What is Extended Reality?

Extended Reality (XR) may seem like a complicated concept, but it’s simply a broad term that encompasses virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR).  To understand extended reality, you must understand these three terms first.

Virtual reality is a completely created reality. VR allows a person to be immersed in a digital environment. Augmented reality is different because it is built “on top of our reality.” It’s our reality but “augmented” or amplified. AR may enhance our reality with graphics or sounds, but it’s still based on the real world.

Mixed reality is the combination of virtual reality and the real world. Mixed reality is used in different combinations of the “real” and the digital. This reality, then, includes a broad spectrum of realities. It can be mostly digital with a touch of reality, or mostly reality with a touch of digital. Either end of the spectrum is considered MR.

Since extended is a combination of virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality, it covers an even broader spectrum and therefore has an enormous amount of application possibilities.

XR in the Entertainment Industry

The number one industry using this technology is the entertainment industry, especially the video gaming world. Using VR headsets, gamers can play in a virtual world, music lovers can enjoy a concert from the comfort of their homes, and sports fans can enjoy a front-row view of an event without purchasing a ticket. The entertainment industry currently accounts for 34% of extended reality technology in use.


In healthcare, XR also proves useful. It allows students to practice procedures on virtual patients. The industry uses this technology for MRIs and CT scans by creating 3D images of the human body to help with diagnoses.

Real Estate

In the real estate industry, XR allows potential buyers to view homes without the need to travel. Architects can use XR to walk through a home they are designing and make changes long before construction begins. And a design company called Houzz created an app to help users virtually furnish any home or space they are looking at, which significantly increases the odds of closing the sale.

Remote Work

Extended reality also allows workplaces to hire remote employees easily. Employees can do their work from anywhere and even attend meetings and training sessions from home. This capability saves the cost of travel and opens up opportunities for workers around the world.

This list is just a glimpse of what extended reality can be used for today. It’s estimated that XR will be a $209 billion market by 2022 so we can expect to hear increasingly more about it in the next few years. It’s not unlikely that extended reality will become a part of everyone’s future in one way or another.