If you want to shake up outdated ways of working, start a global pandemic. Because with the world brought to a standstill in 2020, businesses across the country were suddenly forced to change their ways of thinking.
Instead of huddling in tearooms for impromptu meetings or upskilling new members in dedicated training rooms, businesses had to find new ways to collaborate and operate – enter virtual reality (VR).
Of course, for many business owners, the integration of VR long precedes the interruption of COVID-19. In fact, according to a report released by PwC, VR had already enhanced 824,634 jobs by 2019 with a global GPD boost of $13.5 billion.
And if those numbers aren’t impressive enough, employees also experienced higher engagement, retention and learning through VR training – all at a fraction of the price of its classroom-based counterpart.
But before we unravel every benefit of using VR, let’s zoom in on its growing integration in many industries across the UK.
Digital transformation in the past few years
Prior to VR being considered a tool for learning, research, and business growth, it was often misunderstood as a portal for immersive gaming in outer space dimensions.
But with its limitless capabilities becoming ever clearer to business owners, VR headsets would soon be finding themselves in workplaces across every type of industry.
Of course, this wasn’t always the story. And in many cases, businesses would be reluctant to abandon their tried-and-tested traditional methods for a techy, futuristic alternative.
But over 15 years on from when the first commercial tethered headsets were released, the integration of VR in the workplace has been on a constant upward trajectory.
To give you a more accurate idea of its growth, PwC predicts almost 23.5 million jobs worldwide could be using augmented reality (AR) and VR by 2030. That’s some serious numbers!
It’s now reaching a point where the integration of VR can’t scale up fast enough to reach the ever-increasing demands of industries that want to up their digital game.
Examples of how VR is driving digital transformation
The world of selling properties has completely transformed through advances in VR. According to a Coldwell Banker survey, 77% of homebuyers expect to view a property virtually, with 68% wanting to see how their current furniture would look in their potential new home. This is all made possible through VR.
With many reports indicating students learn more through experience than simply what is heard, incorporating VR is now part of many curriculums across the UK.
Whether it’s a mechanics, chemistry or engineering lesson, students immersive themselves in a life-like world where they can accelerate their knowledge and skills through autonomous learning.
Manufacturing and shipping actual prototypes is a costly business. But through VR, design teams are given a virtual space to test and develop their products, no matter their geographical location.
It means businesses can get products to market in shorter timescales, while saving money on development costs throughout the entire project.
Experiential VR marketing
With consumer habits changing, marketing efforts have adopted new ways to attract attention. If you want to explore an example of how VR is used in modern advertising, check out our post ‘VR for marketing – benefits and examples’.
Using VR for training offers a new experience that caters to today’s digitally minded audience. By breaking free from traditional classroom methods, employees experience immersive learning through realistic scenarios relevant to their industry.
As an industry with one of the highest fatality rates, incorporating VR into the construction industry has significant benefits. Not only does it make health and safety training more accessible, but it also means workers can upskill quicker and easier.
You can also incorporate AR so users can explore realistic 3D models of live construction sites. If you want to experience a demo of an AR or VR construction site, get in touch with our team.
Since its introduction into healthcare, VR has significantly improved many areas of the industry, including education, training, pain relief and trauma therapy. In many institutions, training through a headset has become standard practice for staff professional development.
Starting your VR journey
With more businesses realising modern technology has the potential to accelerate commercial growth, training and development, it’s no wonder VR is predicted to add $1.5 trillion to the global economy by 2030 (PwC,2019).
Aside from the pandemic accelerating migration to digital alternatives, perhaps part of VR’s growth is down to its accessibility and affordability for businesses of all sizes.
What’s more, there’s no escaping the fact we’ve become a technology-reliant society. We’re flooded with phones, tablets and computers, and find it second nature to call upon digital devices for help, assistance and entertainment.
With that said, integrating VR with internal processes, operations and training programmes is unlikely to unsettle employees. Instead, it’s proven to be a preferred way of learning where engagement, enjoyment and retention far surpass any traditional method.
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