Frequently asked questions

7 februari

Frequently Asked Questions

(zie hier voor de Nederlandse versie van deze tekst)

About the XR Innovation Forum

What exactly is “XR”?

Extended Reality, or XR, is a collection of technologies and its applications that includes virtual, augmented and mixed reality. There is no hard definition what exactly constitutes XR, and in practice other terms are used as well with more or less the same scope, such as immersive technology, digital realities, metaverse or - more recently - spatial computing.

What is the XR Innovation Forum?

The XR Innovation Forum, or XRIF for short, is an online forum that can be used for knowledge exchange and discussion on use of XR in education and research. The goal is to facilitate interaction between XR experts and non-experts working at the SURF member institutes, connect the technical and non-technical level, provide a place for asking questions on XR topics, and to facilitate exchange of knowledge and information. It is also a place for interaction for the members of the XR Developer Network.

What topics fit the XR Innovation Forum?

The main focus of the the XR Innovation Forum is the usage and development of XR for education and research in The Netherlands, specifically within the SURF community (sectors mbo, hbo, wo, umc and research+).

The focus is not just on XR hardware and related technologies, such as VR headsets, game engines for producing XR applications, 360 video, haptics or eye tracking.

The application of XR within education and research is just as much in scope, such as the effectiveness of XR in the classroom, developing XR learning materials, organizing community activities, device management, or using XR technology to do various types of (non-XR) research.

Who is behind the XR Innovation Forum?

Daily operation of the XR Innovation Forum is handled by SURF, including administration and content moderation (the latter on a best-effort basis).

The forum infrastructure is fully hosted in The Netherlands, including any sub-processing needed (such as for data backup). The service provider used is Communiteq BV. The service provider only provides and maintains the underlying technical infrastructure of the XR Innovation Forum and is not involved at the content level or daily user-facing management of the forum.

Is the XR Innovation Forum a service from SURF?

The XR Information Forum is a one-year pilot project started February 2024 to evaluate the effectiveness of an online discussion forum for supporting community interaction on the topic of XR. Near the end of the pilot period a decision will be made about possible conversion to a service.

What is the relation of the XR Innovation Forum to other communities focusing on XR?

At the end of 2022 SURF initiated the XR Developer Network as a way to facilitate interaction and knowledge exchange between XR developers working in Dutch education & research. The SURF XR Information Forum was born out of a desire to provide an online place for interaction.

The focus of the XR Innovation Forum is broader in scope than just XR development, as there are many XR-related topics for which we want facilitate interaction. Also, interactions between technical participants (e.g. developers or IT support) and non-technical participants (e.g. teachers or researchers) is very valuable. Hence a focus broader than just XR development.

In addition, the XR Innovation Forum is a place for ongoing online interaction, complementing physical and/or online meetings.

Overall, the XR Innovation Forum aims to complement and support existing communities and activities organized around XR, such as the SIG Virtuality or the NPuls pilothub XR, especially by having online place for continuous interaction.


How do I use the XR Innovation Forum?

The XR Innovation Forum is an online forum where users can interact with each other through structured discussions called topics. Each topic consists of one or more posts posted by users. The first post of a topic can, for example, be a question, the announcement of an event, or an overview of an XR project in development. Within a topic, users can respond with new posts. A post can contain text, but also images, a link to a video or other type of post on social media, or even pieces of source code.

At the highest level topics are divided into a number of categories, such as Community, Applying XR, Development and Infrastructure. In some cases, categories are divided into sub-categories. When you create a new topic, you choose within which category you start that topic.

Because of the division into categories with topics within them, discussions remain structured, which helps to keep all posted content organized and manageable. Of course you can search within all posted topics and posts, to find for example whether a question you have is already answered, someone is active in the same domain as you, or there is already experience with a particular XR device or software.

The discussions are largely self-directed, but there are a number of moderators who can intervene in certain cases by steering participants, or even closing topics (if the discussion gets too heated, or is no longer on-topic). In addition, moderators work as general guardians and hosts of the platform. All moderators are employees of SURF.

Which language is best to use on the XR Innovation Forum?

The choice of language for such a diverse and partly internationally oriented community as education and research in the Netherlands is not easy. By using English by default for posts makes the content of the forum more accessible to participants who do not speak Dutch, of which there are many in the SURF community.

This choice is, of course, at the expense of those who are less versed in English, or who prefer to use Dutch. But especially in research and many multidisciplinary fields, English is usually the language used. Also, a lot of XR news and content comes from outside the Netherlands and is often in English.

But please don’t feel forced to post in English on the XR Innovation Forum if you prefer to use Dutch.

Whether you start a topic in English or Dutch is up to you (with a preference for English, as explained above). But we do ask not to mix languages within the same discussion topic. So please don’t reply in Dutch to a topic started in English - or vice versa - if you can avoid it.

Note that you can choose the language of the user interface in your preferences. See the choice of Interface Language under the Interface settings.

Can I promote my commercial product, or perform other types of commercial activities on the XR Innovation Forum?

No, this is not allowed by the Terms of Use.

Logging in

When I try to log in I don’t see my institute in the list of SURFconext providers?

It is likely that your institute has not activated SURFconext for the XR Innovation Forum yet. You can check the list in the SURFconext dashboard here.

Your institution’s SURFconext representative is responsible for connecting the SURF XR Innovation Forum in the SURFconext Dashboard. The XR Innovation Forum is then immediately usable for the institution’s users. After the (technical) connection, your institution does not need to take any further steps regarding access or other adjustments.

Don’t know who the SURFconext representative(s) are at your institution? Generally, these employees work in the (central) IT department. The person within your institution with the role Institutional Contact Person (ICP) can look this up. You can also send an e-mail to We will then send SURFconext representatives at your institution a request to connect this service.

User account

Can I create an account on the XR Innovation Forum if I don’t have a SURFconext account?

Currently, a SURFconext account is required to log in and participate in the forum discussions. We might change this policy in future.

Can I change my username?

It’s useful here to distinguish username (@user) and full name (“John Doe”). The latter is something informal that you can change yourself at anytime under Name in your account settings.

The username is used by the system as your unique ID and is essential in quoting your posts, or other users mentioning you. You pick this username yourself at signup (although it needs to be unique on the whole forum), but it can only be changed in the first 7 days after registering. One reason is to avoid potential expensive database operations having to change the ID in lots of posts. The other is that allowing username changes at arbitrary points in time can lead to confusion, and potentially impersonation.

This FAQ was last updated 27 february 2024

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