A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) sees a slew of opportunities for the extended reality (XR) technology within the Federal government, but also cautions that several cyber-related challenges remain.
XR technology combines elements from the real and digital world to create new kinds of interactivity and perception. Among other advantages, the report explains that XR technologies offer new ways to access and use information to train, educate, entertain, and collaborate.
“XR technologies can be used for workplace collaboration, training, education, therapeutic treatments, and data exploration and analysis. XR also enables the creation of online universes, or ‘metaverses,’ where users can interact with each other,” the report reads.
Specific XR opportunities for the Federal government include:
Cyber, Enabling Concerns
However, cybersecurity concerns remain because XR-related data is still transmitted and shared through networks, or an individual data center, GAO said. XR also will require more diverse and complex data, thus offering new targets for cyberattack and exploitation.
“[It] makes data more vulnerable to cyberattacks and privacy threats, as well as creates new avenues for online harassment,” the report says.
In addition to the cybersecurity concerns, GAO also said another challenge with XR technology deployment by Federal agencies revolves around enabling technologies. Specific emerging technologies are necessary for XR – including artificial intelligence and 5G wireless capabilities – and they may not yet be affordable or accessible to all users.
In light of those challenges, GAO offered the following questions that Federal agencies should consider when implementing XR technologies: