Could VR & AR be making its way into the office?

Virtual reality and augmented reality provide experiences impossible with typical computers and smart devices, and their falling cost means they’re going to become prevalent in the coming years

Although games and educational tools will prove to be major parts of VR and AR, the business field stands to benefit as well, and offices in the future might look very different than those of today. Here are some of the ways VR and AR technology could find its way into corporate environments in the coming years.

Employee Training

Although videos can provide useful information when training employees, hands-on training, sometimes extensive, is needed in many fields. Because training typically involves paid trainers, the process represents a major component of onboarding new employees. Interactive VR and AR applications provide employees with interactive experiences similar to those of personal training, and training programs can reduce the cost of getting employees up and running. Some human interaction will still be needed in most cases, but the one-time cost of developing a training program will be well worth the investment.

Virtual Desktops

Despite how much workers rely on computers and other digital devices, the office desk is still difficult to replace, as the large size of desks provides ample storage space for documents and other items. Augmented and even virtual reality can provide a similar experience by offering a larger field of view than monitors can provide. Furthermore, the visual depth VR and AR simulate can help people identify items at a glance. Soon, the office desk might be more of a hollographic concept than a physical one.

New Marketing Tools

Pictures and text go far when selling products, but nothing can be the in-person experience. VR and AR, however, might be able to come close. Letting potential buyers see and interact with a realistic simulation of products should prove to be a powerful selling point, and companies able to capitalize on this technology can gain an edge. Furthermore, virtual reality platforms that allow competitors to present virtual interfaces can become popular advertising platforms in the future.

Virtual Communication

Telecommuting is already gaining momentum, as the convenience and reduced cost make it compelling. While video teleconferences work in many situations, they don’t quite match the appeal of in-person meetings. VR can provide a more lifelike experience, potentially letting companies cut back on expensive travel for in-person meetings. Morning huddles and other mainstays of business might be replaceable as VR advances.

Augmented Employees

Employees, especially those who interact with clients and customers, need information as quickly as possible, as delays in retrieving information can be frustrating. Augmented reality can provide an easy interface for employees to retrieve information at a glance, whether they’re in the office or away. One example of how AR can change employee interaction comes in automatic translation tools, which can enable employees to talk with those who speak languages in a seamless manner.

Virtual reality and augmented reality aren’t new concepts, but technology is finally catching up and making it a reality. While predicting what VR and AR will create in the future is impossible, there’s no doubt it’s going to play a significant role in many business fields.