Imagine navigating your own boat through the Pacific or trekking up the Himalayas all from the comfort of your home. As improbable as it seems, it is very much possible using extended reality technology. 

But what is Extended Reality and what are its applications in the real world?

Understanding What Extended Reality Is
Extended reality is a comprehensive term that includes all virtual and real environments created by computer technology. This includes various technologies like virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. Extended reality is currently positioned to completely transform the way businesses interact with media and can potentially facilitate seamless interaction between the virtual and real worlds, enabling its users to have a totally immersive and unique experience.

Three Remarkable Components of Extended Reality
These subsets come under the category of immersive technologies that can manipulate our perceptions. Let’s understand them a bit more:

Virtual reality: 
Virtual reality places the users in a completely digitally created environment. This is done using a head-mounted display which creates an immersive experience by stimulating our senses with digital creations. Several industries have adopted virtual reality with their operations including the healthcare and real estate industries. 

Augmented reality: 
Augmented reality uses the existing real-world and overlays it with digital creations and information, enhancing the overall digital experience. It can be categorized as marker-based, maker less and location-based. AR has been particularly useful in medical training, design, modeling and several other fields.

Mixed reality: 
This is the newest advancement in reality technologies. Mixed reality is experienced using mixed reality goggles or headsets which allows you to interact with physical and digitally created objects in real-time.

The implementation of these technologies using extended reality allows businesses to develop innovative solutions and boost customer engagement, decrease human error and improve time efficiency overall.

5 Powerful Real-World Applications 

1. Entertainment and Gaming
The entertainment and video games industries are the leading and most prominent users of extended reality. The combination of camera tracking and real-time rendering creates an immersive virtual environment, enabling actors to really feel any scene, improving their realism in their performance. Extended reality also facilitates multipurpose studio environments which decrease the cost of requiring an elaborate movie set.

Video games have also been enhanced due to the comprehensive participation effect created by extended reality. It enables users to dive into a totally different reality. Various different entertainment events like exhibitions and live music shows can also be significantly improved and enhanced using the capabilities of extended reality.

2. Employees and Consumers
Extended reality enables employees to be trained and educated in virtual environments which have little to no risk. The training for medical students, surgeons, firefighters, pilots and chemists can be done using extended reality and they can be put in simulated scenarios with minimal risk and less costs overall. The knowledge and experience they gain from the simulation will be invaluable when they encounter them in real-life situations.

Extended reality can replace physical manuals, allowing technicians to focus on their tasks without having to go to the turn page in a manual. It can also be used to connect an expert remotely to an issue happening in real-time to gain expert advice. This would allow organizations to save vast amounts of money and more importantly save valuable downtime as they would not have to wait for the experts to meet them physically.

3. Healthcare
Extended reality is making healthcare better by streamlining medical procedures while improving patient care. XR enables surgeons to visualize the complexities of human organs in 3D, thus allowing them to methodically plan each step in a complicated surgery well in advance. Essentially, it is ensuring that surgeons can execute operations in a more effective, accurate and safe way.

4. Real Estate
Extended reality has enabled real estate agents and managers to showcase homes to potential buyers by taking them on a virtual tour of the property. The layout scenarios and potential changes can be shown in real-time using extended reality, enhancing the overall experience for customers and also increasing business opportunities.

5. Marketing
Extended reality allows marketers to provide consumers with a ‘try before you purchase’ experience. It enables consumers to be immersed in an environment and motivates them to explore it. Allowing them to ‘feel’ and use products on their own before purchasing them creates a whole new perspective towards buying. This has been proven to increase awareness as well as brand favourability among customers.

Face the Future with Extended Reality
There are several advancements and applications as yet undiscovered within the field of extended reality and the benefits facilitated by them are going to be crucial for gaining a competitive advantage.