The Sci-Fi genre continuously suggests a future with more screens, more wearables, and more… lasers.
In any event, ‘virtual reality’ has been tossed around in pop culture space for what seems like forever. Now, it’s closer to being part of the enterprise than The Enterprise.
How will VR make the leap from spaceships to the office?
Facebook bought Oculus VR for $2 billion. If it’s going to be worth it, there has to be real-world business applications.
Here’s a few ways we think VR could wind up in your business soon:
1. VR headsets can change the way you meet and communicate
ComputerWorld describes how VR would change attending conferences, “I’d love to go to CES from the comfort of my own office and never have to visit Las Vegas again. With VR, I could envision being able to have a meeting and even “see” a new product and test it out. It would be more productive for me because I could have more meetings each day, avoid all travel, and even quickly jump out of a meeting that wasn’t quite right for me. I'd still get most of the benefits of seeing new products.”
VR could bring more people into one ‘room’ and allow them to interact with displays, each other, and more, even if they’re working remotely. The same idea can be used for conflict resolution and interviewing.
2. Replacing the need to physically prototype
The potential for VR to revolutionize engineering and manufacturing is astounding. If applied across the business landscape, we could be on the verge of a world where physical prototypes aren’t necessary. You can develop, test, see, and ‘experience’ products before they’re a reality.
Ford is already doing it. Elizabeth Baron (VR specialist at Ford) told Forbes, “We want to be able to see the cars and our designs, and experience them before we have actually produced them.”
According to Forbes: “Ford’s Immersion Lab allows for exactly that. At the advanced facility, different employees can don a virtual reality headset, and walk around looking at a car, while colleagues watch what they experience on a large screen. They can also sit in the car, often a preferred option given that walking around with a VR headset can be disorientating.”
Ford’s foray into VR proves it’s no longer a niche or fringe concept. VR has major application possibilities today. As more companies start to adapt the technology for themselves, expect the boundaries of VR to be pushed.
3. Step up your training methods
Training a new hire can be a headache. Using VR to train new employees could make it easier – and way more immersive.
From Forbes, “Training sessions could be recorded easily enough so that a new hire or someone in a new role could get up to speed quickly. The more vivid nature of virtual reality -- being able to look around the room, interact with objects, and meet other people virtually -- could even lead to people being better trained.”
The ability to show a new hire around a facility or let them ‘hold’ a product to better learn about it is amazing. It could both cut down on the time and resources necessary to train a new employee and it could (and will) lead to new hires who are able to jump into their new environments more quickly.
VR is officially breaking away from laser blasters and light sabers and breaking into the workplace. Between Facebook’s heavy investment in Oculus and Ford’s Immersion Lab, it’s clear that VR is not a distant-future pipe dream, but a tool for businesses to leverage today. VR is here and if it’s not where you are right this second, it’s moving toward you at blistering speed.