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VR has long been billed as the ultimate empathy machine, and over the past several years we’ve seen many art exhibitions and short films that let you see the world through another person’s eyes. The other side of the coin is that VR experiences can also build empathy and better decision-making by rehearsing different scenarios, potentially revealing unconscious biases. PwC and Talespin put that idea to the test in a landmark study that revealed benefits far beyond what’s possible in the classroom or using standard e-learning techniques.

Also new this week: Bringing together AR ecommerce data points, buying sneakers with Snapchat, how manufacturers are buying into AR/VR but need help to scale, Hyundai’s VR design process, and a look back at Alan’s interview with North’s VP of Advanced R&D (shortly before their acquisition by Google).

Sales & Retail

Does AR really boost ecommerce conversions?

While we often talk about the power of augmented reality to drive purchases, industry data points are often scattered among case studies, pitch decks and conference presentations. In AR Insider’s weekly Data Dive, XR Ignite mentor Mike Boland brings these data points together.

These include Shopify’s 200% boost in conversions when AR is used for product visualization, Overstock.com’s wide range of results across their product catalogue, and a variety of other metrics from major brands like Olay and Loreal.

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Gucci’s new Snapchat filters let users try and buy sneakers virtually

With COVID-19 accelerating online shopping, brands are making large investments in the virtual try-on space. Not only will this increase conversions and cut down on return rates, it will also cut down on Gucci’s environmental impact.

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Training

Largest-ever study of enterprise VR soft skills training reveals order-of-magnitude benefits

Slowly but surely, global enterprise is catching onto the fact that workplace inclusivity is more than just a means of reaching diversity targets and avoiding negative press and lawsuits. Toxic workplace cultures have cost US businesses $223 billion in the past five years, and movements like #BlackLivesMatter and #MeToo have called attention to a spectrum of issues that affect women and racial, gender, and sexual minorities.

One of the ways to address this challenge is by exposing and eliminating unconscious bias. With that in mind, Talespin’s recent work with PwC is galvanizing. In the largest-ever study of VR soft skills training for a large-scale enterprise deployment, PwC selected employees in 12 US locations to take the same unconscious bias training course, in one of three ways: classroom learning, e-learning, or a virtual reality soft skills training course. The study found that VR learners were:

  • Able to complete training up to 4x faster than classroom learners, and 1.5x faster than e-learners
  • Up to 2.75x more confident to act on what they learned after training
  • 3.75x more emotionally connected to content than classroom learners, and 2.3x more than e-learners
  • 4x more focused than their e-learning peers, and 1.5x more than classroom learners

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London hospital starts virtual ward rounds for medical students

What if instead of a few medical students watching a doctor examining patients, an entire class could watch from home? Spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic, Imperial College is equipping physicians with Hololens headsets, which stream video to the students’ computers. Students can hear the conversation with the patient, and teachers are able to pin virtual pictures to the display.

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Manufacturing

More than half of manufacturers turning to AR/VR to reduce production costs, many struggle to scale

A recent survey of mid-level and enterprise-level manufacturers reveals that more than half have implemented some form of AR/VR technology into their organization over the last 12 months. More than a quarter have fully deployed an AR/VR solution and are looking to scale further. The business value is clear for manufacturers, but the biggest challenge is scalability, with companies increasingly turning towards mixed cloud platforms to shoulder the load.

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Inside Hyundai’s VR design evaluation process

Last year, Hyundai Motors established the world’s largest VR design evaluation facility, where 20 people can simultaneously log on to a VR environment and evaluate car designs. Get an inside look at how cars are designed (including entire car models sculpted from clay) and where VR adds the most value.

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The Wide View

Emerging post-pandemic innovations

Immersive technologies, smart cities, and innovations in hygiene are all rapidly accelerating as the world looks beyond the pandemic and towards the new normal. Alice Bonasio and MetaVRse CEO Alan Smithson caught up to discuss how XR collaboration tools are emerging as viable alternatives to face-to-face meetings.

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What leaders need to know about augmented reality

Five essential articles about augmented reality, including a basic introduction, history of augmented reality, the current landscape, challenges, and how AR can be a force for good.

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The metaverse is coming (and it’s a very big deal)

With a finger on the pulse of the future, Cathy Hackl’s introduction to the emerging metaverse is essential reading for marketing and communications professionals looking to get themselves oriented in the new reality.

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Decisions, Decisions…

Should enterprise build augmented reality solutions… or buy them?

An insightful editorial about the questions that large organizations must ask when evaluating their augmented reality product strategies – determining the relative priorities of cost, control, solution availability and time to market. “If cost and timing are a higher priority, then a commercial offering is likely the more appropriate solution. If control is most important, then it is perhaps better to pursue internal development or, more likely, contracting the work to a third party.”

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Our mission at XR Ignite is to hyper-accelerate XR for business and education. To help realize this vision, we’re providing the XR industry with the tools, knowledge and connections to do business with corporate clients. Get in touch with us here!

XR Ignite is an initiative of MetaVRse, the creators of a fully web-based design and development tool. The MetaVRse Engine lets you create immersive 3D and virtual, augmented, and mixed reality (XR) experiences, and deploy them across multiple operating systems, browsers, and devices with little or no code.