The News: At the Enterprise Wearable Technology Summit (EWTS), Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. announced a new initiative called the Qualcomm® XR Enterprise Program. The program brings XR technologies and products based on the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ XR Platform, together with enterprise solution providers to collaborate, innovate and help drive AR and VR adoption in a range of industries including manufacturing, energy, healthcare, aerospace, education, insurance, retail, transportation and architecture, engineering and construction (AEC).
The Qualcomm XR Enterprise Program allows inaugural members – the enterprise solution providers – to be part of a global community that offers access to technical support resources, promotional opportunities, co-marketing, joint planning and business development and matchmaking with other members for the collective goal of accelerating the enterprise XR segment to help increase operational efficiencies, worker satisfaction & safety and impact the bottom line. Read the full release on Qualcomm’s News Room.
Analyst Take: Qualcomm has quietly become one of the more instrumental players in extended reality (XR) and today’s announcement marks a significant commitment by the company to not only be a critical technology contribution that sits in the background, but to take an active leadership role in helping to define an important technology shift in the adoption of XR.
The Qualcomm XR Enterprise Program:
The program itself will serve as not just an initiative but as I see it, an accelerator of XR technologies driving adoption, in particular in the industrial space.
Over the past year, we’ve seen companies like Microsoft make significant investments and strides in enterprise/industrial extended reality with the launch of the HoloLens 2 (Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 850). The lighter, more powerful unit showed tremendous potential when it was rolled out at MWC 2019 in Barcelona providing the market with a show of how extended reality could empower enterprise workers.
However, as an industry, XR for enterprise and industrial applications has only begun to hit its potential. While many applications from assisted manufacturing floors to collaborative workspaces using XR have been touted from the stage, it is going to take more commitment and resources from the companies developing and implementing these technologies to gain traction.
This commitment by Qualcomm indicates that it sees significant potential in XR, and I also see this as a trend.
Who is Involved in the XR Enterprise Program?
The Qualcomm XR Enterprise Program is being announced with more than 18 partner endorsements from the solution members themselves, to ecosystem support from headset makers to one of the largest consulting firms on the planet.
The first two names on the list serve as two obvious anchor tenants based on the contributions they make to the adoption of technology in enterprise and in healthcare, Accenture and the American Medical Association. From the release:
“XR is transforming the way people experience the world around them, both in the workplace and in their personal lives. Accenture and Qualcomm Technologies have been working together closely in the ideation and development of pilot XR solutions aimed at both the enterprise and consumer industries. We look forward to furthering our collaboration through our participation in the Qualcomm XR Enterprise Program,” said Raffaella Camera, Global Head of Innovation & Market Strategy, Accenture Extended Reality.
“AMA is proud of its fruitful collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies to-date and welcomes their new XR Enterprise Program. AMA’s primary customers come from manufacturing and healthcare, both are facing disruptive technology revolutions and challenges. Having Qualcomm Technologies as a lighthouse to navigate this is an invaluable resource to help accelerate XR adoption and support technological evolutions within these verticals,” said Christian Guillemot, CEO and founder, AMA.
For organizations of this magnitude to commit their names to this program, it is clear that both the potential in XR and the role that Qualcomm plays is viewed as significant.
Good Move For Qualcomm?
I’ve long felt that Qualcomm is too humble in its contributions to important technology standards and innovations. From its role in 4G and now 5G to IoT to AI to XR, the company makes many significant contributions, but often doesn’t receive due credit as its policy has long been more about powering innovation than branding it.
With Qualcomm aggressively seeking to build a strong reputation outside of its core smart phone chip and licensing business, a strong presence in XR has the markings of a smart move to build a strong reputation as one of the pioneers in democratizing XR to the masses.
Given the significant community that is partaking in the XR Enterprise Program, early indications are that this is the beginning of something formidable. I expect over the next year to continue to see XR extend its presence in enterprise and industrial applications; this particular group and initiative is all but certain to play a significant role.
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Futurum Research provides industry research and analysis. These columns are for educational purposes only and should not be considered in any way investment advice.