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Mixed reality — the blending of the physical and digital worlds — may sound like science fiction. But the results of a new survey show it’s anything but.

This just-released survey, conducted by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services and sponsored by Microsoft, found that nearly 9 in 10 (87%) organizations are now exploring, piloting or deploying mixed reality (MR). That’s pretty real. Here are the details, courtesy of the HBR Analytic Services:

HBR Analytic Services mixed-reality chart

What’s more, nearly 7 in 10 (68%) respondents said MR is important to achieving their organizations’ strategic goals over the next 18 months.

To get its findings, HBR Analytic Services earlier this year polled nearly 400 executives in a range of industries, job roles and global regions.

By organization size, just over half (52%) the respondents say they work for very large organizations (10,000 or more employees). Ten percent work for large organizations (5,000 to 9,999 employees). And roughly 40% work for midsize organizations (250 to 4,999 employees). Executives in small businesses (fewer than 250 employees) were not included in the survey.

How MR is used and led

How and why is MR being used? In the survey, training and education (cited by 54% of respondents) topped the list. It was followed by visualizing and analyzing data (49%) and assisting customers or employees remotely (38%).

The anticipated benefits of using MR, the survey found, include improved customer experience (cited by 62% of respondents), more efficient work processes (55%), and competitive advantage (52%).

Leadership is needed for successful MR implementations, yet many survey respondents feel the right leadership is lacking. When asked whether their senior managers have a strong understanding of MR and its benefits, fewer than half (49%) said yes.

Communication seems to be lacking, too. Survey respondents were asked whether their senior managers have done a good job communicating the MR opportunity to others in their organization. Only a third (36%) said yes.

Same for planning and timing. The survey asked respondents whether their senior managers had set a timetable for testing and launching MR. Once again, only a third (36%) of respondents said yes.

Big takeaways

The HBRAS/Microsoft report points to 4 important steps you and your clients can take to get rolling with MR:

> Educate from within: IT departments should not wait for senior management to get on board. They need to understand MR’s benefits now.

> Start experimenting: Adopt a “fail fast, succeed early” approach.

> Expect new worker roles: With MR, everyone becomes an information worker.

> Leverage the best of both worlds: Mix and match physical and digital components.

It’s time to shed your mixed feelings about mixed reality. This technology is real, and it’s coming fast.

Mixed reality is real and, as the survey shows, it's coming fast. Now's the time to shed your mixed feelings about this new tech.

Download the full HBR Analytic Services/Microsoft report, Mixed Reality: A New Dimension of Work (PDF).



Blog Category: 
Advanced Technologies