Top 40 XR/AR Use Cases / Applications with Examples in 2024

Extended reality (XR) is revolutionizing how businesses operate and engage customers. From training employees to boosting sales, immersive XR creates new opportunities across industries.

In this comprehensive guide, we‘ll explore the top 40 use cases with real-world examples to demonstrate the immense potential of extended reality. I‘ll also provide data and insights into the business value delivered by XR today and where it‘s headed next.

Let‘s dive in!

What Exactly is Extended Reality (XR)?

You‘re probably familiar with popular XR technologies like augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). But what exactly falls under the XR umbrella?

Extended reality refers to the full spectrum of immersive tech that blends the digital and physical worlds. Major XR categories include:

  • Augmented reality (AR) – Overlays digital content and information onto the real-world environment. AR can be experienced through devices like smartphones, tablets, and AR glasses or headsets.
  • Virtual reality (VR) – Fully immerses users in computer-generated 3D environments using VR headsets. It shuts out real-world stimulus for a simulated experience.
  • Mixed reality (MR) – Seamlessly integrates interactive digital objects into the physical environment, enabling natural user interaction. MR headsets like Microsoft HoloLens allow you to place and manipulate holographic content as if it existed in real life.

By blending these technologies, XR delivers interactive, multi-sensory experiences that enhance how we work, learn, shop, and are entertained. It unlocks game-changing possibilities across nearly every industry.

According to IDC, the global XR market will expand at a 50% CAGR to exceed $209 billion by 2024. Next, let‘s explore top use cases delivering business value.

XR Use Cases Transforming Business Operations

Boosting Productivity for Remote Workers

The pandemic triggered a massive remote work shift – by 2025, 70% of professionals will work remotely at least five days per month. But fully remote collaboration can be challenging.

In one survey, 56% of remote workers said they‘re less productive on collaborative tasks than in the office. XR spaces like TEAMSpace aim to solve this by enabling immersive collaboration with natural interactions between remote team members.

Here‘s how it works:

  • Each user is represented by a personalized avatar in a shared virtual workspace. Avatars reflect body language, facial expressions, and voice just like real-world meetings.
  • Users can manipulate 3D models together, annotate on virtual whiteboards, share screens, and more. Spatial audio enhances the realism.
  • Integrations with tools like Trimble Connect allow quick access to project files and data within the XR environment.

For visually-intensive tasks like design reviews and prototyping, XR collaboration significantly boosts productivity over traditional video calls. Architectural firm Gensler increased remote work output by over 50% using XR spaces.

The global XR collaboration industry will grow 6x from $9 billion to over $54 billion by 2030. As headsets and smart glasses become mainstream, immersive digital workspaces will soon be commonplace.

Recruiting and Onboarding with Virtual Reality

XR also creates new possibilities for talent recruitment and onboarding. Realistic previews of roles and company culture give candidates insights unmatched by traditional methods.

For recruiting, XR company Talespin developed virtual reality training scenarios for hiring at large companies like State Farm. In the VR assessments, candidates roleplay key tasks like customer service calls and are scored on performance. This approach predicts job fit and success better than resumes alone.

According to research by Talespin, VR recruiting assessments have proven benefits:

  • 83% better prediction of on-the-job performance versus traditional interviews.
  • 10x more reliable than written tests at identifying high-performing candidates.
  • Reduces potential for recruitment bias by 76% compared to standard interviews.

For onboarding, companies are creating virtual environments where new hires start work and socialize before their first day in the office. Consulting firm Accenture built the Nth Floor, an onboarding metaverse experience.

Last year, over 150,000 new Accenture employees went through Nth Floor for orientation and training. Trainees set up virtual desks, collaborate via hologram meetings, and learn about workplace culture through immersive courses. XR onboarding boosts confidence, retention, and work readiness.

Just How Effective is XR for Employee Training?

XR promises to revolutionize corporate training and with good reason. On average, organizations spend over $1,200 per employee on learning programs each year. But current methods like classroom and e-learning trainings have major drawbacks:

  • Employees retain only 25% of what‘s taught in lectures according to workplace training expert Dr. Karl Kapp. That‘s a huge waste for companies.
  • Traditional trainings are generic and frequently out-of-context from employees‘ actual work.
  • There‘s little reinforcement of concepts and skills after the training event.

XR creates training experiences tailored to employees‘ actual job tasks and tools in the context of real-world situations. And it‘s proven considerably more effective than current methods.

Let‘s look at some statistics:

  • Trainees are 4x more focused in VR training programs according to PwC research
  • 75% of employees trained in VR can apply skills learned back at work versus only 10% for desktop training as found by Walmart
  • Stanford research found VR medical residents trained faster while making 80% fewer errors than traditionally trained peers.

The immersive repetition and hands-on learning in XR simulations boosts skill development dramatically compared to passive training formats. Employees also feel more confident applying skills after practicing realistic scenarios in VR.

Walmart now trains over 1 million employees annually in VR across topics like compliance, safety, and customer service. The results speak for themselves – after deploying VR training, Walmart saw employee satisfaction scores jump by 10%.

As XR adoption grows, most companies will integrate immersive training simulations tailored to their own processes and tools. The global corporate training VR market is projected to grow 10x by 2028 to over $13 billion according to MarketandResearch.biz.

XR Can Make Customer Support More Effective

Let‘s switch gears to customer experience. Providing fast and accurate customer support is vital for business growth. But for complex issues, solving problems over the phone or email can be difficult and inefficient.

Enter XR – by giving support agents an immersive view into customers‘ environments, AR and VR technology can take problem-solving to the next level.

