Industry experts are pushing the idea of immersive computing as a better way for users to communicate, work, and play. Observers have given Meta’s version of a virtual reality meeting room mixed reviews. Immersive computing could transform everything from entertainment to healthcare.
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Your time spent on your phone or computer could soon be much more intense.
The world is moving toward immersive computing platforms that allow you to feel and interact with your surroundings in new ways, said Nick Clegg, Meta’s President of Global Affairs recently. It is part of a growing movement towards the Metaverse, a network of virtual places connected to a virtual universe.
“Currently, digital information is hosted on 2D screens that require the user to be fully immersed in the digital world in order to interact with it,” said Christopher M. Reid, founder of goHere, a creative agency specializing in mixed reality, in a Email interview with Lifewire. “Immersive computing — better known as spatial computing — will make digital information more accessible and useful by integrating interactive 3D holograms into physical space.”
The rise of immersive computing
Virtual Reality (VR) is the most obvious example of immersive computing and a hot topic. VR revenue is projected to reach $52.05 billion by 2027. Clegg predicted that social and business meetings in virtual reality would soon be ubiquitous. However, Meta’s own virtual and social space, Horizon Worlds, has been panned by some observers.
With immersive computing, users can get a more complete picture of what’s happening on their computer.
According to Reid, several hardware vendors have developed spatial computing headsets, also known as head-mounted displays, that enable enterprise customers to use mixed reality in military, industrial, manufacturing, design, healthcare and office environments. Headset hardware is currently bulky and sometimes tethered to a computer. Still, developers are competing to create a new generation of user-accessible mixed reality headsets with breakthroughs powered by 5G, new battery technology, and lessons learned from current headsets.
Viktor Lindell, a consultant at MetaversePlus, said in an email to Lifewire that there are many benefits to immersive computing. For example, immersive computing can provide users with a more immersive and memorable experience and make it easier for them to understand complex concepts or processes.
“It can also be used to create more realistic simulations for training and education purposes and enhance the entertainment experience,” he added. “Additionally, immersive computing can improve productivity by enabling users to interact with digital information more efficiently and effectively.”
New technologies will make future devices even more immersive than today’s bulky headsets, John Xie, the CEO of tech company Taskade, said in an email. With current technology, users rely primarily on visual cues to understand what’s happening on their screens.
“With immersive computing, users can get a more complete picture of what’s happening on their computer,” Xie added. “That’s because they can use all of their senses to interact with the computer. For example, they can feel textures and temperature changes. They can also hear sounds and smell associated odors with certain actions.”
Your immersive future
Immersive computing opens up new advertising opportunities that can be good or bad depending on your perspective. For advertisers, however, the latest immersive computing world could be a gold mine. Louis Boka, a partner at Metasphere, pointed out in an email that virtually every user today has a smartphone with augmented reality (AR) capabilities. Instead of seeing an ad for a product or service on their device, immersive computing gives users the ability to open their camera application and see reality with contextual ads wherever they are.
“Imagine opening your camera app and seeing a giant Big Mac flying over your city or waiting at a bus stop and having the ability to view the car of your dreams in front of you and customize it to your liking,” he added .
Lindell predicted that immersive computing would soon become more widespread and sophisticated, with more advanced hardware and software capabilities. He said new technologies to advance immersive computing could include the development of lighter and more affordable VR/AR headsets. Also in development are improved haptic feedback systems (meaning you would feel instead of just seeing what’s going on) and advances in artificial intelligence (AI) to create more personalized and adaptive user experiences.
“As immersive computing becomes more ubiquitous, we may see it being used in a variety of applications, from entertainment and gaming to education and training, and in areas like healthcare, engineering and architecture,” added Lindell.
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