Insights EDU

Planning for Scalable XR Deployment: the Problem of Hygiene

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Amy Hedrick | Co-Founder & CEO | Cleanbox Technology

06 Mar 2020 | 6 min read

XR innovation has made all of us inventors

XR innovation has made all of us inventors. Whether we are working in hardware or software, and across all verticals, we are searching for ways to foster growth and tackle challenges in the broad expanse that is XR. Why? Because “the future” has always been imagined by those who catch a vision of the endless opportunities found on the periphery of progress and small changes.

Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, said,

“The inventor looks upon the world and is not contented with things as they are. He wants to improve whatever he sees; he wants to benefit the world; he is haunted by an idea.” 

Yet while Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone, it was Thomas Edison’s creation of the carbon transmitter that made the phone valuable to the end user. It isn’t enough to invent. Our creation must evolve to meet the needs of the end user and hopefully benefit society as a whole.

old version of VR headset

Pioneers in technology invention and application are building an immersive future

Immersive technologies such as virtual and augmented reality are rapidly becoming integrated across industry verticals including entertainment, education, healthcare, automotive, travel, fitness, retail and corporate training. The expansive capabilities of these technologies are changing the way companies interact with their customers and how they impact end consumers’ expectations and demands for content delivery. 

With the growth of immersive technology use cases comes the need to focus on creating a premium experience for customers. That experience must encourage repeat visits, create customer engagement and increase brand value. By adopting a comprehensive strategy that addresses quality content, hygiene and safety, companies will ultimately contribute to elevating the industry as a whole. 

While the technology providing virtual reality is nothing new, it is just recently that large scale XR deployment has begun in Government, Aerospace, Education, Entertainment and Healthcare. Applications are as varied as flight simulation, mining safety training, education, soft-skills training and remote expertise. In medicine, new training and surgical and diagnostic breakthroughs are now possible because of XR. Why? Because the tech is finally growing into its own potential and businesses are investing in expediting its growth rate. 

The problem of hygiene

Immersive technologies utilize hardware with a high number of face and personal contact points. A one-to-one ratio of headset to consumer is at best several years away. As human-to-hardware volume increases, so does the risk of exposure to transferrable contagions because of the proximity of the hardware to the users’ eyes, nose and mouth. Mass adoption of XR will not be successful until turnkey operations that address hygiene are in place.

Negative press and lawsuits can set our industry back in ways we can only try to anticipate, and these outcomes can harm the end-user and crush our ROI. But—eliminating the obstacle of contagions and infections is possible.

a collage of bad press relating to lack of hygiene in immersive technologies industry

Solving this critical pain point between invention and adoption

Our solution is Cleanbox, a premium, eco-friendly smart tech hygiene solution for the decontamination of virtual, augmented reality headsets and other mass-use hardware. Cleanbox eliminates the need for heat of toxins in the decontamination process, thereby protecting sensitive electronics.

a photo of cleanbox solution

It works by drying and disinfecting XR Hardware via medical grade UVC light and an internal high velocity air system. A 60 second cycle kills 99.99% of all fungi, bacteria and virus, including MRSA. The same decontamination solution is effective for other mass use hardware such as earphones, tablets and cell phones. 

A hydrophobic nanotech coating helps prevent moisture from permeating headsets and the buildup of oils and grime. Medical grade directional UVC lighting gets into all crevices where bacteria, virus, and fungi hide – unreachable by a wipe or other cleaning efforts. 

Besides offering minimal decontamination, alcohol or disinfection wipes can run about $5 a day – $1000+ a year. Smart tech solutions like Cleanbox minimize employee workload and mistakes. Sustainability is also vital as we grow this industry. Cleanbox technology provides years of reliability with 10,000 UVC light hours per box, creating a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution.

As more studies showing definitive ROI across use cases become public, the expansion of strategic rollouts will increase across industries. Having the ecosystem in place to support a comprehensive strategy of this sort is important. 

In the expanding universe of XR, consumer experience, comfort, and safety is critical

The fact is, most companies aren’t aware of the business they are missing. Why does a family not return to a VR arcade? Why won’t an employee embrace a new method of training when it’s proven to increase their retention by 130%? What causes someone to start a tech-based home health program, but drop off engagement after the first or second try?

VR arcade making use of Cleanbox hygiene solution

VR Arcade making use of Cleanbox

Lack of attention to comfort and hygiene is a commonly stated reason for consumer’s unwillingness to try VR or AR in the first place. Complaints include headsets that are wet from the previous user’s sweat, smelly headsets and backpacks, grime build up in visors, fog in lenses and an overall lack of confidence that the equipment is sanitary. Properly addressing hygiene is critical to mass consumer adoption and long-term business success.

The COVID-19 outbreak pushed hygiene and public safety to the forefront of corporate awareness

And rightly so. Running a successful business requires you to not just think about company risk mitigation, but to think about consumer risk mitigation. 

With more visibility of successful XR use cases, companies are beginning to strategize larger deployments. A successful blueprint that increases brand value requires understanding the pain points, having the right expertise on board, a time-budgeted rollout, and a focus on creating premium experiences that will facilitate repeat engagement and properly interact with the user.

Business use cases are propelling industry to invest in XR now

Business use cases showing quantifiable ROI are catapulting industries toward XR investment. As more studies showing definitive ROI become public, the expansion of these programs is increasing across industries. Having the ecosystem in place to support a comprehensive and effective approach is extremely important. 

BehaVR using Cleanbox hygiene solution

Digital therapeutics making use of Cleanbox

The AR/VR market will reach approx. $200 billion in 3 years. Worldwide spending on augmented reality and virtual reality (AR/VR) is forecast to be $18.8 billion in 2020, an increase of 78.5% over 2019. Worldwide spending on AR/VR solutions will be led by the commercial sectors, which will see its combined share of overall spending grow to 68.8% in 2023.

You can do it all

Having a solution that does not negatively impact the environment benefits everyone. The way we build – not just what we build – is important. We will help establish the future success and speed of XR adoption, it is key that we protect our consumers while we protect the environment.

Immersive technologies including virtual and augmented reality are rapid integrating across a variety of industries including entertainment, education, healthcare, automotive, travel, fitness, retail and corporate training. The expansive capabilities of these technologies are changing the ways in which companies interact with their teams and their clients and impacting end consumer’ expectations and demand for content delivery.

History always repeats itself. Make sure you’re memorable.

History was—and the future will be—littered with opportunities lost and possibilities realized. Learning from the past and embracing the future requires not just that we identify and overcome obstacles, as Edison did with Bell’s creation, but that we recognize the value and potential of what we possess and leverage it for the future. 

About the author:

Amy Hedrick is CEO and Co-Founder of Cleanbox Technology, and a thought leader providing insights into high tech innovation for the next century. Having led multiple teams from project inception and execution through profitable completion, she has proven herself an effective leader over the past decade.

Most recently, Amy was Manager of Content and Digital Media for the think tank division of a leading global consumer goods sourcing and manufacturing company. Her expertise includes conducting bespoke research and C-level reports within technology, retail, and cross-genre applications.