Here are a few ways XR improves customer support:

  • Customers can stream live video of issues from their mobile device or AR headset, so agents have the full context.
  • Agents can annotate over the live feed and guide customers step-by-step to troubleshoot using drawings, instructions, and arrows the customer sees.
  • For hardware issues, support teams can control physical or digital objects in the customer‘s real environment using teleoperation technology.

Compared to traditional support calls, field studies by Microsoft showed XR-assisted service reduced issue resolution time by 32% while boosting customer satisfaction by 29%.

Major companies embracing XR-enabled service and assistance include:

  • Vodafone – Technicians can remotely see exactly what customers see using AR glasses and provide visual guidance to set up equipment.
  • BP – Field workers inspecting facilities use AR glasses to stream footage to remote experts who can help spot potential problems.
  • Staples – Combined AR visual communication with smart glass teleoperation to guide store staff assisting customers. First-time fix rate improved by 40%.

As more businesses adopt head-mounted AR tech, XR will rapidly transform customer support from call centers to the field. XR support platforms like TechSee are seeing surging interest from Fortune 500 companies. The global market for XR customer care solutions is forecast to grow at a 32% CAGR.

Industry Use Cases and Examples

Beyond business operations, XR unlocks game-changing applications across practically every industry. Next, let‘s explore some of the most impactful real-world examples.

Architecture and Construction

For architects and builders, XR technologies like VR, AR, and BIM overlay powerful visualization capabilities onto the design and construction process. This unlocks new possibilities for productivity and stakeholder engagement.

VR allows architects to inhabit building information models (BIM) immersively at true scale to optimize spatial layouts and designs prior to construction. Engineers can walk through digital twins to perform virtual inspections, identifying potential structural issues early on.

Constructors leverage AR glasses on-site to overlay models onto physical builds in real-time. This simplifies guided assembly and quality assurance. AR apps also help navigate massive job sites and track people, equipment, and materials for improved safety and coordination.

Client walkthroughs of property developments traditionally require million-dollar staging of physical demo units – an expensive and time-consuming process. With VR, developers can provide realistic previews of residential or commercial units months before completion, accelerating the sales cycle.

The world‘s largest construction firms are racing to implement XR. JBKnowledge found 61% of contractors now use VR or AR in business, especially larger firms. The global construction VR/AR market will grow over 6x to exceed $14 billion by 2028 according to MarketDataForecast.

Enhancing Medical Training with XR Simulations

For decades, doctors have been trained using a "see one, do one, teach one" approach. But this on-the-job method poses grave risks to patients and learners.

That‘s where XR medical simulations come in – they enable trainees to gain immersive experience by practicing procedures on virtual patients before treating real people.

Here are a few examples of XR training in action:

  • At Stanford, surgery residents prepped for complex intestinal anastomoses procedures using VR. The VR-trained residents made 80% fewer errors on post-training patient surgeries relative to traditionally trained peers.
  • Media software firm zSpace creates mixed reality experiences for dental schools. Dental students perform procedures on ultra-realistic virtual patients using AR/VR headsets and simulated tools.
  • Virti enables large-scale distribution of VR emergency response training to hospitals and medical schools. In Virti‘s simulations, learners are immersed in high-stress ER scenarios to practice critical decision making.

The global healthcare VR training market is projected to grow at a 33% CAGR to exceed $3.8 billion by 2028 according to Reports and Data. As Millennial and Gen Z trainees adept in virtual environments enter the workforce, VR medical education will soon become standard practice industry-wide.

Manufacturing and Maintenance

For manufacturers, XR enables major leaps forward in production and maintenance. VR simulations help workers rapidly learn complex assembly and heavy machinery operations. AR overlays guide technicians step-by-step through repairs in the field.

At BMW, technicians use AR glasses for vehicle servicing. The HoloLens devices project visual guides, part labels, and step-by-step work instructions as they repair cars, boosting efficiency.

Global industrial giant ThyssenKrupp also uses AR across its 80+ factories and service centers. For example, elevator installers and servicers can access repair information hands-free using the HoloLens. This makes technicians up to 20% faster at completing complex tasks.

XR is gaining momentum fast in manufacturing – the AR market for enterprises is forecast to grow at a 65% CAGR through 2028 according to Grand View Research. Better training, maintenance, assembly, and collaboration in immersive environments will drive billions in global productivity gains over the next decade.

Where is Extended Reality Headed Next?

The examples we just explored only scratch the surface of XR‘s massive disruptive potential. As technology expands over the coming years, how exactly will the XR landscape evolve?

Here are a few developments to keep an eye on:

Mainstream smart glasses adoption – Thanks to the HoloLens 2 and enterprise focus, AR headsets are now poised for broad commercial deployment. IDC predicts companies will purchase 13 million smart glasses this year, expanding to over 50 million by 2026. Hands-free AR is a paradigm shift for workflows.

5G fuels mobile AR – With super-fast data speeds and ultra-low latency, 5G networks will power mass adoption of mobile AR shopping apps and location-based experiences. Retailers in particular are gearing up for a major mobile AR push.

Advancing XR hardware – Headsets are becoming rapidly more powerful, affordable, and user-friendly as Apple, Meta, Microsoft and others invest billions in next-gen devices. This will expand use cases.

Pervasive virtual spaces – VR and metaverse platforms are evolving into persistent 3D social and collaboration spaces for remote work, events, and more. The AR/VR user base could multiply 10x this decade.

Cross-technology convergence – AI, edge computing, IoT, and other innovations combine with XR to enable new interactions blending physical and digital environments. Expect exponential change.

XR has progressed rapidly from early prototypes to massive real-world impact across nearly every industry. And we‘re just scratching the surface of extended reality‘s potential. Within a decade, XR could transform how we work, shop, learn, and interact on a societal scale.

There‘s never been a more exciting time to implement immersive technologies that create business value and connect people across distances like never before. I hope this overview provided insights you can leverage on your own XR journey.

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