The demarcation between consumer and business devices has largely disappeared. The two are not completely synonymous, but overlap more each day. That means that one of the sexiest technologies to come along in a long time, virtual reality (VR), will have a big impact in the enterprise.
Computerworld’s John Brandon illustrates the great potential for corporate use of VR by predicting some workplaces where it will be seen. Typical uses could include previewing new office space, attending conferences, interviewing job candidates, “all hands” meetings, complex training and working through confrontations.
This list has two related points: VR will have many uses and they won’t be exotic: Making sure that workers are working together effectively is as run-of-the-mill as things get. In this way, the early days of VR are very different from the same period in the evolution of teleconferencing, a category to which it has some similarities. Early teleconferencing relied on sophisticated and expensive technology. Thus, it was sparingly used, and usually only by top executives.
Examples of possible VR uses abound. It makes sense that architecture will be an early favorite. Stuff, a site in New Zealand, reports that WelTec Creative Industries and Creative Coast are collaborating to create an architectural VR app. Startup The Third Fate’sThomas Hirschmann pointed to a similar goal during an interview on NPR.
TNOOZ reports that Boeing aims to use VR to enhance flight safety:
The airplane manufacturer, in partnership with Honeywell, is working to standardize what’s known as synthetic vision for use in cockpits. Basically, this technology creates a virtual view of the surroundings for the pilot as a way to enhance understanding and surface more accurate navigation information.
It seems that the idea in this project’s utilization is not to precisely mime the actual surroundings. Rather, a virtualized image is presented that presumably presents important points of the landscape more clearly. Other information, such as speed and height, can be presented as well. The story says that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will soon set regulations.
Often, the uses of such technologies are far more mundane than the glitzy applications dreamed up by marketing departments. Indeed, the really exciting part might be precisely how mundane the uses are. VR can be used for an almost endless number of everyday tasks which, collectively, will have great impact. It won’t take long: People are comfortable enough with the pace of change to quickly accept what initially seems like an exotic technology.
The other driver will be economic. A sales executive attending a client meeting or convention via VR saves money on the trip and is productive during the time he or she formerly would be traveling.
Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at [email protected] and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.