Virtual and Augmented Reality Technologies are Now Very Much a Part of Many Businesses Today

Some businesses in real estate industry now uses VR technology to improve productivity. / Photo by: choreograph via 123rf

 

While virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are predicted to disrupt the workplace, it will not happen at once, but is expected to take place within the next three to five years. Inasmuch as it is still several years away before their full impact can be felt, several industries are already using the two technologies to improve productivity and make the most of content. 

Advocates say video conferencing will be supplanted by VR meetings in companies that rely on remote staffing. These companies, which use video in conducting their report functions, will rely on VR to enable remote staff to be at the same table with their office-based counterparts. 

However, the software to be used in both technologies is still in the developmental stage and best practices have yet to be finalized. Heide Abelli, senior vice president of content product management at Skillsoft, stressed the importance of developing high-quality content geared specifically for AR and VR. 

VR training content of excellent quality, focusing on very specific use cases, has been created for industries, such as retail, real estate, healthcare, and the military. David Roe, writing for CMS Wire, delves on six of these areas. 

1. Human-Machine Interfaces

AR offers a new way for humans and machines to work together, instead of the former being replaced by the latter. The technology can speed up design work and lessen the amount of time needed for a product to be available in the market by eliminating the need to build a prototype.

Safety and compliance efforts are also improved by AR when the technology is integrated with headsets, smartphones, and computer tablets. Adnan Raja, vice president for marketing at Orlando-based Atlantic Net, claimed that AR can give employees advanced features such as x-ray vision, heat-sensing capabilities, and access to experts. He cited the case of nurses who use AR in locating veins of patients faster and accurately as an example of how AR is being used in the outside world. He talked about Accuvein’s AR tool, which enables healthcare professionals to use a handheld device that makes veins visible when the patient’s body is scanned. The tool enhances accuracy and lessens the probability of having to insert a needle on a patient more than once. 

2. Better Communication

The actual contribution of VR and AR technologies is on how they overcome one of the greatest disadvantages of a digital workplace presence, according to Nigel Davies, founder of British firm Claromentis, which specializes in the development of digital workplaces. Davies thought there’s nothing wrong with messaging but that it just does not have the same degree of connection as talking to someone in person. On the other hand, VR can endow remote workers with genuine presence when they appear as being physically present to their peers during meetings, Davies claimed. VR and AR have become well-known for generating immersive experiences that are superior to any video call. They foster an authentic digital workplace with busy but cheerful employees. 

3. Safety Training

Tom Wilkerson, the founder of CertifyMe.net, a forklift online and VR training firm, said VR has achieved impetus on the workplace by making it possible to provide hands-on training without posing any risk to worker safety or equipment. Such a convenience leads to lower expenses associated with user training, equipment repairs, insurance claims, and liabilities. While VR may have a significant initial cost, such can be offset by the contribution of VR in growing the business and reducing unnecessary expenses.

 

VR hands-on training prevents risking the worker's safety or the equipment. / Photo by: ammentorp via 123rf

 

4. Three-Dimensional Design

One established business that uses AR and VR as part of its daily operations is Overland Partners, an architectural firm based in San Antonio, Texas. The company said its designers use VR to gain insights on the scale of space in architectural models and make the required changes. The models, which are used in making working drawings, can be viewed in VR, allowing Overland to assess the material changes, determine how sunlight moves through space, and the overall feel of a space. 

5. Improved Manufacturing

Gaming is the industry that has benefitted the most from AR and VR technologies, but not for long, according to Tim Tully, Splunk’s chief technology officer. The Internet of Things, manufacturing, and supply chain management are the next areas that are predicted to benefit from AR, Tully claimed. For instance, a QR code or an NFC tag can be scanned by a warehouse manager or a mechanical technician, plugged into health-monitoring dashboards, and overlaid real-time gauges over actual objects.

6. Virtual Travel

VR is headed for the mainstream, according to Taylor Short, a senior content analyst with Software Advice. Short said the world’s largest technology companies are integrating VR with smartphones, desktop computers, and gaming consoles.  He cited how the Marriott hotel is using VR headsets to bring to life the streets of London or a romantic Hawaiian honeymoon before the eyes of newlywed brides, which makes them eager to savor the real thing and spur bookings.