Companies are investing more and more in digital technologies like AR & VR due to the potential they have to revolutionize processes and transform businesses for the better. AR & VR applications are necessary to harness the power of these tools, and maximize their capabilities in providing value. That value can be in the form of implementing a better employee training program, or creating a more efficient product development process that cuts down on costs. These are just some examples of how AR & VR can be leveraged to positively impact a business and its operations.
Before we go deeper into the business applications of these innovative technologies, let’s first go over what Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality are, and their differences.
Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality
Augmented Reality, or AR, utilizes mobile camera technology such as, iOS or Android phones & tablets, as well as headset technology like Microsoft’s HoloLens, or the Magic Leap headset, to view digital data overlayed onto reality in the form of holograms. Many exciting and useful applications are possible with AR: from training procedures that replicate real-life scenarios, to editing scalable 3D models of prototypes that you can see and manipulate right in front of you. The ability to see and interact with a reality meshed with data changes the paradigm as to how businesses can utilize, share, and collaborate information. Information is more accessible, easier to visualize, and can be used in ways that have never been possible before by utilizing augmented reality.
Virtual Reality, or VR, differs from AR by providing a completely immersive, virtual experience. The technology required for VR is a headset: the most common ones being the Oculus Quest and HTC Vive. As with AR, the possibilities for VR in terms of business application are vast and show great promise. Virtual reality applications have transformed employee training programs, created more efficient ways to meet and collaborate, and enabled people to visualize and interact with data in a completely immersive way. People are no longer bound by paper and screens but can now tap into the potential of virtual worlds and experiences.
AR & VR are changing the digital landscape for businesses and corporations for the better. After committing to a strategic implementation plan, companies are benefitting from the results and gaining competitive advantages because of it.
As these technologies continue to develop, more and more companies are embracing AR & VR due to the potential significant returns on investment. In fact, it was estimated by Intel that the implementation of one VR & AR training course can improve worker competency, reduce onsite incidents by 25%, and yield a projected ROI of 300% over 5 years.
Here are 5 business areas being revolutionized by AR & VR :
- Hiring & Onboarding
- Employee Training
- Collaboration & Assistance
1. Hiring & Onboarding
Recruiting can be a long and costly process that may yield questionable returns. As an employer, it can be difficult to truly know if an applicant is capable for the job. Only when the newly hired applicant has started working, do you truly know if they are a good fit for the job. To help employers gain a better understanding of applicants and their competencies, companies are using AR and VR to remotely test their applicants with scenarios that mimic real-life situations that would happen in the applied-for role.
The applicants would be tested in their ability to learn and apply information in a digital simulation that can be as close to realistic as doing the job itself, giving employers a better sense of an applicant’s ability to perform in the role. This is a cost-effective and engaging solution that can serve as a great indicator as to whether or not the applicant is a suitable candidate for the role. This increases employers’ chances of hiring great employees, and saving recruitment time and money in the process.
The onboarding process is crucial for every new hire, as it is their first impression of the company they are about to work for. A combination of excitement and anxiety is a typical experience for many. What might seem like a very overwhelming transition in joining a company, can be mitigated by leveraging the capabilities of AR & VR to help create a smoother onboarding process.
There are many creative ways to implement AR or VR in the onboarding process that can make new hires feel more comfortable, informed, and less overwhelmed. Some examples of possible usages for these applications are described below.
Virtual reality can be utilized during onboarding through immersive role-playing activities, games, and real-life simulations that teach new employees about the office environment and company culture. Other possible usages for AR include tours of office campuses. This is a great way of familiarizing new hires with the necessary company spaces. The experience would present hologram markers throughout the company space which show arrows on the ground that lead you to your destination.
2. Employee Training
Employee training is one of the most vital aspects of a company. Finding ways to implement more effective, cost-saving, training programs is on the goal list of every corporation. But never has such a compelling solution presented itself, until now.
AR and VR training applications create a learning environment that is compelling, engaging, and able to mimic real-life scenarios. There have never been mediums or applications for training employees that offer the same experiences and results that AR and VR enable.
According to the cone of learning, after two weeks, the human brain tends to remember 10% of what it reads, 20% of what it hears, but 90% of what it does or simulates.
A recent study carried out by the National Training Laboratory revealed that long term retention rates for lecture-style learning were at 5%, reading rates were at 10%, while immersive, hands-on learning such as VR & AR training had a retention rate of 75%.
