Approx. 4 minute reading time

4 min

Building on past successes

Much of the human experience is rendered in storytelling. Some stories resonate more than others and the details that impress one person may seem irrelevant to another. Understanding how we as individuals relate to and process information requires data from an almost infinite list of possibilities, ranging from our personality or motivation to our education and culture.

The ICRC’s Virtual Reality Unit (VRU) has developed virtual environments for communication and training purposes since 2013. A successful “Make Arma Not War” contest and a series of consultative appearances at game development conferences helped to define a consolidated direction for the VRU. Gaming is an innovative and ever-developing medium and the ICRC hopes to proactively and conscientiously disseminate its perspective on warfare through informal channels like this.

Looking to the future

The Inno Board commissioned a study in July 2018 on the emerging field of Extended Reality (XR) – a field that includes virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality – specifically investigating XR’s potential for influence and behavior change. The potential for applications across dozens of industries is extensive; XR’s ability to overlay real-time data on our view of reality is changing everything from how business is conducted to how wars are waged. Already 9 units within the ICRC are XR users so understanding how XR contributes to the field of behavior change – and how it interacts with the developing fields of AI, machine learning and data protection – is vital to the security and future of the ICRC’s work.

Market disruptions are expected in roughly a dozen fields but healthcare, education and the military are the most relevant to ICRC’s mandate. Based on sales and projected service and product launches through 2020, the expected surge in consumer adoption could result in a subsequent, rapid evolution in both access and development leading to global adoption of XR by 2025. As a vehicle for efficient human interaction and an evolution in education, XR has the potential to improve and diversify the way the ICRC trains, communicates and represents itself.