Defining digital reality
Digital reality is generally defined as the wide spectrum of technologies and capabilities that inhere in AR, VR, MR, 360° video, and the immersive experience, enabling simulation of reality in various ways (see figure 1).
Key Players in Digital Reality
In terms of key players, the digital reality space can be divided into areas of activity:
- Tools/content—platforms, apps, capture tools, etc.
- Application content—information from industry, analytics, social, etc.
- Infrastructure—hardware, data systems, HMDs, etc.
Increasing investment in infrastructure may drive the growth of software and content, leading to new practical applications and, possibly, an infusion of digital reality software development talent
Building blocks of digital reality
Digital reality enables the seamless use of digital information to make choices in real time as we accomplish tasks.
The three key foundational elements that reinforce digital reality (figure 2) are as follows:
Source of data
The process begins at the point where information is created, taking us outside the territory of pure digital reality and into another connected technology, the IoT. Users of digital reality need to access digital information about the world in real time from various sources via sensors, and communicate that information so that it can be collected, evaluated, and acted upon, which is what the IoT is all about.7Enterprise data—customer relationship management (CRM), enterprise resource planning (ERP), computer aided design (CAD)—can present the user with content and help him/her identify the next action. Analytics, platform computing, and network can also be important components of an overall solution.
Method of presentation
An information overload can overwhelm users, which could in turn lead to poor performance. The data provided should be sufficient but not excessive, depending on the complexity of the application. Much of the current research into digital reality focuses on how to present relevant digital information in increasingly natural, easy-to-comprehend, contextual ways, so that users can absorb it effortlessly.
Interaction with and use of data to drive action
Even the right data presented in the right way would be of no use if it doesn’t create value. Digital reality not only enables the display of digital information, but also the control of it in increasingly natural ways. Digital reality takes the comparison of human and machine one step further by enabling us to ponder the question: “What happens if humans and the machines collaborate?” It is fundamentally about making the human-machine team work as naturally as possible.