People learn better by doing, and with AR and VR, trainees can learn through application by interacting with the digital world. Real-life simulations and procedures can be developed to mimic actual situations that would take place on the job. If one so desired, they could go over a training scenario as much as they’d like until they feel comfortable. This is important for jobs that are dangerous and require high-risk training.
For jobs that are high-risk and require high-risk training: that no longer must be the case. Augmented and virtual reality training applications take the danger out of these training situations by enabling safe, hyper-realistic, digital simulations to be used instead.
Not only do AR and VR create the possibility for extremely safe training environments, that otherwise would not be possible for certain jobs, but they can also be utilized for any training procedure that requires the operation of equipment. The costs of materials, equipment, and facilities drops dramatically when leveraging AR and VR, saving companies a lot of money in the long run.
3. Collaboration & Remote Assistance
Video calls and virtual meetings with avatars are ways in which workers are using AR/VR to meet and collaborate. The ability to see one’s avatar mimic the body language of the user, as well as hearing them speak clearly, adds a level of connection that makes you feel as if you are meeting in person. Not to mention the ease of meeting and collaborating is greater than in person because it is all digital. There is no need to walk from building to building, making collaboration a lot more accessible. This is increasingly more helpful in this new world of remote working.
Virtual meetings and interactions may also have the benefit of pacifying social anxieties for some. With VR meetings that take place with avatars: you get all the benefits of presence and body language, but don’t have to overthink things like eye contact or what you’re doing with your hands. These virtual meetings soften the anxieties that may come with being in a social situation, leading employees to feel more comfortable with each other, adding to a healthy and collaborative environment.
Training and working with complex equipment has never been easier than now because of AR/VR. With AR specifically, remote assistance is possible through a live video and audio feed that streams from the trainee/worker’s headset. This allows for real-time guided assistance from an expert, without them having to be there. They can see the exact issue from the perspective of the headset wearer, and direct them as needed. No more having to get a manual or wait for someone to show up, allowing for teams to be more efficient in how they retrieve information and get expert guidance.
Businesses and their operations can be complex with a lot to manage. Ideally, a business is always running smoothly and efficiently. Making an effort to get better in these areas should start with AR and VR. Streamlined workflows, the ability to easily collaborate and share information, effective training applications, better data management, are all ways in which AR/VR can help improve the overall operations of a business. Here are some examples:
Prototyping & Design
Prototyping can be costly, and making too many prototypes is a waste of time and resources. Fortunately, AR/VR are completely changing how we approach product development and prototyping. With AR or VR, product designers can view their prototypes right in front of them as a 3D model. Notes and edits can be made live, and files of models can be easily shared. Team members can view and edit the prototype as a group, physically together, or remotely, and always remain on the same page regarding iterations, revisions, and notes made, etc.
Process and design iterations are done in ways that are incredibly more efficient and cost-effective with AR & VR. Processes can be tested against alternatives with digital simulations before being implemented in the world. Iterations can be made swiftly, and designs can be perfected, all before a physical resource is used.
Manufacturing has been positively disrupted by augmented and virtual reality, leading to better solutions being implemented, ranging from procedure design & training, to better safety prevention & inventory management. Every detail of a manufacturing process can be created digitally and realistically, allowing for continuous revision and testing, as well as the opportunity for comprehensive training procedures to be utilized. Threats that may pose a risk on an assembly line can be detected and prevented by simulating production in VR or AR simulations that go over procedures in full detail, in a way that is a lot more engaging than a video or manual.
Inventory management is easier with AR. Products or resources in warehouses can be marked by their location and become clearly visible with an AR headset on. Time that would have gone to searching through various shelves is no longer wasted, creating a more efficient warehouse environment.
Augmented and Virtual Reality are allowing companies to evolve alongside this next digital age, as companies transform and become better trained, more productive, efficient, and cost-effective as well, by utilizing these technologies.
It can be difficult to quantify all the advantages a company attains by committing to an AR and VR strategy.
For the companies that have invested in these digital technologies, many have had their expectations exceeded. One could argue they look at businesses and the various ways they can be ran, completely different now.
Either way, AR and VR are here to stay, and are only making companies better. If you are interested in taking the next step for your company and want to begin developing and implementing augmented and virtual reality applications: Then you have come to the right page.
At Comhar Technology Group, we are a team of experts when it comes to developing VR and AR applications. We are passionate about helping our clients leverage these innovative technologies in order to improve their businesses in a multitude of ways.
If you want to know more about implementing & taking advantage of AR / VR in your workplace, please reach out under ‘Contacts’ to get in touch.
We look forward to hearing from you!