Tuesday, August 11, 2020
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XR Technology for Collaboration Explained in New Free Guide

We take a look at the XR technology guide with contributor Alan Smithson of MetaVRse.

 

With more and more people turning to technology – including XR technology – in this time of increased remote work, there can be a lot to take in.

Fortunately, a new guide was recently published to walk new users through every step of discerning and adopting XR technology for collaboration. Over 30 people worked on the guide. We talked with MetaVRse CEO Alan Smithson.

Compiling a Global Resource Guide to XR Collaboration

A Global Resource Guide to XR Collaboration was published in the first half of April and is freely available to anyone online. The 60-page document was compiled by representatives from eight partners including infrastructure giant Deutsche Telekom, computing company Qualcomm, and a number of international organizations including AWE, and the VR/AR Association.

However, the authors and partners lists are both incomplete. The organization is much larger, and has more in mind than just the guide.

Thirty people worked on this guide for three weeks. It was not a light undertaking,” said Smithson. “When we go into phase two, people will see exactly how much work went into collecting all of this data.”

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Smithson was one of the authors and his organization, MetaVRse is a partner. The organization promotes the use of extended reality in education.

There were a number of us that came together and decided we needed to get this information out there as fast as possible,” Smithson said in a phone interview. “All of these organizations came together with the idea that none of us have a vested interest in any one solution.”

For example, DT doesn’t get any more customers if someone decides to buy one VR headset over another. However, as a pioneer of 5G internet, it has an interest in more people picking up XR. More importantly, however, the organizations hope that sharing their knowledge of XR technology will help in this difficult time.

We believe that XR solutions can really help our medical professionals, right now in the time of COVID-19, but it can also be used by [educators],” said Smithson. Smithson said that the minimum goal of the project is to “help one kid learn or save one life.”

XR Collaboration Guide

A Peak at the XR Technology Guide

To be clear, the role of the guide isn’t to sell XR technology – or even the idea of XR technology. It starts out with a discussion of conventional remote meeting software and walks users through strengths and weaknesses. It then helps users make their own decision, pointing out that standard video calling software might be sufficient for some users.

Naturally, most of the guide is more-or-less assuming that users choose to adopt XR technology.

“Our goal in creating this publication is to provide an unbiased resource that outlines how immersive XR technology can not only support human interaction but also empower us to collectively adapt to our new reality while bringing us closer together,” reads the Guide’s introduction. “From platform selection to security to hygiene to device selection and management, this guide will walk you through everything you might need to know to leverage the transformative power of XR collaboration in your own organization.”

Smithson explained that the guide doesn’t go into prices because “we figure, for the near future, that’s going to be in flux.”

The guide begins with education by providing a glossary of basic terms. As a “living resource,” the glossary struck me as similar to Stephen Black’s ebook of XR terms. As I was writing this article, a colleague also pointed out that much of the content is similar to XRSI’s free taxonomy of XR terms.

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Obviously, the value-added in the XR Collaboration guide comes from the exploration of products, platforms, and solutions. While comprehensive, it’s far from complete.

“What we realized in making this is that there are over 100 different solutions being offered. We have about 40 in the guide,” said Smithson.

That’s not a problem, it’s a promise. In our interview, Smithson repeatedly touched on the guide as a “living document” that – as a soft-copy document – can be endlessly updated. When users download the guide, they’re encouraged to subscribe so that they can be made aware of updates.

Then there’s the “phase two” that Smithson had hinted at earlier.

Awaiting “Phase Two”

A living resource in the form of an endlessly updated ebook or PDF is exciting. However, XR collaboration has bigger things in mind.

Right now, XRcollaboration.com has a growing directory and a link to download the guide. However, one day, it will be “an interactive tool” that users can learn to dive into the world of XR technology. There’s not a date on that release, but it should be coming soon.

Another guide for “Everything to do in XR” is also in the works.

 

Jon Jaehnig
the authorJon Jaehnig
Jon Jaehnig is a freelance writer specializing in Technology and Health. Jon has a degree in Scientific and Technical Communication from Michigan Technological University and lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with his wife and cat. If you have a story suggestion for Jon, you may contact him here.