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What is Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality is an artificial environment created by software and is presented to users in such a way that suspends their belief and they accepts it as a real environment.
Why You Should Incorporate Virtual Reality into Your Business
- Increases Employee Engagement & Retention Rates: Research shows that people only retain 10 percent and 30 percent of what they read and see. Stanford Professor Jeremy Bailenson discovered that users retain 33 percent more from virtual reality in training rather than just watching a video. Virtual reality is proven to increase retention rates due to the fact that it stimulates you senses and peaks your attention, as opposed to reading or watching a video.
- Saves Time: When running a business you soon learn that time is money and when you take a lot of time training people how to do their job instead of them actually doing their job, you're losing out on making big bucks. In a case study done by United Rentals, it's proven that virtual reality has reduced their training time by 40 percent. The VR system allowed the Outside Sales Reps (OSRs) to feel like they were actually on the work site, so they memorized more information and made the training process simpler for everyone.
- Cost Effective: Now I'm not going to sugarcoat it—purchasing virtual reality equipment is not the cheapest method of training, but it's one worth investing money into. You'll have to think about the benefits in the long run, such as it decreases the amount of materials needed to operate a training session. It also reduces the amount of trainers needed, the trainers' salaries, and training safety costs.
- Feedback: When trainees are given a manual to read or a long strenuous video to watch, there's no way of tracking their progress or what they can recall from said manual or video. With virtual reality it's not like that. You can track the progress of your future employees without putting your company's image at stake. You have the ability to set benchmarks or goals for the individuals that lets you inform your trainees on what skills that could be refined.
Pricing for Virtual Reality in Training
The costs for using VR varies significantly on multiple factors such as how many people you're training, how long it takes to train them, what kind of VR you're using, and how many headsets you buy at one time. The price ranges from about $40,000 - $100,000 for a whole training procedure. Individual headsets range from $200 - $1,200. There are warranties available if they were to break or malfunction.
Which type of VR would best fit into your company?
There are mainly two types of VR: 360 Camera and Computer Generated Images (CGIs). In this portion of the article I will break them down based on what each one is, when you should use them, and how much they cost.
- 360 Camera: With the 360 Camera virtual reality headset, it allows you to see your surroundings. You should use this 360 Camera VR when you're a company that has a lot of trainees and very limited space. This method of virtual reality training is less interactive than the CGIs, but it is less expensive, about $40,000 - $60,000. This is recommended for jobs that are more stationary, such as a cashier.
- Computer Generated Images: CGIs virtual reality headset allows you to move within the artificial environment. Jobs such as firefighter, pilot, and football players would do better with this style of training. Companies with less people to train and that have more space provided would greatly benefit from using CGIs. These are more costly however, in the ballpark of $80,000 - $100,000.
When to Use Virtual Reality: R-I-D-E
- Rare Situations: Studies show that 50 percent of all Walmart employees have never worked a Black Friday Event Sale. When using virtual reality, it allows employees to adapt to the chaotic event without crippling the company's sales revenue.
- Impossible Situations: Walmart wants their employees to notice all the mistakes within the store. However, they are open 24/7, and it's almost impossible for the workers to keep everything in its place when their main focus is the customers. Sometimes the employees don't even know what's out of place because they weren't trained properly. With virtual reality, the employer can set up a scenario where the store has multiple items out of place and the trainees need to be able to spot those mistakes within a certain time frame.
- Dangerous Situations: Practicing in a smokey building increases the rates of cancer in firefighters. Due to smoke exposure, firefighters have a 250 percent of getting cancer than people outside of this line of work. With virtual reality, they won't be exposed to smoke, so they'll only have to encounter it in a real life fire emergency.
- Expensive Situations: A pilot training in a simulated plane before flying a real one. If the pilot was not trained correctly and were to press one wrong button, the plane could crash, not only risking the trainee's life, but the plane too, causing the company to lose millions of dollars due to the accident. With VR, there will be few, if any, causalities while training the individual.
Companies that Include Virtual Reality into Their Training
Still on the fence about using VR? Does your line of work require people to socialize with others? If so, virtual reality is still something huge to consider! Virtual reality allows individuals to practice using their soft skills and puts them into realistic situations that sometimes are difficult for the average person to handle: such as hiring/firing people, dealing with difficult customers, or telling a family their loved one passed away. In order to be a good worker, you need to know what to say, when to say it, and how to say it. You need to be able to show others that you care and be considerate of their feelings.