Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) technologies help users have a more immersive experience when interacting with compatible programs. Now, the technology has begun to enter the workplace thanks to VR and AR collaboration solutions designed to supplement other communication mechanisms.
While this version of the technology is relatively new, it does create an enhanced and more engaging overall experience. But, it can require software and hardware upgrades, as well as workflow adjustments and procedural changes, to gain the full value of what these solutions have to offer.
Additionally, companies must evaluate how they envision the experience to benefit their teams without running the risk of overloading them with data.
The Presentation of Data
VR and AR can be particularly helpful when data needs to be visualized using 3D renderings and interactive models. These technologies have the capacity to present objects that feel as though they are part of the regular world, which can be a boon for distributed teams working on a product concept together.
However, the amount of information displayed needs to be highly controlled. Otherwise, the sheer volume of objects and details can make it hard to analyze what is being presented and may even become overwhelming.
Using VR and AR to facilitate collaboration can be an exciting option. It provides remote teams options for interacting “face-to-face” through avatars or interact with rendered models if physical representations aren’t available at a specific location. Training opportunities are also noteworthy, as employees can interact with virtual examples of real-world items, allowing them to get hands-on experience and instruction even when the systems or equipment aren’t actually available to them.
Hardware and Software Requirements
While the addition of a VR or AR headset is the most obvious must-have purchase to use these technologies, other components and system upgrades may also be necessary. Often, the headsets themselves are supported by other computer systems, functioning more like a display than as a computing device. This means your network must support the activities to make use of the technology.
Additionally, businesses must choose between monocular and binocular headsets depending on whether the information should only be shown to one eye or both. Binocular headsets are substantially more expensive, but can be beneficial depending on how you envision integrating the technology into your development processes.
Hardware security is also a consideration when adding VR or AR headsets, as they are network-connected devices. While they may pose little risk in regards to the data they hold (which tends to be minimal), they do serve as a gateway to the rest of your network. This means IT security teams should be involved in the implementation and the headsets should be treated with the same level of care as any other mobile device.
VR and AR will likely play a substantial role in the workplace of the future, so it makes sense to explore how these technologies can benefit your company both in the context of today and tomorrow. While an upfront investment is generally required, the ability to provide your teams with access to experiences that would otherwise be unavailable and to make collaboration efforts more immersive certainly makes it worth a look.