Guest writer Sam Furr looks at how immersive tech is shaping the future of how work works.
Technology is changing the world of business we know today. Over the past 30 years, businesses have seen the PC, the internet and now VR (virtual reality) enter its environment. Even though VR has only entered mainstream in the past year or so, it already has a huge following from consumers.
However, businesses tend to lag behind consumers when it comes to taking on new technology and this is the case with VR. but it’s catching up. According to Tech Research Pro, 48% of companies are putting VR on their strategic business plans over the next few years. With this in mind, here is the future that VR and augmetned reality (AR) have in business.
HR and Training
No matter the sector, all businesses have to train their employees. Dependant on the size of the business, some need to offer bespoke training programmes in which all employees must participate.
Having VR training allows businesses to deliver a considerable range of detailed information in an engaging way in order to help employees absorb more information. An example of VR training would be teaching someone how to operate machinery, the use of VR technology will simulate the specific machine and allow a real walk-through on how everything works. This kind of training means that the employee will be much more familiar with the machine when they come to physically use it for the first time.
Another example would be using a VR headset to practice presentation skills. The British company Virtual Speech has developed an application where employees can practice running through a presentation in a boardroom: it also has the added feature of an audience who will ask questions after the presentation.
On VRFocus in recent weeks the site has featured a number of training schemes, including training practitioners in using radiology equipment, the installation of solar equipment, refueling an aeroplane – and even a system to create VR training systems themselves.
Increase Brand Awareness Through Content
Technology is allowing us to increase brand awareness faster and faster. Virtual and augmented reality are the new channels for generating brand awareness because they have the personalised characteristics of social media.
This kind of technology doesn’t appear to have any limitations on the type of brand awareness it can provide. An example of this can be found with Michelle Obama, she used VR technology and it was identified as one of the best explainer videos for marketers to learn from; the app was a 360-video about a healthy routine.
Even new brands can promote themselves and utilise the benefits of both VR and AR. As soon as VR and AR apps make it possible for people to share their experiences across social media platforms, it will generate a buzz for followers to try out the same experience.
AR Apps for Customer Convenience
Customers are becoming more impatient and expect to have a seamless shopping experience, regardless of whether they’re browsing in high street stores or using their mobiles. Aside from developing a mobile-friendly version of your website, have you considered taking things a step further through an AR mobile app that essentially allows consumers to “try before they buy”?
For example, IKEA have released an app called IKEA Place which uses AR technology to help make shopping at IKEA much easier. The app allows users to place Ikea furniture in any room. You’re able to reposition everything and anything in the room, you can move items closer or further away from each other and see the item at different angles. The use of AR technology in this app allows potential customers to overcome the challenge of visualising how a particular piece of furniture will look before making the purchase.
To create a similar type of AR app, you can look into app developers and begin working on how to create the perfect AR app for your business whether it’s selling furniture or training employees on how to use equipment.
With a competitive manufacturing industry, improving current products and creating new ones never get put on hold. By integrating VR and AR several stages of product development can be simplified and enhanced.
Product prototyping will soon be completely digitised through the implementation of VR in 3D. This sophisticated technology opens up many different options for businesses and can potentially save a lot of time whilst reducing unnecessary costs.
A recent example, they saw VR used in designing furnishings, Yulio Technologies going so far as to begin a course specifically on using VR with interior design. A recent focus has also seen architects and other designers turn to VR so they can trial designs with customers and edit them easier, even Epic Games recently released in Unreal Studio an update dedicated to this area.
Reduce Business Travel for Staff
When employees need to attend an event or important meeting this can sometimes involve extensive travel. Travelling for staff can be rather costly and time-consuming, particularly as not all businesses can afford travel costs. There is the option of a video conference, but these aren’t always possible and the experience isn’t quite like being in the same room and participating in the meeting.
VR meetings however, could make it feel like you’re all in the same room. Or, if you’re having a meeting with someone about repairing a machine, instead of just discussing it face to face, VR technology can place you both in a room with the machine. It’s unlikely that this will replace business travel, but it can provide a good alternative to avoid spending as much on travelling.
It’s only a matter of time before VR and AR will become a necessary technology within businesses: anything which allows businesses to cut costs, save time and ultimately improve customer experiences will be taken up rapidly and used worldwide.