Over the past couple of years, virtual and augmented reality technologies have taken a dramatic leap forward in development, opening up new opportunities for their use. Large companies are more and more interested in their use and are already beginning to implement them in the training process and in the workplaces of employees. In the material, we examined the essence and current state of the technology industry, existing examples of use in business, development and development prospects.
What is virtual reality
VR is a computer simulation of a three-dimensional space or image that can be interacted with in a visual and physical way. People are completely immersed in an artificial world, and, wearing a virtual reality helmet, they can sometimes move towards a wall or other obstacle without noticing it.
However, this technology should not be confused with augmented reality (AR), which only imposes holographic images on a person’s perception of the real world. She adds new or unusual elements. Since this experience is a modification of the existing environment, the user can move and navigate in space without any problems..
VR / AR technologies are only gaining strength
While the concept and early technology have been around for over a decade, the industry has only now reached a level where a headset can be used to create a digital workplace. Using VR glasses, you can train employees or run a communication-oriented business. However, the use of the technology is now very limited. It is often used for various forms of data visualization, analytics, furniture placement, building models and teaching materials..
This is due to the insufficient level of technological support and the impossibility of collective interaction. At the present stage of development, information is stored locally, only on the devices of individual users, which significantly limits the ways of cooperation and communication in real time.
Nevertheless, some large trading companies have already appreciated the prospects of artificial reality technologies and are beginning to use them in their activities. VR is used by such giants as:
AR also does not go unnoticed. The technology is already used in industry, IT, design, and among the pioneers there are big names, for example:
More about specific examples of companies using VR / AR applications and new developments in this area we we’ll tell you further.
How Virtual Reality Will Change Your World
In the last couple of years, virtual reality glasses have generated tremendous interest from the educational community. The reason for this is that, with the help of devices, students can immerse themselves in a 3D virtual world to better understand a specific concept, idea, process or methodology. Specialized videos and games in virtual reality make the educational process more fun, providing better assimilation of the material.
However, only a few organizations have started using technology or developing educational content. One of the few is Skillsoft, which is exploring this area and working on prototypes of several courses using both VR and AR. In parallel, she explores ways to improve the basic elements of modeling:
- head-mounted display (helmet);
- smartphone, PC or console for launching video content;
- data entry mechanism to create the necessary dynamics.
Currently, the main obstacle to the introduction of technology is the financial component of the issue. An organization needs to spend significant funds to buy equipment, specialized software, content and train staff.
Another problem is the quality of the teaching material. The best products are created when VR content is developed for a specific platform. So while there are tons of options for industry, retail, military, and healthcare, they are all geared towards specific use cases..
Digital workplaces of the future
One of the main areas of use for both AR and VR will be the ability to remotely interact with the team, assisting in the creation, planning and demonstration of digital and real projects. However, the scope of the technology will not be limited to design and creativity. Digital reality will allow all employees working remotely to gather in a virtual world to share experiences, collaborate, discuss and form new products.
While AR is still in its infancy, VR is making great strides towards a second generation of hardware that will soon provide users with even more options. Now the use of technology is not suitable for working for a long time or performing tasks such as coordination, data entry, but the developers are already addressing these issues..
Examples of practical applications and use by companies
Walmart, a US multinational retailer, began using virtual reality to train and develop staff at its academy last year. The company has not yet released the test results, but they seem to have been successful, as it recently announced the expansion of the program and the supply of the headset to all of its branches. As a result, Walmart plans to train more than a million employees in this way..
Microsoft has developed HoloLens, an augmented reality headset that aims to increase productivity. Elevator manufacturer ThyssenKrupp is already using the product. Elevator maintenance technicians can view digital models, manuals and repair manuals. In addition, HoloLens provides the ability to remotely interact with experts in the field. For example, employees outside of work can see the same things as engineers and give the necessary advice..
One practical application for VR is digital communication in the workplace. Pixvana is working to create a mixed reality (XR) space, which is the result of combining ubiquitous sensors and sensors with the collective virtual world of the Internet. The developers say technology can be used to improve the illustration of ideas by literally moving team members into a unified environment. Beyond training, XR can be used for any consumer-facing product group, observing customer calls in an immersive environment where employees can see, feel and observe their users’ actions..
Boeing, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer, has developed and tested its own augmented reality technology to help engineers install electrical wiring on aircraft. It creates interactive 3D charts in real time, directly in front of the user’s eyes. In the first test, the company reported that AR technology resulted in a 90% improvement in labor quality and a 30% reduction in the time required to complete work..
At the moment, the most common application for VR by enterprises is training. Therefore, the Australian company Equal Reality uses virtual reality to make people feel in a different role, for example, a representative of a different religion, culture, minority. Such services are ordered by large organizations around the world, including the Royal Australian Navy. Representatives of international banks, freedoms firms, corporations, politicians visually study gender bias, sexual harassment, cultural differences, disabilities, official power and much more.
Many researchers are already working on the possibility of transmitting tactile sensations, smell, taste using additional devices and impact on the senses. This will significantly expand the scope of technology application and gain unique experience..
Virtual reality and augmented reality are not yet widespread enough, but the largest electronics manufacturers are moving technology closer to becoming mandatory elements of smartphones, computers and game consoles. However, this is predicted to take another five years or so..
In the future, not only work in virtual space awaits us, but also many robots that will have a huge impact on the role of man in the world and his work activity. Some fear they might even crowd out humans, making them a useless class..
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Unsplash