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Embracing XR and VR Horizons

Article | March 13, 2024

immersive vr library learning solutions dei leadership

VR, Virtual Reality, Extended Reality – it’s immersive, it’s accessible and it’s the newest and freshest thing since sliced bread. The recent launch of Apple’s new augmented reality headset further propels the industry into uncharted territories. Could this be the catalyst for a new standard in Virtual DEI training, seamlessly integrating VR and AR for a more inclusive and engaging experience? Experience life in a way unlike your own, a true testament to escapism and perspective-shifting. But what we choose to do with this technology over the next couple of years, even months, will set the tone for the future of XR development. 

VR is a fantastic method of immersion to create scenarios for training Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, offering different perspectives compared to traditional 2D methods or in-person workshops. What’s truly exciting about the new Apple headset? Could this be the headset for a new Virtual DEI standard and training platform by seamlessly melding VR and AR for users? We say yes.

DEI, especially within the technology and professional industries, has notoriously faced limitations in its efforts, not due to a lack of access to training methods. These programs, focusing on recognizing and valuing differences in race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability, and sexual orientation, have faced criticism, particularly in the United States, Texas, and Florida. Virtual reality’s unique immersive capabilities provide a corner of the DEI market to enhance soft skills, leaving lasting impressions and fostering better empathy and recognition.

Now that Apple, a major tech influencer, is entering the VR space, Meta’s long-held monopoly is not only challenged but also in competition for the best product. Apple’s foray into XR is more than just a product launch; it’s a seismic shift in the industry. Apple’s design philosophies and accessibility initiatives set a promising standard for future applications and uses of virtual reality technology. ‘Apple seldom invents something unprecedented. Instead, it takes existing ideas and refines them in critical ways that make them more appealing to consumers (Leswing, 2023). The XR community and developers feel validated, and the Apple Pro brings high hopes for the future of XR development with its strong consumer relationship, trust, and innovation.

Let’s discuss the exciting features we’re looking forward to the most – Hand and Eye tracking, Augmented Reality cross-fading, 3D Video support, Spatial audio, Custom prescription lenses, and ‘Personas,’ to name a few. According to Karen Haslam (2024), editor of Macworld, users will experience a three-dimensional interface and input system that they control with their eyes, hands, and voice, which is incredibly exciting in terms of accessibility.

My favourite feature I’m looking forward to the most is the eye tracking and hand tracking. In other XR headsets, these features are very new and finicky at best. Hand and eye tracking will allow more ways to interact with applications, offering more custom settings for people with disabilities. Having access to Apple’s ‘Personas’ based on your appearance and reflecting face and hand movements in real-time, will be incredibly powerful in creating open spaces for learning in any environment, adding additional layers to immersion.

It’s evident that the XR community and developers are not only validated but also filled with hope for the future. Apple’s strong consumer relationship, trust, and innovative approach brings a fresh breath of air to XR programs and technology. The convergence of technology and human experience is on the horizon, promising a future where accessibility, innovation, and inclusivity seamlessly intertwine in the XR realm. The journey is just beginning, and the possibilities are limitless. The landscape of Virtual Reality (VR) and Extended Reality (XR) is rapidly evolving, offering immersive experiences that go beyond traditional methods. As we stand on the precipice of the next wave of XR development, People Tech Revolution is looking to build a future where diversity, equity, and inclusion thrive, and technology becomes a tool for everyone!

Karen Haslam. (2024, January 9). Apple Vision Pro: Everything you need to know. Macworld. https://www.macworld.com/article/557878/apple-vision-pro-release-date-headset-specs-price.html

Leswing, K. (2023, June 1). Why Apple’s VR headset could succeed where every similar product has failed. CNBC. https://www.cnbc.com/2023/06/01/why-apples-headset-could-become-the-first-vr-success-story.html

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