Why excitement about extended reality (XR) is good news for WebRTC developers
by Michelle Chen, on August 26, 2020
It is truly an exciting time for WebRTC developers, especially given the rapid adoption of extended reality (XR) collaboration platforms by Fortune 500 companies. Extended reality, the umbrella term encompassing AR, VR, and XR, has become a technology capable of wielding the power of flexible WebRTC-based live video, which in turn unlocks the capabilities of real-time multi-party live video and audio streaming.
As such, extended reality applications are bringing value to organizations seeking to improve their bottom lines and open up new business opportunities. These are some concrete examples of opportunities that are convincing organizations to invest in multi-party XR collaboration platforms:
- virtual platform accessibility
- remote team collaboration
- complex data interactions
- customization for specific use cases
- employee training and onboarding
- remote field assistance servicing
- resources and tools accessibility
- sales of complex products and services
- integrations with existing workflows
Let’s dive into some of these value propositions more deeply and explore what is convincing organizations to invest in extended reality applications powered by flexible WebRTC-based live video SDKs.
Virtual Platform Accessibility
One amazing way businesses are finding value in flexible extended reality collaboration platforms is the ability for users to access virtual rooms on any device, browser and platform. A prime example of this is Cavrnus Spaces, an enterprise-grade XR platform where its multi device functionality has made it a desirable platform for organizations. CavrnusTM users can freely join a session from any device including Windows, macOS, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Magic Leap and retain the freedom to switch to a different device within the same session. This benefit enables organizations to immerse their employees and prospective customers within their virtual environment with the widest accessible range of devices out there.
Remote Team Collaboration
Extending point #1 is the concept that the days of restrictive remote team collaboration platforms are now gone. A new contender in the collaboration tools space is extended reality (XR) where remote teams can collaborate in virtual spaces in real-time and access a host of features non-existent in traditional video conferencing applications. Teams can connect from all over the world, unrestricted by geography. With such a platform, organizations can reduce travel expenses, minimize travel between offices, and also achieve the same, if not more efficient, collaborative experience.
Complex Data Interactions
The manipulation of complex data in a virtual 3D environment also brings extended reality platforms another degree of flexibility. For many industries where working with complex datasets and information is paramount, XR collaboration systems are capable of ensuring that user teams can interact within these spaces. For example, XR platforms can ingest various file types such as those produced by drone imaging. Engineers are then empowered through these platforms to manipulate and interact with these renderings at a 1:1: scale.
Customization For Specific Use Cases
Organizations are also tapping into the flexibility of multi-party XR platforms because the technology is capable of meeting their specific use cases requirements. A flexible platform enables organizations to build and customize their solution to best fit their exact needs. For example, Drops Labs’ clients have leveraged their extended reality solution by embedding AI capabilities into the live video component. This means that companies such as biomedical manufacturing facilities can allow employees access to specialized information in real-time, thus minimizing errors during production.
Video: Drops Lab builds smart assistance technology that combines the power of artificial intelligence and augmented reality with multi-party live video to improve employee productivity, reduce workforce errors, and to streamline specialized processes.
Employee Training and Onboarding
Thought leaders in the virtual training space recognize virtual and extended reality as elegant solutions to problems associated with information retention during employee training. Favoured in use cases such as VR medical training and emergency response training in oil and gas, organizations are seeing a ROI because employees are able to grasp complex information sets quicker than ever before. There are other benefits of virtual training in a 3D environment, such as:
- Reducing transportation costs
- Reducing costs associated with the coordination of training
- Standardizing specialized information and complex procedures
- Making specialized information available post-orientation
Overall, the business case for virtual 3D training is growing with the advent of flexible extended reality platforms that harness the power of multi-party live video, voice, and messaging.
Remote Field Assistance Servicing
Extended reality has also found its way into remote field assistance applications. Organizations such as Deutsche Telekom leverage multi-party video and voice chat in their field service platforms AR FieldAdvisor to connect field operators with teams located in the office -- all in real time.
With the advent of XR, organizations have been able to reduce travel expenses and delays in service, providing their customers with immediate solutions, where in the past issues would have taken multiple visits to solve.
Why is WebRTC live video a critical component of these remote field applications? A professionally supported WebRTC-based SDK enables these applications to automatically adapt their video connections in real-time using sophisticated methods such as automatic bandwidth estimation, thus adjusting for lower bandwidth that is often encountered at remote worksites.
Resources and Tools Accessibility
Virtual platforms can assist remote technicians and front-line employees by empowering them to take ownership of the resources and tools available to them. We see this with Drops Lab who are enabling organizations to digitize their internal workflows to ensure staff can continuously access resources when they need it from an iPad or a pair of smart glasses. This has been shown to reduce employee errors, improve productivity, and ensure processes and information are standardized. XR as a medium allows staff to return to 3D spaces with pre-created training simulations or to access 3D renderings of complex machinery to refresh their understanding of how to work with these machines.
Sales of Complex Products and Services
One brilliant use case of XR platforms is immersive product showcasing. Organizations are turning to XR platforms supported by live video and voice chat for their sales operation. Virtual showrooms reduce operational costs required to manufacture a prototype or rent physical retail spaces to demo products.
For example, automotive companies are leveraging virtual 3D showrooms where sales consultants can facilitate discussions with prospective customers and guide them through their purchases with a 1:1 scale of their product (Paretski, 2020). The prospects join a virtual room from anywhere in the world without requiring to travel, thus opening companies to a whole different dimension of virtual retail.
Integrations With Existing Workflows
Building on the previous point is the ability for multi-party live video to integrate smoothly with an organization's existing workflows. Whether a company chooses to install an XR platform on the Cloud or On-Premises, one key benefit of working with XR is the ability for companies to integrate services seamlessly into their internal workflows. Even the video component can be customized to fit existing workflows, when XR companies leverage professionally-serviced live video SDKs that can be customized at all points within the media pipeline. Another highlight of multi-party XR is the ability for these platforms to remain constantly updated, right down to the video component, so companies can rest assured that they will spend minimal time updating or maintaining their software in accordance to their infrastructure requirements.
Wrapping It Up
The possibilities are endless with multi-party live video XR. Organizations have grown aware of the value propositions presented by extended reality and have begun to realize that XR, combined with WebRTC-based multi-party live video, can solve their complex organizational challenges and position them for success. With examples from Drops Lab, Cavrnus Spaces, Deutsche Telekom and many more, it is evident that organizations and extended reality platforms benefit greatly from flexible, multi-party live video and voice streaming -- a very exciting piece of good news for WebRTC developers.
As live video developers, we invite you to explore how live video can augment XR applications and to see for yourself how our award-winning, enterprise-grade live video SDKs for LiveSwitch Server and LiveSwitch Cloud can get you developing faster than ever before.