And everyone is trying to see this enormous market take shape. Headlines are dominated by new headsets and a high level PR battle for dominance by tech giants crying out for awareness. The Tech world follows suit with the consumer aspect o VR dominating the stage.
One overly discussed negative aspect is nausea, something that has been addressed before: a small headset relief and simple optical adjustments mitigate it.
Also the idea of "living inside VR" and using VR headsets for periods longer than 15-20 minutes misses the fact that VR is a learning tool and not reality itself. An early 2002 (yes, 2002) article published by the Annals of Surgery show an 80% reduction in surgery errors when comparing Standard Trained and VR Trained Surgical Residents. Talk about a vital activity! Mining, Energy, Construction, Oil and Gas, Transportation, all these industries could be profiting from it now.
While all these discussions help increase the exposure and awareness of the industry - and lower the costs fast - it also diverts the focus from where VR is fast becoming a total game changer: Business applications. In the following links you may find a few ideas, here and here for a mind blowing perspective.
A recent Training Industry article is starting to establish this new reality. Their data states that Learning in Virtual Reality leads to faster reaction time and better performance. While the subject is a football training experiment we can easily extrapolate it to to our everyday workplace activities, where millisecond improvements are not required, but similar skills improvements are very much valued.
VR is a revolution in skills training in the making. It is about your brain, not a pair of glasses.
Virtuality goes way back and is a broader concept. We are surrounded by virtual concepts. Reading a book. While you go over the lines images take shape in your mind. Or your money in the bank. You imagine a pile of notes in a safe while it is mostly a number on a database. Or electricity.
In training and education VR is about modelling behaviours, what is just not the everyday subject of training in the modern corporation. It targets that % of factors that will guide skills and behavior-based industries to absolute efficiencies.
And the companies that envision this earlier will have the best workforce.
The deep and growing power of VR resides in remodelling your behavioural processes. It is all about deeper, true engagement, better judgment and emotions.
While direct-to-brain technologies are not validated yet (while they are being develop, yes), prepare to be trained using VR to improve and perfect your innermost habits. You will be asked to concentrate, calm down, focus so to achieve major changes in your relation with your work or, quite possibly, with your next job. It is the latest tool to learn more about your brain's the cognitive processes when we perform or when we learn. The power of VR resides in its nucleus: immersive behavioural data and analytics.
But why the sense of the urgency? There are a few reasons, just around the corner.
It is known that many jobs are disappearing being transformed as a consequence of artificial intelligence, robotics and natural language. In an interview to Fortune magazine, Vikram Pandit, who ran Citigroup Inc. during the financial crisis from 2007 to 2012, said that this could reduce the need for banking staff in certain roles, a potential 30% cut in such jobs in the next 5 years. UBS announced a 30% cut in jobs due to automation. An estimated 5 million jobs will disappear in developed countries till 2020.
We could go on describing the same phenomenon in other sectors on and on. Workers that can be replaced by automation will not add value to companies.
Yet, simultaneously, new jobs will appear in areas were automation will not be able to break in, training and education being one of these areas, a major job switching.
We can easily infer that millions of workers skills will have no use in the very near future and they will need to be retrained. With VR with have an optimum tool ready, here and now, right in our hands.
Skills training in the second vector. It will be key both to readapt present workforce skills to changing workplace conditions and to retrain jobless workers in a totally different area. Demand for high quality and efficient education - fast, proven, replicable - will multiply X times.
Some numbers are staggering. There are more than 3 billion people globally who work in some capacity. Yet only 20 percent of them have ever had access to technology to help them perform their jobs more effectively. That leaves 2.5 billion workers not being supported by technology today, a great portion of those in developing countries.
Add to that 1,3 Billion Students reaching their skills training phase, technology savvy and ready to engage with the latest training methods. They are here, eager and demanding training to be useful to them and to society.
Mankind is lucky to have a lot of brilliant minds that help us analyze the past, join them to the tools of the present and project the future responsibly.
We, at EXO Workforce, are great advocates of all these enabling technologies, be it VR, AR, MR, or the new name it gets. This is evident. But more than that: we feel very lucky to be able to be an active part of this living revolution in training and education taking place now. In 10 years time, if we do our jobs right, we will get closer to a fully employed workplace with workers fulfilling their lives, maintaining their families and arriving safely everyday at their homes.
About EXO Workforce We create biometric VR simulations for standards-based worker training to increase safety and eradicate accidents. We focus on deep learning, better judgment, and teaching safe behaviors. Our platform uses biometric sensors to measure "how" workers cope with real workplace risks and challenges. Our big data analysis also identifies gaps in operational knowledge that are proven to mitigate risks, prevent accidents and generate major costs savings.