Effectively training your staff is becoming increasingly critical. Professional development programs allow you to help your workers learn and grow. Plus, it can serve as a means for closing skill gaps, making it even more beneficial.
In recent years, virtual reality (VR) has been making waves, working its way into a growing number of training programs. If you are wondering how VR is helping companies train their employees more effectively, here’s what you need to know.
Virtual reality is becoming real. Companies have begun using VR to allow potential customers to try out products before buying them, or to experience a destination before traveling there, and movie studios have begun using the technology in trailers.
One reason for the surge in interest is that VR technology has become much more affordable. Google Cardboard uses a simple cardboard viewer to turn an ordinary smartphone into VR device.
Of course, higher-end headsets make the VR experience all the more immersive. Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are the dominant headsets. Now, Intel is getting into the high end VR market with Project Alloy. Unlike the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, which require the use of handheld controllers to interact with the virtual environment, Project Alloy will allow users to simply use their hands. Project Alloy will also include real-world elements into the virtual scene if they are in camera range. The ability to use natural gestures and to incorporate real-world people into the virtual environment will create a different, so-called "merged reality" experience for Project Alloy users.
Microsoft will also be developing similar "mixed reality" experiences through the Windows Holographic Shell. The shell, planned for release late next year, will let any Windows-equipped PC generate VR images (as long as the user has a headset to view them). Perhaps it's no surprise that Microsoft and Intel are collaborating on specifications for VR PCs and headsets. They may be hoping to stimulate a broad range of VR development and encourage users to purchase new devices in order to enjoy augmented or virtual reality experiences.
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The virtual reality gauntlet has been thrown, and it seems that Facebook and Google are the top contenders. After Facebook’s February announcement that they were actively developing VR software, it was rumored that Google was working on a similar technology. The first product to hit the market will set the bar for VR, increasing the urgency of the development stage. Given the potential of this new technology, it seems there will a race to the finish line between these two tech giants.
The Possibilities of VR
Virtual reality’s potential is endless. It will not only redefine every form of electronic entertainment, but it may also dramatically change the way we communicate and do business. The technology will change users from passive to active as they interact with movies, TV shows, and video games. As VR develops, it may introduce virtual conferencing or calling, allowing users to simulate real conversations with friends, loved ones, and colleagues.
The market for this software is unreal. The variety of uses will appeal to a wide range of demographics, allowing the initial creator to corner the market on the next generation of entertainment and communication technology. It’s possible that VR may even come to overshadow the Internet, which may spell disaster for the loser of the development race.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that VR will follow in the footsteps of 3D and simply fail to gain traction. While the potential is there, there’s always the risk that consumers simply won’t take to it.
What This Means for Google & Facebook
Whoever is the first to introduce virtual reality software to the market will have the chance to create their own set of standards. The second release, then, will be responding to these standards and will lose a lot of freedom in their development process. It isn’t simply that they must match feature for feature, but that users will get used to a certain interface and may be hesitant to make the leap to a competitor once that second platform is released.
There’s also the problem of what happens to Facebook or Google after VR exists. If the new software encompasses everything they could accomplish using the social media or online searching, there will be a steady decline of people actively using either Facebook or Google. They’ll be left in the wake of the Next Big Thing.
So, in order to avoid being the responder to a new technology, or being left with the dregs of internet users after virtual reality’s launch, it’s imperative for both Google and Facebook that they release their new software before their competitor. Of course, there’s the possibility that a third party will make a release before either of these two Internet behemoths, which could spell disaster for either company.