In 2007, Steve Jobs responded to a question poised by Molly Wood of CNET and Buzz Out Loud on the high pricing and design of Apple products, which only appeals to the special elite customers and not the masses, and whether his goal is to overtake the PC market share? He said Apple's goal is to make innovative and valuable PC's that can be recommended to the family and friends. Since then, Apple has been sharing the experiences of its customers and how it has significantly had a transformational impact on their lives.
Likewise, Virtual Reality was initially perceived to be a luxurious device, catering to a few elite audiences; however, over this period of time, the cost of the hardware has significantly dropped to the level of a mid-range smartphone along with the discovery of wider applications across industries, which makes VR devices more accessible than a few years ago. In this article, we will be looking at some of the critical VR use cases that have emerged over the period of time and how they can be game-changers across industries.
Critical Use Cases
Virtual Reality has moved beyond the realm of gaming and has entered into the industrial and corporate training space. Virtual Reality is being used as an educational and training tool across enterprises and schools. In the enterprise sector, the decision-makers are gradually realizing the impact of VR within the departments. For example, in the COVID situation, Virtual Reality has become a pivotal tool for Remote Collaboration. Employees can get inside a virtual environment and work on prototypes of a new product, brainstorm new strategies, and conduct business meetings. Unlike traditional video calling tools, virtual meetings can enhance productivity and efficiency by bringing everyone inside a real-life environment.
Traditional methods of training have been there for decades. Be it tutor-led training, video demonstration or a user manual. Such types of training, where the content is repetitive, unidirectional, complex and non-analytical can cause boredom among the learners that can lead to learning fatigue. This is where Virtual Reality can gain entrance and bolster traditional techniques. Firstly, with VR, learners are totally immersed in a virtual environment. They aren't distracted from the real-world, meaning their entire focus is on the learning content/module.
Secondly, setting up a training scenario can be an expensive affair and can cost companies thousands of dollars every time one is run. Using VR simulations you can sometimes find premade simulations but even when the simulation has to be custom made it can then be used repeatedly, costing pennies on the dollar. Simulations also give learners a space where they can safely perform training activities without the fear of getting injured or hurt. For example, in a COVID situation where most of the flights have been halted, a virtual scenario of a cockpit can help pilots to train themselves over and over again so that once flight operation resumes, it wouldn't take much time for pilots to prepare themselves.
Furthermore, the experiential nature of VR allows learners to learn at their own pace. Combined with Eye-Tracking and Biometric Feedback devices, trainers can track and assess learners' behaviour, reactions towards certain conditions/situations and involuntary muscle movements such as heart-rate, number of trials and errors and blood pressure. Such, Data-centric analytics can help a trainer to identify the learning styles of a learner and provide valuable feedback based on the activity performed inside the virtual environment. Certainly, VR can enable more effective learning at a lower cost as compared to the traditional methods being used across organizations.
Traditionally, students have been made accustomed to Rote-learning; a technique to consume information without understanding its logic. VR can be highly beneficial in the area of education so students can comprehend complex subjects easily and learn to navigate the virtual environment at their own pace. According to research conducted by the University of Maryland on whether people learn better through virtual, immersive environments, or via traditional means, the researchers found that people remember information better if it is presented to them in a virtual environment.
It is important to understand that technical skills are important; however, there is also a need to measure the ROI of soft skills like improved team-work, communication, productivity and retention rate. VR can assist faculties in analyzing students' engagement and interactions with a particular module and provide feedback accordingly.
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