Virtual Reality or VR is a fast-growing sector of the technology industry, but before you pass this off as a fad or something that’s only being used for gaming, read on. VR is not just for video games anymore. Big business is using the tech to put their workers into the situations they need, virtually.
The pandemic has forced many people to work from home. How do you get people into the same room when there are social distancing requirements? How can an employee help another troubleshoot a problem on a manufacturing shop floor when they aren’t allowed in the building? How can people receive hands-on experience during this time? The answer: VR in the workplace.
While the idea of VR may feel a bit futuristic to some and cause some fear and uncertainty, the real-world potential for it as a tool is impressive. Just like any other cutting-edge technology, when applied to a particular business use case and industry by the development team, VR has the potential to save enterprises millions of dollars.
Beyond its projected value into the next decade, VR is already being used successfully across industries. VR can prevent expensive design failures before production or physical prototyping, and it brings with it the ability to test in a virtual environment. VR isn’t just a method of simulating an environment though. It actually allows businesses to collect massive amounts of data and identify strategic insights from the data they collect. This article will detail just a few of the VR use cases in different industries right now.
VR Use Cases for Your Sales Team
The architecture and home design industry has been using VR for a long period of time. You see it on every home improvement program that shows a virtual walkthrough of how a home will look after renovations. This same idea is valuable to many other industries too. With the advancements in VR, instead of using the technology for a home walkthrough, you could provide a digital showroom experience. Your customers could use VR to:
- Interact with your products, getting up close and personal
- View products from all angles by moving around them
- Talk to staff in real-time and as close to in-person as possible
- Shop without the worry of being in crowded spaces, especially in light of the global pandemic
Because the VR environment is brought to life through programming, it’s less expensive to improve the customer experience on the fly. With the data collected from the first VR code release, you can change the virtual representation of your space using a keyboard and dedicated programmers/engineers instead of a team of builders, designers, and project managers. You could even have the VR experience customized to each particular client when they log on.
VR Use Cases for Product Prototyping
VR is also frequently used for rapid prototyping. Many of the largest airplane manufacturers have been using VR to finesse the details of plane design virtually before building physical models. Engineers can then test endless iterations of a design without the cost of actually mocking up a physical version, saving them millions of dollars not just on construction costs but on safety precautions, testing, and staffing.
Design prototyping using VR can be performed in an office. There’s no need for a massive hangar facility to store prototypes within, which also results in additional real estate costs. VR, by extension, reduces the strain on the environment because fewer raw materials and resources are consumed to build prototypes, heat large spaces and power workshops.
Consider all the different industries that could put this virtual prototyping to use, such as:
- Furniture designers mocking up sample pieces to receive initial feedback before purchasing materials
- Car manufacturers laying out the interior of the cabin for the best driving experience
- Urban planning could even allow for walkthroughs of entire neighbourhoods based on the drawings created
VR Use Cases for Training Specialized Professionals
VR trains pilots and astronauts in a much more cost-effective way than in-flight training, or even specialized simulators. Flight simulators, unfortunately, are still extremely expensive. The technology that powers them is quite realistic, requiring large computational resources and expert simulation engineers to run the apparatus, which typically takes up an entire room.
In the past, training simulators were only available in larger tech centres. But with VR, there’s no need for a hulking physical apparatus. A pair of goggles can simulate the training environment anywhere in the world where you can access the internet. A VR system like an Oculus Quest 2 is affordable for enterprises and can be shipped in a small box.
But VR isn’t just for the aviation industry now. Doctors are using it to practice high-risk medical procedures. And more recently, Walmart used it to help employees prepare for the high volume of Black Friday shopping. The potential for training applications is limitless.
VR Training Use Cases for Improved Health and Safety
VR training is a massive asset in industries with significant safety risks, such as construction or the oil and gas industry. VR simulations can give workers a much broader range of experiences, so they’re more prepared, calm, and have practiced how to manage an emergency as safely as possible.
In difficult or risky situations, where a repair is required on an oil rig or at the top of a scaffolding on a large construction project, minimizing the number of workers at risk is essential. Using VR goggles, the engineers and management off-site can evaluate the problem, the risk and the possible solution without needing to be in harm’s way. Then, one professional can be trained on the same scenario in VR before attempting the solution in real life.
Current VR Technology Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg
When it comes to VR, the sky is really the limit for businesses. It’s a perfect solution in today’s climate to:
- Give your customers next-level shopping options virtually
- Provide your staff with tools to design and create while out of the office
- Training employees from the comfort and safety of their own home
But then imagine combining this technology with others. A customized shopping experience using VR could be assisted by a chatbot within the software that not only helps, just as a human sales associate would but also collects data on your sales processes.
If you’re curious about chatbot technology, or how VR might disrupt your industry, reach out to talk to one of our cutting-edge consultants today. We’d love to hear about your VR use case.