In 2021, industries will move to recover from setbacks presented by the pandemic and think of new ways to reach their customers virtually. Virtual reality (VR) continues to hold the potential to revolutionize how businesses and organizations use mixed reality technology to engage their respective audiences.
In many ways, VR remains a novel technology that fuels sci-fi-inspired daydreams and gaming sector innovations, but some think the COVID-19 pandemic may act as a catalyst for VR applications across industries.
Here are three ways some industries are expected to use VR technology in the coming year.
In education, VR holds a unique market opportunity, especially as many schools throughout the country turn to eLearning.
Some of these include game-based learning, simulation-based learning, and virtual 3D worlds (full research available to clients). A virtual environment and immersive experience would give students the opportunity to both learn and interact with classmates, giving them a degree of social interaction that virtual learning is currently lacking.
For example, VR allows anthropology students in Cambridge, Massachusetts, as well as in Eastern China, to study Egyptian hieroglyphs in Giza from their own classrooms. This is something they may not have been able to do otherwise, whether the reasons were financial or logistical.
A virtual environment can also simulate plant or animal dissections, chemical experiments, and environments that can lead to a deeper understanding of physical spaces for students of architecture and design (full research available to clients).
Most business’ sales teams remain ill prepared or unprepared to deliver in virtual engagements as well as they did through in-person meetings (full research available to clients).
Although some businesses may have found a groove using web conferencing software, people are now experiencing video meeting fatigue. On these calls, people have shortened attention spans, and they can’t see body language and other people’s expressions which make a presentation more engaging. In 2021, you will want to step up your virtual selling efforts to meet your customer’s needs and combat video conferencing fatigue.
Virtual reality and other immersive technologies such as augmented reality (AR) can fill in the gaps of video conferencing. It makes sales presentations more engaging by simulating an environment and allowing potential customers to interact with your products. This is especially applicable to products that are heavy or complex, such as surgical equipment (full research available to clients).
According to GetApp’s Productivity in the Remote Workplace survey, employees typically enjoy working remotely. One out of two employees want to be given the choice to work from home permanently*. But if employees have too many video meetings, staring at a screen and staying “on” all the time can make them feel drained.
VR can help remote workers collaborate, remain engaged, and stay connected. For example, a VR-based meeting can allow employees to interact with each other and collaborate as they might in person.
Video fatigue and disengagement can often stem from distractions or the temptation to multitask during meetings; VR makes employees feel as though they’re “in the room,” eliminating distractions (full research available to clients).
Another thing to consider is that although people generally report high productivity working from home, it may come at a social cost. According to Buffer and AngelList, 20% of employees say loneliness is their biggest challenge when working from home.
VR can help simulate an office environment for employees to foster feelings of connectedness and make them feel part of a team.
If you’re opting to go fully remote, you’ll need to think of new ways to keep employees engaged and connected. Technologies such as VR can help enhance collaboration and teamwork through simulated environments.
The pandemic has changed the way people learn, work, and buy. In turn, organizations and businesses need to change the way they teach, manage teams, and sell. Emerging technologies such as VR can help but not without user experience challenges of its own.
Virtual reality will improve as the virtual reality market grows and demand for VR solutions increases. Businesses such as you are still undergoing digital transformation, working out the kinks, and figuring out ways to fill in the perceivable gaps. VR just might be the answer.
Check out a list of top VR software platforms to get started:
*GetApp’s productivity in the remote workplace survey was conducted in July 2020 among 384 individual contributors in small U.S. businesses (2 - 500 employees) who are now working at least part-time because of the pandemic.
Note: The applications sourced in this article are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.