See you in the metaverse! 10 predictions on the future of extended reality

Enthusiasts of extended reality (XR) have long dreamed of, experimented with, and adopted technologies that immersed them in new worlds. Worlds beyond the limits of physics and time. We believe the industry is at an inflection point, and the time for business to act is now as we prepare for next phase in the future of work and life as we know it.

Our The future of extended reality report shares views from 15 global leaders and predictions around emerging capabilities, business models and economies in the metaverse.

What is the difference between extended reality, augmented reality, and virtual reality?

Extended reality (XR) is an extension of our current physical reality into a completely virtual reality and anything in between. It’s an umbrella term that includes but is not limited to 360 video, augmented reality, mixed reality, and virtual reality.

For example, augmented reality (AR) is where a computer-generated image is overlayed onto the physical world to augment your experience. Wafer like glasses in the future will help you navigate the physical world with virtual overlays of information, such as advertising or contextual information. Virtual reality on the other hand is a completely immersive virtual world experience where there is nothing but computer-generated environments and interactions. These environments are accessed wearing a full headset.

Virtual reality is not bound by the laws of physics or time, so you can create unique environments where, for example, you could create a retail experience in a virtual world, visit this place as yourself, as an 18-year-old version of yourself, 64-year-old version or any age group you wish.

VR the next step in hybrid working

Murray James Snobal (one of the 15 innovators interviewed) sees VR as an important part of a hybrid workplace and a vital next step for universities.

“Hybrid and work from home is clearly not going away. We see head mounted displays as part of a standard toolkit for a connected workforce. You’ll be able to jump into a virtual environment, to dial up your virtual meetings, go and visit your factory in Brazil.”

Snobal sees universities as the big area for disruption. Some of the more innovative universities are looking at organisational wide transformation of how they deliver content and classes leveraging VR/AR. They know there’s an opportunity to hugely extend their student numbers across geographical boundaries. We’re already seeing many university courses being channelled to online but there’s a realisation students will demand more. They will choose providers that offer richer and more engaging learning experiences.

And if you are constantly disappointed with your seats when you next go to the football, with VR everyone can have the best seat in the house with stereoscopic live streaming video and unlimited stadium sizes.

We collated the top 10 predictions from our experts.

  1. The Mars landing by 2026 will be a watershed moment for XR as viewers step with the first astronaut onto Mars.
  2. Digital real-estate, currencies, and other assets in the metaverse will be commonly included in wills.
  3. By 2030 people will spend more physical conscious time in the metaverse than the real world and the financial value of the metaverse will start to challenge the financial value of physical world assets. People will commonly apply for jobs, earn a living, shop, meet friends and even get married in the metaverse.
  4. By 2030 the flatscreen, keyboard and a mouse will disappear and be replaced by wafer-like glasses and contact lenses for spatial collaboration across multi-disciplines. A new control interface will evolve.
  5. By 2030 customer service will be delivered by digital humans for shopping and other activities and remote support with overlayed information in XR.
  6. By 2030 synthetic data generated from simulated worlds will guide robots to problem solve and save humans from high-risk work.
  7. Access to higher education will be become more democratised and delivered on a virtual campus with digitised assets such as museums as a service.
  8. By 2030 human thoughts will be able to be tracked, recorded, and influenced with XR and Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) giving rise to privacy focused regulation. Brain power will be used for decision making rather than for memorisation.
  9. By 2030 XR technologies will achieve horizontal convergence to drive greater interoperability and portability.
  10. Board meetings occur in the Metaverse by 2023. In the following years XR will be second nature in terms of the language and operation of government and enterprises to share information and collaborate.

To read all the insights visit the webpage.

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4 thoughts on “See you in the metaverse! 10 predictions on the future of extended reality

  1. Interesting article.
    Q: How would this consequence at any level be desirable: “By 2030 human thoughts will be able to be tracked, recorded, and influenced with XR and Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) giving rise to privacy focused regulation. Brain power will be used for decision making rather than for memorisation.”

    The feeling of transhumanism underlays your experts’ (unnamed – interested in who they might be) predictions. Transhumanism is not a given.

    1. Kristin Boesenberg

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      Reply

      Thanks for your interest Sophie and several of our experts used in the paper believe that the emerging technology of Brain Computer Interface (BCI) will become a reality. There are many applications for BCI including making the lives of people with spinal injuries easier. E.g. Imagine the potential of gaining the ability to control prosthetics or communicate with carers by using your mind where this is not easily accessible. We don’t assume that BCI will necessarily require implants or emerging technologies that are explored under Transhumanism. We do believe however that these emerging technologies will require a regulatory response to protect the interests of consumers.
      In relation to our brain power being used for decision making in the future, we forecast a range of ambient technologies that will provide content, information, and knowledge to us when and where we need it. This could happen in a video meeting, when using an XR headset, XR glasses or otherwise. Once these ambient technologies become more common, we won’t need to focus on memorisation as the information will be available increasingly at hand. The synthesis, evaluation and complex decision making associated with this data is where we would suggest our brain could be used when working with such technologies.

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