The more we learn, the more we appreciate the benefits of virtual reality (VR). Is there a more exciting innovation right now? As people in the developed world become immune to digital technology, or at the very least, are taking it for granted, VR is one of the remaining few innovations that can still inspire awe.
Throughout 2017, VR continued to make big waves. Consider, just for a moment, the selection of filmmaker Alejandro Gonzáles Iñárritu’s experimental VR installation project CARNE Y ARENA into the 70th Annual Cannes Film Festival. Iñárritu is a two-time Academy Award-winning director and Cannes is the most prestigious film festival in the world, notoriously resistant to technological change, consistently promoting the importance of the theater-going experience despite the prevalence of streaming services. For both Cannes and Iñárritu to embrace VR is a major step forward for the technology, further cementing its status as a mainstream staple in our digital lives.
If VR has the potential to change the art and entertainment industries, it also has the potential to change the way children play. McDonalds’ introduction of the Happy Googles into the Happy Meal implies that VR headsets will soon become a popular toy for children, the same way that the Bop It toys were so revolutionary many years ago. As parents, teachers and health professionals increasingly stress the importance of physical activity, tech companies are finding ways to incorporate VR into exercise activities.
These VR developments are exciting, but perhaps the most game-changing will be how VR alters the way we work. Will VR signal the next paradigm shift? Has it already begun to take shape? I believe so, and in this article, I highlight three ways that VR will make a positive difference in the workplace.
3 Benefits of Virtual Reality:
In some sectors, VR is used to train employees, especially in dangerous environments. For example, pilots use simulators in case they make a mistake, and aspiring doctors take advantage of virtual reality to avoid medical accidents. Pilots landing a plane, firefighters prepping before their first fire – this is immersive learning at its most powerful. Immersive learning will lessen the difference between rookies and veterans in many professions. These practices will only expand to other sectors in the future, and in the event of traumatic on-the-job experiences, VR can provide a means of therapy.
Think Skype for Business on steroids. VR has the potential to bring digital workers together in digital meetings and conferences. There will be real-time event coverage, something like Facebook Live with VR. Rather than merely seeing the other person on a screen, you’ll be able to feel as if you are in the same room with them, despite being miles away. With the rise of the freelancer economy, virtual meetings may become the norm rather than the exception.
VR can save organizations time and money and make work more convenient. Workers won’t have to travel in order to make decisions and complete projects. For example, architects from across the globe can use virtual reality to evaluate designs. This alone is a monetary godsend. VR also opens the door for a virtual marketplace, where shoppers can try on garments, and you can see what that Arabian rug will look like in your den.
These benefits of virtual reality are just the tip of the iceberg. I’m excited to see where the technology will go in the future and how it will define the intelligent workplace. Just imagine: VR as an extension of your company’s Intelligent Experience Platform. As progress marches forward and innovations in science and technology take us to places we never thought we’d go, we’ll look back and remember the first time we put on VR glasses, and how we felt like we were seeing something brand new.