Five Tech Term Acronyms You Need to Know
The pace of technology continues to move at warp speed. There are some terms that were once only discussed by IT teams and are now more common among businesses users and consumers. In my reading and research, I find there are terms that have multiple or unclear meanings in different contexts.
5 Terms You Need to Know
AR – Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality allows the superposition of digital elements into the real-world environment. An example is scanning a QR code in a catalog and viewing a digital representation of a piece of furniture in your current room with a smart phone. The real world, your room, is augmented with the digital experience of the piece of furniture. The ability to overlay digital objects onto the physical world is revolutionizing many industries far beyond gaming to include education, healthcare, and manufacturing.
MR - Mixed Reality
Mixed reality is a technology that allows not only the superposition of digital elements into the real-world environment, but also their interaction. In the MR experience, the user can see and interact with both the digital elements and the physical ones. There are many business use cases for MR including immersive training and simulation experiences at scale.
Holographic technology allows for digital elements to be overlaid onto real environments. Here's an example of me speaking about direct mail with a holographic twin. When you click on the link, it will allow you to place me as a speaker anywhere in your room. Ricoh was demonstrating this technology as part of Ricoh’s Marketing Services at the IPMA conference earlier this year.
VR - Virtual Reality
VR is a fully digital immersive experience. A digital device like a headset is used to experience a digital world with visual and auditory sensations. The physical world is blocked out during the experience. The experience feels ‘real’ - like you are on an actual rollercoaster, racing down a mountain, or swimming with sharks. VR is expanding far beyond gaming and entertainment into business applications for training, prototyping for manufacturing, and reducing design time for new products.
VR is driving innovation in healthcare and is being used for treating patients with phobias and anxiety, so therapists can see how they react in a safe environment. Doctors are using VR to see patients’ veins prior to medical procedures and injections. Brands are using VR to create experiences for consumers to try all kinds of products before buying. This includes test driving cars, seeing home improvements completed, hiking in new boots and traveling to remote destinations.
XR– Extended reality
Extended reality is the umbrella term that includes all AR/VR/MR. As newer realities emerge that alter reality by adding digital elements to the real-world environment. XR will continue to describe the realities that blur the line between the physical and the digital world.
RPA – Robotic Process automation
RPA is a form of business process automation that uses technology to define a set of instructions for a software ‘bot’ to perform. RPA tools enable software bots to perform many tasks, quickly without error. RPA automates repetitive tasks that were previously handled by humans across systems and applications. RPA can handle data receiving, data processing, data collection, data correction and data creation. One example is automating the manual work of processing accounts receivables and payables. Another is sending triggered responses like emails or SMS based on defined criteria.
So in the words of one of my favorite comedians, Trevor Noah, If you don’t know, now you know about 5 terms you will hear or read about that may impact your organization and your clients’ print applications.
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Input for this piece was provided by Mark M. Fallon, president and CEO, The Berkshire Company:
Mark M. Fallon is president and CEO of The Berkshire Company, a consulting firm specializing in mail and document processing strategies. The company develops customized solutions integrating proven management concepts with emerging technologies to achieve total process management. He offers a vision of the document that integrates technology, data quality, process integrity, and electronic delivery. His successes are based upon using leadership to implement innovative solutions in the document process. You can contact Mark at email@example.com.
Lois Ritarossi, CMC®, is the President of High Rock Strategies, a consulting firm focused on sales and marketing strategies, and business growth for firms in the print, mail and communication sectors. Lois brings her clients a cross functional skill set and strategic thinking with disciplines in business strategy, sales process, sales training, marketing, software implementation, inkjet transformation and workflow optimization. Lois has enabled clients to successfully launch new products and services with integrated sales and marketing strategies, and enabled sales teams to effectively win new business. You can reach Lois at highrockstrategies.com.