Harvard Business Review Survey Finds Significant Growth in Enterprise Deployment of Mixed Reality

Virtual reality (VR) companies have seen mixed uptake of immersive technology by consumers, with a core demographic of gamers worldwide embracing the new tech and what it can achieve. On the business side however implementation of VR, augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) has been far more impressive, with companies finding innovative uses from training to streamlining design processes. Recently, Microsoft partnered up with Harvard Business Review Analytic Services  to conduct a survey investigating the role and importance of MR within the context of the modern workplace.

Volvo Hololens

They surveyed 394 executives of companies spanning several industries, from manufacturing, engineering, and construction to retail, defense, and education, ensuring each had more than 250 employees. The report found that over 68 percent of respondents believe MR is important to achieving their companies’ strategic goals in the next 18 months. This was then broken down further, highlighting 49 percent of those interviewed reporting that their companies are piloting or implementing the technology in their workplace, while 38 percent are exploring possible use cases.

These use cases are being expanded upon everyday. The car manufacturing industry has been one of the most notable for its implementation of immersive technology, using it to design new cars far faster than traditional methods or to use it as a means of promoting new products.

“In countries where there are not a lot of highend dealerships, a salesperson could bring the mixed reality technology to a prospective buyer’s home and let him ‘see’ what the automobile would look like in his driveway,” said Allan Cook, managing director for Deloitte Consulting. “Based on that, they could decide it might make sense to bring an actual automobile to the buyer, or have him make a trip to the showroom.”

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Yet it is as a training and education tool that mixed reality is seen as most beneficial, with 54 percent of respondents identifying with the use case. This was closely followed by visualizing and analyzing data at 49 percent.

To seriously consider using mixed reality one of the greatest factors any business must consider is cost, is it cost effective to begin using MR? The report notes that: ‘Cook analyzed a stack of mixed reality use cases for the field services unit of a large telecommunications firm and determined that spending $10 million on mixed reality technology would likely result in $50 million to $90 million in costs avoided. The potential paybacks included savings from having to send out fewer repair trucks.’

As MR continues to be explored as a new viable enterprise solution, VRFocus will keep you updated.