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Many of us will have heard of Virtual Reality (AR) and Augmented Reality (AR), but Mixed Reality is perhaps a little less well known. Essentially it’s a step on from AR, where graphics are imposed on a real world setting (think Pokémon GO). It creates an interactive “hybrid” environment, where virtual objects can be mapped to real-world environments, literally mixing real with virtual.
Whilst both AR and MR are very similar, the main difference lies in the technology. Currently, Mixed Reality involves the use of a headset, whereas AR is viewed via a flat screen such as a tablet or smartphone. Mixed Reality also takes in the geometry of the environment surrounding the user, manipulating it to make content that is defined by the space they’re in. This makes MR incredibly immersive.
The way MR devices work is complex, and this is where a substantial amount of research and development (R&D) can come into play. But the concept basically relies on the interaction of a cloud-based server, Mixed Reality software and a headset. These headsets rely on multiple components to bring about VR and AR environments that the user interacts with. High tech microphones, sensors and cameras work together in identifying and responding to the user’s environment. These different pieces of hardware function alongside special software, which generates 3D digital elements to either create a brand new environment (in the case of VR) or overlay the physical environment (as happens with AR). It’s the holographic experience in Mixed Reality that’s down to the software.
The way in which MR can be incorporated in business is as hugely complex and diverse as the businesses themselves. Indeed, the massive range of applications will only continue to grow as technology moves on. Here are just some of its uses:
1. Remote working
Particularly apt at the moment, Mixed Reality can help colleagues and clients come together remotely. Language barriers could become a thing of the past in the use of translation applications that work in real time for example. NASA has also collaborated with Microsoft to develop “OnSight” software, helping engineers and scientists to be virtually present on Mars whilst actually still on Earth.
2. Project development
This is another important area of business where MR can be integral. For builders or architects for instance, it can be used to create a dynamic, 3D blueprint for sharing with clients during the planning stages. It’s an innovative way to communicate with clients, with the interactivity it offers allowing for virtual exploration of the finished product.
3. Maintenance in aviation
Aircraft maintenance is highly specialised and time is of the essence. The Australian airline Qantas has started to use Mixed Reality in cutting down the assessment and repair time of aircraft damaged by lightning. It allows for electrical wiring to be superimposed onto the MR goggles so that engineers can quickly spot and fix the problem without having to further dismantle the damaged areas. Japan Airlines also now uses HoloLens MR headsets in training engineers without the need to visit a hangar.
4. Boosting retail sales
Retail may not be the obvious sector you think of when it comes to Mixed Reality, but it has actually been a rapid adopter of the technology in recent years. Clothes shops can increase sales by allowing customers to virtually “try on” things before they buy them. Furniture shops can also use the technology by helping customers see what their furniture will look like in their homes.
5. Sports and entertainment
From fully immersive football games that feel like they’re happening right in your living room to music concerts you can totally lost in, more and more MR apps are being developed in the leisure sector. PGA Tour fans can now even use an app with a 3D rendering of golf courses. The Tour is also working to incorporate HoloLens for golf course design and tournament set-up, while players can prepare their strategy using mixed MR well before heading out for a game.
Despite this highly valuable scheme having existed since the early 2000s, far too many Irish businesses still aren’t taking full advantage of it. We’ve found this to be for all sorts of reasons; some companies have never heard of it, some don’t realise their work is eligible and others simply don’t have the time or inclination to apply. But with average SME claims sitting at around £65,000 there’s an awful lot at stake!
In a nutshell, R&D Tax Credits help companies up and down the Irish Republic claim money back in respect of recent R&D projects. It’s open to all companies in all sectors and of all sizes, and works by reducing Corporation Tax liability to reflect R&D expenditure. For loss-making companies, the benefit is provided as a cash lump sum.
Eligible costs - and projects - are many and varied but applying is an often complex, two-step process. The onus is on your company to not only provide the right facts and figures, but also to justify why you believe the credit should be awarded. It’s about using basic and advanced research to make a technical and/or scientific advancement in your field.
We will work with you to collate all the information the Revenue requires to make an accurate, fully optimised claim. Our team of R&D experts, accountants and specialists have many years of experience in not only identifying applicable R&D work, but in meeting the Revenue’s strict criteria. We will steer you away from the pitfalls, and make sure you receive the tax credits you’re owed.
Plus we’re proud of our 100% success rate, and there’s nothing to pay up front.