How VR Is Being Integrated Into the Modern Workplace

One of the axioms of modern business is to remain agile and to always keep moving forwards. However, one of the areas in which more businesses tend to remain static is in the manner in which they train their staff.

Pens, paper, and whiteboards, compete with the old staple of on-the-job training are the most common forms of new starter integration, and these have not significantly changed in the last couple of decades. 

However, with the advent of affordable and stable virtual reality, or VR, tech has started to change that. More and more companies adopting this new and valuable tool to revolutionize how they train new staff.

Virtual Reality Evolved

Virtual reality has moved on from being a video game fad and tech curiosity to being an active and important part of business across a range of sectors.

The advent of more effective VR cameras and software, coupled with cheaper and more accessible VR headsets, has allowed consumers to experience a huge range of applications. Users can take a tour of ancient Rome and see what the Colosseum was really like, surgeons can practice intricate surgery that will save lives, and poker players can take a seat at a high rollers table without taking a trip all the way to Vegas

This reduction in the price of VR headsets is also the key that has allowed larger companies to make use of them for training at scale. In particular, Walmart has been a pioneer of VR training since 2017, when it first installed VR headsets in over 220 of its Walmart Academies.

These headsets are used to train new starters for the company’s retail stores, introducing them to a number of social, logistical, and emergency situations, and training them in the correct response before they ever hit the shop floor.

Widespread Use

Other companies have since followed suit, especially those who need their new starters to be up to speed as soon as they start work. Logistics and delivery companies like UPS and Amazon have invested in using VR systems to train their drivers in the complex systems used to ensure package delivery over incredibly short time periods.

This use of VR allows these companies to reap the motivational benefits of good training, without the risk of mistakes happening that could result in delayed deliveries, one of the downsides of “on the job” training.

The Delicate Touch

Another area in which VR is being implemented as a vital training tool is in professions and situations in which traditional training would be impossible or dangerous. 

Canada’s Queens University recently invested in a huge 8,000 square foot VR training facility for medical staff. The facility will allow the prospective new surgeons to train to conduct operations which are both incredibly complex and difficult and virtually impossible to practice in real life.

Across the globe, law enforcement and emergency response units are also making use of VR as a training tool for much the same reason. For obvious reasons, sending trainee firemen or police officers into burning buildings or crowd control situations would normally be impossible.

However, with the advent of affordable VR, these emergency services are able to train their personnel in virtual environments that mimic these dangerous situations, but without any risk.

The use of VR has also made its way into training for the military, in particular the Air Force. Traditional air combat simulators cost many millions of dollars, but the use of the VR to train pilots can significantly reduce that outlay.

NASA has also adopted VR as a training method, recently running former NASA astronaut Charles Moss ‘Charlie’ Duke, the tenth and the youngest person to walk on the Moon, through their Apollo 16 VR program, which he complimented on its visual accuracy.

This same technology is now starting to filter down to commercial airlines, who are using it to train their pilots.

Virtual Learning

As the cost of VR continues to fall, its utility to business as a training tool continues to rise, with more and more companies investing in a VR alternative to outdated traditional training methods. 

About Mohit Tater

Mohit is the co-founder and editor of Entrepreneurship Life, a place where entrepreneurs, start-ups, and business owners can find wide ranging information, advice, resources, and tools for starting, running, and growing their businesses.

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