Have you been using Virtual Reality in the workplace yet? If not, why do you think employers have been a little slow in adopting the technology. From my discussions with businesses pre-Covid, there was some resistance based on the ease of implementation, the first generation of VR headsets were often linked to PCs through wires and the setup was complicated. Employers were also not aware of VR content that was relevant to their business, the perception was that content had to be developed as a bespoke product for a company and the price was going to be steep. Many companies were looking for ready-to-use software which could be used across a whole organisation (not just a select few individuals), this way the justification for using VR technology becomes much greater.
The good news is that the world of VR is changing rapidly (and we are at the heart of this change). The recent pandemic has driven business users into VR (Oculus experienced a 350% increase in VR hardware purchases in 2020), and we now have a growing market keen to maximise the opportunity of VR. A recent report by Statista suggested that there are 121 million VR users globally – and the current generation of VR headsets are lightweight, wireless and now much simpler to operate;-
Virtual Reality adoption will become widespread
We believe innovation in VR software will be key for widespread adoption, Virtual worlds are the next evolution in communication and collaboration, with people still sceptical of mass travel and conferences, companies are looking to foster engagement and collaboration through participation in three-dimensional virtual worlds. Virtual Reality environments have the potential to:-
- Help employees make deep connections in the real and virtual world
- Address the issue of employees becoming disconnected, especially for companies who have multiple locations
- Creating a new way to deliver training that is both engaging and cost effective, ensuring employees retain the knowledge gained
- Creating an environment for all employees to have a voice and to express themselves
- Creating an environment free from discrimination that encourages collaboration (virtual worlds support employees from all backgrounds and is one environment where a persons appearance is not an issue as we adopt our own avatar personas)
- Creating a virtual platform that will deliver global events and exhibitions without significant costs related to travel and physical stands
- Creating an environment that will inspire creativity and spark imagination throughout the workforce.
VR is highly valuable and incredibly innovative
VR will rapidly establish its value as a highly innovative tool to educate and train users in a safe, measurable, and repeatable way. VR has the ability to enhance long-term information retention, aided by its ability to incorporate immediate feedback from users and ensure longer term engagement. VR training enables employees to train on and in dangerous situations so that they can perform those tasks with greater proficiency and enhanced safety in the real world. Doctors can learn new techniques and prepare for surgeries in VR simulations before operating on live patients. These applications have highlighted the effectiveness of individual-based training. What virtual worlds offer is a collaborative environment, in which groups of people can train and learn together. Universities could also offer the possibility of enhanced group collaboration and tools to enhance learning mechanisms. They could create their own virtual campuses where students and academics can network.
Virtual worlds offer new ways of thinking
With a virtual world, users will be able to represent challenges via digital metaphors, which unlock new ways of thinking and can reduce resistance to change. A bold business statement could be brought to life as a mission to space; an alignment discussion could be conducted around a campfire. A virtual world can be designed and manipulated to do this in a way that a physical environment never could by enabling flexible tools that allow facilitators and experts to create an environment that engages multiple senses and is optimised for interaction and collaboration. The potential for virtual worlds is great, but naturally companies want to aim for use cases that will generate employee value. Our Talkout model identifies how developers and businesses can use virtual worlds and ensure that they are enabling the greatest value around driving collaboration and communication, specifically they will address the following;-
Communicate & collaborate
Users from anywhere can interact and collaborate with anyone at anytime from anywhere in a virtual environment. Replicating this exchange can help participants interact as they would in the physical world.
Engage & Entertain
Users can engage with each other and the world in ways that may not be possible in the physical world, additionally, users can have access to previously inaccessible entertainment and content.
Visualist & Vision
Enabling users to see and interact in an environment to which they would otherwise lack access. Most virtual-world experiences easily check this category, as they immerse participants in an environment that might be impossible to visualise in the physical world. Additionally, users can envision concepts and presentations that may have been challenging to create physically.
Inform & Instruct
Greater access to instructors and information by developing an on-demand environment for instructor and user presence. Virtual worlds can simulate situations that an individual may have to undergo in real life and with a group of people. Facilitators and experts can join from any geography to provide participants with leading content. Our new use of Volumetric 3d means we can even record trainers live and replace them as a Hologram (Star Wars style) in a virtual world – this will enable training to be undertaken in a whole new way.
Virtual Reality Worlds – The Future of Learning, Development & Connection?
Virtual worlds and their potential are undeniably exciting, and organisational leaders are increasingly seeing the potential for accelerating their development. In a turbulent time, with travel and in-person gatherings uncertain or cancelled, businesses are looking for more virtual experiences to conduct events and experiences to give many-to-many users a platform to communicate and collaborate. As the world enters a phase of technology convergence, it will likely become easier to develop, run, and access virtual worlds. 3D modelling continues to be enhanced, lending to more realistic digital humans and content; voice recognition and artificial intelligence are enabling increasingly seamless interaction between user command and headsets. With these converging technologies and a world moving toward immersive, virtual collaboration, we see a significant opportunity in creating a customised, virtual world for each of our enterprises client that allows their employees to engage, connect, communicate, innovate and learn.
Providers are removing the barriers to Virtual Reality in Business
The most forward-thinking technology providers are removing barriers to entry through simple plug-and-play systems, with access to libraries of ready-made VR content and per-user pricing. This is significantly reducing costs and making VR more accessible to companies of all sizes and budgets, enabling them to accelerate the skills development of their people previously only available to those larger enterprises. Find out more about how you can implement Virutal Reality training in your organisation with Talkout worlds.