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Making the Case for Virtual Reality in the Enterprise

by SUMMIT on October 21st, 2015

Making the Case for Virtual Reality in the Enterprise

While the gaming industry is making big investments to bring virtual reality (VR) to the gaming world, the business case for VR in other industries is stronger than you might think.

Technology company PGi predicts VR will hit the $407 million market mark, and 25 million users, by 2018, and TechCrunch reported that VR products could generate $30 billion in revenue over the next five years. Gaming undoubtedly holds a large piece of that pie, but over the next decade, VR is poised to transform the broader marketplace.

“Like everything else, [VR] would start as a competitive advantage for those early adopters,” Jeff Kagan, an independent industry analyst, told ComputerWorld. “Then, over time, it will become the way we do things. At that time, companies who don’t do it this new way will be behind the eight ball.”

How VR Will Transform Everyday Business

VR’s potential has already been explored in education, military, healthcare, architecture, and the automotive industry, with a focus on possible applications like training, physical security surveillance, technician support, medical diagnoses, and even surgery. As the technology becomes more accessible, tech analysts and experts believe VR will be a game changer.

Better meetings. VR technology could bring meetings to life. This will not only take virtual meetings closer to in-person interactions but will create an environment of same-room collaboration, making meetings that much more seamless and productive.

Remote collaboration. Lack of face time and in-person interaction is a hurdle for distributed teams, particularly globally, but VR could easily bring remote workers together from anywhere in the world, boosting productivity and strengthening relationships. This would help remote workers feel more involved and bonded with the rest of team.

Virtual tours. VR can be a great way for office planners, builders, and leasing agents to let their business clients take a virtual “walk” inside a new building or space. These 3D tours could mean better monitoring of construction projects and faster decision-making for business owners who can literally “experience” their new office without traveling all the way to the site.

Training and education. In a virtual environment, trainees can learn and interact with educators and their peers as easily as they would in an in-person training session. VR could enable employees to attend live conferences and seminars without being physically present at the venue. This could save on travel costs as well as the time wasted traveling back and forth.

Product trials and prototypes. Many businesses, like the automotive industry, have already used VR to build virtual prototypes of new products. This not only helps detect design problems at an early stage, it also reduces the need to produce multiple prototypes for testing purposes.

Businesses could also use VR as a way for customers to “try” a product virtually before they buy it. This can be a great way to gain a competitive edge by attracting customer attention and delivering an experience that improves comfort levels and cuts back on buyer uncertainty.

Better interviews. VR-powered interviews would help recruiters interact with potential candidates with the same comfort as an in-person meeting, allowing both sides to read body language, facial expressions, and physical reactions. These non-verbal cues reveal a lot about a candidate, helping businesses zero in on the right person.

VR isn’t ready for the enterprise just yet, but with numerous VR devices and platforms set to hit the marketplace over the next year, mainstream exposure—and the innovation that will come with it—isn’t far away. To stay ahead of the shift, businesses must start calculating their risks and gains in investing in VR technology while it still brings a significant advantage.

Photo Credit: calit2 via Compfight cc

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