What Is Extended Reality?

We are at the dawn of extended reality. And if you’re not sure what that means, here’s the quick version:

Extended Reality (XR) is the blanket term for all combinations of real and virtual content generated by computer technology and wearables. This broad category of “XR” includes some terms you may have heard before: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, and Mixed Reality. Learn how to invest in all three here.

The term “Extended Reality” was most likely adopted by companies and the media because of ongoing confusion about the differences between VR, AR, and MR and serves as a blanket term when referring to any of these technologies.

Luckily, you now have one term to fall back on when you are in doubt. Extended reality.

Zuckerberg, bullish on VR

Zuckerberg, bullish on VR

But our language and definitions about this industry aren’t the only thing that’s been evolving... Extended reality has finally captured the attention of businesses, entrepreneurs, and billionaire investors. Big players spread across a swath of different industries and countries.

And that’s why XR tech investment has exploded in the last five years. Regardless of the positive trend, the mainstream media and online news outlets have expressed serious doubt about the survival of the XR industry.

A lot of this speculation comes from a recent declining trend in consumer headset sales. Some argue that without headset demand from consumers, the future demand for XR hardware and software looks dim.

But contradicting the naysayers, VR and AR as a whole are seeing increased spending and investment—with many companies focusing on the developer-targeted and B2B markets. Research shows that since 2016, XR goggle rentals have increased by a whopping 158%.

Additionally—consider that augmented reality falls under the extended reality umbrella. With that in mind, there’s no doubt many XR applications will be immediately deployable to smartphones across the world. Companies like InkHunter and Snapchat are good examples of AR in action. Not to mention Pokemon Go, a worldwide phenomenon!

All-in-all, the future of XR is bright. And though the subcategory of mixed reality has significant technological obstacles to overcome, companies like Microsoft have already delivered a functioning product to the market—and the U.S. military for that matter.

Spending data and surveys conducted around the world indicate that XR will play a critical role in offices, educational institutions, hospitals, factories—and our personal favorite—corporate America.

The company Spatial Systems recently launched a video campaign promising “face-to-face” augmented reality meetings. An exciting development for telecommuters around the world.

While AR, VR, and MR may be in slightly different stages in their innovation life-cycle, we believe all of them are in their infancy. And investors who start looking for opportunities right now will stand to gain the most.

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