5 Primary Uses for Enterprise VR in 2021
Looking at the changes that happened in the world of Virtual Reality for enterprises in 2020, several trends emerged. Headset focus shifted from tethered to stand-alone devices, prices dropped considerably, resolution continued to improve, and device management features gained traction. As the year closes out, we’re looking forward to even more developments for VR in 2021, especially for businesses looking to take programs to the next level. Here are 5 primary uses we see for enterprise VR in 2021 enabled by developments that happened this year.
Training / Learning
One of the most successful uses for enterprise VR to date has been in the employee training/learning space, where having immersive and interactive environments leads to significantly improved outcomes for employees in many use cases. For example, Farmers Insurance has worked with VR developer Talespin to develop interactive VR training for insurance assessors and the Air Force is using VR training for both pilots and loadmasters. One of the areas of VR training that we expect to take off in 2021 is employee training for HR topics like sexual harassment, diversity, sensitivity, and difficult situations like firing employees and counseling through organizational change. Employee training leveraging VR can especially benefit remote teams where in-person training is less feasible, making this a growing sector for enterprise VR in 2021.
Another enterprise VR use case that gained traction this year was team communication, especially for teams forced to interact remotely due to COVID-19. Many teams started testing VR chat rooms and collaboration spaces this year as an alternative to phone calls and video chats, often as a response to “Zoom fatigue”. Team interactions in virtual reality offer the benefits of reduced distractions, an increased feeling of being together with team members, and more opportunities for sharing and collaborating on content in a virtual space. While we don’t think VR chat rooms can really compete with in-person meetings and the technology still has some severe limitations in areas like hand tracking and direct object interaction (like writing on a whiteboard), this is definitely a prime area of interest for companies pursuing VR in 2021.
3D design has historically suffered from the limitations of creating three-dimensional objects using two-dimensional screens. But with virtual reality this limitation is removed and design teams can not only create, but also collaborate on and share interactive 3D models and environments with stakeholders and customers. While still a somewhat niche application of VR, we expect this use case to continue gaining traction in 2021, especially in industries like automotive where production cycles are long and new product visual design can make or break sales for an entire year or more. In 2021 we are also expecting VR design applications to make further inroads in architecture, real estate, and landscaping, areas where traditional models, photos, and renderings often don’t convey the true scale and feel of designed environments.
An area that saw a lot of improvement in 2020 and makes us excited about VR in 2021 is visualization – being able to showcase not only objects, but also data in true 3D. While this used to be relegated to use cases like sharing new product ideas with executive stakeholders, the dropping price of VR headsets and new freedom offered by high-quality untethered solutions means that visualization is now making its way into more spaces. For example, data science teams are starting to use VR to visualize operating data in factories and even entire corporations in ways that simply aren’t possible in 2D. New tools are also lowering the bar to sharing virtual content and expanding audiences, allowing teams to create content for the general public such as interactive local history explorations and local neighborhood statistics and development plans.
Health & Wellness
Lastly, we have seen positive trends in utilizing VR within the Health and wellness space. Just like many other innovations throughout 2020, VR innovation in health and wellness has been driven by adapting to COVID-19 restrictions. While many people may already know that VR has unlocked the ability to study anatomy and conduct mock surgeries, we are also seeing areas where VR can improve the life of an average consumer or employee. For example, Embodied Labs allows the user to better embody the perspectives and conditions of another person which can lead to more effective care. Other developers, such as Reulay, have developed virtual therapeutic platforms to enhance the user’s calmness, confidence, and clarity. With more companies working remotely and looking for ways to improve their team’s experience, meditative therapeutic VR platforms may be an easy win.
While 2021 looks to be an exciting year for VR, there are still many challenges when it comes to deploying VR in real-world business settings. If your team is considering designing or implementing a VR solution next year, be sure to head over to our XR solutions page to learn how we can help you be successful.