Navigating the disruptive landscape of immersive technologies 

November, 2023 - Shoosmiths LLP

In a recent panel session I attended at the CAN DO Summit in Glasgow featuring Lina Srebrova, XR Strategist at Digitalnauts, and Prof. Paul Chapman, Director of Emerging Technology at the Glasgow School of Art, the conversation delved into the disruptive potential of immersive technologies, particularly virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), on both society and business.

The session explored real-life examples, the challenges associated and future impacts across diverse industries, from EdTech to entertainment.

Here are some of my key takeaways from the insightful discussion:

Immersive Training for High-Risk Environments

VR proves to be a valuable training tool for employees working in high-risk environments, such as offshore drilling or skydiving. However, proper training and accurate modelling is essential, especially in life-dependent scenarios, highlighting the need for precision and attention to detail.

Collaborative Working and Emotional Connectivity

The evolution of immersive technologies, as seen in collaborations like Meta and Ray-Ban, emphasises the importance of emotional connectivity in business. Where VR and AR can facilitate collaborative working, it’s important to allow individuals to see each other and understand emotions to lead to a more connected and productive working environment.

Involving Local Governments and Businesses

Local governments can play a role in fostering a culture of change, experimentation, and education. Businesses should consider strategies for making immersive tech accessible and scalable, thinking beyond specific use cases to ensure a widespread adoption.

Overcoming Barriers in Non-Technical Industries

Immersive tech adoption in traditionally non-technical industries such as construction, faces its challenges. These barriers are being dismantled as companies enter the tech space, with advancements allowing for the creation of AR training tools without the need for extensive programming knowledge.

Combining VR with AI for Skill Development

The intersection of VR and AI holds tremendous potential for skill development. Companies like Meta are investing in research on emotions and face gestures, with others exploring how AI can enhance immersive experiences, particularly in areas like public speaking and pharmaceutical labs.

Advice for Businesses

The panel suggested for businesses to view technology as a communication and visualisation tool, understanding where and how it can be most effectively employed. With prioritisation given to understanding the business problem before introducing immersive tech and consider experimenting with prototypes through initiatives like innovation vouchers. We can see hardware costs decreasing and businesses are encouraged to experiment and find innovative solutions to their unique challenges.

The speakers emphasised the need for a thoughtful and strategic approach to immersive technologies, envisioning them not merely as tools but as catalysts for positive change in various sectors. As we navigate this evolving landscape, it becomes clear that the fusion of immersive tech and other cutting-edge innovations holds the key to unlocking unprecedented possibilities for businesses and society at large


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