Implementing Virtual Reality in the Workplace is Tough (Right Now)
by Michael Hudak
I mention virtual reality and augmented reality quite a bit on the podcast, but the emerging technologies really haven’t appeared to have enjoyed a widespread or speedy integration into workplaces today. The reason for that is fairly simple, in my opinion: it’s hard to justify at this point in time.
Gartner had an article you can check out on the ‘3 reasons VR has been slow to take off’. This article listed bad user experiences, inconvenience, and smartphone competition as main reasons for slow adoption. While I agree with most everything in the article, I think the real struggle is the companies that are driving business applications for VR/AR do a very poor job providing a good picture on what the return of investment is going to be if they take the plunge and spend a bunch of capital on new tech.
As someone who works in cyber security today, I am no stranger to hearing “we’ve never had to budget for this before, why should we now?”. When ransomware wasn’t as widespread and understood, this was a debate that I had very frequently with companies whenever we discussed adding backup and replication, disaster recovery & business continuity planning, or intrusion detection. cyber-defense was simply never an issue that required the financial commitment in the past.
Unlike cyber security, however, virtual reality does not have the same hook of ‘buy this or your business will be unable to operate’. A few competitors getting a publicly reported ransomware attack is just about the most compelling sales pitch you can get for endpoint security and backups. Virtual reality just does not have the same call to action. I believe that will change within the next few years or so.
My hot take on virtual reality is that a big company (probably amazon, microsoft, google, or facebook) will come up with a business application for virtual or augmented reality that is such a revolution to the way businesses use technology that companies will be forced with an ultimatum: implement VR in the workplace or become obsolete rapidly.
Healthcare has augmented reality surgeries, the US military has dangerous training simulations, and Walmart is using simulations to train employees in a more streamlined fashion. The last of that group I think has the most compelling implications for business, but I suspect with recent advancements in virtual simulations more and more business interactions will be handled in a virtual environment and that will be a revolution in how we communicate.
Or it’s possible that I really missed the mark on this and we’re in a simulation right now.
Are you an expert in virtual reality or augmented reality? Join me on my podcast and chat with me. Tell me how I’m wrong or how I’m right. Teach me the ways of the industry. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org