Organizations continue to adopt virtual reality (VR) as familiarity increases, cost reduces and software advances. With advancements in VR and increasing familiarity among consumers, companies now have the ability to use VR to transform and support their training, marketing and communications with a high return on investment. The adoption of VR technologies and applications for organizations are increasing significantly.

The key areas of engagement for businesses to utilize VR are reduced training costs, increased visualization in marketing efforts and remote collaboration to convey ideas visually and spatially. As market opportunities become clearer, there is no better time to start implementing this technology within your training toolkit.

New use cases continually emerge in VR with new industries adopting the technology and positive return on investment for their training.  According to Tech Pro Research, 47 percent of businesses are currently considering adopting VR.  And why wouldn’t they?

VR presents the opportunity to showcase products and processes that benefit from spatial awareness and visualization, such as developing a maintenance procedure on complex equipment or demonstrating a scenario that is dangerous or hard to replicate in real life. The range of opportunities for VR in the workplace is vast and includes showing products to customers to gain buy-in on design or to engage in a training application. One of the key challenges is identifying where in your organization VR makes sense and building a business case for implementation. Using VR in training is suitable for when the training benefits from a high amount of visualization and interactivity. In regard to benefits, training in immersive environments, like virtual reality, can increase learning retention by 75 percent compared to standard lecture formats. 

VR training allows for more extensive training opportunities in a practical, hands-on learning environment where skills and knowledge can be tested, and training can be done repetitively for effective knowledge retention. Companies are adopting software solutions to accelerate the development time of immersive training while decreasing overall training costs.

There are many use cases for virtual reality in companies and we will explore six key areas where organizations can benefit from developing virtual reality applications:

  1. Scenario-Based Training

VR can be used for training on complex equipment, tasks or procedures, by providing a realistic environment with scenarios and multiple paths for trainees to experience and learn from varying outcomes. VR allows trainers to interact with trainees within the immersive training environment, or for VR to provide interactive step-by-step procedural and operational training applications for users. In immersive environments, trainees can acquire skills and proficiency in tasks such as setting up and controlling complex machinery and equipment. Businesses are increasingly using VR for training and teaching because VR allows students to practice a wide variety of skills from manufacturing processes to complicated surgeries without the cost of using physical equipment or the risks associated with real-world training.

2. Component Familiarization

VR can be used for training on complex machinery to become acquainted with equipment and obtain valuable product information such as component names and assembly of the product in a realistic environment. Users train in a stress-free, highly realistic environment for increased competency and familiarity of components with zero risks of equipment damage or disruption of operations. VR training walkthroughs are used to train on safety protocols in a virtual environment and offers trainees high-quality experiential learning that motivates and engages learners.

3. Virtual Showrooms

In marketing, VR offers organizations the opportunity to create new ways for consumers to interact with products and services. Immersive product and brand experiences in VR allow for highly persuasive marketing content. Companies are discovering the benefits of using immersive marketing with studies showing that immersive technology has proved to be 30 times more effective at engaging users than mobile advertising.

By creating immersive virtual showrooms to demonstrate physical products to clients, a potential consumer experiences product features in a highly immersive environment, adding to the realism. Customers can receive product information such as text, video and audio within the environment, as well as interact with products in a virtual space.  Showrooms are especially ideal for large products that are not easily transported, such as cars or large equipment. Virtual showrooms allow for the ability to showcase a full line up of products in one space.

4. Product Demonstrations

VR product demonstrations allow consumers to interact with products in a persuasive virtual environment, showing parts, features, colors and assembly. VR allows for product demonstrations that are true to physics and allows for direct product comparison of features. In addition, VR demonstrates full product functionality with scale, expansion of parts or placement in various environments. At conferences and tradeshows, VR allows companies to create VR experiences that are engaging, cost-effective and easily transported. Rather than spending money on large stages or transporting full product lines, companies can engage attendees and allow them to interact with products in an immersive and highly realistic experience.

5. Design Collaborations

VR is increasingly used in organizations to share preliminary designs and collaborate. Users can access projects through centralized storage in the cloud to collaborate on projects, visualize designs, troubleshoot issues and create processes to test designs. Collaborating on product designs in VR allows for accurate simulation in 3D environments without the need for an expensive physical model and is more realistic than 2D designs.

6. Multi-User Training

Collaborating in VR can be a great way to train by using a multi-player training scenario to meet in an immersive environment and train users. VR can allow for avatar versions of users to interact with one another in a virtual environment whether it is for training communication or a virtual conference meeting. For a VR collaborative training experience to be meaningful, it is essential that the training content be highly visual and benefit from the spatial awareness that comes with VR applications. VR is a robust option to communicate effectively within an immersive environment, providing comprehensive data to clients and communicating ideas visually. Multi-user training in VR has the added benefit of decreasing the need for corporate travel.

Initially dominated by the gaming industry, VR technologies are being adopted rapidly as companies seek a competitive advantage in training, marketing and increased engagement with their clients. Although VR has not reached market penetration on a consumer level, there are clear use cases for organizations to make effective use of the technology for training and marketing requirements. New avenues for use arrive with each generation of sophisticated and affordable hardware and increasingly user-friendly software. The benefits and opportunities of VR for businesses are apparent and more attainable as companies focus on creating software to enable the rapid creation of VR scenarios.