The use of virtual and augmented reality in work environments
When talking about virtual reality, many of us think of science fiction films such as Minority Report, TheMatrix or the more recent Ready Player One. However, this technology is a reality that is increasingly present in our lives and workplaces.
Virtual reality versus augmented reality
When we speak of virtual reality we refer to the simulation of spaces using technology. Through the use of glasses, helmets or other devices, the user has the sensation of being immersed in a digitally created space, separate from “reality.”
Differences between virtual and augmented reality
Sometimes we confuse virtual reality (VR) with augmented reality (AR). Although the concepts are based on the same idea, there are some differences between them. In VR, all elements are digital, whereas in AR, the real environment and digital objects are combined. For example, in the case of virtual reality we can see what the interior of a flat that has not yet been built looks like, while an example of augmented reality is when, through a tablet or mobile phone, we see what a piece of furniture, digitally recreated, would look like in our real-life living room.
Virtual reality in the business world
Until a few years ago, virtual and augmented reality solutions were mainly concentrated in the consumer sector, especially in the field of entertainment and video games. However, in recent years the situation is changing and more and more companies are starting to incorporate these technologies.
According to some estimates, in 2020 half of all large companies will have implemented digital strategies that include virtual or augmented reality, leading to a total investment of $22 billion in these technologies. Some of the areas where the greatest investment in these technologies is being made are:
- Design. Virtual reality makes it possible to create simulations to see the final result of a design, so that you can visualize it full-size and test how it works. This allows us to digitally test every design before we put it into production, with the associated cost savings.
- Training. To learn how to handle large industrial machinery or execute actions that require precision down to the millimeter, a professional can be trained using digital simulations that imitate reality. In this way, the production line is not slowed down and the risks are lower.
- Communication and teamwork. Remote and online meetings can go beyond traditional video calls if the physical environment is also recreated. In this way professionals can feel physically closer to their colleagues, even if they are hundreds of miles apart, improving collaboration Communication and teamwork. Remote and online meetings can go beyond traditional video calls if the physical environment is also recreated. In this way professionals can feel physically closer to their colleagues, even if they are hundreds of miles apart, improving collaboration between areas.
- Human resources. Through VR/AR applications, recruiters can see how candidates perform in different situations. They can learn about their specific skills and abilities and select the best possible candidate.
- Access to information. Operators can access real-time information within their field of vision by using virtual glasses or VR/AR helmets that connect with virtual tags included in the products. This is particularly useful in areas such as logistics and transport, where having all the customer and product information at hand can be a huge time-saver.
- Resolution of incidents. If the user himself can access the information in real time and even contact after-sales service, the cost of travel and working hours is reduced.
- Customer experience. The client himself can see the end result of the product and even choose different customizations, which contributes to a better customer experience and greater loyalty.
Virtual reality, an ally in business productivity
As we can see, virtual and augmented reality in the workplace bring great advantages in the optimization of processes and improved productivity, which in turn leads to cost savings, to say nothing of the improvement in customer experience.
It is true that there are still some challenges to overcome, such as the cost of hardware or the need to expand the software and service offerings to more use cases, but it is undeniable that this technology has come to stay, and will revolutionize the way we do our day-to-day work.
At Ulma Advanced Forged Solutions we collaborate with virtual reality and augmented reality projects. Tell us your idea and how we can help you.