Virtual reality (VR) is making its way into the workplace. Though it seems like a scene from a futuristic movie, VR technology is nothing new; it’s actually been around since the 1950s. As the technology used to create it becomes more affordable, VR is now entering the mainstream. Alphabet CEO Eric Schmidt recently maintained that VR will soon be commonplace in the workforce and in schools.
When Mark Zuckerberg assimilated Oculus into his Facebook empire in 2014, he extolled the benefits of VR technology, promising a real-life experience from a headset. Though virtual reality is becoming more popular in video games, people often overlook its potential in the world of business.
Saving Money on Project Design
Imagine designing a building or complex using a virtual program and assessing the model for potential weaknesses. The result is a more secure and cost-effective project. With VR technology, builders, architects, and designers can create better buildings at a fraction of the cost of an expensive 3D mock-up.
Designers can also produce endless variations of an end product in minutes. Pitching a variety of options to an end client will result in more sales and a better product. The applications are endless and any industry, from automotive to shoes, can use them.
Engaging the Mobile Workforce
The way we conduct business is becoming more globalized. Employees complete their business tasks from coffee shops, at home, and in hotels. Though telecommuting offers valuable flexibility, it can feel isolated. VR offers telecommuters a chance to participate in a traditional office environment by placing them in a virtual office setting with coworkers. A far more lifelike option than voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), VR also increases employee productivity by encouraging workers to stay on task in a typical business environment.
Taking Training to the Next Level
VR technology already exists in flight simulation, but now it’s applicable to any industry. Surgeons can practice complex procedures and identify common errors before performing them on patients. Engineers can identify the most effective way to fix machinery before attempting it on their own. Entrepreneurs can hone their public speaking skills by rehearsing in front of a “live” audience.
As a cost-saving strategy, managers can conduct employee orientations and training without the cost of flying workers to headquarters. Businesses can even perform test administration for employees by leveraging VR technology.
Hiring and training employees represents a significant investment of time and resources, which can be mitigated by VR technology that has been given numerous trial runs to determine its efficiency. With VR technology, prospective employees can complete actual work tasks, while managers can determine the candidates’ efficacy in given staff roles.
Creating a Shopping Experience
Online retailers might enjoy a steady stream of sales, but they lack the experience of a brick-and-mortar store. By utilizing VR technology, retailers can create a virtual showroom to display their goods for prospective customers, increasing their sales.
Is VR Here to Stay?
Many promise that 2016 will be the year of virtual reality. While businesses have a unique opportunity to leverage this technology, doing so will require the help of a workforce that is amenable to VR. Encourage the use of VR technology in your workplace and reap the benefits in the form of reduced expenses and innovation.