• May 9, 2016

Virtual Reality Check: Is VR for You?

Augmented reality could improve human relations, training, and sales and marketing processes.

No longer just science fiction, virtual reality (VR) is a viable technology tool for business. Immersive video and augmented reality have the potential to improve HR, training, and sales and marketing processes using currently available mobile applications and hardware.

VR in Employee Onboarding

Immersive videos can help your hiring team provide more than just words about company culture, helping to ensure that the people who apply for your open positions will be a good fit. As VR technologies become more commonplace in consumers’ hands, you’ll be able to post these videos for easy download. Until then, businesses will need to vet applicants and send videos and players to the most promising candidates.

Once new employees are hired, virtual reality can acclimate them to the environment, said Daniel Rasmus, author of Listening to the Future. “What if after you fill out all your paperwork, you get a VR simulation of the building you’ll be working in?” he says in the book. New employees can then use their first few weeks getting to know the people and the work, not the location.

VR Makes Training Better and Safer

Rasmus also points out the utility of providing VR simulations in “any situation where it’s hazardous.” Immersive training could be useful in military applications, as well as for truck drivers learning to maneuver a semi, pilots learning to land a plane, and submarine captains learning to move their vessel through rocky areas of the ocean.

These applications help prevent accidents and damage to expensive equipment while giving trainees valuable experience they can draw on when they’re working.

VR Improves Sales

Sales and marketing are areas where Rasmus sees some really effective uses of VR. As consumers look for more transparency and closeness to the products from the companies they purchase from, businesses can create tours of their sustainability processes. For instance, Kirkland Signature has an interesting example of the process they use to recycle cashew pulp, Rasmus said. Rather than just using a text description on their website, Kirkland Signature could create a tour of one of their fields so customers could watch “them take the fruit off the trees, take the cashews out, and recycle the pulp—you’ve got a sense of what’s really going on.” These videos can be shared on websites, and they can be part of an immersive booth experience at trade shows and consumer-focused events.

Aurasma technology offers great ways to extend the sales experience and make it stickier using augmented reality. Office Depot, for example, partnered with the band R5 to create a series of videos users could access using the Office Depot app. The power of this tool is that it works using the app that is available for free on any consumer smartphone.

Although VR tools won’t be mainstream for a few more years, businesses can start planning how to use immersive experiences to improve their processes and increase sales. Tools that work with mobile applications and hardware available now can help you build a bridge to a VR-enhanced future.

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