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What industry that enterprise XR has not yet cracked will end up being a huge growth driver?

What industry that enterprise XR has not yet cracked will end up being a huge growth driver?

Soft skills training, diagnostic medicine and retail are among the growth areas, according to members of the Protocol Braintrust.

Good afternoon! Enterprise XR isn't everywhere yet, but market projections have pointed towards potentially huge growth for years. So we asked the experts to think through the industries that could have biggest effects on that growth, specifically those where significant inroads haven't yet been made. Questions or comments? Send us a note at

Derek Belch

Co-founder and CEO at Strivr

There are two key areas that I believe will be a huge growth driver for enterprise XR, the first being the hospitality and entertainment industry. This services-based "super sector" will soon begin to re-open doors for business, and we'll likely see a hiring surge from companies trying to rebalance staffing numbers post-pandemic-related furloughs and layoffs. Some of these workers will be returning, but some may be completely new to the industry — either way, companies will need rapid but effective onboarding, upskilling and reskilling programs in place to get employees ready to confidently handle safety protocols, customer service and other new tasks their jobs may require. VR-based Immersive Learning can be a key element for these onboarding and training programs, especially when they must be executed at scale with the highest engagement, speed and consistency. VR has helped companies like Walmart reduce training time by 96% on one new service technology alone, and with this example of success, XR/VR technologies in industries like retail give a good indication that industries with similar operational and training needs will soon follow suit.

I believe the second area of growth for XR lies in the traditional approach to soft skills training. This space has long been ripe for disruption, and as a result of the pandemic, has become even more challenged with outdated programs unable to provide effective and impactful training for dispersed workforces. Enterprise VR-based Immersive Learning enables experiential training programs at scale, enabling the development of what some like global industry analyst Josh Bersin call "power skills" that are now even more critical for important topics like DE&I, interpersonal relationships and customer service.

Walter Delph

Chief Business Officer at Magic Leap

While I wouldn't characterize the health care industry as one that "enterprise XR has not yet cracked," it is an industry that is often perceived as slow to adopt new technology. But in reality, this industry has many examples of early adoption of technology when it can prove a value to clinical practice and patient outcomes. XR has a unique opportunity to transform both the patient and provider experiences — not just in medical education but also in the operating room, at the clinic and in the patient's home.

Most evident, we've seen the need for more expansive telemedicine capabilities due to the pandemic and macro trends to reduce the overall impact on the climate. XR can provide a more robust experience than traditional, 2D healthcare interactions. We are also working with a number of partners who are using our device to deliver digital diagnostics and therapeutics that have the potential to replace expensive medical devices that require fixed locations. People will be able to receive the care they need in new locations, closer to home.

While this may seem like the "doctor's office of tomorrow," we are already seeing XR advancements adopted today. A team of 30 at UC Davis Children's Hospital were preparing to operate on conjoined twins last October. For such a critical surgery, the team needed to map and understand the complex network of blood vessels shared by the twins prior to surgery. The surgeons used the Mixed Reality Viewer from Brainlab to convert 2D radiology images of the twins into 3D renderings on our Magic Leap head-mounted device so that they could practice and plan for this life-changing surgery.

XR has the power to do more than simply transform the relationship between health and technology, it has the opportunity to transform lives and we are excited to be a part of that.

Kyle Jackson

CEO and Co-founder at Talespin

Extended Reality (XR) technology, which includes virtual and augmented reality, has been used for job training for decades (think flight simulators and military training). Enterprises are now adopting it across both hard and soft skills training use cases. One industry that I believe XR has the power to become a major growth driver in is Human Capital Management (HCM). Here's why:

XR is poised to be a game changer for talent management and development because of its ability to accelerate learning, and provide advanced skills data. We recently conducted a study in partnership with PwC to determine the efficacy of enterprise VR training. The study concluded that VR is a more effective medium for learning compared to traditional methods like classroom and e-learning. This study is an example of the impact of XR on employee training. As use cases continue to emerge that demonstrate the efficacy of immersive learning, more enterprises will adopt it to power their talent development.

This is why I believe XR training is a critical element and natural extension of HCM. We will be able to deploy skills on demand through immersive content and collaboration technologies. This will fundamentally transform business and allow organizations to quickly mobilize qualified individuals to fill talent gaps. XR is a scalable solution that offers employees the tools they need to be successful throughout their career journey. It also provides employers a more effective way to assess training performance and skills data, setting employees up for successful reskilling and professional development.

Adaora Udoji

Emerging Tech & Media Consultant at The Boshia Group

Every industry. We are just now seeing the tip of the iceberg for optimized XR applications. From the auto industry, designing cars, to soft skills training for retail or brand digital experiences from Nike to Disney, XR use cases are fairly small scale but qualitative and quantitive evidence revealing material effectiveness is stacking up. That will explode in the next 12 to 24 months. The current pace of innovation has radically accelerated given the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, the growing number of successful XR applications and the monstrous investment in the next generation of XR by Apple, Facebook and Google, among others.

Most importantly, across industries from banking to medicine, real estate, education, engineering/construction, industrial manufacturing, advertising, media and entertainment, companies are experimenting with various combinations of XR and robotics, content, head-set free applications, mobile, not to mention the building out of the Metaverse (the seamless movement between the digital and real-world via a variety of devices, mobiles, watches, etc.). Look for serious movement in medical XR use from teaching first-year students anatomy to surgery, increased mass applications for education and training, industrial manufacturing platforms from risk management, product development to consumer experiences, to retail, entertainment and financial services, particularly for data visualization uses.

Brian Vogelsang

Senior Director of XR Product Management at Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

Some of greatest potential for AR and VR is the technologies' ability to upskill people quickly and make workplaces safer, and we believe training will be a big growth driver within the manufacturing enterprise. For example, if a company had a seasonal workforce where manufacturing ramps up for pique periods, they need to bring on more staff and get them up to speed quickly. XR can speed up the on-boarding process immensely, enabling interactive training sessions with a higher degree of employee engagement and retention. Realistic training scenarios that would otherwise be expensive or dangerous can be simulated, and training can be run on-demand without the need for an instructor on-site.​

John Tomizuka

Co-founder and CTO at Taqtile

I think the thing to look out for are the industries that can benefit from a common UI. If you think of AR as a potential standard UI layer on top of the real world, you could start to imagine massively easier to use systems and massively quicker diagnosis of problems as well as common language for identifying problems.

Today, I would argue that the smartphone is becoming the ubiquitous UI for consumer products. You need an app to set up your home cameras and to get the rental information for your vacation or log your workout. With ubiquitous AR, the UI for all things will be exposed with an AR layer, making virtual control and use of everything from industrial equipment to simple switches in our home to medical diagnosis completely contextual and relevant. Imagine if your vital signs were visible to a doctor viewing you through AR glasses.

Now imagine if he could superimpose your X-rays or brain scans over your own body. Having self-explanatory notes about equipment with very little knowledge about what they are doing will propel industry forward in a way never seen before. These devices and systems will be designed to tell people how to fix them. Ultimately, the hyper-contextual data and information that AR promises will make the UI for the real world less abstract and will appear directly on the world. This will make the use, control, and maintenance of things in our world seamless, easy and scalable and, in turn, will have major impact on labor, training and overall quality of life.

See who's who in the Protocol Braintrust and browse every previous edition by category here (Updated March 11, 2021).
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