Eyes on HTC: Enterprise use of XR is expanding — will XR also be the new home office interface?

Anders Lundin
Oct 28, 2020 · 4 min read

In this post, Drew Bamford, Corporate Vice President of HTC Vive Creative Labs, discusses key trends and possible challenges impacting the XR market, as well as interesting use cases. This is the second post in Tobii’s blog series “The Future of XR”, where Tobii’s business partners share their views on the development of the XR industry.

Image for post
Image for post

What are the most important trends that will impact the XR market in the coming 3–5 years?

Drew Bamford: There are a couple of things I think we’ll see in the next few years. From a hardware perspective, we expect a lot of effort in making headsets that are lighter and smaller in form, which will be important for remote collaboration. We should also see a strong push toward full retina resolution in the next couple years. These fidelity improvements will especially benefit design and simulation experiences.

Another area we expect to grow and really add to the experience from a software side is technology that engages the sense of touch with haptic and force feedback.

What do you think the biggest challenges are to XR adoption today?

Drew Bamford: For the consumer marketplace, XR is still not mainstream. However, we’ve seen consideration skyrocket in the enterprise space, especially in recent months with the transition to remote work and collaboration due to COVID-19. Businesses are rapidly evaluating how to use new technology to keep their workforce connected and trained. Our VR collaboration tool, VIVE Sync, launched in beta at the end of April and there have already been more than 5,000 meetings held in Sync.

For consumer adoption, this is what we think needs to take place:

  • XR needs killer apps and content to grow its audience. This is the classic chicken-and-egg conundrum, where content developers are reticent to invest their resources until the market develops and the install base doesn’t take off until great content exists. Fortunately, there are a few major developers who continue to invest to create the market, and there remains a passionate community of indie developers who are determined to break new ground in immersive content.
  • In design and engineering, we continue to work to break down barriers to adoption and use: principally related to performance, usability and ergonomics. These categories are all improving — and eye tracking plays a big role in this — but we’re not there yet.
  • We also believe adoption will pick up as XR becomes social, and it allows more connections to the outside world. There is great progress on this front, with a lot of development activity around remote collaboration in the wake of the global pandemic.
  • Finally, there is still a cost barrier for the mainstream consumer. In the context of other technology products, such as smartphones, tablets and even game consoles, headsets are really not particularly expensive, but we need a breakthrough in frequency of use to meet the value bar set by these other categories.

What will need to change over the next 3 years to shift or reduce these challenges?

Drew Bamford: In the very near term, there will be a split between high fidelity products like VIVE Pro, and lightweight products aimed at consumers. Further out, we’ll likely see the two categories converge.

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest milestones will be retina resolution because then we’ll be able to replace desktop displays with XR headsets.

On the enterprise side, which industries will benefit the most from XR and why?

Moreover, COVID-19 is clearly having a substantial impact on the mindset and tools for working collaboratively, acting as an accelerant for these technologies. We see this technology benefiting industries from travel, to education, to design and collaboration, and healthcare.

Which XR application areas do you think will have the brightest future?

We also see a use case for professional designers looking to easily visualize their digital designs in the real world and for immersive occupation training.

Image for post
Image for post
Drew Bamford

Drew Bamford builds products and experiences at the intersection of human desires and bleeding edge technologies. Drew leads HTC Creative Labs, a cross-functional team of researchers, designers and engineers with offices in Seattle, San Francisco and Taipei. When he started the experience design team at HTC in 2006, Drew helped drive the transformation of HTC from ODM to global consumer brand by creating a branded user experience for HTC smartphones with TouchFLO on Windows Mobile and then HTC Sense on Android. Today, Drew and his team are again transforming HTC’s business by design, by inventing the XR products and services that will make HTC VIVE a leading brand in spatial computing.

Official Eye Tracking Blog

Eye Tracking and User Sensing Technology for Improved…

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store