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Virtual Reality

The definition of virtual is near and reality is what we experience as

human beings. So the term virtual reality basically means near-reality.
This could, of course, mean anything but it usually refers to a specific type
of reality emulation.

We know the world through our senses and perception systems. We all
learned that we have five senses: taste, touch, smell, sight and hearing.
These are however only our most obvious sense organs. The truth is that
humans have many more senses than this, such as a sense of balance for
example. These other sensory inputs, plus some special processing of
sensory information by our brains ensures that we have a rich flow of
information from the environment to our minds.

Our experience of reality is simply a combination of sensory information

and our brains sense-making mechanisms for that information. It stands to
reason then, that if you can present your senses with made-up
information, your perception of reality would also change in response to it.
You would be presented with a version of reality that isnt really there, but
from your perspective it would be perceived as real. Something we would
refer to as a virtual reality.


Answering what is virtual reality in technical terms is straight-forward.

Virtual reality is the term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer
generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a
person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed
within this environment and whilst there, is able to manipulate objects or
perform a series of actions.

There are a range of systems that are used for this purpose, such as
headsets, omni-directional treadmills and special gloves. These are used
to actually stimulate our senses together in order to create the illusion of

This is more difficult than it sounds, since our senses and brains are
evolved to provide us with a finely synchronized and mediated
experience. If anything is even a little off we can usually tell. This is where
youll hear terms such asimmersiveness and realism enter the
conversation. These issues that divide convincing or enjoyable virtual
reality experiences from jarring or unpleasant ones are partly technical
and partly conceptual. Virtual reality technology needs to take our
physiology into account. For example, the human visual field does not look
like a video frame. We have (more or less) 180 degrees of vision and
although you are not always consciously aware of your peripheral vision, if
it were gone youd notice. Similarly when what your eyes and the
vestibular system in your ears tell you are in conflict it can cause motion
sickness. Which is what happens to some people on boats or when they
read while in a car.

If an implementation of virtual reality manages to get the combination of

hardware, software and sensory synchronicity just right it achieves
something known as a sense of presence. Where the subject really feels
like they are present in that environment.Virtual reality is the creation of a
virtual environment presented to our senses in such a way that we
experience it as if we were really there. It uses a host of technologies to
achieve this goal and is a technically complex feat that has to account for
our perception and cognition. It has both entertainment and serious uses.
The technology is becoming cheaper and more widespread. We can
expect to see many more innovative uses for the technology in the future
and perhaps a fundamental way in which we communicate and work
thanks to the possibilities of virtual reality.

Augmented reality

Augmented reality is the integration of digital information with the user's

environment in real time. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally
artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment
and overlays new information on top of it.

Boeing researcher Thomas Caudell coined the term augmented reality in

1990, to describe how the head-mounted displays those electricians used
when assembling complicated wiring harnesses worked. One of the first
commercial applications of AR technology was the yellow "first down" line
that began appearing in televised football games sometime in 1998.
Today, Google glass and heads-up displays in car windshields are perhaps
the most well-known consumer AR products, but the technology is used in
many industries including healthcare, public safety, gas and oil, tourism
and marketing.

Augmented reality apps are written in special 3D programs that allow the
developer to tie animation or contextual digital information in the
computer program to an augmented reality "marker" in the real world.
When a computing device's AR app or browser in receives digital
information from a known marker, it begins to execute the marker's code
and layer the correct image or images.

How does augmented reality work? Is it similar to virtual reality? It is

similar in that the user views a series of images via a pair of 3D glasses or
a head mounted display (HMD). Augmented reality glasses are worn in the
same way as virtual reality glasses in that they enable the wearer to
interact with these images as part of the overall experience.

The difference between augmented reality and virtual reality is the level
of immersion. Virtual reality is based upon a complete simulation of a real
world environment which the user can explore and interact with by means
of a head mounted display (HMD) and input device, e.g. data glove. The
user loses or immerses themselves in this environment. But with
augmented reality the user sees the real world but with the addition of
computer generated images which are overlaid on various objects within
the real world. They are still aware that they are in the real world as
compared to the full immersion in a virtual world. They use a device such
as a smartphone or a wearable device complete with a webcam which
contains software that recognises an image and helps displays this onto
an object. Virtual reality replaces the real with the artificial whereas
augmented reality enhances real life with artificial images.

Digital Transformation

Agile Elephant on Digital Transformation

Digital transformation is the process of shifting your organisation from a

legacy approach to new ways of working and thinking using digital, social,
mobile and emerging technologies. It involves a change in leadership,
different thinking, the encouragement of innovation and new business
models, incorporating digitisation of assets and an increased use of
technology to improve the experience of your organisations employees,
customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders.

While this definition may seem more elaborate, I find this elaboration can
really help get somebodys head into the digital transformation game.

MIT Sloans 9 Elements of Digital Transformation

In The Nine Elements of Digital Transformation, George Westerman, Didier

Bonnet and Andrew McAfee identify the key attributes of digital

Category Items

Transforming 1. Customer Understanding

2. Top-Line Growth
3. Customer Touch Points

Transforming 1. Process Digitization

2. Worker Enablement
3. Performance Management

Transforming 1. Digitally Modified Businesses

Business Models
2. New Digital Businesses

3. Digital Globalization

1. Customer Understanding Customer Understanding is where

Companies are starting to take advantage of previous investments
in systems to gain an in-depth understanding of specific
geographies and market segments.

2. To-Line Growth Top-Line Growth is where Companies are using

technology to enhance in-person sales conversations.

3. Customer Touch Points Customer Touch Points are where

Customer service can be enhanced significantly by digital

4. Process Digitization Process Digitization is where Automation

can enable companies to refocus their people on more strategic

5. Worker Enablement Worker Enablement is where Individual-

level work has, in essence, been virtualized separating the work
process from the location of the work.

6. Performance Management Performance Management is where

Transactional systems give executives deeper insights into
products, regions and customers, allowing decisions to be made on
real data and not on assumptions.

7. Digitally Modified Businesses Digitally Modified Businesses is

finding ways to augment physical with digital offerings and to use
digital to share content across organizational silos.

8. New Digital Businesses New Digital businesses is where

companies are introducing digital products that complement
traditional products.
9. Digital Globalization Digital Globalization is where Companies
are increasingly transforming from multinational to truly global

Digital Business Transformation

I think its worth pointing out the distinction between Digital

Transformation and Digital Business Transformation. Digital Business
Transformation is specifically about transforming the business with digital

There are many ways to look at but in particular it helps to view it through
the lens of business model innovation. So you can think of it as innovating
in your business models through digital technologies. Your business model
is simply the WHO (customers), the WHAT (value prop), the HOW (value
chain), and your WHY (profit model.)

In pragmatic terms, that means evolving your business model and

interaction patterns to meet the changing demands of your customers all
along your value chain. For example, consider how millennial want to
interact with a business in todays world. They want to learn about a
company or brand through their friends and family on social networks and
through real stories from authentic people, and they want access to
services anytime, anywhere, from any device.

Another way to think about this is how many companies are learning how
to wrap their engineering teams around their customers end-to-end
journey to directly address the customers pains, needs, and desired