How Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality will change workplaces

Once a science fiction dream, Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) has truly come to life. This fun, all-too-real technology is expanding into workplaces, changing jobs, how we work and how businesses operate. In seven years, virtual and augmented reality will become an $80 million industry.

Workplace training, for example, is improved through virtual reality. Employers can better train their team and help them cope with risk-based scenarios by mimicking them in a controlled, safe environment.

Compare this to delivering a presentation that goes through correct procedures to follow. One is immersive, 360-degree experiential training – and the other is one-sided, being ‘told’ what to do. Imagine strapping on a headset and noise-cancelling headphones, then entering a virtual realm? This is happening, now and it’s learning by experiencing.

Mixed Reality is not just a ‘gaming thing’

As the world gets ‘smaller’ and borders matter little for teams, conference calls and real-time communication is key. VR can take this to the next level with virtual meetings. The primary benefit to workers is access to in-the-moment data so they can work heads up, not down, with real-time, overlaid immersive experiences supporting their work.

This approach can also work for talent acquisition, from pre-employment assessment screenings to the on-boarding process. Using VR, candidates can be given real-world tasks to do and experience their future workplace in an all-but hands-on, interactive way.

AR and VR bridges the hypothetical and real-world. In doing so, companies (and job seekers) know whether the relationship is the right fit. The talent pool becomes global, not local – because training, communication, and tasks switch to this new reality.

It can be used for better interactions, too. In different locations, see someone’s eyes, read their reactions and understand how they respond. Samsung’s Gear VR is used for simulating real-life worlds. With a headset and controller, you can explore and travel the (virtual) globe and do cool things like skydive. Marketers can put themselves in their prospects’ shoes – according to a recent study, VR delivers strong emotional engagement.

Run a bricks and mortar business? Save your walk-ins a trip to your shop and use VR to try different pieces of furniture in their own home. Almost every business can use AR and VR to try before you buy options. For manufacturers, 3D models could be used to save field engineers going between locations to troubleshoot machinery. There’s possibilities of AR and VR in the retail conversion experience too.

Connect with your consumers in real-time, letting them experience being part of your company. This will help build trust, foster deeper connections and forge one-on-one bonds.

Job opportunities? Yes. But it’s more of a case of task shifting

While many fear AR and VR, like the advent of the internet, it’s not doom and gloom. Yes, some jobs will go, but new jobs will emerge.

The emerging field of virtual reality requires skills ranging from hardware and software development to storytelling and graphic design. This includes fields such as programming, marketing, filmmaking and more with professionals at CNN, IMVU, and 360Heros.

Silicon Valley has a job board specific to VR, offering a professional networking event series. Some of the jobs listed include game developers, cinematic VR pioneers, virtual world architects, user experience & interaction designers, audio engineers, 3D modellers and mobile VR specialists.

As AR and VR become the new normal, we’ll start to see it in all types of markets and businesses. Specific industry knowledge will be required when it reaches this level.

We’ll start to see:

  • Neurosurgeons using VR goggles to navigate 3D models of patients, looking for the safest route on hard-to-reach tumours
  • Real estate professionals using 360-degree tours to experience apartments
  • Artists producing VR pieces that immerse viewers in virtual worlds

This shows that AR and VR is an opportunity to wonderfully improve the way we do our jobs or run businesses, rather than a whole new ecosystem shift. The most important thing is to be prepared.

This means being able to do things like developing creative solutions to enhance AR and VR experiences, and partnering with multi-disciplinary teams to deliver high-quality, fast-paced content.

America’s biggest city builds a curriculum of VR/AR workforce development programs

One third of VR/AR jobs require technical skills, specifically in visual design software and a programming language. New York City has responded to this need.

The City will invest up to $6 million to build the first publicly funded VR/AR lab in the United States. Workers will be trained and entrepreneurs will gain access to the technology and funding they need to launch new businesses leveraging these technologies.

New York Works is the City’s roadmap for creating 100,000 good jobs over the next 10 years, with a focus on AR and VR. These two technologies will impact numerous industries, such as healthcare, real estate and cultural sectors. And with over 16,000 hospitals and medical offices, nearly 20,000 real estate firms and more than 260 museums and historical sites, New York City is gearing up for a strong VR/AR ecosystem.

Future sustainability and a competitive advantage will require relentless adaptation. Augmented and virtual realities can transform employee workflows and experiences, among many other things. Used to mimic real environments to facilitate better employees, it gains the trust of your customers, and improves business processes.

Unsure whether this new world can work for your business or industry? Talk to us. If you’d like to learn more about AR and VR jobs or opportunities from other new technologies and the opportunities available to you, please contact Jess Perry at jessica@careerblueprint.com.au.

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