It’s time to rethink VR in the enterprise

Virtual reality solutions eliminate traditional barriers and provide powerful new ways for employees to connect, collaborate, and learn.

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Oculus for Business supplied

Virtual reality (VR) is moving into the business mainstream. Commercial VR headset shipments jumped 92% year over year in 2019 and are expected to grow another 70% in 2020, according to IDC. In a 2019 IDC survey, half of the 350 IT decision-makers surveyed said their company had begun to research, test, pilot, or deploy VR1.

Organizations across multiple industries are discovering that VR delivers significant benefits, including time and cost efficiencies, improved customer experiences, and increased productivity. In fact, 82% of companies that have implemented VR say the benefits are meeting or exceeding their expectations, according to Capgemini Institute Research.

That’s because VR provides more than just traditional return on investment. By providing a real sense of presence, VR can strengthen team building, leading to longer-term impacts on the business. 

VR in the real world

VR solutions offer opportunities in all types of businesses. Perhaps the most predominant use case is training. Headsets have been initially used to replicate high-risk situations and training exercises, such as the operation of dangerous machinery. However, companies in many sectors now have an opportunity to use VR to speed onboarding of new hires and improve soft-skills training, while also reducing the need for travel to onsite sessions.

Meanwhile, collaboration also benefits from the right VR solution. Traditionally, activities such as screensharing, whiteboarding, and visualization have required dedicated conference rooms and voice- or video-based conference calls. A VR solution that blends hardware, software, and services allows participants to spontaneously meet in a combined virtual setting. A virtual workspace that can connect employees regardless of location provides an important collaboration option for a work-from-home workforce.

Organizations across many different industry sectors are using VR to capture these and other business outcomes.

Here are four examples: 

Manufacturing: Designers work together virtually in 3D, eliminating the need to fabricate product mockups, which can accelerate projects from weeks down to hours. On the assembly line, VR simulations can help plant managers improve production configurations and identify potential working hazards. Manufacturers can also use VR to train employees on complex machinery for improved worker safety.

Healthcare: Medical students and doctors using VR get hands-on training to prepare for complex surgical procedures using 3D models that replicate the operating room experience. They can perform unlimited retakes and adjust settings to prepare for extreme scenarios or complications. Also, simulations of diseases and symptoms inform treatment decisions, while improving care and outcomes through a better understanding of patients’ conditions. In addition, physical therapists use VR to guide patients through rehabilitation exercises.

Retail: By providing immersive experiences, retailers help consumers make informed decisions. Shoppers can “try on” clothes, model home improvements based on customized parameters, test-drive cars, and take virtual tours of makers’ locations and stores.

Financial services: VR enables insurance adjusters to study car or home designs, eliminating site visits to settle claims more quickly. Simulated banking, investment, and economic market scenarios help financial managers make decisions, while helping customers experience how various financial products and services work.

Next steps

While the possibilities and benefits are great, there are real considerations for businesses before implementing a VR solution — such as identifying initial uses, building the business case, and finding internal champions.

Our next blog post will explore best practices for CIOs as they scope out deployment plans and resources. Meanwhile, to learn more about how VR is transforming business and the global economy, check out the PwC report, Seeing is believing: How VR and AR will transform business and the economy.

Learn more about how virtual reality eliminates physical barriers and provides powerful new ways to connect, collaborate, and learn.

1 IDC Market Spotlight, sponsored by Oculus, Technology Evolution and Use Case Expansion Drive Virtual Reality Growth in Enterprise, May 2020

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.