revenue streams, whether that’s working with architects, designers and construction teams to create VR designs, or actually building VR spaces such as golf or driving simulation rooms.