The Expanding Role of XR: Industries That Will Benefit the Most in 2024

The Expanding Role of XR: Industries That Will Benefit the Most in 2024

Published: 10-01-2024
Updated: 15-01-2024

XR is carving out its niche as a tool of innovation in many industries – in some more than in others. This year has seen a remarkable growth in adoption of specialized XR solutions, particularly in corporate and enterprise settings, technical fields and skill development. Many companies took the leap of faith to discover how and if immersive solutions can benefit them. Diverse applications bring diverse benefits in healthcare, workforce, education or engineering, and this falls’ conferences are a true testament to this. After a year of pivoting into business, many companies showcased B2B solutions aimed at very specific use cases, such as VR tools for construction, education, therapeutic healthcare, and collaborative workspaces.

Based on what we’ve seen this year, what are the most promising XR domains that will likely continue to expand in 2024?

In this article:

Healthcare – The Diverse and Impactful Applications in Medical Fields

Virtual reality can be useful in a variety of areas in healthcare, including mental health, physiotherapy, pharmaceutical development, and patient education. XR also brings collaboration, especially among multiple healthcare facilities, which doctors used extensively during the pandemic to provide remote care. It allows staff to view human bodies in 3D rather than 2D images. Medical imaging technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and CT scans now extensively use extended reality. In this way, medical personnel are able to diagnose better, as the relevant structures are rendered more accurately.

One of the most notable uses of XR is in surgical training. Utilizing immersive models, doctors can enhance their skills without putting lives at risk. This includes learning general surgical techniques and creating procedures for more intricate surgeries. Additionally, augmented reality can assist medical staff during live operations and patient care, leading to improved decision-making and more insightful recommendations for patients. And that’s not where it stops – on top of that, therapeutic VR treatment is becoming popular due to secure space for individuals to confront and conquer their fears.

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Engineering and Manufacturing – Enhance Safety and Efficiency

Keeping up with the supercharged business world requires a skilled workforce, and training is a necessary, but expensive, effort. XR tools can save money, time, and prevent injuries.

CAD is an excellent tool for designers and clients, as it allows them to fully engage with plans on a life-size scale during the drafting process, or virtual reality can be used to view 2D plans as 3D models. This enhances their ability to explore various design options. In certain engineering and manufacturing tasks, there may be hazardous functions involved. In these cases, augmented reality can enable workers to safely conduct these actions from a distance. For example, an employee can remotely direct a robot to handle tasks that involve dangerous chemicals. New factory employees can learn how to operate risky equipment through simulations from any location. These job simulators are designed to replicate real-life situations, including accurate deadlines and potential distractions, to prepare employees for the demands of the job. Besides assembly, quality control, and maintenance, AR can assist with other processes as well. In addition to receiving visual and voice instructions, workers can also see data overlays and simulations on their smartphones, headsets, or other devices. It can include accurate technical data like tolerances and coatings.

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Education – The Unmatched Impact on Learning Retention

A study by the National Education Association of the United States found that while learning retention for lectures is only 5% and reading is 10%, VR has a learning retention rate of 75%, making VR learning the second most successful learning method. It has only been surpassed by the method of educating others, where the retention reaches 90%, surpassing even the effectiveness of VR training. An immersive learning experience can make learning much more engaging than simply reading a text or watching a video. By using virtual reality, students can get hands-on, real-world experience without having to go to school. With its unique learning experiences, XR is expected to have a significant impact on education, from elementary to tertiary to professional levels.

XR offers a variety of educational opportunities, such as virtual field trips to unreachable places and in-depth exploration of scientific concepts through 3D models. In the post-secondary setting, students can engage in self-paced learning through XR, encompassing everything from astronomy to zoology. The use of XR technology also promotes better retention of information by creating richer connections. Additionally, gamification of lessons adds an entertaining element and can further improve learning outcomes.

Workforce – Reinventing Workplace Connectivity

Executives see extended reality as an effective method to reconnect employees. Hybrid work, remote employees, 4-day work week; the pandemic has triggered a series of new workplace arrangements. As a result, employees are able to get hands-on experience in a safe and controlled environment, enabling them to be more efficient as they go. On-the-job training also opens up new opportunities.

Some companies are embracing VR as a novel approach to staff training, particularly focusing on enhancing soft skills. This initiative is designed to help employees develop resilience and effective stress management techniques. Through immersive VR experiences, staff are exposed to a variety of simulated scenarios that challenge and refine their interpersonal skills in a controlled environment. Others leverage VR to create virtual workspaces, offering a unique and interactive platform for employees to collaborate and communicate.


Looking ahead to 2024, XR stands at the forefront of a transformative wave across critical sectors of operations. In healthcare, we anticipate XR technologies continuing to redefine patient care and medical training, making procedures safer and more efficient through immersive training models. The engineering sector is poised to see further integration of XR for enhanced safety and precision, particularly in complex tasks. In education, it is likely that more institutions and schools will decide to jump in and benefit from interactive learning. And finally, undisputable changes are coming to the workforce management, where innovative workspace solutions are expected to become even more pivotal. Adoption has many steps, and in 2023 we have taken some of the most critical steps to test and iterate the XR applications to become even more effective in the next year to come.

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Petra Palusova

Written by Petra Palusova

Petra Palusova is writer for the VRX blog with an affinity for all-things-XR. Architect, systems scientist specialized in XR and synthetic environments, Petra is currently active as a product design lead, advisor and researcher delivering best practices, communications and business strategies to technology companies building XR products and platforms. A true jack of all trades!

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