The ROI of this technology investment changed during the pandemic, as many organizations revalued virtual reality platforms.
Training in virtual reality environments always made sense for certain health and military jobs. During a year of remote work, the ROI of this technology investment changed. Tuong Nguyen, senior senior analyst at Gartner, said the pandemic has caused many organizations to re-evaluate virtual reality platforms as a way to support remote work.
“This has highlighted virtual reality as a possible tool for employers, not only as a tool to enable remote work due to health issues, but also to assess the potential of virtual reality beyond immediate need. , as a more strategic investment, ”he said. .
PwC found that soft skills training was most effective in a virtual environment and Walmart used an RV training module to train more than a million employees to use the “pickup tower”. This service was crucial during the pandemic, as consumers wanted contactless purchasing options. According to an article in Harvard Business Review, this training method reduced training time from eight hours to 15 minutes.
Cheaper VR headsets have also supported this expansion of VR training. SAIC has used augmented reality and virtual reality for many years for military applications, and its gaming division now uses Oculus headphones to develop training modules.
Scott Hungerford, manager of SAIC’s gaming division, said SAIC sees the VR platform as a training-enabled technology and other use cases for all customers, including space exploration companies. civil and intelligence agencies.
Hungerford leads a team of artists and game developers at Big Timber Studios, which is part of SAIC. Hungerford said the virtual reality training platform facilitates collaboration by enabling people with different skills and from all branches of the military to work together in a shared space.
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“It is effective, informative and breaks down the barriers of traditional training,” he said.
Nguyen said virtual reality training works best for jobs that require empathy-based decision-making, as well as for jobs with high-consequence situations such as high risk, high cost, or high insurance. This includes jobs that pose a physical risk, such as working on oil rigs or manufacturing plants, as well as training that may require a closed facility for the training to be conducted.
“Other use cases are for soft skills trainings where an immersive virtual reality environment can improve or expand the effectiveness of training over written or traditional video-based training,” he said.
Sherman Johns is a catch manager and space strategist for SAIC. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force with 20 years of experience in space operations. He describes his work with SAIC as creating the products and services he needed while working in the Air Force.
Johns said SAIC’s VR training products are designed for customers who need virtual options to support a distributed workforce or to form large groups with limited resources.
“There are always resource limitations from human instructors to physical spaces,” he said. “If I can create a training environment in a virtual reality environment, I no longer need a 1,000- or 10,000-square-foot facility.”
Nguyen recommends adding VR to the overall corporate training toolbox and doing a case-by-case assessment on whether the technology is the right choice.
“If everyone works remotely and makes 30-minute verbal calls every two days that don’t require much more than a real call, virtual reality is probably not the best tool for the job,” he said. “But if multiple stakeholders have to review several iterations of a CAD drawing, RV can be beneficial.”