The 'x' in 'xReality' represents the spectrum of ‘realities’ we use to create solutions. This spectrum includes technologies like Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR). Explore the xReality Spectrum as well as its evolution over time.
Environmental input and perception
In recent decades, the relationship between humans and computers has continued to evolve by means of input methods.
A new discipline has emerged that's known as human-computer interaction or "HCI". Human input can now include keyboards, mice, touch, ink, voice, and physical gestures.
Advancements in sensors and processing power are creating new computer perceptions of environments based on advanced input methods.
Environmental inputs can capture:
a person's body position in the physical world (head tracking)
objects, surfaces, and boundaries (spatial mapping and scene understanding)
ambient lighting and sound
The xReality Spectrum
The xReality Spectrum is an industry term categorising the forms of immersion into digital space.
The XR Spectrum starts with ‘physical reality’ and completes once reality becomes fully virtually immersive (virtual reality). Degrees of immersion across the spectrum include Augmented Reality (AR), Mixed Reality (MR), and Virtual Reality (VR). We embrace all degrees of this spectrum (AR, MR, VR) to create services with advanced functions.
Physical Reality (PR)
Augmented Reality (AR)
Mixed Reality (MR)
Virtual Reality (VR)
Evolution of xReality
The Evolution of xReality is a roadmap for understanding how xReality applications are evolving for the future.
From basic model visualisation to Artificially Intelligent real-time assistance, xReality is and will continue to experience unprecedented growth and innovation. Check out the levels of evolution below.
No 3D capability
3D Mixed Reality Visualisation
Level 0 represents the stage most businesses are in. At level 0, companies have no 3D capability and are still operating via traditional methods, i.e. 2D (interfaces, systems, processes, and communication methods).
Level 1 introduces 3D visualisation of information such as CAD, CT, and 3D models in a collaborative environment.
3D Mixed Reality Digital rehearsal
In addition to level 1, Level 2 includes additional data from external sources such as programme information, planned sequential surgical procedures, and specific lines of business information including the ability to record and replay scenarios.
3D Mixed Reality Simulation
In addition to level 2, Level 3 passes additional data from any external system through AI powered gateways to organise and represent the information at relevant levels of detail to the user. Blockchain technologies manage identity and compliance to enable enterprise grade solutions.
Real-time 3D Mixed Reality Simulation
In addition to level 3, Level 4 harnesses real-time, live information from IoT devices and surrounding physical and virtual environments.
AI Assisted Real-time 3D Mixed Reality Simulation
In addition to level 4, Level 5 combines real-time information with machine learning (ML) to provide predictive analysis. The inclusion of an additional AI powered personal assistant manages massive amounts of information by performing various tasks like data analysis, safety analysis, translation, and communication on behalf of the user.
What is the ‘Metaverse’?
The term “Metaverse” is being exploited by many companies (marketing departments) to further business goals. This has created public frustration and misunderstanding.
“The term "metaverse" originated in the 1992 science fiction novel Snow Crash, as a portmanteau of "meta" and "universe". Metaverse development is often linked to advancing virtual reality technology due to increasing demands for immersion. Recent interest in metaverse development is influenced by Web3, a concept for a decentralized iteration of the internet. Web3 and The Metaverse have been used as buzzwords to exaggerate development progress of various related technologies and projects for public relations purposes.."
- Wikipedia, Snow Crash
“The Metaverse is a collective virtual open space, created by the convergence of virtually enhanced physical and digital reality. It is physically persistent and provides enhanced immersive experiences. Activities that take place in isolated environments (buying digital land and constructing virtual homes, participating in a virtual social experience, etc.) will eventually take place in the Metaverse."
- Gartner, What is the Metaverse?
“Let’s start by defining the term, and no, it is not the metaverse first imagined by Neal Stephenson in 1992’s “Snow Crash.” Instead, it is a persistent, digital world that is connected to many aspects of the physical world, including people, places and things. The metaverse enables shared experiences across both the physical and digital worlds. As enterprises accelerate their digital transformation, the metaverse can help people meet up in a digital environment, make meetings more comfortable with the use of avatars and facilitate creative collaboration from all around the world.
The Microsoft Cloud provides a comprehensive set of resources designed to power metaverses – there will be more than one! – IoT capabilities that enable customers to create “digital twins” of physical objects in the cloud; utilizing Microsoft Mesh to build a shared sense of presence on devices; and using AI-powered resources to create natural interactions through speech and vision machine learning models."
- Microsoft, Microsoft Cloud at Ignite 2021: Metaverse, AI and hyper connectivity in a hybrid world
Don’t over-think it (or rebrand everything). The “Metaverse” for lack of a better word is the total sum of the 5 levels above.