The entertainment value of virtual reality has already been proven. Now it is time for the enterprise world to follow suit by receiving benefits such as optimized workflow, reduced costs, and more efficient employee training. In this article, we highlight the main aspects of business operations that can be improved through VR and outline a deployment checklist that would streamline the adoption of the technology.
VR Development: Impact on Business
For a long time, virtual reality has been associated primarily with entertainment, which is still reflected in the state of the VR market. However, as the technology matured, both VR development companies and the business domain in general recognized its potential for enterprise applications. In fact, this potential can already be observed, with VR adding $13.5 billion to the world’s GDP and aiding over 20 million jobs, according to the report by PwC.
Surveys also indicate a growing interest in VR solutions among business executives, with a third of respondents confirming the adoption of the technology in at least one business unit and around 50% exploring the possibility of deployment in the near future. Such popularity can be attributed to two factors. On the one hand, the digitalization of business processes enables virtual workflows that are not bound to a physical location. On the other hand, a similar trend in application development diversifies the talent pool, allowing a VR developer from Singapore to innovate on par with the leading US-based companies and making the technology more accessible. What follows is an overview of areas where VR can benefit business operations.
Design: Bridging the Gap Between Abstraction and Perception
The main advantage offered by VR application development is the ability to visualize digital models in a convincing manner and apply all sorts of validation procedures to the generated image. This is particularly valuable for businesses that specialize in design, with architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) being the most prominent examples. For starters, a VR headset offers a sense of scale and immersion that cannot be achieved with simple renditions like 2D projections. On the one hand, this allows to evaluate the concept while eliminating the need to build expensive and resource-consuming physical models. On the other hand, it enables engineers and designers to make adjustments on the fly and see results immediately, streamlining the process.
The latter aspect also improves the collaborative aspect of design. The aforementioned adjustments can be shared with the team on a review meeting to communicate the ideas across the department and exclude miscommunication-related issues. Not only that, virtual reality enables additional tools for flagging, annotating, and taking measurements of a model, which improves the team’s performance.
The reviewing capabilities can also be used for communication with customers. Not only can you present a compelling visualization to the clients through a VR headset, in doing so you are not bound to a specific location. This will be appreciated by companies that have an international audience. Imagine casting your design through VR from Singapore to three locations in Europe, highlighting certain features to showcase the options, and annotating it based on feedback, all in one session.
Fostering Excellence in Human Resources
HRM is another domain that can take advantage of VR application development. First, it brings the recruitment process to the next level by offering an immersive experience. By inviting the applicants to familiarize themselves with the workplace, the HR manager can increase the talent retention rate while at the same time assessing the skills of the candidates. In other words, it can adjust the expectations on both sides to improve the success rate of the hiring process. This approach is already being used by some of the industry leaders to conduct virtual factory tours.
Training is another process that can benefit from VR adoption. The most apparent area of application is any segment that requires familiarity with complex equipment. The aviation industry is perhaps the most apparent example, although any workplace with critical hardware, hazardous environment, or considerable risks also falls in this category. In this case, VR offers realistic conditions for training without exposing employees to unnecessary harm.
In the same way, VR development can boost the training of leadership and management. While these domains do not pose any risks to the workforce and inventory, they are much more dependent on soft skills like communication, empathy, and empowerment. These traits are understandably difficult to transfer into a remote setting, so VR provides a feasible alternative where in-person training is either prohibitively expensive or impractical for other reasons.
Creating Believable Experiences for Marketing
The third major domain of VR application in business is marketing. The same believable and immersive experiences used for client reviews in AEC can also be applied to any market with limited access to goods, like the automotive industry. In fact, some vendors are already considering a VR implementation for more conventional products like clothing in the form of virtual dressing rooms. Such an approach not only effectively demonstrates the item to the consumer but can be augmented with an AI solution to generate recommendations.
On top of that, customers can get access to customization options before ordering a product, which is particularly valuable for appealing to a modern audience. In combination, these applications offer a tremendous boost to customer experience and, by extension, sales.
While VR promises numerous lucrative benefits to business, its deployment can actually be challenging. To make it easier, here is a checklist to go through before proceeding to company-wide adoption:
- Formulate the expectations
- Evaluate expected outcomes
- Create a deployment and management plan
- Assess the employee skills and competencies
- Find a team with experience in VR application development
- Track progress and make adjustments
These steps will allow to streamline the deployment and minimize the unforeseen challenges in the process.
Virtual reality has already entered a transition stage from a niche technological solution to a transformative innovation with a broad range of applications. This has already been recognized both by small businesses and major industry players, with numerous use cases confirming its viability. With the right vision, expertise, and planning, your business can also harness its potential and gain a competitive advantage while at the same time optimizing the performance of the internal workflow.