The enterprise use cases for virtual reality (VR) are seemingly endless — from deepening collaboration and training exercises to improving employee engagement. These use cases take on added significance given the global pandemic and the resulting work-from-home policies that have put a temporary pause on most face-to-face meetings.
Strategic-thinking CIOs know that behind every impactful technology, there’s a strong business case driving it. Here are some of the factors to consider to drive successful VR deployments in the enterprise.
Begin with business outcomes
Perhaps the most difficult obstacle to overcome is perception. VR found initial success in the consumer gaming market, which might lead detractors to dismiss its commercial benefits. Some cynics may also question the technology’s readiness for the workplace. IDC notes, however, that “in just a few short years, VR hardware vendors have dramatically improved their headsets through iterative improvements to the technology.”
PwC is quite bullish about the potential for VR and augmented reality (AR) to create value and reduce costs over the next decade, predicting a boost in gross domestic product in several categories:
- US$359 billion in product and service development
- US$294 billion in development and training
- US$275 billion in process improvements
In reality, enterprises are likely to see VR gain traction in a single, isolated use case – perhaps someone who oversees corporate training will pilot a solution. As people try it and see results, other teams will begin to think of different ways to apply the technology.
As with any tech investment, executives must consider return on investment (ROI) factors as part of a broader VR deployment. For example, VR can reduce time and travel costs associated with on-site meetings or trainings, while enhancing productivity. Also, thanks to its ability to leverage muscle memory and contextual training experiences, VR can improve individuals’ capacity to learn and retain information — including high-risk processes and procedures in a safe environment, with unlimited retakes.
Map out a deployment plan
As VR use cases emerge, IT will likely carry the load for deploying and managing the hardware and software. For corporate training applications or other solutions that require multiple headsets, it’s important to be able to activate and manage the devices as groups, not individually. You don’t want engineers or IT managers having to establish unique VR accounts for hundreds or even thousands of device users.
Deploying VR solutions in the enterprise requires four main steps:
- Account setup
- Device preparation
- Device activation
- Device management
An enterprise VR solution must easily scale. Seek a solution that offers an implementation toolbox with out-of-the-box functionality for easier implementation. The right enterprise VR solution includes software to set up and manage deployments, as well as enterprise-grade support for easy deployment.
Determine your skill requirements
Implementation and ongoing support will have an impact on in-house skills and partner management. You’ll need to build a team, for example, that includes a combination of:
- IT professionals skilled in device configuration, activation, and management
- Data analysts who can measure against KPIs
- VR application developers
At least to get started, IDC recommends companies enlist a technology partner or independent software vendor (ISV). They can also help you create and run tailored applications on the headsets.
Also, just as you would with any tech implementation, your launch team should include a project manager and business champions to keep the initiative on track.
Learn more about how VR can eliminate physical barriers to provide new ways for companies to connect, collaborate, and learn.