Using AR VR Technologies To Deal With The COVID 19 Pandemic
Posted By : Anirudh Bhardwaj | 13-Apr-2020
The novel coronavirus, COVID-19 has foisted the biggest global threat since the second world war. Doctors, researchers, and healthcare communities have gone above and beyond to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and yet it continues to spread despite their best efforts. At the same time, millions of people have been forced to work remotely due to lockdowns imposed by the governments. As a result, most businesses have experienced some radical changes in their work culture. The question, however, is that - are these changes going to impact their operational strategies in the long run? If not, how long can we expect things to go back to normal, once the pandemic subsides?
Despite the uncertainties, companies are looking for plausible solutions to keep their businesses up and running during these trying times. A majority of companies in different industries are already using online tools and platforms such as Zoom, Skype, and Lync to conduct video conferences. However, all these apps provide a temporary solution that might not suffice for most industries if the lockdowns are extended further. That being said, technologies like Augmented and Virtual Reality may provide them an effective way to operate by rendering an immersive environment with real-life simulations. Let’s explore the feasible implications of implementing AR/VR technologies in various industries to improve work-from-home activities.
Augmented Reality vs Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are immersive technologies that are radically transforming the user experiences across different industries. Both these technologies are bridging the gap between the virtual and real world by rendering immersive experiences across a wide range of devices. However, since the two technologies are inter-related, the terms might be a bit confusing and hard to distinguish. Let’s understand the core difference between them.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality is the enhanced version of reality that adds digital elements to a live video or camera view to virtually engage the users. The first example of augmented reality was seen in a social gaming app called Pokemon Go. As of today, the technology is increasingly being used in a variety of social media apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook.
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Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality creates a fully immersive environment that appears a world apart from the user’s current surroundings. VR-based equipment shuts out the physical space around a person and takes him into a computer-generated world of sounds and imagery. There is a variety of VR glasses and head-mounts available in the market that let you experience a virtual world. Some commonly used VR devices include Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Google Cardboard.
Using AR/VR To Undermine The Impact of COVID-19
The global health crisis inflicted by COVID-19 has forced millions of people worldwide to self-isolate in their homes. A majority of employees associated with different companies are working from home as per the imposed guidelines for social distancing. Amid this chaotic disbalance, as people continue to self-isolate themselves, companies can use VR simulations to conduct effective training programs. Similarly, schools, colleges, and universities can introduce VR-based learning courses to ensure their students are making the most out of their quarantine period.
Several technology companies have already invented VR techniques that enable users to perform complex world-related tasks from the comfort of their homes. For example, Microsoft has recently introduced an AR-based HoloLens that aims to facilitate collaboration between surgeons and industrial workers over long distances. Similarly, the social giant Facebook has teamed up with Oculus to create a virtual space where people can meet and communicate while sitting miles away from each other. The virtual space would include both AR and VR elements to connect people over long distances.
Both these applications of AR/VR technologies may prove game-changers under the current circumstances. Besides, if globally imposed lockdowns are extended for a longer period of time, then we may need more promising solutions using AR/VR.
The major limitation of virtual reality is that it is only available to the elite class users. Similarly, augmented reality is currently inaccessible to a large portion of the world population. Understandably, the technologies are cutting edge but yet quite expensive. Considering the required applications, small-to-medium enterprises may not be able to cope up with the financial requirements to implement AR/VR on a large-scale. For example, the normal VR headsets cost around $400 with the most basic VR functionality. Taking that into account, implementing AR/VR techniques may not work out for many companies and organizations across the globe.
You may also be interested in reading Transforming The Entertainment Industry With Virtual Reality
The COVID-19 outbreak has pulverized the world economy as industries are struggling to cope up with the damaging ramifications of this pandemic. A large number of companies are at risk of shutting down if the situation doesn’t improve in the coming weeks. Under these circumstances, adopting AR/VR technologies can make lives easier by bridging the gap between the virtual and real worlds.
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Anirudh is a Content Strategist and Marketing Specialist who possess strong analytical skills and problem solving capabilities to tackle complex project tasks. Having considerable experience in the technology industry, he produces and proofreads insightful content on next-gen technologies like AI, blockchain, ERP, big data, IoT, and immersive AR/VR technologies. In addition to formulating content strategies for successful project execution, he has got ample experience in handling WordPress/PHP-based projects (delivering from scratch with UI/UX design, content, SEO, and quality assurance). Anirudh is proficient at using popular website tools like GTmetrix, Pagespeed Insights, ahrefs, GA3/GA4, Google Search Console, ChatGPT, Jira, Trello, Postman (API testing), and many more. Talking about the professional experience, he has worked on a range of projects including Wethio Blockchain, BlocEdu, NowCast, IT Savanna, Canine Concepts UK, and more.