Why are brands and businesses turning towards XR(Extended Reality) tech? How is XR relevant to businesses, employees and customers – how to decide if you need it? Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd (RBEI), R&D wing of Bosch has been extensively focusing on this advanced tech segment. Niloy from BISinfotech gets alongside for an exclusive interview with Gulshan Purswani, Delivery Head at Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions exploring the future, strategies and potential of XR. A lot more interesting insight is unveiled below.
Q – The potential of Extended Reality (XR) and Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions Pvt. Ltd (RBEI) key focus and offerings?
XR has potential applications across manufacturing, field service and customer experience. We at RBEI are actively working on solutions in all three areas. Our key offerings are in the areas of scalable solutions. With over a decade of successfully delivering XR projects, we are currently focussing on the development of frameworks/platforms that will enable us to implement such solutions much more efficiently.
Q – The impact of pandemic on enterprises and businesses and how are they looking into a future enabling a DigitalFront experience?
The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital front experiences in both manufacturing and customer experience. We have seen instances where earlier an expert would have travelled halfway around the world for a plant/machinery installation but with the lockdowns and travel restrictions, these experts had to adopt remote assist tools in combination with hardware such as HoloLens. Another example is the number of e-commerce websites that have adopted 3D experiences to sell their products online.
Q – How can XR help businesses and why should businesses adopt it?
XR can help businesses expand their reach beyond their brick and mortar setup and overcome the current restrictions. The key checkpoint for any business is to find XR cases with a quantifiable ROI. Businesses should find the areas where they struggle the most and XR could solve that problem for them. Decisions such as which device to use, which platform to use, AR or VR, wearables or tablets would come in at a later stage.
Q – How RBEI works with enterprises to help them decide the best strategy on XR (AR/VR/Mobile/Browser) based on their business requirements?
RBEI brings its wide technology expertise to the table when working with enterprises. We work closely in consulting and joint development models with our customers and take them through their XR journey. Our typical engagement model involves a discovery phase where we conduct design workshops to identify the pain areas, milestones, success criteria etc. Post this we get into system design and develop phases to working with short checkpoints. We work in Agile model which allows us to make course corrections along the way. The second important part of successful engagement is the right team. We bring UX experts, design experts, architects and core technical teams to ensure that our XR products are well rounded and effective. For example, we recently worked with a customer where high precision AR was required for automotive sales and service experience. This was supposed to be very high-quality AR project with realistic paint shades that were overlaid on a physical car with millimeter level accuracy. We worked closely with the customer discussing the pros and cons of different options – wearable vs mobile vs tablets, processing and storage options – device vs cloud, make vs buy options for complex software components and agreed on quick win milestones. In the end, we had a product so realistic that you could easily mistake the content for a real car. We have done projects in training, manufacturing and customer experiences where each one had its unique complexity and technology challenges.
Q – What is the efficacy of novel forms of assessment within XR?
We have been able to demonstrate the efficacy of training through various approaches to ensure effective recall, muscle memory and therefore transference. For example, one of the most common ways is the assessment approach. We run the VR simulations in “Assessment Mode” where the user will be tested on the accuracy, speed and handling of failure scenarios. All our trainings come with “Training”, “Assist” and “Assessment” modes. This is commonly used in enterprise setup with structured training and evaluation practices. Another example of checking the efficacy is to evaluate transference. How well is the person able to implement learnings in the real world? This needs a more customised approach as the scenarios can differ. Recently, we were able to demonstrate the efficacy of VR training for special students where they independently took public transport. Assessments were designed to gradually move them from gamification to the real-world and therapists and teachers closely working with them evaluated the success of their training. We also support integrations with learning management systems (LMS) to provide trends and analytics over a period of time. Identifying the key success criteria and ways to measure them effectively is something we do at the very beginning stages of our projects.
Q – How can learning and performance be accurately assessed in XR environments?
There are various methods that we use starting with basic assessment scores to analytics-based solutions that will track progress over a period of time.
Q – The potential Indian market for XR and your strategies to incorporate it across the market?
The growing smartphone penetration has a lot to contribute here. The XR market in India is growing across the industries of retail, infrastructure, education, healthcare and a lot more. We are looking at enhanced customer experience, advanced-learning methodologies across sectors and we are just at the tip of the opportunity iceberg.
Q – Key privacy framework, ethical guidelines and immersive technology standards helping this nascent technology be sustainable and viable in the future.
Privacy, responsibility and ethical practices must be baked into the design and development of XR solutions well ahead of implementation. For data protection, regulations such as GDPR, Personal Data Protection Bill 2019 are certain paths to protect sensitive data. Ecosystems such as IAMAI (Internet and Mobile Association of India) and VRARA (VR AR Association) comprising of business leaders & policymakers would encourage that the standards and security are treated as a priority.