Technology is continuing to improve its functionality and accessibility, as businesses across the world are simultaneously learning how their employees can work together productively without having a formal office pace. At the intersection of these two trends sits Virtual Reality.
VR uses computer technology to create an interactive environment that immerses users with simulated visuals and sounds. The technology became widely recognized through video games, but it could be also used by businesses and other corporations.
Companies such as Glimpse Group have created VR software with the purpose of replacing in-person office spaces with virtual ones for the full 40-hour work week. This would allow employees to stop commuting to work and give multiple people the ability to share the same workspace when completing different parts of the same project.
If businesses were to adapt VR into their company cultures they would have to decide the type of experience they would want to give to their employees. This includes how elaborate or minimalist the design is.
Complex VR designs may initially seem appealing because of how impressive they are; however, when employees are expected to use the technology on a day-to-day basis, these impressive designs may quickly become overwhelming for some users.
Some users also experience negative side effects with VR, which employers would have to combat if they were to make VR a major part of their company.
Some of these side effects include nausea, dizziness and disorientation, which happens because the user’s eyes tell them that they are moving or interacting with people when they are actually not.
VR is also not recommended for people with certain health conditions such as photosensitive epilepsy.
If companies were to introduce VR as a supplement to an in-person office space, they would need to take the health difficulties that some users experience into consideration and provide an alternative option as well.
Along with companies potentially replacing in-person offices, or at least cutting down on the number of people who come into them, they may also be able to incorporate VR into their customers’ experiences.
The car company Audi first introduced the beta test version of a virtual customer experience in 2015 and then began using VR headsets in some European dealerships in 2017. The Audi VR experience allows customers to design their potential future cars by simulating the car they are customizing. The customers are able to test what their dream car will look like in different lighting from the different times of day as well as driving in different environments.
Another company embracing VR is the shoe company Toms. Known for their “one for one” business model of donating a pair of shoes for every pair of shoes bought, Toms took an even more accessible approach to incorporating VR by creating a YouTube experience that brings viewers on a trip to Peru to donate shoes to children in need.
Unlike a typical YouTube video, Toms created a 360 degree experience that allows viewers to look in every direction to better understand one of the locations the shoes are being donated to.
VR allows people to immerse themselves in different environments without taking a single step. Although the technology is not yet accessible enough for it to be used by every business, it will likely become an integral tool to our everyday lives now that it is being developed specifically for businesses and customers.