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The Reality of AR and VR | @ExpoDX #AI #DX #IoT #DigitalTransformation

Augmented and virtual reality technologies are a timely case of how new types of data are being used across the enterprise

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) have been the subject of much discourse in the last several years. They were widely anticipated in the gaming and entertainment industries, but in marketing and corporate settings, the benefits were murky at best. Today, these technologies are becoming more of a reality in all areas of business.

For example, the new IKEA® shopping app leverages augmented reality to help shoppers determine how certain popular items will look in their homes - no trip to a crowded megastore necessary. Marriott® deployed virtual reality for customers to see its hotel rooms around the world without having to actually travel, and KFC® and Walmart® are using virtual reality to train employees before they begin working.

These use cases are interesting for consumers and for business leaders alike, but while the hype factor is as high as ever, the barriers must still be lowered before they can be broadly implemented and then consumed.

Barriers to AR/VR Adoption
The largest and most looming barrier to widespread AR/VR implementation is, unfortunately, the absence of the necessary infrastructure. Today, networks are not fluid nor fast enough to handle widespread augmented and virtual reality, and fiber and 5G are critical to achieving the high-quality, low-latency performance necessary for success.

In addition, there is a heavy impact on the network due to the video and excessive data usage AR and VR require. In fact, Cisco® estimates a 29 percent year over year increase of data across the network, which can cause latency issues. AR/VR data on an ill-equipped network would be like forcing information through a pipe that's two inches in diameter- you really need a pipe that's five inches in diameter for end users to enjoy a seamless experience. With current infrastructure, the video lag time is approximately 40 milliseconds, and it should be under 10 milliseconds for a good viewing experience.

There is a security and Quality of Service (QoS) component here as well. Companies who have successfully implemented AR/VR capabilities must diligently monitor their cloud and on-premises environments for bandwidth usage when forecasting for capacity planning. In addition, IT pros should ensure the networks are segmented away from critical business areas in the event of a breach, and traffic should be tagged to see how AR and VR data are behaving alongside other network traffic.

Cost and availability present another challenge. Virtual reality headsets are not yet being mass produced, so costs to the vendor and, thus, to the consumer, can be quite high. Until prices level out, we can expect to see a lower rate of adoption.

Impact to the Security Posture
While these cost concerns balance out in the longer term, IT pros should spend time testing these technologies to assess their impact to the security of their networks.

From a security perspective, augmented reality and virtual reality open up a floodgate of potential consequences with respect to how the data will be used, which elevates it to a business-level issue as well as an IT concern.

In other words, as AR/VR applications gather additional consumer and business information, IT professionals must manage this consideration as well as the infrastructure piece. IT professionals who are tasked with leveraging AR and VR should use this time wisely. While the technology is still being implemented and the infrastructure is in flux, now is the time to undertake relevant training and certifications, and improve security posture to be as prepared as possible for the influx of data.

Best Practices
In fact, while IT professionals consider how best to roll out augmented and virtual reality, a recent example to reflect on is the current management strategies for the Internet of Things (IoT). IoT commands much of the network bandwidth requirements as well, and adding AR and VR into the mix complicates monitoring and management.

As we saw with the introduction and adjustments made for IoT, it's best to carefully and purposefully leverage AR and VR on the network; if there's a deployment that's too quick and floods the network, it can hinder other business units and negatively affect the bottom line. Other best practices include:

  • Have a business plan. Determine what the business requires from augmented and virtual reality technology. Depending on usage levels, segmentation and network usage will vary, but as with any major new rollout in technology environments, IT professionals should involve business counterparts to help ensure a successful deployment.
  • Know the what, where, and how. Leverage a comprehensive monitoring tool to gain an understanding of the existing data in the organization. For example, what is going on? How is it being used? Where is it being used? Which servers is it being maintained on? Which applications use certain types of data?
  • Establish a baseline. Use a log and events management tool to consolidate and correlate events immediately. This way, there's an established baseline so that when AR and VR are deployed, IT professionals can begin to successfully track its impact proactively.

Augmented and virtual reality technologies are a timely case of how new types of data are being used across the enterprise. As with any other technology that emerges and can cause unprecedented chaos in the data center and across networks - as we saw with SDN, IoT and other disruptive but exciting developments - the key for IT professionals is to approach with caution. Determine why and how the business intends to leverage these technologies to engage with end-users and customers, and develop a plan to securely deploy and reap the benefits.

 

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Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises are using some form of XaaS - software, platform, and infrastructure as a service.

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Companies are each developing their unique mix of cloud technologies and services, forming multi-cloud and hybrid cloud architectures and deployments across all major industries. Cloud-driven thinking has become the norm in financial services, manufacturing, telco, healthcare, transportation, energy, media, entertainment, retail and other consumer industries, and the public sector.

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About DXWorldEXPO LLC

DXWorldEXPO LLC is a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based trade show company and the creator of DXWorldEXPODigital Transformation Conference & Expo. The company produces and presents CloudEXPO, DevOpsSummitFinTechEXPO Blockchain Event, the world's most influential conferences and trade shows.

More Stories By Destiny Bertucci

Destiny Bertucci is a Head Geek at SolarWinds, and is a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA), CIW Masters, INFOSEC, MCITP SQL and SolarWinds Certified Professional. Her 15 years of network management experience spans healthcare and application engineering, including over nine years as SolarWinds Senior Application Engineer.

After starting her networking career in Vo-tech CCNA/Security+ and working as consultant, Bertucci decided to apply her experience using SolarWinds tools in her everyday life to grow with the tools. Certifications and degrees followed, including database development and INFOSEC, with more in the works. Customizing SolarWinds products while working on setups and performance broadened her knowledge across networking, systems, virtualization, security, and databases.

Bertucci began her IT career in 2001 as a networking consultant before joining SolarWinds to help grow the tools she had come to rely on. She boasts a deep knowledge of the complete SolarWinds product line, including customization, leading to expertise across network, security, application, server, virtualization and database management.

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