Virtual reality has and will continue to disrupt the tech industry. Since its inception, VR has been commonly seen as an outlet for leisure and exploring new gaming terrains among millennials. VR is now becoming more than entertainment; it is an asset to companies, boosting productivity, education, and research and development. It also serves as a great marketing tool and brand differentiator.
Research firm Greenlight released a 2016 survey of 1,300 adults that found that 71 percent of consumers feel that VR makes brands seem “forward-thinking and modern.” A majority of respondents said they would be more likely to purchase from a brand that uses VR than from one that doesn’t. With an estimated 24 million virtual and augmented reality devices predicted to be sold by 2018, VR is the next major digital tool for companies.
Virtual reality benefits businesses in both internal operations and external client experiences. Consider the following uses for VR in the workplace:
- Employee and management training: VR can serve as one of the best places to train new employees on how to use expensive equipment by offering a hands-on training approach while minimizing the risk of damage. This could include machine repair, driving and flying simulators, underwater biology explorations, job simulators, and surgical training.
- Virtual versus physical environment: VR in the workplace can improve efficiencies in research and development and in testing new products and services. It is faster and cheaper to build out a simulation or virtual test rather than developing and testing an actual new product or by making physical construction models. Examples include 3D product views, user interactions and CAD drawing representations.
- Marketing: Virtual reality is an amazing way to market a brand and showcase a brand’s services or products in a new way. Examples of how big brands are using VR include The North Face’s dog-sledding experience, McDonald’s paint your own Happy Meal box, and United Airlines campaign to show off its new Polaris business class seats.
- Consumer benefit: VR is not just for employees but can benefit the consumer experience as well. VR allows for current and potential clients to explore a product or service before they commit to making a purchase decision. It allows for complete product immersion by empowering viewers to see a product in action. Consumers are reported to be interested in many VR use cases, including product and game testing, travel and adventure, movies, live events, home design, education, training, shopping and fitness.
VR has provided new and multidimensional frontiers in business. Technology grows and changes at a fast pace and businesses need to stay competitive. Right now, there is a huge opportunity for innovation and growth through the use of VR in the workplace. The only way to know the possibilities of VR is to try it out for oneself!
Todd Marks is founder and CEO of Mindgrub.