By Dijam Panigrahi, co-founder and COO of GridRaster Inc.
The way in which businesses, enterprises, industry leaders and consumers utilize technology for everyday tasks is set to undergo one of the most drastic evolutions ever. Just a few short years ago it was nearly impossible to think any sort of technology could have a greater impact than networked computers, the internet or even mobile computing. But now technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and AR/VR are being hyped more than ever.
Case in point—this year's Consumer Electronics Show provided a glimpse at whiz-bang technology and gadgets, as well as what might be the first in a new generation of premium VR headsets from some big brands as well as upstarts.
What everyone fails to take into account, however, is that none of this technologies means anything unless the platforms they run on are ready to take off. Because of this, 2023 shouldn’t be viewed as the year of hardware and gadgets, but instead it’s the year of the platform for these technologies.
What is meant by platform?
Look at it this way, imagine if you took the latest iPhone and ran it on the operating system from 2009. Even though the hardware is amazing, its performance would ruin the user experience. The same has been the case for AI, and much of the immersive/mixed-reality technologies that comprise AR/VR.
Enterprise-grade high-quality AR/VR platforms require both performance and scale. However, existing systems such as MS HoloLens and others are severely limited in both aspects. Most enterprises have a rich repository of existing complex 3D CAD/CAM models created over the years, which is a critical part of the digital thread being laid out. These 3D models may vary in their complexity (such as poly count, hierarchy, details, etc.), making it difficult to run on standalone devices, restricted by device limitations. This forces developers to work on limited resources available on these devices, breaking the digital thread.
Businesses need to know that as these virtual environments become richer and larger, the problem of scalability compounds. This cycle is repeated for each of the different hardware platforms, making it difficult for any enterprise to move from experiments and pilots to full-scale deployable solutions, thus stunting the speed of innovation and effectiveness.
Device limitations also severely restrict the capability of existing AR/VR systems to work within most cloud environments, which is essential to collocate and precisely fuse the virtual objects on top of physical objects in the real world with complex surfaces, varied lighting and diverse environments.
Businesses in 2023 are finally overcoming this significant challenge by leveraging AR/VR platforms that are based on distributed-cloud architecture and 3D vision-based AI. Up until 2023 many of these platforms were not cloud-based and relied on datacenter technology on premises, which for years had slowed the process and compute capacity to a point in which the user experience was not ideal for modern requirements. However, in 2023 these cloud-based platforms now provide the desired performance and scalability to drive innovation in the industry at speed and scale.
Businesses today are experiencing the next wave of technology innovation that will fundamentally alter the way they operate. This transformation is primarily driven by merging of the digital and physical world to create a better, smarter and more efficient way of operating. Immersive technologies such as AR/VR are playing a pivotal role in this transformation. The organizations that take a leadership role will be the ones that not only leverage these technologies but partner with the right technology provider to help scale appropriately without having to stunt technological growth.
Cloud platforms enable digital twins
It is this sort of platform that is finally enabling today’s IT leaders to build the metaverse—knowledge workers and things being represented by digital twins—a virtual world where people, consumers and workers all gather to communicate, collaborate and share through a virtual presence on any device. This means companies will build immersive virtual spaces, aka metaverses, to enable employees to virtually collaborate using their digital twins through chats, emails, video calls and even face-to-face meetings.
Technologies like AI, IoT and AR/VR have been hyped for years. But 2023 is the year of the cloud-based platform that finally enables each of these technologies to power business and consumer applications.