AR/VR from the Office to the FIFA World Cup: Recent Glimpses into an XR Future

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By Eric Abbruzzese | 4Q 2022 | IN-6795

A few notable things happened to round out a dynamic 2022 for Augmented Reality (AR)/Virtual Reality (VR). At the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, in-person attendees were able to use an AR companion application on smartphones for real-time statistics viewing during games. A survey by Meta across employees and business leaders in the United States and United Kingdom held some interesting data points suggesting a level of interest in and openness to greater Extended Reality (XR) usage at work. And automakers, Honda especially, are expanding XR usage.

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Usage across Use Cases


It feels like for years we have been saying that Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are at a precipice before seeing widespread adoption. This has not happened for a number of reasons in the past—poor hardware performance, lack of engaging content, and high price of entry—but today it has never looked more promising for Extended Reality (XR) going forward. While mass market adoption will not happen in the next year, some important maturation and testing of waters across domains points to both interest and likely adoption at scale.

  • At the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, in-person attendees at the stadiums were able to use the FIFA+ app for AR content in real time. This included AR-powered statistics that tracked the game and players in real time, as well as other interactive content options like replay selections and alternate camera angles.
  • Honda is expanding its VR usage in the design phase, and it is not alone in the automotive world. Bugatti has moved almost entirely to digital and VR for its design work. Ford, Audi, BMW, Porsche, Toyota, and many other Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) are using XR in both upstream and downstream automotive applications, with promising results thus far.
  • Meta conducted a survey of 2,000 of its employees and some business leaders to understand the user outlook for XR in the workplace.

Not Yet Ubiquitous, but Leading to It


AR and sports have been partners for decades, depending on the definition of “augmented reality.” American football has used on-field markers for years to the point where it seems unnatural when the markers are not shown. Advertising and marketing AR overlays are also growing in popularity; the National Hockey League (NHL) recently began using AR-overlaid ads on the rink boards to enable local advertising replacement. The World Cup’s inclusion of AR as an in-person value add was a natural progression of this and joined with other digital-first stadium experiences that have been trialed in recent years.

For enterprises, XR has been a more viable option. Honda looks to VR mainly for an efficiency boost, rather than outright new capabilities in design. Remote collaboration and real-time, at scale visualization can save time and travel costs. Honda was early to the VR game, opening dedicated design studios in Japan and the United States to facilitate collaboration in 2020 facing COVID-19-related travel restrictions. That being said, only recently, have the first vehicles that used VR in their design processes gone into production and assembly; the supply and production chain for automotive is long-reaching, showing how important efficient design and prototyping phases can be.

Honda is far from the first automaker to adopt XR, nor is it the first to scale deployments. Ford was an early mixed reality adopter with the Microsoft HoloLens, targeting very similar design and collaboration use cases. Bugatti is fully invested in VR, positioning the technology as a complete replacement for clay modeling and prototyping phases; the company cites a 40% reduction in total design time when using VR.

On the more corporate side, Meta’s survey had some surprising results: 60% of employees stated they’d like to see VR headsets used in their groups; 19% stated that video helps with meeting presence; and even fewer felt that video helps with collaboration. Among the business leaders polled, 75% have budgeted for AR, VR, or the metaverse in 2022, with 80% expecting to spend more over the next 2 years. Granted, employee responses are expected to be skewed favorably toward using XR considering Meta’s focus areas, but the business leader responses confirming investment also lend credence to XR’s likely growth.

Enterprise Is "Easy," Consumer Is Not


Automotive OEMs leveraging AR/VR more fully is not a surprise. The time to value and ultimate Return on Investment (ROI) for XR technologies in enterprise is well known and quite significant. Just examining travel cost savings, devices can pay off in as little as one saved trip. Downtime and slowdown reduction, along a similar vein, can be dramatically beneficial. Working on a 2 to 3-year development lifecycle for a car, it’s easy to see where XR can fit in, ensuring fewer slowdowns and downtime. The visual and “hands on” nature of automotive design is also uniquely fit for VR, where there has not been a true digital substitute for in-person design, prototyping, clay modeling, etc. VR will not entirely supplant that hands-on portion, but it will—and already does for many OEMs—improve the process on the whole.

Consumer XR usage is a harder sell, as there is little cohesion around what users will want. The World Cup in-stadium example is actually a very representative look at current AR value add and what it could look like in the coming years. The experience is unique and interesting, but clunky—having to hold the device up and interact with a smartphone takes away much of the live viewing experience. This is a perfect use case for smart glasses as they become more ubiquitous; all of the same visualization and interaction, but seamlessly delivered. This is true for so many of the current AR use cases on mobile—valuable, but too clunky to be seamless for users. As smart glasses come into play, those same experiences become far more natural and valuable.

Meta’s survey results are an interesting mix of surprising and expected, with user sentiment perhaps more positive than expected, while leaders’ views of XR investment importance makes sense with known XR value. Considering Meta’s focus on digital and XR, it will be important to see how other companies’ employees see metaverse and XR. It will almost certainly not be as positive an outlook, but if key users are on board (e.g., frontline workers, frequent travelers, trainees, etc.), then XR can maintain its value and positive user experience. Only with time and adoption will we see if this plays out at scale and outside of the traditional tech hubs, but indications are optimistic that there will not be another false start for XR.



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