Extended Reality: Virtual Solutions for Real Problems

Uses of extended reality beyond gaming

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Whether it is Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), or Mixed Reality (MR), all these terms fall under the broad shade of Extended Reality (XR), and Extended Reality has been talked about for decades! Now, it seems to have gathered momentum, ready to truly sprout. Previously synonymous with gaming arenas, today the XR offerings branch into daily domains, be it retail, health, or education, among others. In this post, we take a look at how XR is being used to solve regular and evolving problems in daily life.

What is extended reality?

Forbes describes extended reality as an inclusive term for fusing the real world with virtual elements and creating an immersive environment. Whether it’s simulating the experience of flying a plane or something more commonplace like trying on a hat, XR can create these environments.

What’s driving extended reality?

Saying “the pandemic was the main reason” sounds like a hackneyed oversimplification, but recall the daily upturns in our routines in the recent past. Some industries really found their feet to fill the gaps, creating a new norm; we had to work or learn remotely, shop almost exclusively online, and video-call our doctors, among other things.

What we didn’t realize was that these “forced” norms were beginning to form organically, creating new ways of doing things previously unexplored.

XR, poised and waiting, now enters the stage ready to create these experiential needs; it may bridge the gaps and address the complications of new normal struggles.

Aiding XR use is the development of the technology, for it’s a mix of hardware and software that enables an immersive experience. 

The Harvard Business Review cites that companies like Meta head the haptic (touch) glove production, which allows both interaction and sensation with 3D virtual objects. So, advancing technology and mushrooming needs go hand-in-hand.

For more information on the players offering the tech solutions in the space, see our Extended Reality industry hub.

Remote work

Work from anywhere looks like it’s here to stay, but admittedly, there is something lost in reduced interactions and a sense of “being there” with a team. Using XR and a metaverse workplace could solve this issue.

For instance, Microsoft unveiled its virtual reality platform, Microsoft Mesh, which enables users to meet virtually in 3D spaces using its HoloLens 2 headset. Powered by the Azure cloud platform, Mesh allows individuals to interact by appearing on-screen as avatars or animated characters. 

Last year, Facebook announced the open beta launch of its VR-based remote working app Horizon Workrooms. The app is available for the Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset and smartphone, desktop, or laptop users.

These workrooms emulate the office environment using spatial audio, 3D-animated spaces where users are represented by avatars, and virtual whiteboards topped off with video conferencing integrations, also allowing users to take notes, delegate action items from meetings, share files, and chat with team members.


The best part of shopping can be, well actually shopping! While ecommerce helps you to choose products, the satisfaction of seeing and feeling an item before purchasing it is a huge part of a shopping experience; this element would have to be compromised.

But with companies like IKEA, who introduced “IKEA Place” an AR app, which launched as far back as September 2017; This app allows customers to observe products in virtual settings before buying them.

Amazon Introduced AR shopping features through its "Room Decorator" tool allowing customers to visualize furniture fittings in their homes virtually.


“Seeing” your physician can mean a new thing, and as medical science advances, it’s not just about which drugs to take but also an experience of treatment that spells positive outcomes. For ailments where excessive pain has to be managed or clinical mental wellbeing practices need to be rolled out, XR technology can make seemingly fantasy-like results possible.

For instance, virtual therapy offering XRHealth, which recently raised USD 10 million in venture funding, operates virtual clinics by leveraging proprietary CE registered XR technology that is FDA approved. The company’s on-demand remote virtual care solutions provide drug-free, personalized therapies. This includes real and virtual environments, games, and exercises that focus on physical therapy, behavioral health (stress, anger, depression), pain management, memory and cognitive training.

Another is MindMaze, which offers digital therapies for brain repair and neurorehabilitation for conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's disease. Its brain repair therapies include immersive activities through an animated gaming experience called MindPod Dolphin. Gamified VR-based digital therapies, MindMotion Pro (MMP) and MindMotion Go (MMG), assist with neurorehabilitation and received FDA clearance in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

Sneak peek at the incumbent activity…..

incumbent activity for extended reality

Curious to find out more about incumbent activity, like how Apple is functioning in this space? See our incumbent mapping portfolio.

While some concerns about privacy, intellectual property rights, and the high cost of hardware, as of now, exist to curb XR’s momentum, we feel the tech space is closely tied with our evolving needs and our thirst for new experiences.


Previously thought of as limited to gaming arenas, and scoffed at as being out of touch with ‘the real world’, XR is here and spreading into evolving needs and solving new problems. Ironically, we may see much more XR simulated environments and solutions that alleviate real pain (illness) or less than optimal work environments, to there-without-being-there fitting rooms in fashion. The extended possibilities of what XR can do are likely to realize!

To watch this space closely and keep up with the activity of big names, book a demo with our team to find out how you can access our platform.

Janine Manishka Gunasekara
Content Marketing Lead, SPEEDA Edge

Janine is a Content Marketing Lead for SPEEDA Edge, an emerging industry intelligence platform.